San Jose Parish Facilities

Table of Contents

3.1 First Church

3.2 Rectory

3.3 Barracks

3.4 Second Church

3.5 San José School

3.6 San José Community Center

3.7 Third Church

3.8 Architects and builders

3.9 Equipment

3.10 Grotto

3.11 Grounds

3.12 Store

3.13.a The Old Bell

3.13.b Banners

3.13.c Images


The First San José Church, 1939-1956


Rev. Alfredo Mendez, C.S.C, arrived at St. Edward's University in 1936 shortly after his ordination to the priesthood. In 1937, he was an instructor at St. Edward's. He also took charge of a Mexican mission that was preparing to build Santa Rosa Church in Andice, a village 38 miles north of Austin in the Diocese of Galveston. He took sick leave in January 1937 and upon his return was assigned to St. Helen's Church in Georgetown. In August 1939, while he was a patient in a hospital in San Antonio, Father Mendez was invited by the Bishop of San Antonio to build a church in the Diocese of San Antonio (36). At the time, there was no Spanish-speaking priest working in the territory between Kyle and the Colorado River. The Colorado River was the boundary between the Dioceses of San Antonio and Galveston. To begin the mission, Father Mendez began to seek out Mexican Catholics living in South Austin.

Luís Z. Calderón was an early supporter

Luís Z. Calderón was perhaps typical of Mexicans who lived in South Austin in 1939. He was born in Guanajuato and moved to Lockhart, Texas with his parents when he was ten years old. At the time, Lockhart was an internationally famous center for cotton culture and most Caldwell County farmers grew cotton. Mexican immigrants worked in the cotton fields. The Calderón family returned to Mexico to grow cotton but left again in 1912 to escape the violence associated with the Mexican Revolution. Luís Calderón married a girl from Lockhart and settled on a farm near Austin.

When Luís Calderón and his wife met Rev. Mendez and Rev. Thomas Culhane in 1939, they lived on a small farm in South Austin between the railroad tracks and Vinson Road (now Emerald Forest Drive) north of Williamson Creek. Luís built a wooden platform on his farm and offered it to the Holy Cross missionaries as a suitable place to say Mass. Rev. Mendez accepted the offer and Mass was said on the Calderón farm while the church building on W. Mary Street was under construction. As the church building neared completion, Father Mendez said Mass in the chapel of the convent attached to St. Ignatius Martyr Church, then located at 303 W. Johanna Street.

Mexicans attended segregated churches

Rev. Mendez started the Mexican Mission in 1939 to serve the Mexican population living south of the Colorado River. The object of the Mexican Mission was to create a "national" church for Mexican immigrants inside of the parish boundaries of Saint Ignatius Martyr Roman Catholic Church. Priests and Brothers from the Congregation of the Holy Cross (C.S.C.) staffed both St. Ignatius Church and the Mexican mission. A separate church for Mexicans was necessary because segregationist laws and traditions prevented either Mexicans or African-Americans from attending church with White or Anglo Texans.

The church was originally called St. Joseph's Mexican Catholic Church but by February 1942 it was known as Misión de San José (70) (74). In 1944, the parish was called San José Catholic Church. Its first parishioners were mostly farm laborers who worked on ranches and cotton farms in rural areas south of the city of Austin or were recently arrived immigrants who lived in Austin. Many were previously affiliated with Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, north of the Colorado River, in what was then a Mexican colonia in east Austin. Others were migrant farm workers. After San José church was built, some parishioners purchased homes near the church and found work in Austin. Luís Calderón moved from the ranch to a house near San José church in 1944. As early as 1940, he stopped farming and worked as a carpenter and rock mason.

The first mission was in South Austin

In January 1940, Rev. Mendez purchased Lot 7 & 8, Block H of the James E. Bouldin Addition from Robert W. Kirschner in the name of Bishop Arthur J. Drossaerts, D.D. of the Diocese of San Antonio for the purpose of building a church. Kirschner purchased the vacant lots in the fall of 1939 from G. E. Spinnler. The deal closed on Jan. 22, 1940 (67). Mendez paid $300 for the corner lot (Lot 8) and $200 for the adjacent lot (Lot 7). The church was built on the corner lot at 715 W. Mary Street (81).

Mrs. Adelina Laugier of San Juan, Puerto Rico, loaned Mendez $900 to build the mission churches. Mrs. Laugier was the sister of Rev. Mendez. Archbishop Robert Lucey signed the note that matured in 1947 and carried no interest. In November 1946, Mendez divided the debt of $900 that was owed his sister between the four mission churches and assigned $200.00 of the debt to San José church (82).

Arthur Fehr was the architect

The architect of San José Church was Arthur Fehr. Arthur Fehr was a professional architect who lived in San Antonio and Austin. He later gained some notoriety while restoring the Governor's Palace in San Antonio and afterward became quite famous. During the Great Depression, Fehr supervised construction of the stone structures located at Bastrop State Park. He did not design the structures at Bastrop State Park but the building style used by the Department of Interior for parks heavily influenced the architecture of San José Church. Fehr's experience with the WPA project near Bastrop helped Rev. Mendez construct his mission churches at almost no cost in money (69).

Rev. Mendez and Mexican men from the parish built the one and a half story structure with some help from Weise Brothers Contractors. The work began in February 1940 and was completed in June 1940. The windows, concrete and some labor were the only expenses. Total cost to build the church building was either $3,500 or, according to Mendez, $2,500. He spent $195 to purchase statues, seats, linens, lockers, an organ and the altar and baptistery.

Ranchers donated the stone

Much of the native limestone and cedar posts used to build the structure were taken from the Delanna ranch. Charlies F. Delanna, a mixed race man of Italian and African American descent, owned a ranch west of what is now Zilker Park and east of Bee Caves Road. The ranch was a little more than three miles by road from the San José building site on W. Mary Street. Mr. Delanna allowed Mendez and his helpers to gather fieldstone and cedar posts on his ranch. The stone was probably taken from the bed of Eanes Creek where it runs along Dellana Lane. Other stones were gathered from the bed of Williamson Creek and from farms belonging to the Elliot and Navarro families near what is now the intersection of Stassney Lane and the Union Pacific Railroad. Luís Calderón carried some of these stones to the construction site in a mule-drawn wagon. Other stones were gathered from a ranch near Round Mountain in western Travis County and from Oak Hill (69) (70).

The roof trusses were made from poles previously used on the electric streetcar line that ran along Congress Avenue south of the Colorado River. The window and door lintels were discarded railroad ties with large flat stones forming the windowsills. The ironwork, including three chandeliers, was hand wrought using scrap material. The building had steel casement windows. The gabled wooden roof was covered with cedar shingles (69) (81).

The church was shaped like the letter L with the main hall measuring 25 by 60 feet and the attached sacristy measuring 10 by 15 feet. The building had open yards on three sides. The west side yard was not enclosed and bordered on South 3rd Street. The east yard faced W. Mary Street and measured approximately 25 by 65 feet. A stone path through the east yard led to the door of the sacristy. The sacristy was located behind the main hall of the church and occupied the short leg of the L-shaped building.

The walls and floors were fieldstone

The walls of the church were rubble fieldstone (limestone) bonded with cement on a concrete foundation. The fieldstone walls were built around a cedar post frame. The north wall faced W. Mary Street and contained the entry door. In the middle of the north wall was an arched opening where the entry doors were located. Stones radiated around the arch and long flat, one foot-wide stones laid vertically formed the keystone of the arch. The top of the north wall extended to the gabled roof. East of the entry door was a bell tower with a corbeled opening for a bell. The bell that was mounted on the church was donated and supposedly dated from the 17th century. The bell was removed in 1954 when the congregation moved to a new church located at Oak Crest Avenue at the south end of S. 3rd Street (70).

The west and east walls of the church are made up of six ten-foot bays. One-foot wide buttresses separated the bays. At the corners, the walls interlock. The wall of each bay had a single, three-light casement window measuring approximately 18 inches wide and 42 inches high. The lintel is a railroad tie and a large flat stone forms the windowsill. Three wrought iron chandeliers were hung from the center ceiling beam at its apex.

The southern-most bay of the west wall was approximately two feet narrower than the others. The southern-most bay contained the altar and was separated from the rest of the hall by a wall of stone with a semicircular opening. The sacristy, with a porch and a bath, was located in a wing of the building east of the altar.

The east wall of the hall was identical to the west wall except that the northernmost bay was approximately five feet wider than the other bays and had a slightly smaller window. This was the location of the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The sacristy occupied the southernmost bay of the east wall (69).

The sacristy measured approximately 10 feet by 15 feet. Its north wall had a wooden door and a small window. The north wall originally also had a screened porch entry. The porch was filled in with stone sometime after 1974. The east wall of the sacristy had one casement window with 3 x 3 lights centered in the wall. The north end of the east wall was filled in at a later date. A painted tile icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe was installed beside a small window on the north wall of the sacristy.

Fiestas took place at the church

The men of the parish built a platform on the east side the church on West Mary Street. The platform was used as a stage for events such as the annual Jamaica. Young women of the congregation formed a dance troupe and, under the direction of older ladies, performed traditional Mexican dances using the platform as a stage. The parish had no hall and, if food was served, it was served outdoors. The early Jamaicas had no booths or raffles.

There was originally a driveway or alley on the south side of the building and a vacant lot beyond it. The men made a basketball court behind the church north of the alley (Pete Castillo). At a later date, a cinder block open garage was built at the end of the driveway behind the church and attached to the south wall of the sacristy. The wood and cinder block shed faced South 3rd Street and touched the fence on the south side of the property. Across the fence from the shed was a building (1905 S. 3rd Street) that faced west toward South Third Street (69) (70).

Hitching posts lined the sidewalls of the church

Originally hitching posts were installed on the edge of both the east and west yards. The hitching posts consisted on three stone piers connected by horizontal cedar posts. The entry plaza in front of the church originally contained a statue of St. Joseph, the Patron of the Church, and a fountain (70).

The roof trusses formed a gabled roof over the 25 feet by 60 feet main hall and the 10 feet by 15 feet sacristy. The roof trusses were made from wooden poles removed from the Congress Avenue streetcar line. Roughhewn cedar poles were laid across the truss beams and decking was laid over the cedar poles. The decking was exposed on the bottom side and was stained a dark color. There was no fascia board to seal the roof deck. The original roof was cedar shingles. These were replaced with asphalt shingles and then, after 1974, with ribbed metal.

The church was completed in June 1940

Construction of the church building was completed in June 1940 and the Bishop apparently blessed the building on 9 December 1941 when he came to the mission for its first confirmation ceremony. The building quickly became the center of a growing community. Many Mexicans immigrants were given housing in the sacristy when they first arrived in Austin. Years later, the building's occupants recounted that from time to time elderly people came to the building to show their grandchildren their first home in the United States (68) (70) (81).

However, the church was poorly ventilated. The church building was hot during the summer and candles stored in the building could melt. The windows were too small to provide adequate ventilation. During the summer months, the floors and walls were soaked with water prior to services in an effort to cool the building. A wood-burning stove that vented out the roof was installed to heat the building during cold weather.

Rev. Donahue assisted Father Mendez

When Rev. James W. Donahue retired from his position as the Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, he moved to Austin, where Holy Cross Fathers staffed St. Edward's University and three parishes. Father Donahue joined Rev. Alfred F. Mendez at the Mexican Mission.

Rev. Donahue and Rev. Mendez decided to survey the Mexican population of those parts of rural Travis and Bastrop Counties that were within the Diocese of San Antonio and in the territory assigned to the mission. Father Donahue was a friend of Father John J. Sigstein, the founder of Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters. In early 1940, Father Donahue wrote to the Superior General of the Missionary Catechists asking for the loan of two Catechists for six months to take the census. The Missionary Sisters were Catechists who worked with Spanish-speaking Catholics living in the Southwest of the United States.

Two Sisters, Catechist Blanche Richardson and Catechist Mary Salome Dorava, arrived in Austin in February 1940 to take the census. Initially, they roomed with the Sisters of the Holy Cross either at St. Mary's Academy or the convent attached to Guadalupe Church.

At this time, Rev. Frank Weber, C.S.C., was the pastor of Holy Cross parish, an all-Black congregation located in Austin north of the Colorado River. He was completing a frame building that would later house a hospital for the African-Americans and Hispanics of Austin. The Missionary Catechists were invited to live in the empty living quarters of the hospital. Rev. Donahue moved into the Holy Cross rectory with Fr. Weber.

The two Sisters traveled the rural roads of Travis County in a borrowed car looking for the small cabins where Mexican farm workers lived. They carried a census book in which they entered the names of each Catholic of the household along with the sacraments they had received. The Sisters drew a map that could be used by Fr. Donahue to locate the family if necessary. The Sisters also taught classes in religion in a one-room schoolhouse that the mission rented during the summer of 1940. On Sundays, Fr. Donahue said Mass in an empty storeroom in one of the small towns south of Austin. Fr. Donahue was also charged with validating marriages and attending to the spiritual needs of the families located by the Catechists. In July 1940, the two Sisters returned to New Mexico and, shortly afterward, Donahue was transferred to one of his order's houses in the East. Donahue died in June 1943 at Notre Dame University (4).

Until 1948, San José mission had no rectory and Mendez lived in rented rooms in South Austin. In 1940, he lived on Burleson Road in the home of Orin Metcalfe. In 1944, he lived at 1906 Newton Street in rented quarters. By 1947, he had moved to 1808 S. 6th Street. Prior to 1948, the parish purchased the lot at 711 W. Mary Street (Lot 6, Block H, James E. Bouldin Addition). This lot was adjacent to the existing church and had a small house on it. The house was initially converted into the parish hall. The house was later torn down and, in 1948, a team of Holy Cross Fathers led by Rev. Frank Webber, C.S.C. built a two-story rectory and parish hall. Fr. Webber was known as the Carpenter Priest.

The congregation soon outgrew the church

As early as November 1946, Rev. Mendez realized that the church was too small for his growing congregation. He told the Bishop that San José church was too small and that he needed $7,000 to enlarge the building. He also said he needed $8,000 for a social center/church hall and $5,000 for a rectory. He also presented a plan to purchase the St. Ignatius campus on the 300-block of W. Johanna Street. While the Chancery Office and the Bishop considered this offer, Mendez was reassigned and left Austin (82).

In the spring of 1954, while Rev. Joseph Houser was pastor, Bishop Reicher visited San José Church and found the church completely full with people standing outside. He urged the congregation to build a larger church. To facilitate this, Bishop Reicher gifted San José Parish six acres of land south of Oltorf Street and west of S. First Street for a new church campus (12).

Brother Lambert Barbier of St. Edward's University and Rev. Edwin Bauer had acquired the land for the purpose of building a medical clinic. Their hope was to staff the clinic with Religious Sisters but at the time it appeared that none would be available. The Bishop decided that a new church for San José was a greater priority and the land was given to San José Parish. The Bishop also purchased several residential lots in the middle of the block that had road access to Oltorf Street. José Rocha, Luís Calderón and other men of the congregation began to clear brush from the tract.

The Bishop hired the firm of Walter Cocke, Jr. and Company to design a parish auditorium that would serve on a temporary basis as a church. The ground breaking ceremony took place on July 17, 1955 and the building was completed in January 1956. Soon afterward the new building was opened for services. The Solemn Blessing was scheduled for February 5 but delayed until February 19 because of an ice storm. On March 19, 1956, Bishop Reicher blessed the new San José Church building on the feast day of San José.

The rectory at the old San José church was lifted up, placed on a large trailer and carried up S. 3rd Street to its current location east of the new building. Among the men involved in the move were Ernest Pérez, Enrique Saenz, Frank González and Sam Guerra. When the church moved in 1955 to its new building, the communion rail, the altar footpace and the 17th-century bell were removed from the old church and taken to the new building (9).

