Celebrating 100 years of serving Houston’s faithful

September 4, 2012

HOUSTON — On Aug. 18, more than 1,000 parishioners gathered for a special Mass and reception celebrating the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. For the past century, this church has been known as the “Mother Church” for Houston’s Hispanic population. 

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 Catholic Church. To this day, the parish serves a primarily Hispanic community, and is beacon of hope, faith and love for thousands of people.

In his homily, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo told parishioners how honored he was to be celebrating this momentous occasion with them. He spoke of the church’s history and referred to it as a “beacon of hope and Catholic faith,” for immigrants. Cardinal DiNardo added that the church is a “refuge for all in faith… Our Lady of Guadalupe has blessed and watched over this parish.”

Currently, the parish serves more than 3,500 families from across the Houston area. “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. 

“We are a national parish, there are no boundaries” Father Kilianski said. “People come from all over because of the tie in with their ancestors, because of their Mexican culture… We have families that have been here since the beginning. They are still involved in every level of our community.”

History of the church
In 1911, Houston saw the start of a great influx of Mexicans due to unrest in their homeland. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston recognized there was a need for a Catholic church to serve the immigrant Catholics, and the following year, 1912, established Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. The first Mass was celebrated on Aug. 18, 1912. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe School opened for classes soon after, on Sept. 8, 1912. It 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.