Dignitaries will join parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in celebrating its 100-year history as a beacon for Hispanics in an east side community that is predominantly African-American.
Luanne Tapia, whose grandparents were among its first parishioners 92 years ago, said Saturday’s centennial jubilee will serve to help further its legacy.
Tapia said its images endure in old photographs.
“You see the adoration of parishioners to these priests and the priests doing what they do out of love,” Tapia said.
She said the parish was founded in 1913 by the Redemptorist religious order to serve the neglected eastern outskirts of town.
“Neglected because it was predominantly Mexicans, Mexican-Americans,” Tapia said.
She said the church grew to include a school and a rectory that were later demolished.
Tapia said at one point during the 1970s, Our Lady of Perpetual Help was absorbed as a mission by neighboring St. Gerard’s Catholic Church, but after an outcry to then Archbishop Patrick Flores, its status as a parish was restored.
Father Daniel Cisneros, its first priest appointed by the Archdiocese of San Antonio, said it remains a grassroots parish to this day.
“A lot of people are related, whether they’re relatives or compadres or comadres,” he said.
The centennial jubilee will begin at 4:30 p.m. Saturday with an anniversary mass, officiated by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and Father Cisneros. Congressman Lloyd Doggett, State Representative Ruth Jones McClendon and City Council member Ivy Taylor also are expected.
A fundraising gala will follow at 5:30 p.m. at the parish hall. Tickets are $50 per person and reservations are required.