The old church building was sold in 1956

In December 1953, San José Parish transferred the ownership of lot 6 and the rectory to the Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, Rev. Louis J. Reicher. After the parish moved to its new location south of Oltorf Street in 1956, the Bishop sold the three lots containing the old church (Block H. Lots 6, 7 and 8, J. E. Bouldin Addition) to Beatriz M. Calderón, the wife of Luís Z. Calderón. Luís Calderón was actively involved in the parish, helped build the first church and was a long-time leader of the Sacred Heart Society and other church organizations. Luís Calderón retained ownership of Lot 6 at 711 W. Mary Street and built a house on it. This house and lot is still owned by his son, Luís M. Calderon Jr. (67).

After Beatriz Calderón purchased the old church buildings, they were rented for various uses, primarily as a residence. Sheet rock partitions were installed in the church to make small rooms. At one time, the church building was rented to a band called Roky Ericson and the 13th Floor Elevators (70).

In the spring of 1974, Luís A. Calderón et al sold the church building and lots 7 and 8 to the United Liberal Church of Texas, Inc. In 1975, the building was purchased by the Old Catholic Church of Texas, Inc. and given the name Holy Name of Mary Old Catholic Church (109).

The Old Catholic Church renovated the buildings

When the Old Catholic Church purchased the property, it consisted of two lots and two buildings, a church and a residence. The second building was at 1905 S. 3rd Street, south of the stone church. The second building was in poor condition and was uninhabitable. The church building had been partitioned into small rooms and the exposed stonewalls were painted an orange-pink color, perhaps by members of the rock band.

Monks of the Old Catholic Church renovated both buildings. The interior partitions in the church were removed and the interior (except the ceiling boards) were pressure washed. The wood material in the church was sealed and painted. The residence was cleaned, modified by carpentry and repainted inside and out and christened as the monastery.

The monks repaired the bell tower and mounted a new bell. The area originally occupied by the communion rail (that had been removed) was replaced by a wooden Orthodox iconostasis and rod beam. The original sacristy porch was filled in with stonework to make a small entrance to the sacristy. The original glass and wood doors that opened from the porch were stolen. The hitching post support at the northwest corner of the property was destroyed by a falling tree in 1991 and was replaced with a new support built for limestone that was left over from the original construction in 1941.

From 1979 until 1988 the church and monastery grounds were used to cultivate rose bushes. The monks used the petals to make a potpourri that was sold to finance the building renovation. The rose cultivation was discontinued in 1988 (70).

The old building became the Bouldin Castle

In 2007, the Archbishop of the Old Catholic Church sold the property to an Austin-based real estate company. The firm had a successful track record for renovating and preserving old structures. The sacristy of the church was reworked and a much larger structure was build where the Old Catholic Monastery had stood. A stonewall was added to completely surround the grounds. The interior of the old church was converted into a single large sitting room but was otherwise left in its original form. The 4,270 square foot building is now known as the Bouldin Castle and is available for short-term rental as a bed and breakfast. In 2009 the building was offered for sale for $1,600,000 and, in 2016, offered for sale for $2,740,554.00.


San José Catholic Church Rectory

Rev. Francis (Frank) Weber, C.S.C., was assigned to teach at St. Edward's University in Austin after his ordination at Notre Dame University in 1935. The President of the University, Rev. Joseph Maguire C.S.C., also assigned Weber to serve as the pastor of a mission for African-American Catholics in East Austin. The following year, Weber and a professional carpenter built Holy Cross Church for the mission.

In 1939, Fr. Weber, assisted by an architectural student at the University of Texas and two part-time laborers, constructed the two-story building that became Holy Cross Hospital. This was a twenty bed, 12,000 sq. ft. hospital to serve Austin's African-American and Hispanic communities. Because of his ability to construct large buildings, Fr. Weber, who was the pastor of Holy Cross parish, became known as the "Carpenter Priest" (4).

In 1948, Bishop Reicher recommended that San José Church build a rectory (211). At that time, the pastor lived in rented rooms or at St. Edward's University. Rev. Joseph Houser, C.S.C., the pastor of San José Parish, asked Fr. Weber to draw up plans for a rectory next to San José Church on W. Mary Street. Houser had purchased lot 6 next to the church that was then occupied by a single-story house (193). Initially, the old house was remodeled and used as a parish hall.

The Carpenter Priest built the rectory

Fr. Webber was asked to construct the building and he became not only the architect but the principal builder as well (211). The builders included Weber, his brother Anthony (Tony) Weber, Rev. Elmer Vincent Rupp, Rev. Joel Clifford (Cliff) Atwood and Rev. Joseph Houser (211). Tony Weber was a Holy Cross Brother and the other men were Holy Cross priests. Several men from the congregation also helped. The old building was demolished and the materials used to build a 6,400 sq. ft. two-story building. The rectory was built in the same style as the original church and rectory at Holy Cross Parish. Both buildings were two-story, balloon-frame structures (40) similar to the houses in Detroit, Michigan where Webber grew up ("Southern Breeze", Vol. 9, No. 5 April 1978, Holy Cross Fathers- Southern Province, pages 1, 2) (193).

In 1955, the Bishop gave San José Church a large plot of land south of W. Oltorf Street for the new church campus. Sometime after February 1956, when the new San José Church building opened for services, the Rectory was jacked up, placed on a trailer, hauled up S. 3rd Street and placed just east of the site of the second San José church (12) (9).

In November 1957, the Bishop of Austin sold Block H, Lots 6, 7 and 8 to Beatriz M. Calderon (Source #36). Lots 7 and 8 were the site of the old San José church building. Lot 6 was the site of the convent. Luíz and Beatriz Calderón lived on the corner of W. Mary and S. 1st Streets. Sometime later, Luíz Calderon Jr. acquired lot 6 and built a house on the vacant lot where the rectory once stood. He still lives in the house (193).

The parish priests continued to live in the rectory until a new rectory was built in 1988. Sometimes the rectory was called, "the priest's house". The rectory had two apartments upstairs and one downstairs. In 1983 the Pastor, Assistant Pastor and the Director of Youth Groups lived in the rectory. The Cerebral Palsy Organization rented an office on the first floor. In July 1983, the Cerebral Palsy Organization left the building and, in August, the remaining church offices in the rectory were moved to the first floor of the School Building. This consolidated all the offices of the church and CCD into one space and made room for the priests to have a meeting room in the rectory (223:10/07/83). The rectory was used only for business requiring a priest (223:24/07/83).

Normally the priests do their own cooking in a kitchen located downstairs. In 1983, they told parishioners that gift certificates from grocery stores such as HEB or Safeway were suitable Christmas gifts for them. Often one or two parishioners volunteered to cook for the priests one day a week. In 1983, Molly Resas began cooking supper for the priests every Wednesday. By October 1985, she was cooking twice a week. Trine Ramírez cleaned the rectory every week from 1983 until 1985. In 1985, Ray Cortez installed carpet in much of the rectory.

Parishioners maintained the building

Occasionally, men of the parish, usually led by the Socios, undertook to make repairs or to paint the interior of the building. In 1984, William Bunten and Frank Evans donated and installed an air conditioning system for the downstairs. In 1985 volunteers, including Ray Cortez, his son and Henry Flores, installed carpet in the remaining areas of the building.

In July 1985, Rev. Fred Underwood, the pastor, took sick leave. In his absence, the men decided to renovate the rectory. The work was done without his knowledge and some of the men worked nights and weekends to finish the work before Underwood returned. Ruby Roa, Raymond Castro Sr., Robert Deolioz, John Rivera, Bob Haynes, Tom Longoria, Ruben Molina, Daniel Acuna, Paul Samaniego, Mike Reyes, Juan Candelario and Frank Gonzales worked on this project (223:04/08/1985). Raymond Castro Sr., Frank Ortega and Tony Verver did the electrical work. The youth group and Young Adults led by Rudy Duran, Steve Mireles and Robert Deolloz helped as well (223:28/07/1985).

When Underwood came back from sick leave in August, he found that the upstairs bedrooms, kitchen, dining and living rooms and the downstairs offices had been renovated (223:18/08/1985). Augustine and Rachel G. Vega donated $2,500 to pay for the work (223:01/09/1985) and Mary Molina coordinated the renovation of the Rectory (223:08/09/1985).

The work did not end with Fr. Underwood's return. Joe Riojas upholstered a couch and chair in the rectory (223:25/08/1985). The next month, Mary Vaquez and Lily Ybarra made a new mattress and Dorothy Maldonado made new curtains for the building (223: 01/09/1985). Underwood set a high standard and his parishioners responded in kind. In those days, the church employed only one man to maintain the facility and parishioners were often called on to maintain and repair buildings of the church.

After the priests moved to a new rectory in 1988, the original rectory was once again used as offices. It was, for many years, the office of the Religious Education program at San José.

The structure Rev. Webber and his fellow Holy Cross priests built in 1948 remains largely as it was when it was constructed. The changes that have been made were largely made to the interior to accommodate air conditioning and the modern preference for carpeting over hardwood flooring. The plumbing for each of the three apartments are still in place although no one has lived in the building for thirty years. A survey in 2017 when the parish briefly considered housing storm refugees found that the structure was in very good shape and would be converted to house refugees at little cost.



San José Parish has a long history of using surplus military barracks as "temporary" buildings or what would now be called portable buildings. The parish purchased at least five surplus military barracks on three different occasions. Only one of the wooden buildings was still in use in 2018. The others were sold or demolished. The history of each building is told under the title of the Parish Hall/Youth Building, the School Compound and the Convent.

The Parish Hall

Sometime between 1948 and 1954, possibly in June 1950, Rev. Houser purchased a number of surplus military barracks from Camp Swift, a US Army training base near Bastrop. San José Parish and each of its missions received one of these buildings. The men of each church volunteered to make these buildings into parish halls for meetings and celebrations (211).

The building received by San José Church was placed on S. 2nd Street at the corner of Annie Street (210) (193). The building had electrical and water service and was used as the church hall. The hall was used for meetings and Bingo games. It had a kitchen (210). The church was located on the corner of W. Mary and S. 3rd Street, two blocks from the parish hall.

In 1954, Bishop Reicher gifted San José Parish a six-acre tract south of Oltorf Street and fronting on S. First Street (42). The decision was made to move the church there. Both the rectory and the parish hall were wooden buildings that could be picked up and moved. The church building was stone and would have to be left in place.

The people of San José voted to invite the largely Anglo parish of St. Ignatius to join them on this large tract (223:01/01/67). At that time, San José was a national parish for Spanish speakers located within the parish boundaries of St. Ignatius. For this reason, the first building was originally meant to be the parish hall or, as the pastor said, an auditorium (28) or cafetorium (223:11/11/62). However, when the building was completed in January 1956, Bishop Reicher blessed it as a church (120).

After the new church was opened in 1956, the barrack on S. 2nd Street was moved to the new site and placed across the parking lot from the new church building. The same men who moved the rectory from W. Mary Street (Ernest Perez, Enrique Saenz, Frank Gonzalez and Sam Guerra) must have moved the barracks as well (9). The barracks continued to serve as the parish hall and was used for Bingo and as a meeting place by parish organizations including the Boy Scouts (193). The building was used for a few months to house the Religious Sisters who came to teach in the San José School in September 1959.

In September 1963, the pastor decided to enlarge the parish hall to accommodate the large crowds that used the hall. He decided that the income from the Wednesday 8:00PM Bingo games would be used to pay for the renovation (223:09/15/63). A new room that was 70 feet long and 12 feet wide was added to the building at the cost of $2,457. The total income from the Wednesday Party Games since its inception one year before was $4,790 (223:11/02/63) so there was more than enough money to pay for the new room (223:10/06/63).

In February of the next year, the parish decided to tile the wooden plank floor with cheap tile (223:02/09/64). Since most of the profits from the Bingo games were used to pay the debt on the church, the pastor called for donations. He needed $235 to purchase the tile. The Catholic War Veterans donated $50 and the Guadalupanas donated $41. The Socios donated $50 from the profits from Sunday's game party (223:02/16/64) and the PTA agreed to donate $50 from the proceeds from the Wednesday Night Party Games (223:02/23/64). The Cursillistas donated $36 and the CYO donated $11 to complete the fund. The men of the church installed the tile (223:03/08/64).

In May 1968, the Parish Council began discussing necessary repairs to the existing parish hall. At the June 17, 1968 Council meeting, Henry Saenz reported that a committee had examined the hall and found that it was a firetrap. The building did not have air conditioning, was unattractive and distasteful and the kitchen was unsanitary. A new foundation would be needed before the walls could be repaired. The roof leaked. Faced with this report, the Parish Council voted to build a new parish hall, now called the San José Community Center (213).

The Youth Center

The Catholic Youth Organization asked for and received permission to use the old building as a youth center. In July 1969, renovation of the old hall into the youth center began (223:07/06/69). The church received a grant of $675 to remodel the old hall and convert it into the Youth Recreation Center. Ramon Gutiérrez installed a new floor. Other men who worked on the remodel were listed in the Sunday Bulletin. They were Rev. Mike Mikan, Rev. John Haley, Rev. Bob Gilmore, Tino Luna, Tony Herrera, Danny Calderon, Tommy Gutiérrez and Ray López (223:07/20/69). The work continued until November when the Sunday Bulletin called for workers to meet on Monday 7:30PM in the Youth Center to finish the work (223:11/16/69). Thereafter, the Catholic Youth Organization used the building for its activities.

The CYO was not the only occupant of the Youth Center. Occasionally the building was used for other purposes. From October 1973 until February 1974, four visiting nurses had their offices in the Youth Center. They were City and County health nurses who did home visits (249: 04/11/73). Dr. Van Weisse and Dr. Ben White also used the building on Monday nights from November 1973 until sometime in 1974 for a medical clinic (249:04/11/73).

Later the Youth Center was renamed the Youth Bureau. It was briefly occupied by the Day Care Center after one of the barracks in the School Compound burned in 1984 (223:03/02/1985). To accommodate toddlers, the floor was carpeted. Ray Cortez donated two rugs and Tom Longoria donated linoleum for the temporary Day Care Center in the former Youth Bureau (223:20/01/1985). After 1985, the building was no longer mentioned in the Sunday Bulletin and was probably demolished or sold along with the buildings of the School Compound.

The School Compound

The pastors of San José, Fr. Houser, and Fr. Mendez before him, dreamed of a parochial school for the parish (82). According to Houser, "Divine Providence started the School (at San José) by sending the Mother General from France to offer Teaching Sisters. I (Joseph Houser, C.S.C.) was in the North at that time. At the same time, the Federal Government wrote and offered us buildings for $45 each. We could see the Hand of God in all this, and started (the San José parochial school) (223:07/28/63).

In 1956, the parish took a great leap of faith and purchased three barracks from Bergstrom Air Force Base. These were for a school (211). The barracks were placed west of Oak Crest Avenue opposite the Youth Center. This is where the 3rd church was later built (193). This became known as the School Compound. The three buildings were arranged in a U-shape in order of grade level so the children moved around the circle as they grew up (12). The playground was in the middle of the compound.

In 1964, San José School enrolled 306 students and had seven teachers, four of whom were Religious Sisters (223:10/11/64). The school was the sixth largest in the Diocese (223:03/21/65). The parish voted to construct a new school building and, when the new building was occupied in September 1966, the barracks were left empty during the week (235).

Child Inc.

