There’s about to be a changing of the guard in Fort Mill that will be felt at 3 area Catholic parishes

The exterior of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Fort Mill, including the parish hall and the steeple on top of the building.

St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Fort Mill Will soon have its first change in leadership in over 15 years. (Photo: M. Harrison)

FORT MILL — One era is ending and another beginning at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, the largest in the region.

Longtime leader the Rev. John Giuliani will soon be moving on from the parish. The Rev. Fabio Refosco, the pastor at St. Anne in Rock Hill, will become the parish’s next leader. Rev. Giuliani announced the changes at Mass last week.

Rev. Giuliani

Rev. Giuliani is not retiring — and he’s not going far. He’s heading to the Lake Wylie area to lead All Saints Catholic Church.

Kathy Schmugge, director of family life for the the Diocese of Charleston, which administers all of South Carolina’s Catholic churches, and a parishioner at St. Philip Neri, said she will miss a parish priest she called “warm” and “special” and who has distinguished himself in a variety of ways over the years.

“Our loss is All Saints’ gain,” she said.

“He’s been my pastor since I’ve been here,” around 10 years Schmugge said. “He’s one of those figures who’s bigger than life.”

St. Philip Neri, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, has over 2,700 member families, according to its website. Under Rev. Giuliani’s guidance, the parish completed a building project that effectively doubled its size.

Not long ago, the St. Anne High School, which outgrew its space in Rock Hill, moved the campus to St. Philip Neri.

Even though Rev. Giuliani announced the coming changes, they are not completely official. Schmugge said the paperwork has yet to be signed by the Bishop of Charleston, the Most Rev. Robert Guglielmone.

“The Bishop has not made the announcement public,” Schmugge said.