About Sacred Heart

History of Sacred Heart Parish


 

In the fall of 1934, a small group of Fort Bend citizens led by W.N. Covell, Mr. and Mrs. A.C.Wendel, Mrs. H.B. Ross, and Mrs. W.R.Douglas, called on Bishop Christopher Byrne in Galveston and asked permission to build a church in Richmond. The Bishop praised their pioneer spirit and promised to assign a pastor if they were successful.

The construction was a work of love by both Catholics and non-Catholics of Richmond, who donated materials and their labor. The cornerstone was laid on March 11, 1935, and the church was dedicated by Bishop Byrne on May 9, 1935, at ten o'clock.

In his homily that day, Bishop Byrne told of the organization of the parish by a small dedicated group of Catholic laity. He said, "I congratulate Fr. Reybaud on having a church and a certain amount of organization before the parish even had a pastor. Sixty or seventy years ago, mass was said here. There was no church, but priests from Annunciation in Houston offered masses." The Bishop also praised those of other faiths for their financial support and cooperation in other helpful ways in the building of the church.

After the church was completed, work was begun on a seven room rectory which served as the parish office and the priest's residence until 1989. Sisters from Sacred Heart Dominican Convent in Houston were brought to Richmond each Sunday by members of the parish. This was the first religious education program. Much later in the history of the parish, Sister Dorothy O'Neill from the Dominican Convent would become a full-time Directory of Religious Education for the parish.

Msgr. James J. Madden was pastor from 1967-1969 and from 1973-1988. During his first term as pastor, the Education Building was built. During his second term, the original church was renovated and the beautiful windows added. Construction was carried out by parishioner Bill Leifrig.


Fr. Eric Pitre came to Sacred Heart in July of 1988. In 1989, the temporary classrooms were added and a concrete parking lot was built. The work on the parking lot was directed by parishioner Howard Ladner and performed by a crew of volunteers from the parish. During the summer of 1989, construction was started on the new rectory. Architect was Don Purser and contractor was Greg Harris, both members of the parish.


In order to create space for the new church, the old rectory had to be moved. It was purchased by parishioners John and Barbara Lipinski and donated to the Fort Bend Women's Center. Members of the Knights of Columbus under Grand Knight, Don Ries, spent over a year rehabilitating the house once it was moved.


Church construction began in May of 1990. Architect was Christopher DiStefano who designed the new county courthouse in Richmond; contractor was Earl Barbin of Needville. A good deal of local labor was utilized in the building process. The Church was completed in January, 1991, and was dedicated on February 23, 1991, by Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza.

The windows in the body of the church represent the titles we use to address Jesus Christ. Windows in the east and west wings symbolize the creation of the world and the resurrection. Windows were done by the Cavallini Company, Inc. of San Antonio, Texas. The beautiful baptismal was constructed of marble quarried in Madras, India. It was designed and constructed by Daniel J. Krizak of Highlands, Texas. The altar, pulpit, pews and church furnishings were build by Amish and Mennonite craftsmen in Modesto, California. Lighting for grounds was done by Phil Tyner, a member of the parish. Funds for landscaping were donated by Milton and Lillian Polansky in memory of their son, Jeffrey. Labor was supplied by members of the parish under direction of Chrish Hajdik.

Parish offices were constructed by members of the parish under the direction of Glen Nelson and Robin Reiland, with much of the labor being supplied by the RCIA class of 1991. In July of 1991, offices were moved from the new rectory to their present location.

As the parish and its religious education program continued to grow, the Pastoral Council reflected its concern that there be enough land for future expansion. Encouraged by the visit of Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza in 1992, the parish set out to acquire the block directly across the street from the new church. Approval was given for a second bank loan from Texas Commerce Bank and the initial purchase was made January, 1993. Purchase of the final portion of the property was made in July of 1993 as a result of a generous donation by Fred and Hattie Fischer in memory of their son, Thomas. The larger house was repaired by members of the parish and a playground built by the Knights of Columbus. The property is used for CCE classes.

Characteristic of Sacred Heart has been a generous attitude of stewardship of time, talents, and treasures. Parishioners have always volunteered when needed. Both IN THANKSGIVING BUILDING FUND DRIVES were conducted without the help of outside professionals. At Sacred Heart, Larry Horrigan, Julius Maresh, and Kent Myers directed a large group of volunteers during both fund drives.

In 1988, the parish consisted of 445 families. With the help of priests from Strake Jesuit, five masses were celebrated on the weekends in the little chapel.

In 2012 Sacred Heart has grown to be a parish of over 2400 families. Two daughters of the parish have entered religious life, and three sons have entered the seminary. 


Pastors who have served  Sacred Heart Parish
Rev. James K. Reybaud          1935 - 1936
Rev. Thomas A. Ryan              1936 - 1937
Rev. Michael M. Murray           1937 - 1939
Rev. Anthony J. Nicholson       1939 - 1954
Rev. Eugene C. Fowler            1954 - 1958
Rev. Thomas J. Prendergast    1958 - 1967
Msgr. James J. Madden           1967 - 1969
Msgr. Victor Diprimeo              1969 - 1970
Rev. Patrick O'Brien                 1970 - 1973
Msgr. James J. Madden           1973 - 1988
Rev Eric J. Pitre                       1988 - 1999
Rev. Howard E. Drabek            1999 -  2010
Rev. Ralph Robers                   2010 -  2010
Rev. Joe Templado                 2011 -




 

   
 

Sacred Heart Catholic Church
507 South Fourth St. - Richmond, Texas 77469
(281) 342-3609 - (281) 342-9833 fax

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