Fortunately, in February 1966, a day care center was created at San José. The day care initially used space in the Community Center but moved to two of the buildings in the School Compound in the summer of 1966. The day care center was incorporated as Child Inc. in 1972 and occupied two of the buildings in the compound until 1986. CCD or Religious Education occupied the other building on weekends and in the evenings. The building used by CCD was called the San Jose CCD Center Building. It was used for CCD, baptismal, First Communion and first confession classes (223:05/01/75).

In May 1984, new roofs were put on both Day Care Buildings with the day care furnishing the material and the men of the church furnishing the labor (223:13/05/84). In February of 1985, arsonists started a fire in one of the buildings occupied by the Day Care Center and badly damaged it (223:03/02/1985). The Day Care Center was moved to other buildings on the church campus (223:27/01/1985) and the men of the church repaired the damaged building (223:09/12/84) (223:16/12/84) (223:23/12/84) (223:30/12/84) (223:17/02/1985) (223:02/06/1985) (223:23/06/1985).

The destruction of one of the portable buildings and the dislocation it caused highlighted the need to expand the church facilities. At first, plans were made to construct a larger building that would house the Day Care and provide additional classrooms for CCD on Sundays (223:02/12/84) (223:27/01/85) (223:03/02/1985). The Pastor called a parish meeting to discuss the need for an additional wing on the church and other things, such as where to locate the new Day Care Center and what to do with "Old Convent" (a barrack) (223:12/05/1985). A City building permit was obtained for a new Day Care Center building (223:07/07/1985).

However, by March 1986, it was apparent that grant money was not forthcoming for the new Day Care Center and, according to Rev. Underwood, "The Church does not have now or in the future any funds to build a new Day Care Center due to the urgent needs of the Church for the New Wing, paying off the School Debt on July 1, need for more parking area, etc." (223:23/03/1986).

Faced with this dilemma, the parishioners voted to donate the barracks to Child, Inc. so they can move the barracks off church property and continue their daycare program (223: 25/05/1986). By then, Underwood and the parish had decided to build a completely new third church on the land where the School Compound was located. All three barracks located on the site of the new church had to be removed or demolished. Two of the buildings were sold (223:27/07/1986) and a family from Round Mountain in Blanco County agreed to move all three barracks from the church campus (223:03/08/1986). Permitting delayed moving the Barracks (223:10/08/1986) (223:07/09/1968) but all three buildings were moved and the site was cleared by the time the City of Austin issued a building permit for the third San Jose church in February 1987 (223:15/02/1987).

The Convent

In September 1959, three Sacred Heart Sisters from San Antonio arrived to take charge of the parochial school (86) (211). The barrack used as the church hall was converted into a dormitory briefly while another surplus military building was acquired for use as living quarters for the Religious Sisters (12). The new building, called "The Convent", was located on the southwest corner of the church property at the corner of Oak Crest Ave. and Herndon Lane at 800 Herndon Lane. Three or four Sisters lived in the building until June 1973 when the San José School closed.

No Sisters lived on the San José campus during the 1973-1974 schoolyear. When two Religious Sisters returned to San José in June 1974 to run the CCD/Doctrina program (237) (223:10/08/75), they rented the small one-bedroom house at 2405 Oak Crest Ave. at the corner of Oak Crest Avenue and Oltorf Street (249:14/07/74).

After the Sisters left the Convent, a contest to rename the building resulted in its name being changed to Casa Amistad in September 1973 (249:30/09/73) (249:21/10/73). Between 1973 and 1978, Dr. Weisse used the building as a medical clinic for neighborhood children. After the County-funded South Austin Community Care Clinic opened at 2529 S. First Street, Dr. Weisse closed his clinic in the old Convent.

After the clinic moved out of the old convent building in 1978, the building was renovated once again and was used as a classroom by the Sunday CCD program. The building was unoccupied during the week and in July 1983 neighborhood children broke into and vandalized the building. Parishioners, under the direction of Enrique Saenz, repaired and renovated the building (223:10/07/83). The work crews worked on Saturdays (223:03/07/83) (223:17/07/83). The work crews included the following men: Raymond Castro, Leopoldo Salas, Locadio Salas, Martin Rodriguez, Luis Martinez, Benito Govea, Ascension Govea, Gregorio Trejo, Enrique Saenz, Mike Rodriguez, Tim Reyna, Ruiz Martinez and Jesse Hernandez. Frances Trevino and Mary Longoria provided meals for the men (223:24/07/83). Craftsmen who donated time and materials included carpenters Ray Vasquez, Sabino Cruz and Joe Galvan (223:07/08/83); carpet installers Ray Cortez, Tom Longoria, Robert Torres and Andrew Quiniones and electrician Tony Verver (223:28/08/83). Enrique Saenz donated the linoleum and Rene and Maria Galvan did the painting and curtain installation (223:28/08/83).

Sister Mary Cabralez, who was in charge of Home Visitations, lived in the building briefly in July 1983 (223:24/07/83). Eddie Reyes, a Seminarian, moved into the building to stop the vandalism that was occurring in that building and the School Building and to give him office space. The building had two guest bedrooms and two meeting rooms that could be used for CCD or youth groups (223:10/07/83). In August, Tony Lawless (a candidate for Holy Cross Priesthood) moved into the building that Eddie Reyes, also a candidate for Holy Cross Priesthood, had just vacated (223:28/08/83).

Father Joe's Youth Center

In September 1983, the building was rededicated as, "Father Joe's Youth Center" in honor of Father Houser and was used by the Youth Group/Catholic Youth Organization after the old Youth Center/Bureau was vacated. The nursery also moved to Father Joe's Youth Center (223:18/09/83). The nursery was open during Sunday Mass during the winter months (223:27/01/1985) and for special events such as Renewals and the Lenten Mission (223:07/06/1987) (223:12/07/1987) (223:28/02/1988). Because of the presence of the nursery, the building was sometimes called the Sunday Day Care Building. The nursery was moved to the old church in 1988.

During the 1988-1989 schoolyear, CCD used the Old Convent for classrooms and found them inadequate (223:30/07/1989). George Ulloa and the KOC built a handicapped ramp at the Old Convent in 1992 (223:19/01/1992). The Knights were meeting in the building. In June 1993, someone volunteered to paint the old Convent but the building needed a new roof and repairs before being painted. The pastor said the parish would furnish the materials if volunteers agreed to do the work (223:27/06/1993). Subsequently the Knights agreed to repair and paint the building provided they could continue to use it as a meeting place.

In 2018, the building continued to be used as classrooms by CCD (223:31/08/1986). The building, known over the years as the Convent, the Clinic, Casa Amistad, Father Joe's or simply, "the white building behind the school", is the only remaining barrack on the San José campus. It is currently called, "Casita de Esperanza".


Second San José Church Building

Rev. Joseph Houser was the pastor of San José Catholic Church in 1954. According to him, "In 1954 Bishop Reicher was administering Confirmation at San José. When he finished, he spoke to the people. He said the church was too small, that half of the Congregation was inside and the other half outside listening through the open doors and windows. He said they must build a new church and that they were able to do it. He assured them it would mean hard work but that he knew the People were willing."

"The Bishop's words came as a great surprise to the People and the priests. They were also inspiring. He had confidence in them. It created enthusiasm. The cost would be fiestas and more fiestas. That was the way the People of San José fulfilled their financial needs for many years" (211).

A new church campus

To facilitate construction of a new church, Bishop Reicher gifted San José parish ten acres of land for a new campus (42). The land was located south of W. Oltorf Street and west of S. First Street. Brother Lambert Barbier of St. Edward's University and Father Edwin Bauer, Pastor of Holy Family Church on W. Johanna Street, had acquired six acres for the purpose of building a medical clinic. Their hope was to staff the clinic with religious sisters but now it appeared that none might be available. The Bishop decided that a new church for San José Parish was the greater priority (12).

The gift of land did not come without conditions. Houser later wrote, "In 1955 the Bishop offered us free the land where the Church and School now (in 1966) stand. In a Parish Meeting, the people of San Jose voted to accept the gift. Our own people also voted to build a new church on the land, inviting St. Ignatius people to join us if they wished. If they did not wish, our People decided to have their own buildings. Our kind Bishop graciously consented to all, but (he) promised that someday we would have to be a territorial parish and accept (parish) limits" (223:01/01/67).

The site the Bishop offered was 3/8-miles south of the existing church building on W. Mary Street. The land had road access to both Oltorf Street and S. First Street. It was on the eastern slope of a rise west of East Bouldin Creek. The site was a grove of ancient live oak trees and some pasture surrounded on three sides by houses that were under construction or were recently built. East of and downhill of the site was cleared field that fronted on S. 1st Street. José Rocha, Luis Calderón and other men from congregation helped clear the tract of undergrowth in preparation for building (12). It is said that Fr. Houser worked alongside the men to clear the building site of brush (3).

The Cafetorium

The architectural firm of Walter Cocke, Jr. and Company of Waco designed a parish auditorium that would serve on a temporary basis as a church (28). The Pastor later explained that, "the church was built to be the future Hall-Cafeteria which they now usually call Cafetorium" (223:11/11/62). He did not explain why the parish decided to build a cafeteria rather than a church but he was probably already laying plans for a parochial school operating in permanent buildings. Perhaps Houser was more interested in building a school than a church. Eight years later, he reminded the parishioners in the Sunday Bulletin that the proceeds from the Wednesday night bingo would be used to pay the interest on a loan to build a school. "Then we could start the new Church after that" (223:06/14/64).

The plans for the auditorium were finalized in May 1955 (28). The builder was Eitze-Kitchens Company (220). The ground breaking ceremony was on July 17, 1955 and the building was completed in January 1956 (120). Soon afterward, the new building was opened for services. The original seating capacity of the building was 530 persons and it cost $80,300 (120) (124). The capacity of the old church on W. Mary Street was 120 persons.

In January 1956, the rectory from the old San José church was moved to its current location (12) (28). The building was picked up, placed on a truck and and hauled up S. 3rd Street to its new location next to the church (9).

The Solemn Blessing was scheduled for February 5, 1956 but was delayed until February 19 because of an ice storm (28). Father Mehling, C.S.C., was making his Provincial visit when the ice storm closed down the City and the Bishop asked him to proceed with the Simple Blessing on February 5 (28). On March 19, 1956, the feast day of San José, Bishop Reicher traveled to South Austin to bless the new San José church building (12).

The sacristy was remodeled in 1969

In 1969, the Parish Council approved a plan to redo the sacristy of the church (223:07/20/69). Parishioners were found who did most of the work on a volunteer basis. Paul Samaniego and Alberto Mercado designed and built new cabinets for the sacristy while Pete Castillo and Julian Herrera varnished and finished them (223:01/31/71). These men were professionals in their trades.

The parish had two revered artifacts that were kept in the sacristy. The Parish Council agreed that the picture of our Lady of Guadalupe would be redone so that the corner in which it was located would match the corner occupied by the image of the Virgen of San Juan. The Guadalupanas proposed the idea and they agreed to pay for the work (223:07/20/69).

In December 1970, professional painters were hired to paint the ceiling of the church (223:12/13/70). The work had to be done on Saturday to avoid disruption of the Christmas services so volunteers were asked to help from 5:30PM "until we finish" (223:12/20/70).

A new PA system was installed in the church on a trial basis in 1970 (223:10/25/70) and a new air conditioning system in 1971. The Catholic Youth Organization donated $730 to purchase carpeting for the sanctuary. Paul Samaniego, Tom Longoria, Ray Cortez, Lalo Bustos, Henry Saena, Ray Arriaga and a number of young men who were members of CYO installed the carpeting (223:03/21/71). Some of these men were professional carpet installers and several owned their own companies. By using volunteers as much as possible, the operating expenses of the church were kept low. Operating expenses to run the church in 1967 was $18,036.32 (223:01/21/68) and $20,811 in 1970 (223:01/31/71).

1st renovation, June- August 1975

18-years after it was built, the church was renovated for the first time. In October 1974, a committee met to examine the model of the renovated church. The model was put on public display (250: 12/09/74) and the first of several dances to pay the church renovation was held in the Community Center (250:10/11/74). Remodeling of the church began in June. Sunday Mass was moved to the Community Center while Saturday and daily Mass and confessions were moved to the school (223:15/06/75). The expectation was to move back into the church in early August (223:06/07/75).

The altar was extended forward almost to the center of the church and surrounded on all sides by pews. A large mirrored overhead fixture was placed over the altar. The current niches for images of Joseph and Mary were already in place. The walls were painted white and blue to match a blue carpet (41).

Mass resumed in the church on August 10 (223:03/08/75). The Parish hosted a large celebration on August 24, 1975 when Bishop Harris came to bless the renovated church (41). Mrs. Francis Treviño was placed in charge of the booths, games and food (223:20/07/75) and the Guadalupanas, of which she was the President, provided the flowers (223:31/08/75). A former pastor, Rev. Bob Gilmour, sent a blessing from his mission in Africa (223:31/08/75).

The choir sang at the ceremony and Holy Cross Fathers Mike Mikan and Michael Simone from San José and Father Pete Rocca from St. Ignatius assisted Bishop Vincent Harris at the altar. Rev. John Haley, a former pastor, arrived at the ceremony late (41) (223:20/07/75).

The income from the fiesta that accompanied the ceremony was $1,600 (223:20/07/75). Some of the money spent on the renovation was borrowed. The Breakfast Ladies paid $1,860 on the loan on March 1st of each year until the debt was paid off in 1985 (233:27/02/83) (223:12/02/84). The parish also had other debts that were outstanding. The final payment on the school loan was not paid until July 1, 1986 and the final payment on the Community Center debt was not paid until July 1, 1989 (223:08/07/84).

Maintenance and Repair, 1976- 1983

Maintenance and repair work did not stop after the renovation project was finished. In April 1976, Paul Samaniego, Pete Castillo, Tom Longoria and Ray Cortez helped build a new confessional and a room of reconciliation (223:25/04/76) and Mrs. Romana Salazar created displays on the back wall of the sanctuary (223:20/06/76). During the annual pilgrimage to Mexico City in December 1978, roses were brought back from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and Paul Samaniego agreed to construct a case to display the roses (223:17/12/78).

Mr. Julian Herrera worked for San José parish for many years, doing maintenance and yard work. When he retired in December 1982, the parish advertised for a high school student who could work part-time in his place (223:12/12/82). Mr. Herrera was the only paid maintenance worker at the time. Most routine cleaning and maintenance was performed by volunteers. The April 1983 Sunday Bulletin listed the volunteer ministries of the church. Among the ministries were groups that cleaned the altar, cleaned the church, cleaned the linen and maintained the buildings and grounds (223:17/04/83).

When the inside of the church needed painting again in December 1982, a parishioner, Daniel Acuña, and his men donated their time and equipment to paint the inside of the church on December 27-29 (223:26/12/82). Mr. Ray Wolff of Roach Paint Co. donated the 15 gallons of paint (223:02/01/83) and Robert Martinez, María Galvan, Henry Saenz and Ray and Aggie Castro helped (223:09/01/83).

2nd renovation, July 1983- February 1984

In May 1983, the pastor said that the last two Sunday Masses were "standing room only" (223:01/05/83). The congregation had again outgrown its church building. The solution was to enlarge the church. In 1983, an architect's plan on display in the Community Center on April 30th and May 1st showed suggested renovations to the church. The plan involved removing walls to expand the sanctuary (223:24/04/83). The proposed plans were inserted into the Sunday Bulletin and parishioners were invited to a meeting on Monday evening to respond to the suggestions (223:15/05/83).

The Bishop first approved the plan to remodel the church according to the plan approved at the Parish meeting (223:22/05/83) but, in July, the Bishop instructed San José not to borrow money for the renovation because the parish still owed $100,000 for the School and the Community Center.

