Catholic Church booming in Dalton as thousands attend St. Joseph - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

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Catholic Church booming in Dalton as thousands attend St. Joseph’s and its two new missions

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DALTON, Ga. — Two separate car dealerships failed at a concrete-and-glass showroom built in 2001 in Chatsworth, Ga.

Then Dalton’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Church bought the 22,000-square-foot building on U.S. Highway 76 in 2012 to establish a mission in Murray County, which had no Catholic church.

“It had 600 people the very first day, which kind of got me in trouble with the fire marshal,” said the Rev. Paul Williams, the pastor who leads St. Joseph’s. “It’s full every Sunday.”

When it came time to name the mission, the mostly Spanish-speaking parishioners picked the patron saint of Mexican immigrants, St. Toribio Romo González. He was a priest killed in 1928 when Catholics were being persecuted in Mexico. His spirit still is said to guide the impoverished across the border.

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