The Reverend Monsignor Thomas Paul Hadden
Ninth Pastor of St. Mary
1985 – 2000
Monsignor Thomas Paul Hadden was born on May 31, 1929 in Raleigh, NC, the only native North Carolinian and African-American man to ever pastor St. Mary Parish. His father, Thomas was an AME Minister and high school teacher in Kings Mountain, NC, and his mother was a homemaker but trained as a teacher.
Thomas grew up in Raleigh until he was 14 years old and attended St. Monica School.
Thomas Hadden studied for the priesthood at St. Meinrad in Indiana, the North American College in Rome, and the Gregorian in Rome. He was ordained in Rome on December 20, 1958 in a chapel at the North American College by Bishop Martin J. O’Connor of Wilkes-Barre, PA. He celebrated three Masses of Thanksgiving including one at the tomb of St. Paul the Apostle.
In the Diocese of Raleigh, he served as a priest in the following parishes before coming to St. Mary Parish in 1985: an apostolate in Newton Grove; Our Lady of Consolation, Charlotte; St. Teresa of Avila, Durham; St. Anthony, Southern Pines; St. Joseph (that merged with St. Paul), New Bern; St. Paul, New Bern; St. Joseph, Raleigh; Sacred Heart Cathedral, Raleigh; and the Catholic Community of Kinston.
In the Diocese of Raleigh, Fr. Hadden has served as Dean of the Raleigh, New Bern, and Cape Fear Deaneries; Chair of the Priests’ Council; Diocesan Consulter; Judge of the Marriage Tribunal; Assistant Chancellor; Vicar for Catholics of African Ancestry; Catholic Charities Board Member; and writer for diocesan publications such as NC Catholics.
Fr. Hadden came to St. Mary Parish in 1985 and remained as Pastor until 2000 when he retired as Pastor Emeritus. During his long stay at St. Mary Parish, Fr. Hadden was known for his great involvement in the greater Wilmington community and his ecumenical spirit. He started the Hispanic ministry at St. Mary Parish, a ministry that has flourished and grown through the years following his pastorate.
Of all of things Fr. Hadden will most probably be most noted for, however, is the purchase of the Tileston Center. This four-building brick complex today houses parish offices, part of St. Mary Catholic School, three other schools of St. Mary Parish, the St. Mary Health Center, the St. Mary-Tileston Social Outreach Ministry, the Upper Room 1871, the St. Mary Gym, and a host of other ministries. Today we cannot imagine our parish without the Tileston Complex. Hadden Halls, a housing complex for the poor, was named for Fr. Hadden.
Fr. Hadden became a Monsignor in 2000. Retired in Raleigh, Msgr. Hadden enjoys reading books on Scripture and black history, and music. He also helps out with Masses at the Cathedral.