Our first beloved Pastor, the Very Rev Father Joseph Querat labored to build the Parish, collect money to pay off debts, and continued to work on the Church from April 4, 1869 until failing health and sight forced him to retire, May 5, 1878.Father Querat was a young canon of the Cathedral at Lyon, France when he answered the call from Bishop Jean-Marie Odin for missionaries in Texas. He came to Texas in 1852, was ordained to the priesthood by Odin, March 19, 1855, in Galveston and served in the Texas frontier at Cuero, San Patricio and Refugio before being assigned to Houston. Due to declining health he resigned as pastor and in from 1878 to 1889 served as chaplain to the St Mary’s Orphan Asylum in Galveston. He submitted his final letter of resignation to Bishop Gallagher on March 19, 1889, the 34th anniversary of his ordination, and returned to his native France in poor health and completely blind, he died on July 9, 1895 at his brother’s home in Chalmazel, Loire, France.
The Church of The Annunciation
The first Sunday in April 25, 1869 - Rt. Rev. C. M. Dubuis, Bishop of Galveston officiated the ceremony, assisted by Rev. Father Querat and many other Priests from Galveston and other places in Texas.
An eloquent sermon was preached at the site of the new Church at about 4:00PM in the afternoon and everything was conducted with great solemnity, a tradition that continues to this day.
Although greatly hindered by lack of funds, the first Mass was celebrated on the feast of All Saints - Nov 1st.
The dedication of the new Church was an occasion of great joy and solemnity - a red letter day in the history of the Parish. On the morning of that memorable day, hundreds of people assembled at St Vincent's Church, from which a grand triumphal procession, led by the Rt Rev. Bishop Dubuis, his Vicar General, Very Rev Father Chambodut and many assistant Priests and Acolytes in carriages, followed by the entire congregation of St Vincent's Parish, marched to The Church of The Annunciation. A remarkable feature of the procession was the presence of all the members of the Fire Company of the city in their uniforms, and having their engine gaily decorated. Notwithstanding the immense crowd, a respectful silence prevailed during the impressive ceremonies which were carried out with all pomp and solemnity. Officiated by the Rt Rev. Bishop Dubuis and assisted by Very Rev Father Chambodut. The doors were finally opened and the organ pealed forth the joyful strains of Gloria in Excelsis for the first time on November 1, 1870!
Emma Theresa Maria Anunciata Duvernoy was the first Baptism on September 10, 1871. Miss Emma Duvernoy would later donate the stain-glass window for Sorrowful Mystery in 1933.
[Note: Emma was the youngest daughter of Annunciation’s longtime organist, Gustav Duvernoy, who is memorialized windows of the first and second Sorrowful Mysteries. Her sister Henrietta may have donated the second window.]
Mr John T. Browne and Miss Mollie Bergin were married on September 13, 1871 by Rev Father Querat, best man was Mr Francis Ignatius Frank (Great uncle to Msgr Anton Frank) and brides-maid Mrs Anne Robinson. Mr Browne went on to serve in the State Legislature, as an Alderman and two terms as mayor of Houston. His mother's home was located at 1700 Rusk Ave. later purchased for use by the Annunciation Chapter of the Third Order of Franciscans.
At the request of Rev Father Querat, Rt Rev. Bishop Dubuis asked for and obtained Nuns of The Incarnate Word from the Victoria convent. They arrived on April 25, 1873 and conducted a school for girls in a house situated on Franklin Ave. opposite to St Vincent's Church, while awaiting to secure a site on which to build their Academy. After some time the half-block adjoining the Annunciation Church property was secured by Rt Rev. Bishop Dubuis and under certain conditions, passed into the hands of the Sisters
November 15 1874, the Incarnate Word Convent and the Academy Sisters moved into the partially finished new convent on Crawford Street, ajoining the property owned by Annunciation Church.
Annunciation was without a Pastor from mid 1878 until February 1879. In February of 1879 Father Thomas Hennessey was assigned as the second Pastor of Annunciation.
