Two factory supervisors were sent by their company to Wildwood Florida in 1968, uprooting themselves and their families in order to begin a new life. Wildwood had very few Catholics living in the area and no Catholic churches nearby. Families had to travel miles to find a place to worship and be nourished in their faith.
In 1973, Father Killian, Pastor of St. Paul Parish in Leesburg called a meeting in Wildwood to explore the possibility of celebrating Masses in Catholic homes in the area. About 6 homes were used on a rotating schedule creating a growing community of believers who became a very close knit group. Religious Education was held at St. Paul Catholic Church
By 1981 as the population of the surrounding area expanded, more Catholic families had come to the area and Mass attendance at the homes became so great that the Pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Bushnell announced that a trial Mass would be celebrated in Wildwood at the Page-Theus Funeral home Chapel. This arrangement continued for 13 years.
Reports of the period state that it was hard to find a seat at the Funeral chapel and that the rooms at the Funeral home were overflowing. The growing influx of people to The Villages contributed to the increasing numbers at the Funeral home so the original founding families began petitioning the Diocese for a solution to the problem.
The Orlando Diocese purchased 19 acres of land north of Wildwood as the site of the future church. A fundraising drive was begun and in the summer of 1993 construction was underway. The church building, with a capacity of 400 was completed and on June 5th 1994, the opening ceremony and Mass was held at the NEW St. Vincent dePaul Catholic Mission, as a Mission of St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Bushnell.
In November of 1994, the Rite of Blessing of a new Church was conducted by Bishop Dorsey at a special Mass. Priests from St. Lawrence Church were assigned to the Mission Church of St. Vincent de Paul. Each priest assigned drove in for one (1) Mass each Sunday at 8:30 AM.
In 2002, Father Peter Sagorski was assigned as the priest for the St. Vincent dePaul Mission from Bushnell and two (2) Masses per week were celebrated.
Bishop Wenski came to the St. Vincent de Paul Mission Church in 2004 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Mission and to announce the celebration of the Church as a Parish, no longer a Mission Church from St. Lawrence of Bushnell!
In 2013, Father Peter Puntal arrived as Pastor and construction began on the building of a larger Church.
The new enlarged Church of St. Vincent dePaul was dedicated by Bishop Noonan on August 26th, 2014.
A new rectory and maintenance building were blessed by Bishop Noonan on November 18th, 2017.
Because of the continued growth of The Villages, the parish began a new Capital Campaign, “Building our Way to Heaven” in 2017 with the goal of expanding the Church, and consolidating all Parish outreach efforts onto one campus along with the erection a much needed Parish Social Hall and Parish offices to address the needs of a still growing Parish serving over 3,000 families.
We hope you join our Parish family!