Parishioners did the work

The pastor was determined to proceed even if the Parish could not borrow the money. He warned the parishioners that, "We need to keep our income up so we can put aside some money to pay for our remodeling of the church this summer" (223:15/05/83). However, the Sunday Collection decreased during the summer and by July the parish was $17,000 short of its goal. The pastor asked for a special donation to raise the money (223:24/07/83). As a result, the Sunday Collection increased from about $2,200 per week to $3,200 for the next four weeks (223:14/08/83). Four extraordinary donations totaling about $700 were also received (223:14/08/83). In September, Mrs. Lou Hall donated $2,000 for the remodeling project (223:11/09/83) but the check was returned to her because she was placed in a nursing home and needed the money (223:18/09/83). After the summer school holidays, collections remained at about $3,400 per week (223:18/09/83).

An insert in the Sunday Bulletin of July 24 announced that, "Work has begun to remove the inner brick wall. A beam and columns will be installed in place of the wall in order to open that area so another row of pews can be added. This will give us another 126 seats. By arranging the pews in two rows like we have now, we added 60 additional seats. With these two changes and others, we will have an additional 250 seats over our previous capacity. A few other changes will continue to increase our seating capacity" (223:24/07/83).

The church renovation project involved removing a load-bearing interior wall. A contractor bid $15,000 to do the work but then withdrew "because he had never done such a delicate job like that". Parishioners Paul Samaniego, Sabino Cruz and Domingo Rivas removed the wall and installed steel beams at a cost of under $5,000. A folding door was installed "for the choir section that will serve as a chapel for daily Mass so we don't have to hear or air-condition the whole church". The new arrangement increased seating capacity by 128 (223:23/10/83). A new Mother with Infant Room was added during the renovation (223:30/10/83).

In an effort to save money, the old church light fixtures were offered to parishioners for $5 each (223:30/10/83). Everything possible was done to cut costs. Used solid oak church pews were purchased for $2,240 (1/3 the cost of new pews) and light fixtures and ceiling fans were purchased wholesale at a savings of 65%. "Since the collections have been good and our dances, breakfasts, and fiestas have been successful, we have been able to pay for our construction as we go along. So when we finish, it will all be paid for- thanks to you," said Fr. Underwood (223:06/11/83).

Many parishioners helped

The job involved many volunteers. Persons who assisted with the remodeling of the church in July were listed in the July 31, 1983 Sunday Bulletin. They were Paul Samaneigo, José Samaniego, Lorenzo Ramírez, Luis Martinez, Juán Flores, Rick Knoedel, Daniel Acuña, Emilio Tapia, Daniel Rodriguez, Ray Cortez, Rudy Yanez, Jesse Hernandez, Tony Verver, Salvador Reyna, Alfonso López, Mike Hernandez, Rufus Davila, Lorenzo Rodriguez, Cruz De Hoyos, Cruz Vasquez, Gregorio Trejo, Gumencindo Castro and his daughters. Mary Longoria and Macrina Tijerina provided food for the workers (223:31/07/83).

In August, the following men worked to renovate the church and the barracks: Enrique Saenz, Paul Samaniego, Joe Luna, Enrique Flores, Ray Cortez, Ray Vasquez, Sabino Cruz, Juan Rodriguez, Bob Trochta, Agustin Arredondo, Elia Flores, Consuelo Reyna, Joe Treviño, Francis Treviño, Marcela Lune, Virgil Almogabar and Marcelina Vasquez (223:14/08/83).

As work continued into the fall, the pastor faithfully recorded and acknowledged the work done by his parishioners. He noted that Benito Govea had a dump truck that he purchased after he retired from his job as a deliveryman for a lumber yard. The truck was his hobby and he used it often to help the church (223:07/08/83). Mr. León Hernandez donated his moving van and his time to drive to Alvin, Texas, to pick up the sixteen used church pews. Ruben Molina accompanied him on the trip. Richard Knoedel did the wiring in the church renovation (223:13/11/83). On November 20, the pastor noted that Pete Castillo, Tomas Rodriguez, Arthur Solalinde, John Treviño, Carlos Samilpa and Paul Samaneigo painted the church last Saturday and that Joe and Frances Treviño cooked lunch for them (223:20/11/83). The following week, the pastor noted that Polinar Reyes, Pete Castillo, David Tello, Bilbert Tello and Paul Samaneigo painted the church last Saturday and Luis Prado painted in the church all of last week (223:27/11/83). Paul Samaneigo and Sabino Cruz both worked at half salary during the renovation of the church (223:01/01/84). Manuel Castillo hauled away the pile of bricks from behind the Church. These bricks came from the interior wall that was removed (223:08/01/84) (223:05/02/84).

The carpet for the church cost $11,655.75. The men of the church installed it. The Guadalupanas donated $3,000 and the Breakfast Groups donated $8,671.20 to pay for the carpet (223:11/12/83). In January 1984, AstroTurf rugs were placed at the church entrance to collect dirt from shoes (223:15/01/84).

Women also helped maintain the church

Not all of the helpers were construction workers. María Galvan, María Vasquez and her daughter, Eloisa Cruz, and Mary Sandoval cleaned the church on a weekly basis for many months during 1983 (223:20/11/83). Ray Cortez, Ruben Molina Sr. and Ruben Molina Jr. both worked in the church. María Galvan, Mary Sandoval, Jesse and Luisa Hernandez cleaned and decorated the church in 1984 (223:01/01/84). María Galvan, Eloisa Cruz and Mary Vasquez cleaned the church each Friday and Trine Ramírez cleaned the rectory once a week. Molly Resas prepared food for the priests every Wednesday (223:29/01/84).

To squeeze even more people into the church, a folding door was installed to close the choir section behind the altar. Mass was said there (in what was called the Small Chapel) on Monday, Thursday and Friday at 7:00PM. The folding door was opened on Tuesday and Wednesday to accommodate the 100 youths who attended the Mass (223:01/01/84).

The renovation project was long and costly but it increased the seating capacity of the church from 450 to 650 persons. However, the pastor noted that there were still persons who stood during the 9:30AM and 11:00AM Masses (223:27/05/84). The pastor suggested they use the choir area for seating during the 9:30AM, Children's Mass and the 1:00PM Youth Mass (223:22/01/84).

Bishop Harris blessed the renovated church on Feb. 11, 1984 at the beginning of the 7:00PM Mass (223:05/02/84). The total cost of renovating the church in 1983 was $57,126 (223:12/02/84). No money was borrowed for the project (223:13/05/84). The church still owed $3,000 from a previous renovation with the final note due on March 1, 1985 (223:12/02/84) in addition to the loans on the school and the Community Center.

The bell tower, June 1984- August 1985

The pastor, Rev. Fred Underwood, was extremely proud of the renovation project he had just finished. He had shown that the men of the parish could do much of the work on a major construction project while, at the same time, raising the funds needed. He announced in May 1984 that the total cost of expansion and remodeling of the church including pews, stack chairs and the choir was $56,126.53 and that no money was borrowed for the project (223:13/05/84). Now, Underwood intended to convert Fr. Houser's cafeteria into a proper church.

A drawing of work he planned was included as an insert in the Sunday Bulletin. The work consisted of: 1. A bell tower would be built on top of the present brick entrance wall. The bell in the front yard would be painted and installed. 2. Below the bell tower would be a canopy that extended from the front entrance to the next set of steps. 3. An arch of brick would be put around the existing window in the middle of the front wall of the church. The drawing also showed a new entrance on the east side if and when the church needed to expand in the future (223:27/05/84). Only one parishioner of all who attended the weekend Masses opposed building the bell tower (223:03/06/84).

Construction on the canopy was underway in June (223:24/06/84). Paul Samaniego donated a second smaller bell for the church tower (223:05/08/84). He, Augustine Redondo and Eustolio Treviño helped pour the concrete beam for the canopy and bell tower (223:26/08/84). In November, Paul Samaniego, Lawrence Ramírez and Alberto Juarez gave the bell tower its first coat of stucco (223:04/11/84). In December, Paul Samaniego, Albert Juarez, Paul Sulaica Jr. and A. Arredondo Jr. applied a second coat of stucco. María Galvan, Junaita Rodriguez, Tiburcia Rodriguez and Consuela Reyna cooked for the workers (223:16/12/84). Albert Juarez, Paul Sulaica Jr. and Paul Samaniago applied the final coat in February (223:17/02/1985). Paul Samaniego went to Mexico to buy roof tile for the canopy (223:18/11/84) but found what he needed in San Antonio (223:25/11/84). Other men who worked on the bell tower were Domingo Rivas, Albert Juarez and Mac Zepeda (223:09/12/84).

Construction of the bell tower and canopy at the church entrance was completed at the cost of $13,998.48. Mr. Matt Martinez (of Matt's El Rancho Restaurant) said "that he is going to pay for the construction of the Church Canopy and Bell Tower" when the project was first introduced in April 1984 (223:04/11/84). He made good on his promise in February 1985 (223:03/02/1985).

Work on the entrance did not stop in February. The parish decided to lay tile at the entrance of the church to match the red tile on the roof. The 12:30PM choir donated the tile (223: 24/02/1985) and, in May, Albert Juarez and Paul Sulaica installed it (223: 02/06/1985). Henry Saenz hauled the sand and Paul Samaniego cut the front doors of the church to provide clearance for the tile (223: 09/06/1985). The color of the brick used on the canopy and bell tower did not match the color of the brick used on the church. The architect advised painting it all with masonry paint, an adobe sand color, which is the color of Mission Churches, so Underwood had the whole building painted in August 1985 (223: 25/08/1985).

Men who helped on the building included Enrique Saenz, Ruben Molina and Sabino Cruz (55) (223: 03/01/1985). Eugene Gaona loaned his trailer (223: 07/04/1985). In November, the men built a storage shed for materials used in the Jamaica (223:04/11/84). In those days, the booths used at the Jamaica were not tents and they had to be reconstructed each year and then demolished following the Jamaica.

Planned 3rd renovation of the church, November 1985- February 1986

In May 1985, even before the bell tower project was finished, the pastor called a parish meeting in the Community Center to discuss the "need for an additional wing on the church about a year from now to meet the need for additional seating". He pointed out the need for additional parking around the church and therefore the need to purchase a piece of property. He pointed out the need for an air conditioner for the present wing and the Mother with Infants' room. He also said that the oil-fired boiler that heated the church needed to be replaced (223: 12/05/1985).

Less than two years after a major expansion of the church sanctuary, it was apparent that the church was again overcrowded. In September 1985, the pastor urged adults attending the 9:30AM Sunday Mass on Sunday to attend another Mass on Sunday after the children started CCD Classes on September 22 (223: 15/09/1985). He pointed out that there was standing room only at 9:30AM and 11:00AM Sunday Masses and that, "Outreach programs to inactive Catholics had been placed on hold, because we have no room at the majority of Masses to accommodate them" (223: 03/11/1985). The parish decided once again to expand the church sanctuary.

On Monday, November 4, 1985, Underwood called a meeting in the school to discuss his plan to add another wing to the existing church. An insert in the Sunday Bulletin showed the floor plan and elevation of the new wing. He also discussed the various features of the planned construction in the Sunday Bulletin (223: 03/11/1985). The following Sunday, an insert in the Sunday Bulletin contained a revised plan (223: 10/11/1985).

A week later, the pastor reported that Bishop Harris has given his permission to build the new wing and that Leo Danze of Danze-Davis, Architects, was drawing the plans. The same firm had drawn the plans for the renovation of 1983. The architect would also apply for a Building Permit from the City. The pastor's plan was to do his own contracting and use parishioners as much as possible. "We will pay for it as we go along" (223:17/11/1985), just as he had done in 1983.

Renovation plans were shelved, 1986- 1987

In February 1986, Paul Samaneigo was hired to build the new wing on the church. While he waited for the building permit, he did other work around the parish grounds. He installed red tile under the front canopy in front of the church and helped install the new boiler for the Church building (223: 02/02/1986). He was waiting in May when the pastor announced that the parish would be building a new church building instead of expanding the existing building (223: 11/05/1986).

During 1986, as the congregation waited for construction on the third church to begin, work continued on the second church. Ralph D. Rivera lived on Montopolis Drive and ran an HVAC repair service (223: 24/11/1985). In November 1985, he was hired to repair the AC units at the church (223: 17/11/1985). In the spring of 1986, Eleazar Tamayo spread piles of dirt and leveled the church property to prepare it for planting grass seed (223; 16/03/1986) and a few weeks later Henry Saenz supervised the planting of grass seed (223; 23/03/1986).

Parishioner Olivia Guerrero sent a work crew from H. A. Guerrero Carpet Cleaners to clean the carpet in the church (223:27/04/1986) and in September Paul Martinez, Salvador Pérez and Francisco Pérez built a ramp at the entrance to the church to prevent tripping accidents (223:21/09/1968). In February 1987, Herbert Hernández and his daughter, Theresa, recovered all the kneelers in the church (223:15/02/1987) and in March Emilio Cavazos repaired the speaker system in the church and parish hall (223:01/03/1987). Emilio Cavazos ran an electronics repair shop.

Fourth Renovation, 1988

In January 1988, when the third church was almost ready for occupancy, the service entrance and distribution panel in the second church had to be replaced. $25,000 had been allocated to renovate the second church to provide six new classrooms and a nursery. This money had to be used to upgrade the electrical service. Since the church had no more borrowing capacity, the pastor applied to the Kenedy Foundation of Corpus Christi for a grant of $54,485.00 (223:03/01/1988). The grant was not forthcoming and in May, it was announced that the renovation project would be delayed until funds were available (223:15/05/1988).

In January 1989, Matt Martinez donated $25,000 to partition the 2nd church into classrooms for use by the CCD program (242). This donation was combined with $25,000 raised by the youth (223:30/07/1989) and the planned renovation got underway.

J & F Carpet donated the carpet to complete the renovation of the old church in September 1990 (223:09/09/1990).

1992 and beyond

In May 1992, folding doors were installed in the classrooms adjacent to the large chapel (where Mass is celebrated for CCD children) to enlarge the chapel to accommodate 300 or more persons. Another 200 folding chairs were purchased in addition to the 100 already purchased to seat 300 people in the large chapel. This will allowed use of the "former church" for Saturday Retreats and Renewals. The renovation and chairs were paid from donations to the Sacred Heart Chapel (223:10/05/1992).

The Sacred Heart Gift Shop opened in the Sacred Heart Chapel on May 1993. This combined the stores in the church office, in the Sacred Heart Chapel and the new church. The enlarged store was open on Sundays and Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00PM to 9:00PM. On May 14, Friday, after 7:00PM Mass the Sacred Heart Chapel was re-opened with an Enthronement Ceremony (223:09/05/1993).


San José Parochial School, 1957- 1973

School attendance became compulsory in Austin on January 1, 1917 (32). After that date, all children were required to attend school. Previously Anglo children, and some Mexican and African-American children, attended private or community-sponsored schools that charged a fee. Now all children were expected to attend free public schools that were supported by a tax on real estate.

Two Catholic parochial schools existed in Austin in 1917. St. Mary's Academy, located at E. 10th Street, opened before 1874 and served Anglo students (139) (270). In 1915, Dominican sisters from Galveston arrived in Austin to teach at a Mexican school that was attached to Guadalupe Parish. Guadalupe Church was located on the north side of W. 5th between Guadalupe and San Antonio Streets (134). The church building was converted for use as a parochial school (12) and the Sisters of St. Dominic and later, Sisters of the Holy Cross, staffed the church and the school (132).

Mexican students who were not enrolled in the school at Guadalupe Church usually attended school with Anglo students. In 1916, West Avenue School was opened for Austin's "non-English speaking community". The school superintendent pledged that Mexican students would be placed in neighborhood schools as soon as they learned English and completed the 4th grade (32) (231) (270). Austin's largest Mexican community, called West Side or Little Mexico, was adjacent to and east of West Avenue (270).

