|The First Church
In the fall of 1934, a small group of Fort Bend citizens led by William N. Covell, Mr. & Mrs. Arthur C. Wendel, Mr. H.B. Ross, Mrs. W.R. Douglas and Mr. Pete Mahiczek called on Bishop Christopher E. Byrne in Galveston and asked permission to build a church in Richmond. The Bishop praised their pioneer spirit , as "true pioneers of the spirit" and promised to assign a pastor if they were successful.
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.
Also on January 15, 1935, fourteen ladies met
at Mrs. Wendel's home, and organized the Sacred Heart Altar Society,
which was later renamed The Society of Saint Margaret Mary. Also
the first Bazaar and Turkey Dinner was held in the fall of that first
On May 8, 1935, Msgr. George Wilhelm
consecrated the church's high altar. The relics in the altar are
of St. Desiderius, St. Honorata and St, Theodore.
After the church was completed, work was begun in 1936
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.
The church bell was blessed on February 12, 1960.
Msgr. James J. Madden was pastor from 1967-1969 and from 1973-1988. During his first term as pastor, the Education Building (CCE) was built. During his second term, the original church was renovated and the beautiful stain glass windows were added. Construction was carried out by parishioner Bill Leifrig. In 1970, Fr. Patrick O'Brien instituted the Sacred Heart Parish Council. The chapel was refurbished in 1971 by parishioner volunteer labor to newer norms for liturgies introduced since Vatican II.
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 in Richmond.
Members of the Knights of Columbus under Grand Knight Don Ries spent
over a year refurbishing the house once it was moved.
The Second Church
||During Fr. Eric Pitre's tenure the new 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, with a seating capacity of 650, and was dedicated on February 23, 1991, by Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza, Bishop of Galveston-Houston.|
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 Family Life Center was built between August
1997 and 1998. The kitchen was dubbed "Jodie's Coffee Shop" after
long-time parishioner County Judge Jodie Stavinoha. 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, social functions, meetings, high-feast day's Masses and basket ball.
The Prayer garden and gazebo was created and landscaped by Mario Contreras of Greg Harris Custom Concepts in 1999.
The Chapel was extended to contain restrooms
and the Bridal Room in 2008, and a closed circuit television system was
installed so that the Chapel could be used for church overflow.
Between 2009 and 2010, Sacred Heart purchased and renovated the old
house, across the street from the chapel and the church offices, for use
of the church CCE offices, the Youth Ministry and the Deacon's offices.
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 1935 there were 105 families, 612 persons. In 1988, the parish consisted of 445 families. With the help of priests from Strake Jesuit, five masses were celebrated then on the weekends in the little chapel. Today, in 2012, Sacred Heart has grown to be a parish of over 2,400 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 A. Diprimeo 1969 - 1970
Rev. Patrick J. O'Brien 1970 - 1973
Msgr. James J. Madden 1973 - 1988
Rev. Eric J. Pitre 1988 - 1999
Rev. Howard Drabek 1999 - 2010
Rev. Ralph O. Roberts 2010 - 2010
Rev. Josefino P. Templado 2010 - 2015
Rev. Michael J. Truongluan Nguyen C.Ss.R. 2015 - 2017
Rev. Joseph Ho S.Ss.R. 2017 - present
1967 - 1969
1973 - 1988
1988 - 1999
1999 - 2010
Rev. Ralph O. Roberts
2010 - 2010
Rev. Josefino "Joe" Templado
2010 - 2015
Rev Michael J. Truongluan Nguyen,
2015 - 2017
Rev. Joseph Ho C.Ss.R.
2017 - present