The statewide Diocese of Charleston has announced plans to establish a new parish on Daniel Island that will minister to the growing Catholics ranks in the area.

Father H. Gregory West, a diocese priest for 23 years, will be its founding pastor.

"I am excited about and look forward to establishing the newest parish in the diocese," the Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone, bishop of Charleston, said in a statement.

The Catholic population has been growing for years in the Daniel Island, East Cooper and Charleston areas.

The parish does not have a physical home or name yet.

A Sullivan's Island native and Bishop England High School graduate, West plans to meet with his future parishioners in March to hear their needs and wishes for the new parish.

A date for its first Mass will be decided in coming months.

"This is an important time for the Catholic Church in South Carolina because of the growth of the faith, particularly on Daniel Island," West said.

West is now pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Church in the Upstate town of Seneca.

Interest in launching a Daniel Island parish has been building since Bishop England High School moved to its new campus there seven years ago to handle growing enrollment.

Then Good Shepherd Club, a group of Daniel Island area Catholics, formed two years ago to foster spiritual and social activities in anticipation of launching a new parish. For more about the group, go to http://dicatholics.blogspot.com.

The growing statewide diocese also recently began work on a $16.5 million diocesan pastoral center in West Ashley that will include a chancery, chapel and conference center.

The last local parish the diocese launched was in 1999 when it started what now is St. Benedict Catholic Church in the booming northern Mount Pleasant area.