In 1923, East Avenue School, later named Comal Street School, opened as a segregated Mexican school on the other side of Austin (32). All Mexican students from Palm, Metz and Bickler schools, who were attending school with Anglo students, were transferred to this school (231). Comal Street School was closed in 1936 after Zavala School opened (231).

Mexicans attended Anglo schools

Usually, Mexican students in Austin attended the nearest Anglo school. There was no Mexican school in South Austin. There was a Negro school where St. Elmo Elementary is today and there was a Negro school in the Brackenridge neighborhood located between East Bouldin Creek and Congress Avenue (253). Mexican students from the neighborhood of San José church attended Becker Elementary School, built in 1939, and then Fulmore School on Congress Avenue for the 7th and 8th grade. They transferred to Allen Junior High School for the 9th grade. Few Anglo students and even fewer Mexican students stayed in school past the 9th grade in 1940.

In April 1945, Rev. Mendez observed that there were 100 Mexican children attending three public schools within a mile of San José Mission (77). He also observed that there had been a 20% increase in the number of Mexican families buying homes near the mission (78). After San José Church was built, a large number of Mexican families moved to the Bouldin Addition neighborhood from rural parts of Travis, Hayes and Caldwell Counties as well as East Austin.

Fr. Mendez recognized the need for a parochial school. He began seeking funding from the Catholic Church Extension Society for a school/church hall at San José to serve its 138 children and 150 adults. He estimated a total cost of $7,500 with the local people subscribing $500 (77). In total, Mendez was asking for $15,500 from the Catholic Extension Society. The Bishop's Office complained that this was too much for one parish to ask for and he urged Mendez to ask more of his parishioners (46).

By 1946, the number of children whose parents were registered at San José Church and who were attending public schools with American children had increased to 130. Bishop Lucey agreed that the parish needed a school (82) but the parish had other priorities and nothing further was done until 1956.

San José Parochial School, 1956

In 1955, work began to relocate San Jose Church from the small site on W. Mary Street to the ten-acre campus south of Oltorf Street. The second San José Church opened for services in February 1956 on the new campus. That year, the parish purchased four surplus military barracks from Bergstrom Air Force Base for $45 each (211) (223:07/28/63). One was used as the parish hall and the other three were arranged in a U-shape and made into the parish school (12).

The three barracks was known as the School Compound. The School Compound was located where the third church was built in 1987. The buildings were arranged in order of grade level so the children moved around the circle as they increased in age.

Classes at San José School began in September 1957 with First Grade and Kindergarten (211) (86). In 1957, there were 75 Kindergarten and seventeen 1st grade students with two teachers (Mrs. Elizabeth Garcia and Miss Kay Loera) (235). In the spring, seventy Kindergarten students graduated with each receiving a diploma from Father Houser (235).

A grade level was added each year (211). In 1958-59, the teachers were Miss Eloise Hipolito, Miss Kay Loera and Mrs. Isabel Garcia (Photo081-086). A third barracks was purchased and Miss Hipolito was hired to teach a class of forty children (235).

Teaching Sisters arrived, 1959-1960

Fr. Houser recalled that, "the Mother General from France (offered Holy Cross) Teaching Sisters" in 1957 (223:07/28/63) but, for the first two years, the teachers were lay women. In September 1959, three Sacred Heart Sisters from San Antonio arrived to take charge of the school (86) (211). The barracks that had been used as the church hall was converted into a convent where the Religious Sisters lived. Another surplus military building was acquired and renovated as the parish hall (12). During the 1959 school year, 174 children were enrolled in grades K-3 (86).

Another grade level was added in September 1960. Four Religious Sisters taught grades One to Four and Miss Yolanda Sanchez was employed as the Kindergarten teacher (235). When the schoolyear ended in May 1961, Miss Kay Loera was the Kindergarten teacher (223:05/28/61). Miss Yolanda Sanchez and Miss Ramona Hernandez taught summer school in the parish hall during June, July and August (223:05/27/62). Summer school was open five days each week from 9:00AM to 12 noon. The children were taught arts and crafts. The cost was 25 cents per day (223:06/03/62).

Children who attended public school were required to attend Doctrina or religious education classes on Saturday morning during the schoolyear (223:05/14/1961). There were almost as many children enrolled in religious education classes at San José as there were children enrolled in the parochial school (223:10/21/62) (223:11/03/63) (86) (223:05/17/64). The religious education program was a large operation involving ten to fourteen volunteer teachers, two or three drivers and a number of other helpers. The program became even more important in 1962 when Pope Pius 10th made the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine obligatory for all Catholics (223:09/16/62). In 1963, 262 children enrolled in the CCD program at San Jose parish (223:11/03/63).

Grade Five added, 1961-1962

In September 1961, a fifth grade was added to San José School (223:05/14/61). When school opened on September 5, the school employed the following teachers: Kindergarten-Miss Yolanda Sanchez, First Grade-Sister Rose Therese, SSCJ, Second Grade-Sister Mary Frances, SSCJ, Third Grade-Sister Anne of the Eucharist, SSCJ, Fourth & Fifth Grades- Sister Magdalen, SSCJ (223:08/27/61). Sister Magdalen also served as the principal and the Superior (223:09/03/61). Mrs. Gloria Ramírez also taught at the school, perhaps as a substitute (235).

Saturday Doctrina classes were scheduled to meet from 9:00AM to 11:00AM from September 30, 1961 until the end of May 1962. Two hundred and nineteen children who attended public school were enrolled in Doctrina classes (223:10/21/62) (223:09/24/61). After the regular schoolyear ended at the end of May, Miss Yolanda Sanchez and Miss Ramona Hernandez once again taught summer school in the parish hall. Summer school classes were held in the morning during the work week (223:06/03/62).


In July 1962, Sister Magdalen of the Cross, SSCJ, announced her departure after serving at San José for three years. Sister Louise Marguerite replaced her as school principal and two new teachers were added (235). The teachers for the 1962-1963 schoolyear were Sister Louise Margaret, Principal and Superior, who taught 5th and 6th grades; Sister Cecilia of the Blessed Sacrament, who taught 3rd and 4th grades; Sister Elias Conception, who taught 2nd grade; Sister Rose Therese, who taught 1st grade and Miss Yolanda Sanchez, who taught Kindergarten (223:07/29/62).

In addition to the Religious Sisters, who were paid $70 per month (223:02/03/63) and the other teachers, the school depended on unpaid volunteers to maintain the school and help with the students. In January 1963, the lunchroom mothers included Chairman Angela Garcia; Vice-Chairman Antonia Guardiola and Helpers: Jane Alleman, Celia Guerra, Raymunda Rios, Estella Masters, Lenora Simmons, Rosalie Moreno, Trinidad Ramirez, Eloisa Botello, Nettie Rocha, Helen Lawler, Janie Martinez and Estafanie Carillo (223:01/27/63). Volunteers maintained the school (223:04/16/61), raised funds (223:05/14/61), served a mentors (223:09/02/62), acted a drivers and chaperons (235) and performed a variety of other functions to keep the school open. The room mothers in 1963 were: Grade 6 Mrs. Antonia Guardiola, Lydia Treviño; Grade 5 Mrs. Mary Gonzalez; Grade 4 Mrs. Gloria De Anda; Grade 3 Mrs. Scott and Estela Masters; Grade 2 Mrs. Celia Guerra and Angie Garcia; Grade Mrs. Toni Juarez; Kindergarten Mrs. Barbara Gonzalez and Stephanie Carillo (223:03/10/63).

306 pupils in K-8th grade, 1963-1964

When Austin schools opened on September 3, 1963, San José School enrolled students in Kindergarten and seven grades with four Sisters and two Lay Teachers (223:08/11/63). The teachers were: Sister Louise Marguerite, Superior and Principal; Sister Maurice Maria; Sister Elias Concepcion; Sister Lucille Agnes; Mrs. Alfonso Ramirez and Miss Yolanda Sanchez (223:08/25/63). In 1964, there were 306 pupils enrolled in grades K-8 (86). Beginning in 1958, the school began participating in the Federal School Lunch Program that provided free or discounted lunch to needy students. In 1962, an average of 65 children was enrolled and, in 1963, an average of 81 children was enrolled in the program. Fr. Houser said that the school received $1,643 from the government for the program. He said he ate lunch in the cafeteria most days during the last five years (223:10/13/63).


San José School opened in September 1964 with classes from Kindergarten to grade eight. The school uniform was a khaki shirt and trousers for boys with a maroon belt and tie. The girls wore a maroon jumper and beanie with a white blouse (223:05/24/64). The school was full to capacity and had a waiting list of students seeking to enroll (223:05/17/64). Money for the school was tight and the PTA were actively involved in fund raising for the school (223:02/09/64).

The teachers for 1964-1965 schoolyear were: 8th and 7th grades Sister Louise Marguerite; 6th and 5th grades Sister Claude-Etienne, 4th grade Sister Lucille Agnes, 3rd grade Mrs. Martin W. Le Jeune, Jr., 2nd grade Mrs. Lawrence Miles, 1st grade Sister Dominic Savio and Kindergarten Miss Yolanda Sanchez. School began September 8, 1964 (223:08/30/64). Of the 306 enrolled children, 100 pay 25 cents to eat lunch prepared by Sr. and Sra. Jacinto Ramos and Sra. Dora Vega. The meals were subsidized by US Dept. of Agriculture (223:10/11/64). San Jose School was the 6th largest school in the Diocese of Austin although it was started only eight years earlier (223:03/21/65).

In May 1965, the first 8th grade class graduated. The graduating students were Minerva Alcoser, Emma DeLeon, Tony Herrera, Celilia Martinez, Dora Ramirez, Caroline Reyna, Rosie Salas and Fernando Sanchez (223:05/23/65) (235). This marked end of eight years of operation for the school. Fr. Houser offered a special graduation Mass that was followed by breakfast and a guest speaker. Two students received $25 scholarship for best student (Minerva Alcoser) and most promising student (Tony Herrera) (235). Later, the graduates had dinner together at Green Pastures Restaurant near the church and then at El Rancho Restaurant on South Lamar (223:05/30/65). The owner of El Rancho was a parishioner and a benefactor of San José and the father of one of the graduating students.


During the 1965-1966 schoolyear, a new all masonry, air-conditioned school was under construction behind the existing church. Bishop Louis J. Reicher and the parish both approved construction of the new school. A question arose about whether or not to include a gymnasium in the building. The parish held two meetings to decide whether or not to build the gymnasium. The committee voted against building the gym because if the gym was included the interest on the note would be half of the church's income (223:06/06/65). Without the gym, the building was estimated to cost $125,000 (61).

The ground breaking ceremony took place on October 24, 1965. The San José PTA helped with the ceremony. The PTA President, Sgt. Gilbert Gonzalez, U.S.M.C., welcomed the crowd of over 600 people who witnessed the ceremony (37) (38).

The teachers were: 7th-8th grade and school Principal- Sister Mary Patricia; 5th-6th grade-Miss Gloria Martinez; 4th grade-Sister Teresa Ann; 3rd grade-Miss Ramona Hernandez; 2nd grade-Mrs. Gilbert Gonzalez; 1st grade-Sister Stella Marie; Kindergarten- Miss Sherry Segura (223:08/15/65). Sister Theresa Ann and Sister Stella Marie were new to the school. Sister Mary Patricia served as both Sister Superior and school Principal. When school opened on September 7, registration was still open for new pupils. There was room for three more children in grades 2 to 8 (223:08/29/65).

Daily Mass for the children was said at 11:25AM and, as was customary, one or two of the Sisters took charge of the choir (223:08/29/65). The 7th and 8th graders reorganized St. Joseph's Club and the Legion of Mary and published a newspaper called Newsview. San José School 7th and 8th grades had a girls volley ball and a boys basketball team (235). In December, instead of the traditional Christmas play, the 7th and 8th graders staged a Nativity Play and the 1st graders sang Christmas songs (235).

In February 1966, the 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Barbara Gonzales, gave birth to a baby girl. A little over a month later, she died from a ruptured blood vessel. This was a tragedy that deeply affected the children. Mrs. Gonzales began teaching Kindergarten at the school three years before and all of the children knew her. Mrs. Dolores Einig was hired to replace Mrs. Gonzales (235). As customary, the school children sold chocolate bars to raise funds for the school. The winner was to receive a new bicycle or $45. A 3rd grade student, Codina Bermudez, sold 152 bars and won the prize. She declined the bicycle and donated the $45 to the school (235).

The school's second 8th grade graduating class consisted of Henry Calderon, Susan Cavazos, Martha Campos, Sandra Guardiola, Anna Maria Herrera, Helen Moreno, Fay Nassour, Robert Ramirez, Carmen Rangel, Ramon Samilpa, Susie Sanchez, Jo Ann Treviño, and Mary Ann Vasquez (235). The graduation Mass was a gala attended by the whole school. After Mass, breakfast was served and speeches given. PTA President Mr. Julian Lopez presented a $50 scholarship to Martha Campos and Mr. Sam Guerra of the Catholic War Veterans awarded Raymond Samilpa $50 as the most promising student of the year (235). Afterward, the students attended the wedding Mass of the 5th and 6th grade teacher, Miss Gloria Martinez, and the 8th grade graduates and the 7th graders attended a party from 1:00PM- 4:00PM hosted by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Catholic War Veterans Post at San Jose (235).

During the summer, the Federal Government Anti-Poverty program paid Sister Patricia and two teachers to teach summer school for six weeks. Fifty-six students attended the classes (235). Construction on the new school was nearing completion and the church community raised money for furnishings. In June, various fund raising events raised a total of $185.35 to purchase tables and chairs for the kindergarten. One family sold raspas and earned $3.25. Several members of the Sociedad del Sagrado Corazón sold cakes and earned $18.00. The Catholic Youth Organization of San Jose raised $30. A rummage Sale raised $57 and a Cake Sale sponsored by the Parent Teacher Association raised $77.10. The pastor wrote, in the Sunday Bulletin, "Thank you very much, every individual" (223:06/26/66).

A new school building, 1966-1967

The new school building was ready for occupancy in October 1966. The new building was a two-story building with brick exterior and concrete block interior with terrazzo floors. The architect was Bill Scudder of Austin and the general contractor was C and H Construction (61). It had ten classrooms, a library, a reading room and an office and was air-conditioned (12) (86) (92) (211) (235).

The October 9, 1966 Sunday Bulletin listed the total costs of the new building as $127,824.04 plus related expenses for a total debt of $143,638.36. Fr. Houser was confident that the parish could handle the expense. He wrote, "We began to pay the first debt of $101,000 (for the church) in January 1956 and finished paying it in May 1966. It took us 10 years and 4 months to pay it". He said the new debt was for $150,000 (223:10/09/66). Bishop Reicher blessed the new school building during a ceremony on November 6 (12) (223:09/25/66).

Classes began on September 6 with two teacher aides paid by the government, Mrs. Inez Rymer and Miss Mary Ann Macias. The teachers were: Kindergarten-Mrs. Leola Botello; First Grade-Sister Stella Marie; Second Grade-Mrs. Dolores Einig; Third Grade-Miss Ramona Hernandez; Fourth Grade-Mrs. Z. T. A. Norton; Fifth-Sixth Grade-Sister Michael Ernest; Seventh and Eighth Grade-Sister Mary Patricia. Fr. Houser commented that, "Our Sisters set the tone for our School. We appreciate them" (223:09/11/66).