Father Hennessey was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1836. His parents immigrated to the Troy, New York around 1847 and then to Lavaca county in 1855. His father died in 1857 and young Thomas married Mary Ann Brown, whose family were Catholics who had migrated from Maryland. Within a year of his marriage Thomas was widowed and determined to become a priest. He studied under Father Gonnard at the Spann plantation in Washington County, supporting himself as a blacksmith in Washington county with John T. Browne (who would later become the first person married at Annunciation and serve two terms as Mayor).After the death of his wife Thomas began to study for the Priesthood and was ordained on June 21, 1863 at the age of 27. After celebrating his 50th Anniversary in 1913, he died peacefully in the Rectory on November 19, 1913 of heart decease, at the age of 77
By 1879 Annunciation was the only Catholic Church in Houston. The city had been steadily growing, improving, and extending its limits. Many Catholics were among those who bought ground and built their homes in localities from removed from Annunciation.
Father Hennessey perceived this need hence St Joseph's (1878), St Patrick's (1880), St Nicholas (1887), Sacred Heart (1896), All Saints (1908) and Blessed Sacrament Parishes were formed during his tenure mostly due to his zealous efforts.
1880 - Erected a two-story brick building which during his lifetime served as Rectory and Parish Hall. When completed Fr Hennessey turned his attention to the work of completing the unfinished Church.
1884 - Nicholas Clayton was engaged to resolve structural problems. He designed the central Bell Tower and built two short towers, which flank it. These added the vestibules and current narthex to the church. He also raised the height of the side walls so that a single continuous roof could be constructed
1887 - The first Annunciation school (the little school-house) for boys was erected. The boys were taught by the Nuns under Father Hennessey immediate supervision
1895 - Enlarged Sanctuary and transepts with the dome and fresco and the curved rear walls.
1900 - The "Galveston Storm", hurricane of 1900 made landfall on September 8, 1900. Turrets and Crosses and other damage from the storm caused thousands of dollars damage to Annunciation. Aside from the necessary repairs much was done to improve and beautify the interior of the Church. The exquisite "Annunciation" window above the main Altar, imported marble replaced the wooden Altars, generous benefactors donated beautiful statues and stained-glass windows and the beautiful fresco of The Transfiguration over the Altar and refinished outside of the Church (1893)
The Rev Basilian Fathers open St Thomas College (now St Thomas High School) due largely to Father Hennessey's efforts
1904 - Founded Holy Cross Cemetery
1906 - Nicholas Clayton designed the beautiful Annunciation School to replace the little school-house
1911 - Houston Belt and Terminal Railway Station dedicated on March 2 at the corner of Texas Avenue and Crawford Street directly across the street from Annunciation Parish - considered the hub of rail transportation.
Founder of Catholic Charities
On January 1, 1914 Father George T. Walsh, the first American born Pastor and the first Houston Priest to be honored with the title of Monsignor was assigned to Annunciation Parish as its third Pastor.
Monsignor Walsh was born in Washington D.C. on July 25, 1873. After attending public schools and Gonzaga College, he attended Fordham, St Mary's Seminary in Baltimore and finally Mount St Mary's of the West Seminary where he was ordained on June 21, 1900. Following a year of study at Catholic University of America he chose to come to the Diocese of Galveston. He served as Assistant Pastor at St Mary's Cathedral and St Patrick's Church in Galveston and later founded All Saint's Parish in the Houston Heights.
In 1924 he founded the Mexican Clinic (now San Jose Clinic), he was in charge of Catholic Cemeteries in Houston and founded the Garden of Gethsemane Cemetery on Market Street.
He died at the age of 60 on November 25, 1933.
1915 - Beautiful new Rectory was built
1923 - Established with the permission of Rt Rev Bishop Nicholas A. Gallagher, D.D. the Third Order of St Francis at Annunciation.
1924 - Marble Communion rail
1924 - Pilscher Organ installed with 1,577 tin pipes.
1925–28 - Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help which includes a true copy of the original that was touched to the original and blessed by Pope Pius XI, as well as two stained glass windows by Charles J Connick of Boston
1933 - Italian memorial stained-glass windows depicting the Mysteries of The Most Holy Rosary installed
1930–35 - Christ the King and Little Flower installed (Mayer of Munich)
First Pastor Ordained at St Mary Seminary
Born on November 10, 1891 in Cleveland, Ohio, and ordained at St Mary Seminary on May 29, 1919. Following ordination he was assigned to Sacred Heart Church as Assistant Pastor, and after recovering from an automobile accident, was a teacher at St Mary's Seminary in La Porte and finally Assistant Pastor of Assumption Church in Waco before coming to Annunciation as its fourth Pastor. He died of heart decease on August 8, 1943 at the age of 52.
