History of SPX - 1970's
In October of 1970 Father Francis Gabryl joined our parish family. A survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps during World War II, he became a leader in the Dallas Polish-American community. Before leaving Poland, Fr. Gabryl was aquainted with a fellow priest by the name of Karol Józef Wojtyla. You may be more familiar with Father Karol Józef Wojtyla as the first pope of Polish orgins and the first non-Italian pope since 1522 when he became pontiff in October 1978 taking the name John Paul II. Fr. Gabryl remained very active at St. Pius X until he returned to his home country of Poland in 1985. He died on November 27, 1985.
A great parish celebration occurred on the silver jubilee of Monsignor Weinzapfel. He celebrated 25 years as a priest on December 23, 1970 and was joined by his parents and all his family at a special Mass and reception.
Growing steadily, St. Pius X totaled 1,750 families by 1971. Father Priest was replaced by Father Daniel Clayton and two Dominicans, Father Jose Vigara and Brother Kevin Carroll, joined the parish staff. Brother Kevin became the first Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister in the parish. Since then hundreds have worked in this ministry to the sick and aged in their homes and in nursing homes, as well as serving during Masses as needed.
Father Daniel Clayton
Father Jose Vigara
Parishioners Bill and Babe Barrett generously donated the funds to create our beautiful Holy Family sculpture. The Barretts chose to honor Mrs. Barrett's parents, Mr. & Mrs. B.G. Powell with this gift. Designer/architect John Barthel worked with church architect George Dahl to create an appropriate design. The final drawings were sent to Pietrasanta, Italy - famous for its many fine artisans - where a clay model was developed by the firm of Raffo Figli. From this model the statue was sculpted using Botticino marble from Carrara, Italy. This is also the town from which the marble for our altar was acquired. Over the years, thousands of parishioners and visitors alike have commemorated special events at the church by taking a picture with the Holy Family as a backdrop. The statue was installed and dedicated in March of 1972.
In 1972, Father Drozd volunteered to serve as a Chaplain in the U.S. Army, and a Dominican priest, Father John Fabian, joined us. Fr. Fabian was familiar with our parish as he served Bishop Lynch H.S. for many years as a Latin teacher. Many students knew him for his love of golf and swimming. Sister M. Christina Mitchell was named to replace Sister Mary Rosanne as Superior of the convent. That same year, the first Parish Prayer Group was formed with the assistance of Dominican Father Dominic Tamburello who also served Bishop Lynch H.S. as a counselor.
In 1973 the parish was especially proud. That year the first two St. Pius X parishioners were ordained to the priesthood on May 5th. Father Lawrence Pichard and Father Steven Thomas celebrated their first Masses at St. Pius X the following day. Eventually Fr. Pichard, like his mentor Monsignor Weinzapfel, also earned the title of Monsignor. And the parish was pleased to welcome this home grown priest back to the parish In 1999 as pastor of St. Pius X! The picture at the right shows Monsignor Weinzafel, Fr. Thomas and Fr. Pichard.
The date of this goat picture is not known but this seems as good as anyplace to mention the goats. Msgr. Weinzapfel kept goats on the property. Periodically the neighbors would call to report that the goats were out again and they would be herded back. Msgr. Weinzapfel also had a German Shepard dog that liked to poke its nose in the windows of the church.
During the year Father Fabian was re-assigned by the Dominican Order. Still throughout the coming years we were blessed by occasional visits from Father Fabian. The Diocese of Dallas began a deaconate program. St. Pius X was blessed to have parishioner Mr. Steve Landregan ordained as one of the first two permanent deacons in the Diocese of Dallas. Much like the ordination of our parishioners to the priesthood, this was a very proud moment for everyone that knew Steve.
In 1974, Father Vigara was succeeded by Father Vincent Dep, a priest from Sri Lanka. In June of that year, two more parishioners, Deacon Maurice Lautenslager and Deacon Felder Stuebing, were ordained to the permanent diaconate. A new principal for St. Pius X School, Sister Gabriel Hession, was appointed to succeed Sister Mary Attracta in August. Sister Gabriel served as principal until May of 1985.