The PTA was assigned to show visitors the new school at the blessing of the school by the Bishop on November 6, 1966 (223:10/16/66). The PTA President was also the Master of Ceremonies at the ceremony (223:11/06/66)

The school lunch program continued. Milk sold for 3 cents and lunch cost 25 cents. Fr. Houser advised that, "We should not sell them anything sweet until after dinner. That way", he continued, "they will use the 25 cents for a meal, as their Mothers intend" (223:09/04/66). In May, the school graduated Johnny Campos, Margaret Casarez, Johnny Cortez, Juán Flores, Valentino Luna, Irene Rocha and Linda Soliz (235).


On July 2, 1967, Rev. Joseph Houser left San José Parish after serving as its pastor for 18 years. The following week, Rev. John Haley, C.S.C., and Rev. Mike Mikan, C.S.C., and Brother Gregory, C.S.C., introduced themselves to the parish as the new pastoral team (223:07/09/67).

The school opened on September 3, 1967 with the following teachers: Mrs. Pete Botello and Mrs. Inez Rymer, Kindergarten; Sister Stella Marie, First Grade; Mrs. Dolores Einig, 2nd grade; Mrs. Rose Mary Benavides, 3rd grade; Mrs. Marie Tuton, 4th grade; Mrs. Martha Hawkins, 5th grade; Sister Mary Edward, 6th grade; Sister Mary Angelina and Mrs. Nancy Kuhr, 7th and 8th grades; Mr. Byron Hingle, Physical Education (223:09/03/67) (213).

During the 1967- 1968 schoolyear, it became apparent that the parish could not pay the cost of operating the school while also paying off the parish debt. In November, the Parish Council formed an educational committee consisting of Sister Angelina, Moses Saldana, Jim Pinget, Celia Guerra, Pete Botello and Evangeline Briones (213). The Parish Council was an experiment in democracy that was organized by Fr. Houser in January 1967. The Parish Council consisted of twenty-nine elected parishioners who served on six committees (223:02/19/67).

In December, the Parish Council reported that the debt for the new school was $144,000 with payments due semi-annually (213). The average expense for the school was $18,000 per year with an average tuition of $3,600 per year. This left an operating deficit of $14,400 per year. The Parish Council voted to begin a monthly Second collection for three months as a trial to see if the parish could handle the deficit (213). In the meantime, the Socios and the Guadalupanas both donated $3,000 each to pay down the debt on the school. At that time, the amount due was $3,292.62 in interest and $3,000.00 towards the principal. The payments were due every six months (223:12/31/67).

In January, the Parish Council reported that in 1967 expense of running the San José School was $20,320.90. Income from tuition was $6,802.41. The yearly payments on the principle of $6,000 and on the interest of $6,000 in interest were in addition to operating expenses of the school. The total cost to operate the school was $32,000 for 1967. The expenses were: interest $6,585.24; principle $6,000; teacher salaries $15,300; other school expenses $5,021 (223:01/21/68).

In February 1968, The Texas Education Agency provided Sister Angelina with a list of requirements for accreditation of the 7th and 8th grades. The school would have to install laboratory equipment. The Education Committee of the Parish Council toured Fulmore Jr. High School to see their lab facilities. Sister Angelina estimated the cost of lab equipment for the 7th and 8th grades would be $800 per year (213).

The additional expense forced the Parish Council to consider whether or not to continue the 7th and 8th grades at the school. The Parish was already subsidizing the school with $27,000 per year. Of the $27,000, $12,000 was donated by the Socios and the Guadalupanas and $15,000 came from the parish's Second Sunday Collections. More importantly, of the 200 children of San Jose parishioners who attended 7th and 8th grades in 1968, only ten 8th graders and fifteen 7th graders attended the San José School. The other 175 children attended public schools. Frs. Haley and Mikan considered this to be the main problem facing the parish (223:04/21/68).

In April 1968, the Parish Council was split on whether or not to close the 7th and 8th grades (213). In May, Fr. Haley reported that the Bishop did not want to close the 7th and 8th grades and suggested seeking federal aid money. The Parish Council knew that this was not possible (213) but decided to postpone any decision.

During all this, the school continued to operate as usual. Sister Stella and Mr. Frank Macias coached a drill team that was selected to perform at the Golden Gloves boxing event at the City Coliseum (223:02/18/68). The team sold barbecue after Mass to raise money for their uniforms and equipment (223:03/10/68). The PTA sold cakes after Mass to finance their activities (223:11/12/67). The school year ended in May with Masses for the grammar school and high school graduates (223:05/19/68).

After the schoolyear ended, the Sunday Bulletin listed the operating expenses for Sept. 1, 1967 through Sept. 1, 1968. A total of $38,802 was spent on utilities, books, maintenance ($9,645); Salaries ($17,157) and debt payments ($12,000). School income was $12,000 from the bingo games run by the Socios; $1,629 from the PTA and $7,858 from tuition for a total income for the year of $21,488. The income of the parish was $24,000 per year. Of that amount, the church spent $17,314 for the school. This left $6,685 to run the church, the rectory and the parish hall. The monthly cost to run the school was $3,233. The monthly cost to run the parish excluding the school was $557 (223:06/02/68).


During the 1968-1969 school year, San José School offered classes from kindergarten through the 8th grade with six full-time teachers (223:08/17/69). In February, the school received new science lab tables and a new science teacher (213). The School Principal, Sister Angelina, reported that school uniforms were being changed. She also noted that tuition at Holy Cross High School had increased (213). At the end of the schoolyear, she reported that $2,000 in tuition was still unpaid from the previous year (223:08/17/69).

The Sociedad del Sagrado Corazón had managed bingo games on Wednesday and Sunday nights since 1962. All the proceeds were donated to the parish and used to pay its expenses (223:11/26/67). Often the profits from the two bingo games were equal to one-half of the income from the Sunday Collection (223:07/09/61). The bingo games were the source of the $12,000 the Socios donated to the school in 1968-1969. In October 1968, the P.T.A. announced that it would sponsor a third bingo game, on Friday night, to benefit the school (213).

In January 1969, the parish broke ground for a community center on the site of the old parish hall. The intention was that the community center would be rented to other entities with the proceeds used for the San José School (94). The highly profitable bingo games would also be moved to the community center.

The parish leadership continued to study the issue of how to control expenses of the school. In April 1969, the PTA surveyed parents of children who attended the parochial school. Twenty-eight parents wanted to keep the 7th and 8th grades and forty-three wanted to close the 7th and 8th grades (213). The following month, the Education Committee of the Parish Council distributed a questionnaire to the parishioners at all Masses on May 18 about whether to close the 7th and 8th grades. 293 parishioners filled out and returned the questionnaires (213).


The schoolyear opened on September 2 with classes in kindergarten through 8th grade. Uniforms were no longer required but could be purchased "for economic reasons" (223:08/31/69). The schoolyear began with a Mass at 8:00AM. The lunch program was moved to the new San José Community Center and parents were encouraged to eat a hot lunch with their children in the new hall on Tuesday or Thursday between 11:30AM and noon (223:11/16/69).

At the end of the year, Sister Angelina announced that tuition at the San Jose School was scheduled to increase for the coming year (213). She also announced that junior high school grades (7th and 8th) were closed because of the expense (12) (86). Parents were advised in the Sunday Bulletin that there would be no 7th and 8th grades at San Jose School in the fall. They are advised to register their children in the school at nearby St. Ignatius Church (223:04/26/70).

In March 1970, the Parish Council estimated that in 1969 payments on the school debt were $6,007, payments on the school principle were $6,000, teacher's salaries were $21,904 and other expenses for the school and convent (where the Sisters lived) was $10,496 (223:03/01/70).

During the summer, Sister Angelina was in charge of a government-sponsored Summer School program (223:05/17/70). The program was free and was taught by the Sisters. The "head-start" program was for children entering first grade in September. The classes began at 8:30AM and ended at 11:30AM during the work week (223:06/07/70).

91 pupils in K-6th grade, 1970-1971

Registration for the 1970-1971 school year began on August 16 with school scheduled to begin on August 31 (223:08/16/70). The children were required to have a vaccination certificate showing shots for polio, smallpox, measles, tetanus and diphtheria to enter kindergarten, first grade and seventh grade (223:08/23/70).

Ninety-five students registered for class. There were eighteen students in kindergarten and 77 in grades 1st-6th. The 3rd grade (10 students) and 4th grade (10 students) were formed into one class and the 5th grade (12 students) and 6th grade (7 students) into the other. The hot lunch program continued on Tuesday and Thursday (223:09/05/70). Final enrollment figures were: Kindergarten 12; first grade 22; second grade 16; third & fourth grade 20; fifth & sixth grade 21. The previous year enrollment numbered 175 students. In 1970-1971 the school enrolled 91 students. The school had four full-time teachers, one secretary and three teaching Sisters (213).

In the spring of 1971, the school was in danger of closing. Once again, the Parish Council was called on to decide whether or not to keep the school open with K-3 or K-6 or to close it (213). Sister Angelina registered children and prepared to reopen the school in September despite the uncertainty (223:05/16/71). Report cards were distributed May 31 at 8:30AM followed by an award ceremony in the community center (223:05/23/71).

Once again the Sisters opened registration for summer pre-school classes for 1st graders entering school in September. The class met for half a day in the morning from June 7 to July 16 without charge (223:05/23/71).


Classes for the 1971-1972 schoolyear began on August 25 at 8:15AM (223:08/08/71). Tuition increased and school fees for the pre-school class was $30 for children under 5 and $20 for age 5 and over (223:01/08/71). Parishioners were encouraged to purchase new books being sold by the Sisters to donate to the school library. The books would be inscribed with the names of the donors (223:29/09/71). In December, San José School presented a Christmas program at the Community Center as usual (223:12/12/71). Class was suspended for Christmas break and began again on January 3, 1972.

The Parish Council continued to study the feasibility of operating the school. The income during 1971 from tuition was $8,167.05. Expenses were: teacher's salaries $24,023.97; FICA on salaries $1,122.27; payment on the debt (paid by Monday and Wednesday Bingo) $11,467.50; school books and utilities (paid by PTA and Friday Bingo) $4,323.13 (223: 13/02/72).

The parish relied on income from the three weekly bingo games to meet its expenses. In 1971, $11,467.50 from the Monday and Wednesday bingo games were used to pay for principle and interest on the school debt. Another $14,026.25 was used to pay the debt on the Community Center. $9,640.81 was raised by the PTA from Friday Night Bingo games. This too was spent to maintain the school (223:13/02/72).

The school's final year, 1972-1973

In August 1972, San José Parish hired a coordinator of religious education to train parishioners for a "total religious education program (97). Ninety Catechists were trained for the CCD program (88).

Registration for the 1972-1973 schoolyear began August 28. The school had new staff and a new Principal, Mrs. Barbara Pérez (223: 27/08/72). During the 1972-1973 schoolyear, the enrollment was 81 students (86). The Parish Council voted to close the school (12). The Parish Council decided that it was unfair to use the resources of the parish to support a school that was attended by only a small minority of the children at the parish (12). The vast majority of the children of San José parishioners (between 200 and 500 students) attended nearby schools such as Becker Elementary, Fulmore Jr. High School and Travis High (223: 05/09/71).

After the San José School closed, the Sunday Bulletin encouraged parents to send their children to St. Ignatius School and to Becker Elementary Kindergarten (223:06/04/75). In the 1980s, San José parishioners who were interested in a Catholic education for their children were directed to St. Mary's Cathedral School for Kindergarten to Grade 6 and St. Ignatius Martyr for grades 6, 7 and 8 (223: 01/06/1986).


The San José School building was rented to a Day Care Center and the South Austin Neighborhood Center in 1973 (12) (9). In 1979, it was rented by City of Austin's Youth Employment Services and Austin Independent School District for use by the Alternative Education Center (12). In 1979, Brackenridge Hospital leased most of the San José Community Center for an outpatient clinic (12).


The church received rental income from the 1st floor of the school in 1983 ($4,800) and the hall from the daycare center ($4,212) (223:12/02/84). In 1983, the church owned $45,000 for the school with the final notes payable July 1, 1986 (223:12/02/84). In the meantime, twelve new central air conditioners were installed in the school at a cost of $13,750. At the end of 1985, $39,000 was owned on the school (223:03/02/1985) but the end was in sight. The final payment was paid on time and the pastor scheduled a note burning ceremony to celebrate the event (223:08/07/84). At the last minute, the note burning ceremony for the school debt was cancelled. Instead the pastor renewed the loan at the same interest and applied the $30,000.00 toward the payment for the third San Jose Church (223:06/07/1986).

The renovated barracks that served as the San Jose school buildings prior to 1966 continued to be used as CCD classrooms until the fall of 1986 when they were sold to make space for the third San José Church (223:28/12/1986). Between 1986 and 2018, every available space was occupied on Sunday mornings during the schoolyear. The Guadalupanas and the Socios held their monthly meetings in the Community Center while breakfast was served. Maintenance on the school continued and in February 1993 Olivia Guerrero donated and installed outdoor carpet in front of the church office and two entrances to the school (223:28/02/1993).

From 2002 until 2018, the school building was rented to San Juan Diego Catholic High School although San José parish had no formal ties to the high school. The high school paid for the maintenance on the building and allowed the parish to use it for the CCD program on Sunday and as meeting space on the weekend and in the evenings. In 2018, San Juan Diego Catholic High School moved to its own building adjacent to the old San José School. This did not change how the parish used the building. The old school building continues to serve the parish as meeting and classroom space for the parish religious education program (CCD) and the many groups and organizations of the parish.

The old building is in excellent shape although the utilities (plumbing and wiring) need to be upgraded. Although the San José Parochial School has long since closed, the building itself continues to be important in the functioning of the parish. 


San José Community Center

Before San José Church was built in 1940, the small congregation met on a platform on Luís Calderón's farm (221) or in the chapel of the rectory of St. Ignatius Church on Johanna Street (218). The stone church that was completed in June 1940 had neither a rectory nor a parish hall. The men of the parish built a platform abutting the rear of the church for use during fiestas but this was not an adequate substitute for a parish hall (25). The pastor, Rev. Mendez, listed the construction of a rectory and parish hall as among his top five priorities in 1945 (46).

The rectory replaced the parish hall, 1948

When Rev. Houser took charge of San José Parish in 1948, Bishop Reicher recommended that the parish build a rectory (211). At this time, the pastor was living in a rented room at St. Edward's University. The church had a sacristy but no office or meeting space. To this end, Houser purchased lot 6 next to the church on W. Mary Street where there was single-story house. Initially, the old house was remodeled and used as the parish hall. It was used for dances, fiestas and meetings. Shortly afterward, Rev. Frank Webber, C.S.C., and his team of carpenter priests demolished the old house and built a two-story rectory in its place (12). The downstairs of the rectory became the parish hall.

Somewhat later, possibly in June 1950, barracks from a US Army base in Bastrop County called Camp Swift were purchased for each of the missions of San José. The men of each church volunteered to fix these buildings into parish halls for meetings and celebrations (211). San José purchased a lot at the corner of S. 2nd and W. Annie Streets where "the Barracks Building" was situated (210). The building had electrical and water service and was used as the church hall. After the second San José church was built, the building was moved to the new campus and used for bingo games and Boy Scout meetings. After the barracks was moved, Houser sold the lot on W. Annie Street to Luís Calderón who sold it to Walter Garcia. Walter Garcia built a house on the lot (193).

The parish was relocated, 1957

When the parish moved to its new campus south of W. Oltorf Street in 1957, the parish purchased four surplus military barracks from Bergstrom Air Force Base (211). Three of the buildings were remodeled as classrooms for a parochial school. In September 1959, three Sacred Heart Sisters from San Antonio arrived to staff the San José school (12). The existing Parish Hall was converted in a convent where the three Religious Sisters would live and another surplus military barrack was purchased for use as a parish hall (12) (235).