The Right Rev Msgr Anton J. Frank's paternal great-grandparents were founders of Annunciation. His paternal grand-parents and parents were married at Annunciation, and he was ordained to The Priesthood at Annunciation on May 25, 1933. The first Houstonian to be raised to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Galveston he was appointed as its fifth pastor October 4, 1943.
Anton J. Frank was born in Houston, Texas in the old fifth ward at 2520 Leona Street on October 13, 1907. He attended St Patrick's school, St Thomas High School (known as St Thomas College) and entered St Mary Seminary
Msgr Frank's family first came to Texas about 1818, and one of his fore-bearers owned the current town-site of San Augustine, one of several towns that claims to be the Oldest in Texas, During the 1850's, Frank's grandparents had a farm bounded by what are now Rusk and Walker Avenues and Jackson and Chenevert
He was the uncle of Bishop George Sheltz of Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and his brother, Fr. Anton Sheltz.
Transept Windows of St John Vianney and St Aloysius Gonzaga added, windows of Moses and Elias replace prophets damaged in schoolyard mishaps; windows are added to the choir stair and to the south vestibule, all by Emil Frei of St Louis
The Church of The Annunciation was the scene of two important events; The first Teachers' Institute for the Diocese of Galveston and the installation of 37 lay persons into the Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. James Cardinal McIntyre, the first Cardinal to officiate in Houston, celebrated the Pontifical Mass. Though some world renowned figures, including Dennis Day and Irene Dunne were this day honored, Miss Blanche Foley was the central figure for all Houstonians, who were proud to see her receive honor and recognition for work well done.
The Woman at the Well window, made by Mayer of Munich, added to the Sisters’ Chapel
Complete with doormen and footmen and all attendees properly attired, Miss Blanche Foley was celebrated her last big social function, for the Sam Houston historical park shortly before her death in 1963 and willed her family estate to Annunciation and Incarnate Word Academy.
Miss Foley had always dreamed her family home could be turned into an auxiliary rectory for The Church of The Annunciation. Father Frank announced that once the house had been cleared of its valuable finery and "more appropriate" furnishing are installed, the lower level will be used for receptions and meetings and the upstairs for living quarters.
1973 - Supreme Court decision deems abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution - Pro-Life activities begin at Annunciation Parish.
1974 - Union Station ceases to function as a public facility
Teodoro de la Torre was born Sep 19, 1920 in Camaguey, Cuba. He graduated from St Basil’s Seminary in El Cobre and was sent for further studies to the Gregorian University in Rome (1939-47) where he received (Summa Cum Laude) a doctorate degree of theology. During this period of study he was ordained to the priesthood Apr 8, 1944 at the Church of St John Lateran in Rome
Upon his return to Cuba his positions included that of director of stidies for diocesan seminarian in Camaguey, until 1956; coordinator of the Archdiocesan Office of Religious Education, 1956-58, Santiago, Cuba; director of Continuous Education of Priests, 1958, Havana, Cuba; professor of systematic theology, graduate school of theology, Archdiocesan Seminary in Havana. Msgr. de la Torre was named a papal chamberlain with the title of monsignor on July 13, 1954.
Being out of the country when Castro took power, and unable to return, de la Torre taught for several years at The Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. From 1966 to 1972 Msgr. taught philosophy, theology and Italian at Dominican College Houston, while also serving as assistant pastor at Annunciation.
Among his other Pastoral responsibilities, Msgr de la 'Torre wrote an excellent summary of the history of philosophy that gives the beginning student an excellent guide to the study of philosophy. His material in a readable style as well as diagrams that give the reader clarification of complex ideas. Published by Lumen Christi Press in June 1988 one year before his death
1983 - Annunciation School closed
1985 - Repainting of interior
Pro Life Advocate
A great interest in the liturgy, and Pro Life activities, Msgr James Golasinski becomes Pastor in September of 1989
Msgr James Golasinski grew up in Houston near St Joseph Parish, he and his brother Donald both attended St Mary's Seminary and were ordained for the Diocese.
Following his ordination young Father Golasinski studied at Catholic University of America in Washington DC and graduated with a MS in Education. When he returned to Houston he held a position as Education Director for the Diocese but left the position to work as a Missionary in Korea in the 1960's and remained there for more than 10 years.