Growth was so great that the Rockwall parish, which is now known as Our Lady of the Lake, began in 1974 as a mission of St. Pius X. This wouldn't be the last time that additional parishes would be created from St. Pius X. This is considered a great success for the parishioners.
1975 was a Holy Year and St. Pius X Church was designated as pilgrimage church for the diocese. That was also the year of the fall of South Vietnam. The parish opened its heart to many Vietnamese refugee families -- finding homes, food and jobs to help them resettle in their new country. That was the beginning of a vital Vietnamese community that continued to grow and prosper under Father Philip Toa Huynh who retired in October of 1988. He was replaced by Father Augustine Tuong Nguyen. When Father Augustine became Pastor of the Garland Community, Father Joseph Lien Thien Tong became Pastor of the St. Pius X Vietnamese Community. Sunday Mass was celebrated at 4 pm in Vietnamese with an average attendance of 400 and a Vietnamese choir. Marriage preparation as well as religious instruction were offered in Vietnamese. Many years later St. Peter Vietnamese parish was created by our parishioners.
In ministries, Paul and Hilda Wayne began their long tenure as coordinators of the Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister. Father Clayton was reassigned in June and replaced by Father Robert Crisp (left), a newly ordained priest who grew up in neighboring St. Bernard Parish. In August Father Richard Weaver (right) was assigned to St. Pius X.
In 1976, our continued growth in families reached the 2,000 mark. Father Henry Vincent Petter became the third home grown St. Pius X parishioner to be ordained to the priesthood. Fr. Petter was ordained May 1, 1976 and celebrated his first Mass here on May 2.
In July, 1976, Father Weaver was reassigned and was replaced by Father Fred Martinez.
1977 marked the establishment of the St. Pius X Day Care Center. The first director was Lydia Montgomery. 2737 San Vicente was purchased and converted to use by the day care. In June 1977, two more parishioners were ordained to the permanent diaconate: Deacon Alfonso Valdes and Deacon Juan Gonzales. In August, Sister M. Theresa Queally replaced Sister M. Christina as Superior of the convent.
In 1968 after the completion of the church/rectory the house that formally served as the priest residence was sold. That house at 2736 San Vincente was repurchased by the parish in March of 1978 and remodeled for use as a day care facility. Also, in the world of priest reassignments, Father Fred Martinez was reassigned to St. Augustine in June of 1978 and Father Bruce Bradley was made assistant pastor at St. Pius X.
To date St. Pius X Parish have had five men join the diaconate. However in just this one year we had four more parishioners ordained by Bishop Thomas Tschoepe on May 27, 1978. They joined a group of 26 deacons ordained to the permanent diaconate since the program was initiated. The fine men joining the program are Deacon Anthony Roffino, Deacon Joe Perez, Deacon Donald Schnurr, Deacon George Zacek and Deacon Bob Leicht.
In 1979 a sidewalk was laid on our property along Materhorn. Mr. Earl Howell paid $1,350 for the sidewalk in honor of his wife Helen who died in the summer of 1975. The picture is of the sidewalk blessing attended by Bishop Thomas Tschoepe, Msgr. Weinzapfel, Fr. Bradley (as he looked in 1979), Earl Howell, Sr. Gabriel and an unknown woman possibly one of Earl's daughters. While a portion of the sidewalk had to be taken up in 2005 during the construction of Communion Hall, that portion was replaced and the marker that is shown here remains, just moved a little bit from the original location.
Also in 1979, Father Bruce Bradley was reassigned and Father Mark Leonard became our assistant pastor.
With the ordination of Deacon Paul Husting in 1979, St. Pius X gained the distinction of having had more parishioners ordained to the permanent diaconate than any other parish in the diocese. Among that count is Deacon Allen Breaux who came to our parish from Houston in 1979 but was ordained in 1972. Unfortunately Deacon Felder Steubing, who was ordained in 1974, died in 1975 following a short but fruitful ministry to the sick and aged. Most of St. Pius X parishioners who have been ordained to the diaconate are serving in other parishes. Monsignor Weinzapfel referred to them as his "missionary deacons."