About Our Parish

The Diocese of Corpus Christi originally was a territory under the care of the Bishop of Galveston, Bishop Odin.  Under his pastoral care, in 1848, priests first began to visit the area and to say the first Masses in private homes for the Catholic families living here, as well as administering the other sacraments.  As the Catholic population continued to grow and the church took root in South Texas, St. Pope Pius X, established the Diocese with the name of Corpus Christi in 1912.  Because of the many early Irish families who had settled in the area, St. Patrick was chosen as the patron saint of the Diocese.  The first two churches that served what is now the Cathedral parish were also named for St. Patrick.  However, after a fire severely damaged the second structure, Bishop Ledvina undertook the building of a new Cathedral church, the same one that stands today rising on the bluff and overlooking downtown Corpus Christi, located on the corner of Lipan and Broadway.  In 1940, the new Cathedral was completed.  During his Ad Limina visit to Rome, while the Cathedral was being constructed, the Holy Father instructed Bishop Ledvina that it was his preference the new Cathedral be named 'Corpus Christi Cathedral' rather than 'St. Patrick's Cathedral' and that the next parish to be founded be given the name of St. Patrick.

In the mid-forties, the population of Corpus Christi was 108,000, and the city of Corpus Christi was growing southward.  To accommodate this growth, St. Patrick's Parish was founded, and Father C.R. Mullen, later named a Monsignor, was commissioned as its first pastor.  The parish boundaries for the original 150 families, numbering 600 individuals, included the sparsely populated bay front area south to Oso Bay.  Sunday Masses began in late March 1944 and were celebrated in the rectory living room that could accommodate about 100 worshipers.  Midnight Mass at Christmas was celebrated outdoors in the rector's enclosed back yard.  The rectory was originally the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Knebel and was acquired by the new parish.

In May 1945, a new little church was built and dedicated at the cost of $60,000.  It had a seating capacity of 400 for each of the 4 Sunday Masses.  The next buildings to be built were the Catholic school and convent.  The school opened its doors to the first students in March of 1950 and was staffed by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament.  There were so many students that, in some grades,  the sisters had to have both morning and afternoon sessions to accommodate all the children.

As Corpus Christi continued to develop, the number of parishioners grew to the point that the first church could no longer handle the growing Mass attendance.  Therefore, in 1956, the present sanctuary was built, including an addition of two bedrooms and offices to the rectory.  The new church was dedicated on March 17, 1957, thirteen years after the founding of the parish.  The original church was then converted into a new classroom wing for the school and still serves that purpose.

Msgr. Mullen served as pastor until his death in 1962 after which Msgr. E. J. Miller was appointed to continue to build on the spiritual foundation that Msgr. Mullen had laid.  Under Msgr. Miller's pastorate, the present parish hall was built in 1966, and the altar area of the sanctuary was remodeled to conform to the liturgical revisions of Vatican II.  Upon his retirement in 1982, Msgr. Patrick G. Higgins was appointed pastor.  He continued the fine tradition of the Catholic education and fostered many different programs aimed at parish renewal.

In 1994, Msgr. Robert E. Freeman followed him as pastor.  Under his leadership, the parish and school continued to prosper.  A library addition was added to the school, some of the old convent areas were renovated to provide areas for classrooms and an office for the Religious Education Program, and an open air pavilion was built for school and parish activities.

In January of 2000, Msgr. Roger R. Smith was appointed as pastor.  His pastorate is unique in that, from the time he was 1 year old until he was 13 years old, his family were members of St. Patrick's Parish.  he also attended grades 1-8 in the Catholic school.  Msgr. Smith was a member of the first class to make their First Eucharist in the present church, and he was also confirmed in the church that very same afternoon by Bishop Mariano Garriga.  He was an altar server which first inspired him to consider becoming a priest.  When he was asked to accept the parish, Msgr. Smith says the words that immediately came to his mind were those of Jesus, "The gift that you have received, give as a gift."  As he had received the gift of faith, formation, and vocation at St. Patrick's through the example and prayers of so many, now as a priest, God was calling him to give back that faith and love for the church to a new generation of parishioners.

St. Patrick's continues to be a vibrant parish of 1,650 families with 320 students in the Catholic school and 325 in the Religious Education Program, which includes the 'Catechesis of the Good Shepherd' for early years.  The Catholic school has been named a 'Blue Ribbon School of Excellence' by the Department of Education three times, in 1985, 1996, and 2006.

Thank you for your interest in visiting this site and learning more about our parish and its history.  We would love to welcome you to our parish and school family.
 

 

Click on these images to see more information on the formation of our parish.

 

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