The Diocese Moves Westward
In 1950, the City of Houston reached westward all the way to Wirt and Chimney Rock. It had a population of 596,000. Everything west of Voss was pretty much piney woods with a few roads cut through it. In place of I-10, we had U.S. 90, called Katy Road, a two-lane highway to San Antonio.
But Houston was growing, and growing westward, and this did not escape the attention of our Bishop Wendelin J. Nold. He realized that the three year old St. Theresa's parish near Memorial Park would soon need to be divided. Its boundaries were roughly everything west of Shepherd and it could not administer so much area if the expected growth occurred. Bishop Nold began looking for a site for a new parish.
He found what he wanted on the east side of Bunker Hill Road a quarter mile south of U.S. 90 and a mile north of the Holy Name Retreat Center. In the spring of 1951 he purchased about 31 ½ acres for $53,553. This was more land than he thought he needed so in March, 1954, he sold 21 acres to Archer Development Co. for $75,000. That left the existing 10 ½ acre parish site.
Under the direction of Gus Anthony, Archer subdivided its 21 acres, which was called Marian Oaks Subdivision, into 50 residential lots and began building houses. In late 1954 the four Memorial villages were incorporated and Marian Oaks, including the parish site, became part of the City of Hedwig Village.
On July 9, 1956, Bishop Nold issued a Decree of Erection establishing the new parish, St. Cecilia, out of the western part of St. Theresa's. His decree was read at all Masses at St. Theresa's on July 22. The new parish was bounded on the south by Buffalo Bayou, on the east by Voss-Katy Road-Wirt, and on the north by Long Point. There was no western boundary.
Fr. William J. Kennelly was named our first pastor with a congregation of 600 families (2,300 individuals).
On August 21, 1956, Bishop Nold bought the three bedroom house at 11730 Denise from E. R. and Jewel Caruth for $24,000 for use as a rectory.
Fr. Kennelly moved in and began planning the construction of a church and school on the site across the street.
- 1951 - Bishop Wendelin J. Nold purchases 31.5 acres of land a quarter mile south of US 90
- 1954, March - Bishop Nold sells 21 of the acres to Archer Development Co., leaving 10.5 acres for the new parish.
- 1956, July 9th - Bishop Nold issues a Decree of Erection, establishing the parish of St. Cecilia
- 1956, August 21st - House in 11730 Denise purchased for use as rectory. Planning for construction of the chuch and school begin
- During construction, Sunday masses were held at Memorial Drive Elementary, and then later, Bunker Hill Elementary.
- 1958 - The first mass was held in the newly completed converted school gymnasium,
- 1978 - The permenant church building was completed.