The parish hall needed repairs, 1968

By 1968, the surplus Air Force barracks that served as the parish hall needed major repairs. Both the floor and the roof were in poor condition. The condition of the hall was brought to the attention of the Parish Council and, in its April meeting, the Parish Council voted to repair the existing building. At the same meeting, the council reconsidered the issue and voted to study the situation further. Later, the Parish Council voted to study the feasibility of building a new parish hall to replace the existing military-surplus building (213).

In June 1968, the Parish Council voted 12 to 2 to build a new parish hall rather than repair the old building (213). The next month, the entire parish was invited to a meeting to discuss the plan to build a new parish hall (223:07/07/68). By August, preliminary plans were approved (213). The January 5, 1969 Sunday Bulletin presented the details of the plan. C&H Construction was the lowest bidder at $114,270.00. Additional costs were the architect's fee of $7,200.00 and options such as an air conditioning system and parking lot improvements. The lowest bid for an air conditioning and heating system was $9,000.00 and the bid for asphalt pavement in front of the building was $6,000.00 (223:01/05/69). The 60' x 112' building would contain a kitchen, offices, a large game room, a concessions area and storage space. The total cost was estimated to be $134,000 (94). When the decision was made to build the Community Center, the parish's only outstanding loan was that of the school (223:06/12/66).

The Community Center, 1969

The ground breaking ceremony for the San José Community Center took place on January 24, 1969 (94). The new community center itself cost the church $89,274 inclusive of furniture. A loan of $80,000 at 4 ½ % was used to finance the construction (213). The pastor, Rev. John Haley, and the Assistant Pastor, Rev. Michael Mikan, realized that the parish would struggle to pay the debt so a fund raising campaign began in February soon after construction began. Enrique Saenz agreed to chair the campaign, called "Increased Income Campaign". The parish recruited 100 volunteer workers who agreed to ask parishioners to make weekly donations to a fund to pay for the new community center (95). Bishop Reicher came to San José and blessed the fundraising campaign and its volunteers (95).

In July, the Parish Life and Social Committee of Parish Council announced in the Sunday Bulletin that the new hall would be dedicated on August 31 (223:07/13/69). However, construction was behind schedule and, at the end of August, the dedication was postponed indefinitely (223:08/31/69). The dedication of the new hall was afterward rescheduled for September 28 (223:09/07/69) and then to September 26 (223:10/05/69). The first function at the new hall was on Saturday, October 11. The opening was delayed until then because grass was planted around the building and the grass needed time to get established (223:10/05/69).

Ben Vega was initially hired to manage the San Jose Community Center (213). Over the next three years, Ben Vega, Sam Guerra, Albert Mercado, Glen Rosendale, Raymond Castro and Byron Highfill managed the Community Center at different times (223:05/24/70) (223:06/06/71) (249:18/11/73). The Center was an ideal location for dances and, during 1970 and 1971, fifty-four dances were held there.

Bingo, 1972

The hope was that the income from the bingo games on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and from rentals of the center for parties and events would pay for the cost of operating the Community Center and making its debt payments. The pastor hoped that the Community Center would be rented with the proceeds used for the San José School (94). The annual payment on interest and principle for the Community Center was $13,000. Annual payments on the school debt were an additional $12,000. In part, the plan worked. In 1972, the Socios paid $13,641.25 towards the hall debt out of the proceeds from the Monday and Friday Bingo games (223:25/03/73). Usually, income from the Friday Bingo games, that the PTA managed, was used to pay down the school debt (223:13/02/72).

Unfortunately, income from the Community Center from outside groups barely offset the cost of salaries and utilities (223:13/02/72). The parishioners had pledged $1,400 a week during the Increased Income Campaign but the results were disappointing. The pastor reported that the Sunday collection was actually $700 per week. A few months after the Center opened, the pastor, Fr. John Haley, reported that both Sunday collections and bingo proceeds were down (223:10/26/69).

As expected, making the payments on the debt for the Community Center and school was difficult. Nevertheless, by the summer of 1971, the Community Center was able to generate enough income to contribute $500 to help the parish purchase a new station wagon (223:13/02/72). The Socios, the Guadalupanas, the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), the Community Center fund, the CCD and the PTA each contributed $500 to purchase a $3,000.00 station wagon for church use (223:13/02/72).

South Austin Neighborhood Center, 1974

In 1974, the San José Community Center was rented to the City of Austin as office space. In February, three nurses from the Austin Travis County Health Department had an office in the Center. A nurse was in the office all day on Fridays to serve walk-ins but the main function of the nurses was to visit school clinics and homes (249:03/02/74). Free financial advice was available at the community center 9-10AM every Saturday morning and free income tax preparation was offered to parishioners from 10AM to noon each weekday (249:17/02/74).

The San José Community Center was renamed the South Austin Neighborhood Center and housed the following programs: Information and Referral (i.e. filling out income tax returns); Medical Clinic (two doctors and three nurses with a pharmacy Monday and Thursday 7- 9PM); Visiting Nurses (four public health nurses were stationed at the Center); GED Classes (the classes were later held at Becker Elementary School); Senior Citizen Activities (Tuesday 10-noon at the grade school); Job Referral; Neighborhood Youth Corps (the teenagers and young adults working in the Center were paid by the Youth Corps); Income Tax Service; Senior Citizen Nutrition Program (every weekday from 11:30 to 1:30PM meals were provided to senior citizens); Tutoring for Elementary Students was being organized by a VISTA volunteer and an Adult Probation program was in the planning stages (249:07/04/74).

The teenagers and young adults who worked for the Neighborhood Youth Corps were also in charge of the San José CCD program. Two of them (Miss Vela and Mrs. Carlile) were hired by the Parish Board of Religious Education to run the CCD program (99). The two also ran a temporary employment program called Rent A Kid and managed a number of programs out of the Community Center. They ran the Neighborhood Center and formed the staff of the San José CCD and Samaritan newsletters. The Neighborhood Youth Corps paid their salaries (249:23/06/74). The CCD and Samaritan newsletters replaced the San José Sunday Bulletin from July 1973 (223) (249) until September 1974 (249:05/08/74). The Sunday Bulletins reappeared as the San José News in September 15, 1974 (250) and as the Weekly Bulletin on 5 January 1975 when the Youth Corps ceased operations.

August 5, 1974, was the last issue of the Samaritan. Both of its editors (Miss Vela and Mrs. Carlile) returned to their teaching jobs. The staff and the programs of the Neighborhood Center changed after August 1974. The Rent A Kid and the arts and crafts programs were terminated and new volunteers were recruited to run the Samaritan newsletter (249:21/07/74). The Medical Clinic stayed open for the summer months but its schedule changed (249:28/07/74). In October, some of the programs formerly offered by the South Austin Neighborhood Center were moved to Becker Community School on West Milton Street. These program included the adult education (GED) classes and sewing and crafts classes (223:29/09/74). In November 1974, the South Austin Neighborhood Center was still located in the San Jose Community Center (250:17/11/74). Sometime later, the South Austin Neighborhood Center was moved a quarter-mile east to a building adjacent to Gillis Park.

Outpatient Clinic, 1978

In July 1978, the City of Austin announced that it wanted to rent the Community Center for use as a medical clinic. The City Council had ordered Brackenridge Hospital to reduce its outpatient load by placing most its patients in clinics in their neighborhoods. Since the clinic for South Austin was not ready for occupancy, South Austin would be without a medical clinic for a period of 12-18 months. The City asked to rent the Community Center for a clinic until they could move into their new clinic adjacent to the South Austin Neighborhood Center (223:07/16/78). As a result, Brackenridge Hospital leased most of the San José Community Center for an outpatient clinic during 1979 (12).

The Community Center was a dance venue, 1983-1986

The Community Center was remodeled in April 1974 when the Neighborhood Center moved to the building (249:28/04/74). It was remodeled again in January 1986. At that time, a folding dividing wall was installed. The divider allowed two functions in the Center at the same time since the dividing wall was sound proof (223:02/02/1986). Raymond Castro and Paul Samaniego welded the braces for the door (223:19/01/1986). The folding dividing wall was removed when the Center was renovated again about fifteen years later.

Over the years, the men and women of the parish maintained and repaired the Community Center. In 1983, Maintenance of Buildings and Grounds was listed as one of twenty-three ministries of the church (223:10/04/83). Until Paul Samaneigo was hired to supervise construction of the third church in February 1986, Lorenzo Maldonado was the only full-time maintenance man for the parish's buildings and grounds (223:02/02/1986) and the parish relied on volunteer labor for maintenance.

Between 1983 and 1988, the following names of parishioners appeared in the Sunday Bulletin as having worked to repair or maintain the San Jose Community Center.

Boccanegra, Ernest

Castro, Michael

Castro, Raymond

Cavazos, Emilio

Cortez, Ray

Flores, Juan

Govea Sr., Benito

Govea, Ausencio


Moreno, Pete

Pérez, José

Ramirez, Lawrence

Rivas, Domingo

Saenz, Enrique

Salas, Alcario

Samaniego, David

Samaniego, Paul

Treviño Jr., Eustolio

Treviño Jr., Israel

Vasques, Rufus

Amezquita, Joe

(223:27/02/83) (223:27/02/83) (223:13/03/83) (223:06/03/83) (223:10/04/83)

(223:08/05/83) (223:22/05/83) (223:12/06/83) (223:19/06/83) (223:26/06/83)

(223:02/10/83) (223:01/12/1985) (223:12/01/1986) (223:11/09/1988)

After the South Austin Neighborhood Center moved to Durwood Street in 1975 and the South Austin Community Clinic opened on South 1st Street in 1980, the San Jose Community Center was used mainly for parish meetings and events and the parish breakfast program on Sunday mornings. It is still rented by outside groups for funerals, weddings and meetings but it was never again rented as offices.

In 1983, lay organizations sponsored about one dance every month in the San José Community Center. In 1984 and 1985, the parish itself began sponsoring a dance event in the church hall every month as a fundraiser. The pastor created a Dance Ministry and, in 1985, the net income from the Dance Ministry was $12,470.55. In 1986, the Dance Committee sponsored a dance every two months. Dances continued to be well supported until after 2000 when participation declined. The parish no longer sponsors dances at the Community Center.

The final note on the Community Center debt of $3,500 principal plus interest was due on July 1, 1989 (223:08/07/84) (223:03/02/1985). By then, the parish had assumed a debt for a third church that required semi-annual payments of $92,500.00 (223:04/10/1987). There is no mention in the church records that the pastor ceremoniously burned the loan documents for the Community Center although he did not, apparently, roll the note over, as he had done for the school note. Instead, as it had done in 1969, the parish announced a program to increase Sunday collections to the amount needed to pay for the new church (223:11/10/1987). A year later, the pastor noted that the Sunday Collection was only a few hundred dollars short of the goal set the year before. He noted that if each full-time wage earner donated one hour's pay each week, "we would have no problem meeting our debt service" (223:07/08/1988).

The kitchen was remodeled in 1991

In 1991, the kitchen was refitted to meet the City Sanitation Code (223:17/02/1991) and Max and Connie Cavazos cleaned and reorganized the kitchen (223:24/02/1991). The church purchased a second deep fryer for the Lenten fish fry (223:17/03/1991). Over the subsequent fifteen years, the kitchen fell out of compliance with the City Code and, lacking the funds to do the necessary renovations, food prepared in the kitchen can no longer be served to the general public.

In October 1992, the San Jose Youth Organization paid for a new metal roof for the Community Center from their fund raising projects. The old roof was tar, had been leaking for several years and could not be patched. The new metal roof was painted red to match the other buildings (223:04/10/1992). About ten years later, the building was again renovated. The dividing partition was removed and storage space added. The San José Community Center is heavily used and frequently booked for months in advance, mostly for weddings and meetings.


The third San José Church building

On May 11, 1986, Rev. Underwood mentioned for the first time that San José would be embarking upon a large building program - a new Church, Offices and Rectory. "Next Sunday we will ask the entire congregation after each Mass if they like the design of the new church so we can proceed" (223:11/05/1986).

The second church, even after modifications completed in 1984, seated only 600 persons while the number of registered families had increased to 2,450. For the third time, the congregation had outgrown its church building. The parishioners knew this and voted to build a new church at a Sunday night meeting on May 18, 1986 (223:18/05/1986) (144). The pastor explained that, "We want to do our own contracting and build everything ourselves and thus save a lot of money" (223: 18/05/1986).

The pastor, Rev. Fred Underwood, C.S.C., had experience as a general contractor and had supervised the construction of the Community Center at Montopolis and the Dolores Church while he was its pastor. He also supervised the renovation of the second San José Church in 1984, using largely volunteer labor. He would act as the general contractor with Buddy Tennison as the Project Manager and Paul Samaniego as the Building Superintendent. Skilled tradesmen who were parishioners would be hired to do the work whenever possible (144). Sub-contractors and construction workers were invited to a meeting on Monday, May 19 at 7:30PM (223:18/05/1986).

Paying for the new church

The church, offices and rectory were estimated to cost $2,000,000 (144). The question quickly became, "How can we pay for the New Church?" The pastor explained that normally, whenever a church begins a large building program, the church has a professional fundraiser come in and have a fund drive in which parishioners pledge to give a sizeable amount over and above their Sunday collection. He said, "We will not need this if we can get everyone to contribute generously in the regular Sunday collection. Those who are now giving 5% to 10% in the Sunday collection are certainly doing their share."

He continued, "We need to average $8,000 for our Sunday collection. If we do that, we can save at least $200,000 per year and can pay off the debt in four or five years. We hope that everyone can: 1, Start contributing 5% or 10% each Sunday if they aren't already, and 2, when parishioners are out of town or miss coming to Mass on a weekend here, that they will send their contribution to the Church Office. If everyone cooperates, we can easily pay for our new church, offices and rectory from our Sunday Collections" (223:01/06/1986).

The pastor inserted a box in the Sunday Bulletin called Building Fund News that showed the amount needed for the new church ($8,000 per week), the actual Sunday Collection each week and the difference between the two amounts. At first, the difference was always a shortage (223:08/06/1986). The note burning ceremony for the school debt that was scheduled for July was cancelled. Instead the pastor renewed the loan at the same interest and applied the $30,000.00 to the new building (223:06/07/1986).

By the time the building permit for the new church was issued in February 1987, the shortage in the building fund had grown to $14,304.97 and the Sunday Collection goal had increased to $9,500 to include the Cathedraticum (8% of total Parish income sent to Chancery Office for Diocesan Operation) (223:15/02/1987). However, the Sunday Collection began to slowly increase and in October it exceeded $8,000 for the first time. The pastor then estimated that the Collection must exceed $9,000 per week to make up for the shortage (223:05/10/1968). The next week the Sunday Collection was $10,131.58. The pastor commented that "generous collections like this allow us to put more in savings toward building our new church" (223:12/10/1968). Parishioners also made special donations to the building fund that helped to close the gap between what was needed and what was contributed to the building fund (223:16/11/1986).

Getting the building permit

Getting the building permit took eight months and delayed the start of construction until March 1987. In June 1986, it was thought that construction would begin in early September (223:08/06/1986). However, the plans were not finished until September 5. Permitting was estimated to take 6 to 8 weeks after that (223:17/08/1986). Permitting was again delayed because the church was five feet too tall and the office and rectory violated impervious cover rules for the small lot they were built on (223:07/09/1968). The architect Leo Danze, the site superintendent Buddy Tennison, an attorney James Pinedo and Underwood attended the October City of Austin Board of Adjustment meeting and were granted the necessary variances (223:19/10/1986). In December, the City approved the Site Plan (223:28/12/1986) (223:04/01/1987) and the final plans for the new church were submitted January 19 (223:02/01/1987). The Building Permit was issued in February and work began on the new church on February 15, 1987 (223:15/02/1987).

