Fr. Thomas F. Price, in 1886 the first native North Carolinian to be ordained a Catholic priest, traveled around the state preaching and celebrating the Sacraments for the small population of Catholics. He observed an incredible amount of poverty and destitution, often resulting in orphaned children. In 1899, Fr. Price, along with his sister, Sister Mary Agnes of the Sisters of Mercy, founded a Catholic Orphanage on a large tract of land which he purchased in his own name in Nazareth, NC, adjacent to Raleigh. The orphanage housed both high and elementary schools, and initially served boys and eventually girls as well.
In the early 1950s, during the time in which Bishop Vincent Waters decreed that all discrimination in Catholic parishes, programs and institutions cease, the high school age students at the Nazareth Orphanage were transferred permanently to Cathedral Latin High School, located at Sacred Heart Cathedral; two years later the orphanage’s elementary school closed.
As the only Catholic high school in Raleigh in the 1960s, space was limited at Cathedral Latin High School, which was on the verge of outgrowing its granite building. In turn, Bishop Waters decided to build a new high school on a portion of the former Nazareth Orphanage site off Western Boulevard. Since that time Sacred Heart Cathedral School has occupied the entire downtown building.
The new high school building was completed and dedicated by Bishop Waters on Friday, July 27, 1962. It was named Cardinal Gibbons Memorial High School. The new brick high school opened with 148 students and contained a science room, a language laboratory, and a classroom for business courses. The library was a separate building, while a third building housed the administration offices, a health room, and a chapel.
All of the clubs, athletic teams, and activities, including the May Procession that had existed at Cathedral Latin High School, were transferred to Cardinal Gibbons High School. In 1962 the phrase Cum Deo Omnia Possum or “With God, I Can Do All Things,” became the official school motto.
As need for a larger facility became apparent, construction of a new school was planned for a parcel of land off Trinity Road. With the full support of the Bishop and the Diocese, a capital campaign was initiated in 1996, and the following year, construction began at the current Edwards Mill Road location. The Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, who managed the school from 1994-2006, oversaw the school’s move to its current campus at the request of Bishop Joseph Gossman, and welcomed 760 students to the present Cardinal Gibbons High School building when it was completed in 1999.
For years, the Nazareth Property was also the location of the Diocese of Raleigh Catholic Center, which serves as the headquarters for the Bishop and the administrative staff of the Diocese. Early in 2014, in preparation of the building of Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, the Catholic Center was moved to a building off Creedmoor Road in Raleigh.
The diocesan phase for the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of Father Thomas Frederick Price opened on March 9, 2012, with the official installation of a Tribunal charged with the formal study of the life, virtues and the reputation of the sanctity of Father Price. The opening of the diocesan phase of the Cause took place within the context of Solemn Vespers (Evening Prayer) at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The Tribunal that will study Father Price is led by the Very Reverend James F. Garneau, V.F., Ph.D., Pastor of Saint Mary of the Angels Catholic Church in Mount Olive, North Carolina, whom Bishop Burbidge has appointed Episcopal Delegate for the Cause of Father Price. The Tribunal also includes Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, appointed by the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints as Postulator of the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of Father Price, and other members, assisted by a Historical Commission and a Theological Commission.
As part of the diocesan phase of the Cause, Bishop Burbidge signed an Edict for the Opening of the Cause for Beatification and Canonization for Father Price on February 28, 2012. It requests that all those who can give valid testimony regarding the life, virtues and the reputation of the sanctity of Father Price, even if they have negative proof, are to contact the Tribunal. They may do so by contacting Father Garneau at The Office of the Episcopal Delegate for the Cause of Father Price, P. O. Box 1145, Mount Olive, North Carolina 28365.
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