SAN ANTONIO – Sunday marked the end of an era and a sad day for many West Side families as Mass was celebrated at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church for the final time.
The archdiocese decided to close the church, which was erected as a parish in 1965, but had a long history of success in the decades before.
At its height, it counted more than 1,000 families and had its own clinic, San Juan Sick Clinic. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller presided over the closing liturgy Sunday morning.
The archdiocese announced the closing earlier this year and said that one of the reasons for its closure was the low number of registered parishioners.
A longtime member of the church said that it while it was good to see a big crowd Sunday, there should have been more to save the church.
"Now, everybody shows up towards the end. Everybody should have been filling the pews from the front to the back,” Cleo Silvas said. “Now it's late. I feel bad, you know. It's going to hurt the community a lot"
St. Stephen's Church will be incorporated into Immaculate Conception, which is located nearby at 314 Merida St.
The archdiocese also said there are four other Catholic parishes nearby.