Annunciation celebrates 145 years of bringing Jesus to the faithful

April 7, 2015

On Sunday, March 22, Annunciation Catholic Church in Downtown Houston celebrated the closing of its 145th year of carrying out the Great Commission given by Christ found in Matthew 28.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, along with Annunciation’s pastor, Father Paul Felix, marked the occasion by offering Mass. During the homily, Cardinal DiNardo emphasized the theme of bringing Jesus to “the Greeks” in light of the Paschal Mystery, relating this theme to Annunciation’s mission, past present and future, to bring Jesus’ message of salvation to all souls in the Houston area and beyond. 

“When had Jesus’ hour come? When the Greeks were ready to see Him. This is when the grain of wheat dies, but must die in order to yield fruit.” Cardinal DiNardo said. “That fruit is us, and we are allowed to participate in bringing this fruit to others.” 

Annunciation continues to faithfully serve this mission today and seeks to do so with vibrancy into the future. 

After 145 years, Annunciation Catholic Church is the oldest Church in continuous use in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. It is also the mother Church of all the 77 parishes in Houston including the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Annunciation has also played an important role in the founding of San José Clinic, by the then pastor, Monsignor George T. Walsh, and in aiding the establishment in 1873 of Incarnate Word Academy.
Father Felix, who became the eighth pastor of Annunciation in July 2013, said, “In keeping with the its rich history, Annunciation is once again taking initiative in order to carry out the parish’s mission of ‘proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel in majestic beauty’ in the midst of the rapidly changing downtown Houston environment.

“While preserving the stunningly beautiful 1869 church, which is the last surviving building in Houston that was worked on by famed architect Nicholas Clayton, we are beginning a multi-faceted renewal of our parish facilities.” Father Felix said. In addition, the William Foley house (1904) has been moved onto the Annunciation property and will become parish offices, classroom and meeting space.

New facilities will be constructed in two phases. Phase 1 will include a rectory (priests’ residence), men’s room and ladies’ room, and a bridal room. Phase 2 will be a Parish Hall that will provide additional meeting, classroom and office spaces. 

Another important project in the works is a multi-level parking garage to serve the needs of Annunciation parish and the neighboring Incarnate Word Academy.

Cardinal DiNardo concluded his homily by praising Annunciation’s rich history in reaching out to all souls, particularly those ripe for catechesis, but also emphasized the need to reach out to those who perhaps are not quite ready for catechesis. 

“We must not forget those who may not be ready for catechesis, but who still, like the Greeks, in their own way, desire to see Jesus.”