Serving our parish from 1963 to the present date.
Over the years, St. Benedict the Abbot Catholic Church has been blessed with many shepherds guiding and directing us in vision, spirituality, as a servant and as a teacher. Jesus has taught us that the best leaders serve and lead by example in inspiring homilies and responding to the needs of their flock. Over the years, we have been encouraged by these wonderful spiritual of messengers of God, through births, deaths, good and bad days. We are reminded that everything is within God’s plan and we must all go forth as disciples of Christ.
Our Parish Story
St. Benedict the Abbot Parish began during the Second Vatican Council in June of 1963. Bishop Wendelin J. Nold, formed the parish to care for the spiritual needs of the new, growing southwest Houston area, dedicating St. Benedict the Abbot as its Patron Saint. Fr. Thomas A. Donovan was appointed first pastor, effective June 15, 1963.
The first Masses on June 23rd, 1963 were celebrated at Montgomery Elementary School. Daily Masses were celebrated at the rectory on Goulburn.
On May 22, 1964, Bishop John L. Morkovsky officiated at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new facilities. This was Phase I of a long-term plan beginning with a temporary church. The unit consisted of the temporary church, administrative offices and eight classrooms. The plan was for the temporary church to later be used as the gymnasium, activities hall and cafeteria for the school that was planned. Pending construction of the temporary church, all Sunday Masses were celebrated at Montgomery Elementary School, morning Masses were celebrated at the rectory
They hoped to be in the new church by Christmas, and on December 8th, the first Mass, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated in the new building.
On October 1, 1964, the CCD School of Religion and Bible classes began. On October 7, 1964, the parish’s first Festival was held on the church grounds. The buildings were dedicated by Bishop John L. Morkovsky on February 14, 1965.
The Confraternity of Most Blessed Sacrament was established in the parish.
On March 5th through 10th, the parish had its first Mission conducted by Rev. George LeBlanc of the Paulist Fathers.
June of 1967, Fr. Donovan, Fr. Dan Warden, and Msgr. Bernard Ganter officiated at the dedication of St. Benedict Sr. High School. In September, the school opened under the direction of the Sisters of Divine Providence of San Antonio. Sr. Emily Rabalais as principal and teacher and Sr. Margit Maria Nagy and Mrs. Rose Plumb, teachers. The school year began with 61 students in the 7th and 8th grades. An additional grade would be added each year. Unfortunately, due to multiple negative factors, St. Benedict Jr/Sr. High School closed in May of 1970.
April 18-20, 1969--First Annual Spring Fair was held on the church grounds.
In December 1969, the Parish Council was formed as an advisory board for Fr. Donovan. There were 12 elected members, to serve for 2 years. Fr. Donovan moved to another parish at the end of 1968, and in October Fr. Joseph Fiorenza became St. Benedict's 2nd pastor. The rectory was moved from 4102 Goulburn to Grapevine Street in 1971. He served the parish for three years resulting in an increase of many new families. He was instrumental in integrating Hispanics, African-Americans and Anglos in our parish. He later would become the Bishop of the Galveston-Houston Diocese and later Archdiocese.
In February 1972, Fr. William A. Pickard becomes the 3rd pastor at St. Benedict. He was the first pastor at St. Benedict to celebrate a Spanish Mass on a weekly basis. Up until his leadership, the Mass was celebrated once a month. His leadership and gentleness inspired many to volunteer for various ministries in the church. He served our parish as Pastor for twelve years. Father Mario Arroyo served as the assistant pastor. In 1974, the southern territory of the parish was separated to form the new community of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish. The First Ecumenical Worship Service was held at St. Benedict on May 21, 1975. Many Hiram Clarke-Almeda area churches seeking unity among Christians participated. (Southmost United Methodist Church, Almeda United Methodist Church, Almeda Plaza Missionary Baptist Church, Grace Episcopal Church, Lutheran Church of the Resurrection). In june of 1975--St. Benedict was designated as a Red Cross Shelter, due to flooding that hit the area, June 9th – 10th. About 60 area residents sought shelter, and on June 18th, 422 families were aided by the American Red Cross at the shelter. In 1983, St. Benedict was instrumental in securing the Policing Community Center that services the Hiram Clarke area. In July 1983, Fr. William Pickard, signed the Declaration establishing at St. Benedict the Abbot Catholic Church, the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary, Council & Court #248. Twenty-two women and twelve men welcomed the opportunity to launch the "Claver Spirit" throughout the parish and community.
Fr. John Morfin took over leadership of our parish as our 4th pastor in June 1984. He is fondly remembered as the pastor who brought our parish into the computer age. The parish loan was paid off under his leadership. Artistic Stations of the Cross were painted by parishioner, Mr. Elliott Guillory. Some of the parishioners were used as models. In November 1985, the parish office was moved from the rectory to the office building. Rev. Rustico Enajo was the Associate Pastor. Deacons were Dcn. Marcellino Villareal and Dcn. Joe Zamora. New CCD offices were also constructed at this time. In 1985, a small pipe organ was donated to the parish by Mr. Alex Mozden of Deming, New Mexico. Fr. Morfin traveled to New Mexico to truck the instrument back to Houston. Contributors donated from $1 to $500 to purchase pipes for the organ. A Blessings Ceremony for the organ was held on Sunday, July 10, 1988. In June of 1988, St. Benedict celebrated its 25th Anniversary. A souvenir book was printed to commemorate the special occasion.
In 1990, Fr. Stephen J. Payne succeeded Fr. Morfin as St. Benedict's 5th pastor, the assistant pastor was Fr. Stephen Laliberte. During this period, the parish had 1559 families registered, with 252 receiving envelopes.
On May 20, 1995, the parish held its first Annual Trail Ride & Crawfish Boil Festival. This was a large scale event, with the hope to become a permanent part of the parish tradition.