Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 12:12 PM
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About Our Parish History

Humble Beginnings

In the early days Brownwood Catholic families had occasional Masses by a priest coming from Ballinger. He came by horseback; services were in a room on the second floor of 108 Center Avenue. In January of 1896 St. Mary's was established, the first pastor Rev. A. O'Hara lived with the Loretta family on Main Avenue. There were about twelve families in the parish then.

About 1900 there was built a small wooden church on land given by Mr. J. C. Weakley, at the corner of Gill St. and Main Avenue. This building burned in 1905. In 1906 a new church was built of concrete blocks. Meant to have the appearance of stone this material was much used. Later it was abandoned since the blocks deteriorated from weathering. A rectory was built adjoining. When the present church was built the former buildings were removed and the lot is used now for parking.

This church seated about 120 and especially during the Camp Bowie days was very inadequate. For the annual Midnight Mass at Christmas the Bowie Theater was rented to accommodate the large crowds.

In 1940 St. Mary's built an auxiliary chapel on Melwood Avenue. It was called St. Elizabeth's and was meant to serve the Hispanic community. After the closing of Camp Bowie it was not needed any more and was sold in 1963.

St. Mary's church was built in 1955, made of white Austin stone. The main sanctuary and small adjacent chapel seat about 320 people. It is located at 1103 Main Ave in Brownwood Texas.

Adjacent to the church is a two story rectory of architecture like the church. They were built to replace a small church building located across Gill Street, which was inadequate for a growing parish.

 

The church and rectory cost nearly $200,000.00 at a time that less than 100 families were members. Now there are more than 600 families.

Behind the church is a building for church activities. First built in 1968 with an addition in 1980, this building has eight classrooms as well as an auditorium with kitchen facilities.

In 1963 the church acquired a former school site on Booker St. behind the church. This site is where our Religious Education Building is located. The REB was completed in late 2002.

 

Originally Brownwood belonged to the Dallas diocese. In 1948 it became part of the newly erected Austin Diocese. Since 1961 it belongs to the San Angelo diocese. Our bishop is the most reverend Michael Pfeifer, O.M.I.

The following priests have served St. Mary Queen Of Peace:

Rev. P. O'Hara, P.P. 1896
Rev. J.A. Schouf 1905
Rev. P.J. Cusick 1905
Rev. E. J. Leguyader, O.M.I., was assigned as the first Oblate pastor. Following is a list of Oblate Fathers, some of many who have served the parishioners of St. Mary's: Rev. I. Tresch, O.M.I., Rev. W.E. Long, O.M.I., Rev. U. Wilson, O.M.I., Rev. A.P. Fletcher, O.M.I., Rev. C. Haas, O.M.I., Rev. H. Engelhardt, O.M.I., Rev. J. B. Lavoie, O.M.I., Rev. F.X. Fassbender, O.M.I., Rev. E.J. Murray, O.M.I., Rev. C.J. Seimes, O.M.I., and Rev. E.P. Harrison, O.M.I. 1907
Rev. Edward P. Harrison 1939
Rev. Leo J. Bujnowski 1950
Rev. Emil J. Gerlich 1962
Rev. James R. Aaron 1965
Rev. Louis Moeller 1979
Father Francis Van Hee, Father James Huber, Father Joseph DeWaele, Father Robert Timperman and Father James Meuree 1981
Rev. Benedict Zientek 1987
Rev. Barry McLean 2003
Rev. Serafin P.Avenido, Jr. 2007
Rev. Francis Njoku 2012

 

 


 

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