Downtown Catholic Church Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

August 18, 2012

For Immediate Release

WHAT:       Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church Celebrates its 100th Anniversary
                  Mass 6:30 p.m., reception immediately following
WHERE:      Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 2405 Navigation Blvd.

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Downtown Catholic Church Celebrates its 100th Anniversary:  Parish established in 1912 to serve immigrant Catholics in Houston

– Since 1912, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church has been a beacon of hope, faith and love for thousands of people. On Saturday, August 18, 2012, the parish will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a Mass and reception.

In the year leading up to the parish’s opening, Houston saw a large influx of Mexican immigrants. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston recognized the need for a church to serve the immigrant Catholics and established Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“This is truly a full, vibrant community. For generations, families have worshiped, celebrated baptisms and weddings, said goodbye to loved ones and much more here,” said Father Edward Kilianski, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe. “The parish has long been thought of as a place of sanctity, a refuge, a place to give thanks, to ask to for strength and healing, a place to laugh, to cry, and a place to celebrate. It is a second home to many.”

Currently, the parish serves over 3,500 families from across the Houston area. One current parishioner is Mrs. Petra Guillen, 92, who has been a member of this faith community for 91 years, since her family moved to Houston when she was 11 months old. All of her 13 children were raised in the parish and attended school there. Now a fifth generation of Guillens can be found in the parish and among the students at the school.

“The parish is my life, it is everything to me,” Guillen said. She can be found at the church almost every day, and is a mainstay at the parish on Sundays when she can be found selling religious articles to help raise funds for the parish, or volunteering in the kitchen.

“I’ve seen people walk into the church who have made it their first stop in Houston,” said Father Kilianski. “They come here in thanksgiving and because they know they will find a community that opens its arms to them. The spirit of this community has always been one of welcoming, our motto is ‘Nuestra Casa es Su Casa’ – ‘Our house is your house.’”

In 1911, Houston saw the start of a great influx of Mexicans. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston recognized a need for a Catholic church to serve the immigrant Catholics, and the following year, 1912, established Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. The first Mass was celebrated on August 18, 1912. Our Lady of Guadalupe School opened for classes soon after, on September 8, 1912; the school is the oldest Catholic grade school in Houston. In 1991, a State Historical Marker was dedicated outside the church, attesting to the role the parish has played in the development of the Mexican American community in Houston.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston serves 1.2 million Catholics in 10 counties.
It is the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Texas and the 12th largest in the United States.