One of the oldest churches in the region celebrates its 150th anniversary this weekend.
The 150th anniversary celebration at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Denison will be held Sunday at 11 a.m. with the Most Reverend Bishop Edward Burns. A lunch will follow the service.
St. Patrick is the second oldest parish in the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and is older than the diocese to which it belongs. The church was founded in 1873 by Bishop Claude Dubuis of Galveston.
“In the second half of the 19th century, Denison lands were free to any interested religious congregation,” Frank Ventura of the church said in 2018. “In 1872 local Catholics came together to worship and establish a permanent community and built a simple timber frame space for worship.The parish was established on Rusk and grew exponentially during the westward migration that took place after the American Civil War.
In 1882 land was purchased for a new church building diagonally across the street to accommodate the growing Catholic presence in Denison.
“With over 1,200 members, St. Patrick’s Church realized that a larger space was needed,” Ventura said. “Nicholas Clayton, the prominent Galveston architect responsible for Dallas Cathedral, built a new church for St. Patrick’s Catholic Community in Denison. Dedicated in 1898, the original building was destroyed by fire in 1911, but rebuilt and dedicated in February 1914.
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church has stood in the same location since 1914.
“St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Denison is one of the most beautiful and oldest historic structures in North Texas, having existed and been used as a place of worship for over 100 years,” Ventura said. “It has endured tornadoes, hailstorms and fires over the years. However, in recent years the church building has experienced water ingress from outside the building caused by leaks on the roof, walls and flashings.
In 2015, the church underwent a $1.6 million renovation. The need for restoration became immediate when it became apparent that continued water damage was causing the church to deteriorate.
“In fact, we understand that if these leaks are not repaired in a timely manner, the church could become too expensive to fix,” Ventura said. “In addition to the water penetration, it was necessary to restore the century-old organ, rework the main entrance to make it ADA compliant, replace the interior flooring and add a compliant ramp at the ADA at the south entrance of the church.”
The purpose of the repairs was to bring the church back to life and give it another 100-year run.
“In November 2013, the church launched its ‘Second Century Restoration’ fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $1,650,000, which included repairing the organ,” Ventura said. “The Second Century Restoration Committee launched the fundraising campaign at the same time. In the spring of 2016, the Second Century Restoration fundraising campaign was successfully completed. The final list of construction works was completed during the summer of 2016.”
Ventura said another reason the restoration was so important is that the church has many older members.
“They live on fixed incomes and so raising $1.6 million was a big deal,” he said.