Health concerns forced him to return to Houston, but he was well enough to become the founding Pastor of St Andrew Kim Parish in 1977. When he was finally assigned to Annunciation, and during this period Father Golasinski would, every week, assist Msgr de la'Torre with Masses at Annunciation, then fly to New Orleans to celebrate Mass in Korean, then to San Antonio to celebrate Mass in Korean, every Sunday, every week.
Apart from his other responsibilities, as a friend and brother Priest, he would provide care and comfort for the ailing Msgr de la'Torre until his death in 1989
On July 1, 2013, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo accepted Msgr Golasinki's letter of retirement and he officially retired as Pastor. Fr Paul Felix became the eighth Pastor, Msgr Golasinski continues to assist with the Sunday and Weekday Mass schedules.
1990 - Repainting of interior
1994 - Project Mercy Pro-life apostolate begins at Annunciation
1997 - Annunciation School demolished due to ballpark construction subsidence problems.
2000 - Houston Astros Baseball team relocate to Texas Avenue and Crawford Street - directly across the street from Annunciation Parish
2000 - Msgr Golasinski retained partner Joe B. Allen of Vinson & Elkins Law firm and along with Incarnate Word Academy won the battle in the courts, opposing downtown sports bar near the Astros Baseball park.
2008 - Hurricane Ike forces repairs of a new roof, bell tower refurbishing and interior damage.
2008–10 – All decorative windows cleaned and reworked; old cloudy Plexiglas replaced with clear hurricane glass
The Next New Era
July 1, 2013 - Father Paul Felix becomes Pastor.
Prudence dictated that Msgr Golasinski had done as much as possible before his retirement but there was still so much that was needed. Msgr Golasinski maintained that Annunciation needed a younger Pastor to plan and rebuild the aging campus into the next decade and beyond, and upon becoming Pastor, Father Felix assumed this role with much alacrity.
Father Paul Felix was born August 25, 1958, the 4th of 6 children and raised in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1977 and started a business in the service industry, which he ran, while attending night classes at University of St Thomas, until fall of 1982 and ultimately St. Mary’s Seminary in January 1983. He earned his BA with a concentration in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas in 1986 and a Master of Divinity degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Theology in 1990.
He served in the capcity of Parochial Vicar from 1990–1997; at St. Vincent de Paul, St. Frances Cabrini and St. Edward in Spring, Administrator and then Pastor of Christ our Light in Navasota, TX from 1997-2003 before becoming Pastor at Shrine of the True Cross from 2003–2013 and finally on July 1, 2013, Father Paul Felix came to The Church of The Annunciation to relieve Msgr James Golasinski as its newest Pastor. Father Felix serves as a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus and a Priest Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
2014 - Beginning in March, and throughout Lent, a complete refurbishing and repainting of the interior and was completed before Easter Sunday on April 20, 2014.
2014 - Updated sound system
2014 - Realizing the dream of Miss Blanche Foley, the old Rectory built in 1915 by Msgr Walsh was demolished and The Foley House will be completely renovated to function as the ancillary Rectory and Church offices of Annunciation.
2015 — Hail! Full of Grace Capital Campaign Kick-off. Initial goal of $4m was established to renovate the Foley House into parish offices, classroom and meeting space, build a new rectory and vesting sacristy, adding a Bride’s Room Annex that will contain new restrooms as well as a private preparation room for brides on their wedding day, and reconfiguring space within the church to better meet our needs for a sacristy, visitation chapel and cry room, memorial Chapel to the Unborn in the side vestibule space near the St. Joseph alta, and create a paved plaza from the Foley House to the church as well as run a low brick wall and an attractive fence the length from Texas Avenue to the corner of Crawford Street
2016 — By March of 2016, $1.4m of the $4m needed had been raised toward the campaign
2016 — October 2016, $1.5m of the $4m needed had been raised toward the campaign
Foley House Update: Work is underway in the Foley House; all the lead paint abatement has been finished this week. Next is the removal of the rest of the general elements that we need to remove. This will be followed by an inspection by a structural engineer.
Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help! After a long and arduous process, we found a qualified restorer. We received the Icon in September. After having our restored Icon back, by Our Lord’s Divine Providence, our benefactor informed us that they want to help us in the cleaning and the restoration of Our Lady’s Chapel!