Tybee's Roman Catholic chapel was dedicated yesterday morning (July 5, 1891) by Bishop Thomas A. Becker, assisted by Vicar General Edward D. Cafferty and Rev. W. A. McCarthy. Bishop Becker named the chapel after St. Michael the Archangel, who is known as the rule of the waves. The name is peculiarly appropriate on account of the chapel being at the seaside.
The 9:30 o'clock train carried down about 200 people to attend the services, and they, together with Tybee residents, filled the little church to overflowing. There are 24 pews, with a seating capacity of about 275. Every one was taxed to its utmost capacity, people occupied chairs in the aisles and every foot of standing room around the door was taken up and many stood outside under the trees. Over 400 people were crowded into the building.
At 11 o'clock Bishop Becker and Fathers Cafferty and McCarthy, attired in their handsome vestments, came out of the sacristy and marched down the aisle to the entrace, where the bishop sprinkled holy water and blessed the chapel with appropriate prayers. On the return to the altar the congregation was sprinkled with holy water.
After the recitation of the litany of the saints and psalms, Mass was celebrated. The choir consisted of Mrs. Altick, Frank E. Rebarer and M.A. O'Byrne. Prof. Leo Mehrtens presided at the organ. The singing was excellent.
St. Michael costs about $2,000. The land upon which the church stands was donated by the Tybee Beach Company, at the instance of Capt. D. G. Purse. The erection of the church is mainly due to the efforts of Mr. Robert E. Pepper, president of the Atlantic Club.
Excerpts from The Morning News: Monday, July 6, 1891.
Saint Michael is situated on Railroad Avenue and Eighth Street, just across from the Atlantic Club. The exterior is painted white, with black trimmings. The roof is surmounted by a white and black dome, on the top of which stands a large white cross. The interior walls are painted white and the ceiling a sky blue, the combination making a pretty effect. The pews are of polished Georgia pine. The altar is a beautiful and artistic piece of work. It is carved in an attractive manner, and in the center is a lamb bearing a cross. The altar was made at McDonough & Company's mill. On each side of the altar is a room. One is used as a sacristy and the other as a sleeping apartment for the priest, who will go to the island every Saturday night.
Excerpts from The Southern Cross, Thursday, December 16, 1999