Preparation and planning

Work had actually started in May 1986 when a farm-style tractor was used to grade the future church parking lot (223: 04/05/1986). The three barracks in the School Compound that occupied the site of the new church were sold to private individuals in August (223: 10/08/1986) and were removed by December. The parish did not own the lot at the corner of Juanita and Oak Crest Avenue where the rectory and office were to be located (67). This lot had to be purchased before the site plan could be completed (223: 03/08/1986).

In August, the pastor said, "One real advantage in building a new church is we are able to design everything to meet our present needs. And this is certainly true with our Sound System." He said that a sound engineer had been hired to design the sound system for the new church and explained, in great detail, the new sound system (223:03/08/1986).

In August, the parish hired Buddy D. Tennison as Construction Superintendent. Mr. Tennison's responsibilities and qualifications were listed in the Sunday Bulletin (223:10/08/1986). Mr. Tennison functioned as the general contractor. This allowed the parish to get the 20-40% discount on materials that was usually given to contractors. For example, the pastor said that this arrangement saved the church $40,000 on the structural steel used to construct the skeleton of the building. A parishioner agreed to pay Mr. Tennison's salary (223:10/08/1986).

The pastor worked closely with the Construction Superintendent and was involved in most decisions. In August, Rev. Charlie Van Winkle, C.S.C., helped at San Jose for three weeks while Underwood went on his annual retreat and then spent two weeks working on plans for the new church (223:03/08/1986).

After the Building Permit was issued in February 1987, Greg Trejo and the Socios built a fenced-in storage area near the Community Center for storage of building materials for the new church (223:22/02/1987). Paul Samaniego built a small building with a red metal roof as the Field Office. The building was temporary but the Pastor hoped to use it as a workshop after the new church was finished (223:22/03/1987).

Beginning the work

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new church took place on Sunday, March 8. Monsignor Edward Matocha represented the Bishop at the ceremony (223:01/03/1987). By May, the structural steel for the church and the bell tower were in place (223:17/05/1987) (223:24/05/1987). The church exterior was metal lath attached to sheet rock and then covered with stucco. The stucco was supposed to look like adobe. "We are using double studs on the church walls so that the walls will be about 18" thick to look like the thick adobe walls of Texas Mission Churches."

The pastor explained that, "the metal tile roof will first be installed on the office building and then on the church. The metal tile roof looks like clay tile but doesn't leak like clay tile" (223:28/06/1987). The metal roof was a new product and the pastor said, "The company furnishing the roof tile is anxious to use the new San José Church as a showplace for their product" (223:18/01/1987).

The pastor put a note in the Sunday Bulletin seeking volunteer carpenters "to build furniture for the church, e.g. altar, two lecterns, etc. The church will furnish any necessary materials and what you build will count as a donation for the new church" (223:24/05/1987). Randy Moreno was among the men who donated their work on the new church (223:12/04/1987). At least four parishioners were listed a contractors for the building (144) and many others contributed their time to finish the interior after the structure was finished. Contracts with the successful bidders required them to hire San José parishioners whenever possible (223:19/04/1987).

By October 1987, the exterior of the new church is practically finished (223:04/10/1987). The parking lot around the new church was finished and parking places were lined (223:04/10/1987). Sod was used instead of grass seed because the City would not issue an occupancy permit until the grass roots were an inch or more in depth (223:08/11/1987). A sprinkler system for watering the new sod was installed and the three sets of steps and flower boxes at the church entrance were completed.

The second story windows used amber antique glass to make the church look like the Texas Mission Churches in San Antonio (223:18/10/1987). Bob Haynes installed the amber glass in the windows of the new church and James Pinedo did some legal work to straighten out the boundary between the church's property and that of the neighbors (223:25/10/1987).

In November, a concrete fence was installed around the rectory, three large Mexican light fixtures were hung in front of the church and the old parking lot was patched. Work was proceeding inside the new church (223:08/11/1987).

The extras and change orders (costing $185,000) included: doubling the tonnage of the AC systems; doubling the width of the exterior walls from 6" to 18" to give the appearance of an adobe wall and finishing the balcony for an additional 400 seats. $250,000 was borrowed to pay for the extras and change orders (223:01/11/1987).

Making the first payment

The pastor was aware that the Sunday Collection was insufficient to pay off the $1,700,000 loan. He unsuccessfully applied for a grant from a foundation (223:29/03/1987). Finally, in July 1987, the pastor issued a call for HELP! AUXILIO! The first semi-annual payment of $92,500 was due on October 1 and he had only $34,225 saved. He said the Sunday Collections had declined by 1/3 because so many parishioners do not attend Mass during the summer months. He urged all parishioners working full-time (40 hours per week) to contributed $5.00 a week. Otherwise, he would have to borrow money to make the payment. He placed a drawing of a thermometer in the Bulletin showing the amount in the building fund (223:19/07/1987).

In response to the pastor's call for help, various groups began to sell food after Sunday Mass to raise funds. The pastor noted the following fundraisers: a garage sale conducted by the 8:00AM Sunday Choir; a garage sale conducted by the CCD teachers that raised $848.17; a Cut-A-Thon sponsored by hairdressers that raised $832.35; an Adult Dance sponsored by the 12:30PM Sunday Choir and donations made by the breakfast groups. He urges employed parishioners to donate an hour's wages per week (223:06/09/1987).

Despite these efforts, only $52,500 was available on October 1 to make the first payment on the $1,700,000 loan. The pastor was forced to borrow $40,000 to make the first payment. Thereafter, the weekly goal for the Sunday Collection became $10,300.00 (223:18/10/1987) (223:04/10/1987).

Finishing the interior

In January 1988, Ray Cortez supervised the installation of carpets in the new offices and the rectory, Carmen Marmelejo sprayed them for insects and Mr. and Mrs. Lupe Ojeda donated and installed venetian blinds and drapes (223; 03/01/1988). Robert Rangel, who worked at Lack's Furniture Center, donated a new china cabinet for the new rectory (223: 17/01/1988). Lorenzo Rodriguez volunteered almost daily to help build the new church (223:31/01/1988).

Robert Haynes continued to work installing the glass windows and Ray Cortez installed carpeting in the new church (223:21/02/1988). Rev. Herman Reith, Susan Overbey and others planted a border of plants around the church (223:13/03/1988) and Frank Lara printed the outdoor signs (223:14/02/1988). The pastor announced that no votive candles would be burned in the new church until two shrine rooms were built (one for Our Lady of San Juan and one for the Sacred Heart) (223:17/04/1988).

Making the second payment

The pastor explained that the Sunday Collection must average $10,300 per week so $3,600 per week could be saved to pay the note on the new church. "We had to borrow an additional $200,000 for the following: $40,000 to make our first payment on the new church due to low collections during the summer; $185,000 extras and change orders for the new church not included in the original plans; $25,000 needed to construct in the old church six classrooms for CCD and a nursery" (223:01/11/1987).

On October 11, 1987 an insert in the bulletin announced the beginning of an "Annual tithing and Sacrificial Offering Program" to increase Sunday collections to the amount needed to pay for the new church (223:11/10/1987). The church needed to save $92,500.00 by April 15, 1968 to make the next payment on the debt (223:18/10/1987).

On October 25, when the pledge cards were returned, the Sunday Collection increased to $10,307.17 (from $6,950.19 the previous week). Parishioners pledged to donate a specific percentage of their income ranging from 10% (4 hours of pay/week), 8%, 5% to 2% (1 hour/week). On October 18 the collection exceeded the needed amount by $7.00 (223:12/10/1987).

On November 8, tithing began with a Sunday Collection of $12,757.55 (double the amount from two weeks prior). The allowed the parish to save $10,800 toward the $92,500 need on April 15 for the principal loan and $2,944.00 toward the loan of $250,000 (223:08/11/1987). The next week the Sunday Collection was $12,931.00 (223:15/11/1987).

During 1988, the Sunday Collection ranged from $7,990 to $13,135 (223). On the Sunday the new Church was dedicated, May 1, the Sunday Collection was $15,640.53 (223:08/05/1988). From the beginning of the year until April 17, the pastor placed a box on the third page of the Sunday Bulletin tracking the amount of money in the building fund. By April 15, the parish had saved $90,000 of the $92,500 needed to make the April 15, 1988, payment on the church note (223:17/04/1988) (223:20/12/1987) (223:19/07/1987).

The church was dedicated in 1988

In February the church staff welcomed parishioners to an open house at the rectory and office from 15 minutes after each Mass. The new offices and rectory were blessed after the 11:00AM Mass (223:07/02/1988). Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Ramirez and Stella Trejo helped during the Open House (223:14/02/1988). Benito Govea and son, Jimmy Guzman, Frank Velasquez and Becky Arredondo helped move the office into the new building (223:07/02/1988). It would still be five to six weeks before the church was ready for occupancy (223:28/02/1988).

The church was ready for use on April 17 and a number of people helped to move into the new church (223:17/04/1988). Volunteers were needed to clean the new church prior to the dedication. The volunteers were asked to work from 9AM to 4PM on Thursday and Friday (223:24/04/1988).

The dedication ceremony was set for the Vigil of St. Joseph the Worker, on Saturday, April 30 at 4:30PM (223:20/03/1988) and, on that day, Bishop John McCarthy came to dedicate the new church. The pastor advised parishioners not to invite their friends because the church could not hold them all (223:24/04/1988). 1,000+ persons attended the dedication ceremony. (The church capacity was 1600 persons). 1,400 persons attended the First Communion Mass the following day when 140 persons took their First Communion (223:08/05/1988).

Making the third payment

Work continued on the new church after it was opened for use. Stella Rodriguez installed carpeting at the entrances of the church (223:19/06/1988) and Henry and Olivia Guerrero, who owned Guerrero Carpets, donated and installed outdoor carpet in front of the new church. They also cleaned the carpet in the old church (223:14/08/1988).

In August 1988, the pastor noted that the Sunday Collection was only a few hundred dollars short of the goal set a year ago. He noted that if each full-time wage earner donated one hour's pay each week, "we would have no problem meeting our debt service" (223:07/08/1988). The second annual CUT-A-THON offered $5 children and $7 adult hair cuts by professional hairdressers after Sunday Mass. Dolores Calderon and Leticia Cazares were the organizers. The CUT-A-THON was a fundraiser for the new church (223:07/08/1988) and it raised $540.93 (223:28/08/1988).

Although the church was being used, it was not finished. Ray Castro worked for several days welding in the church during the month of December (223:11/12/1988) and an insert in the Sunday Bulletin listed items available for donation (223:25/12/1988). In May 1990 items that still were available for donation included 69 pews at $504 each; 13 flood lights at $225 each; the San Juan Shrine at $4,000 and the Sacred Heart Shrine at $4,000 (223:20/05/1990). To encourage donations, the pastor announced that on June 15 the names of all who donated furnishings for the new church would be inscribed on a granite plaque. He found that a granite memorial was too expensive and instead hired someone to write the list on paper that was framed and hung in the church foyer.

Rene Rivera recruited volunteer hairstylists for the annual Cut-A-Thon in September and October 1989 (223:13/08/1989) (223:10/09/1989). The Cut-A-Thon took place during the Jamaica (223:10/09/1989). The Cut-A-Thon was repeated the next year when Yolanda and Rene Rivera again recruited volunteer hairstylists to cut hair on Sunday August 19 (223:12/08/1990). Haircuts were available from 9:30AM until 2:00PM for $5.00 each (223:19/08/1990). Becky Reyna and Alfred Reyna loaned hairstylist chairs. The event was repeated for the 1990 Jamaica (223:26/08/1990). In 1991, Renee Rivera again recruited hairstylists for the Annual Jamaica Cut-a-thon on October 5 (223:01/09/1991).

In July 1989, Olivia Guerrero again sent her crew to clean the carpet in the church (223:16/07/1989). María Pérez provided the speaker covers (223:23/07/1989). The carpets in the church were vacuumed weekly but this was not sufficient. In 1993, the pastor, Rev. Kirby Gardner was looking for a padrino (sponsor) to get the carpets in the church steam cleaned (223:30/05/1993) (223:20/06/1993). Someone donated $500 to hire a contractor (223:18/07/1993).

Every Saturday morning for several years, a group of women met in front of the Church every Saturday morning at 8AM to clean the church. The pastor said, "If you would like to help, please feel free to come by" (223:28/07/1991). Later, when the parish had the funds to do so, a team of professional cleaners were hired for this duty but the parish continued to rely on volunteers to accomplish tasks that the professional had neither the skills nor the time to do.

The floors were not carpeted throughout the building and, in October 1992, Gilbert Garcia sealed the floors with a clear sealer. The church paid only for the material. He also sand blasted the red tile and concrete at the entrance of the church, "that became slick like ice when wet" (223:04/10/1992). Every year, prior to Advent, the church was closed to strip and wax the floor and to change light bulbs (223:28/11/1993).

A local florist gave the church a quote of $75 per week for two arrangements of flowers for the church. The pastor was looking for donors and placed Martha Davila in the church office was in charge of the flower calendar. The name of the donor and the person memorialized were printed in the bulletin (223:20/06/1993). During the next five months, donors were found who paid for the flowers on eleven occasions (223).

The final payment was due in 2007

After the third payment on the church loan, the loan payments became almost routine although they continued to challenge the parish administrator until the final payment was made in April 2007 (223:19/07/1987). Making the payment depended completely on the willingness of the parishioners to contribute to the Sunday Collection. Fortunately, the next two pastors of San Jose Church, Rev. Kirby Garner and Rev. Tom Frank, were wise administrators and were able to make the payments.

Contractors and donors

The following contractors worked on the church (144):

Carpentry Paul Samaneigo & Crew

Project Management C-T & Associates (Buddy Tennison)

Plumbing/Sprinkler Dutchman Plumbing

Site Work/Paving C. A. McMahon Company

Concrete Slabs/Roofing Bargain Builders

Stucco Eaco Plaster and Stucco

Drywall Foulkrod Custom Drywall

Carpet Ray Cortez & Crew

Security System Eubanks Security

Insulation Johnson Insulation

Fencing Viking Fence Company

HVAC Abbey Air Conditioning, Kool Aire Inc., Service Specialists

Painting Daniel Acuña & Sons

Concrete E. A. Treviño Concrete

Glazing Robert Haynes

Chimes Mass-Rowe Carillons (John Stepan)

Pews Southwestern Church Furniture, Uniflex Seating

HVAC Airtron, Inc.

On July 13, 1986, an insert in the Sunday Bulletin listed items that could be donated to the new church (223:20/07/1986). The July 5, 1987, Sunday Bulletin contained another list (223:12/07/1987). A list posted near the entrance of the church listed those who responded to the request for donations.


Architects and builders

Architect of the First Church

The architect of San José Church was Arthur Fehr, who gained some notoriety while restoring the Governor's Palace in San Antonio. He designed the first St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church on W. Johanna Street and, a few years later, the parochial school for St. Ignatius Parish. He also designed the mission chapel of San Francisco on the Lockhart Highway near Creedmoor for the Mexican Mission (69). The chapel in Buda (Santa Cruz) was built using the same drawings as the mother church of the Mexican Mission (San José in Austin).

During this early phase of his career, Arthur Fehr worked with churches whose parishioners provided the bulk of the construction labor and his buildings were designed to make use of volunteer labor. The Central Baptist Church in Luling was "poorboyed" in this way. Similarly, the first four chapel buildings of the Holy Cross Mexican Mission were constructed by men of the San José mission under the direction of Rev. Alfred Mendez (109).

Many Roman Catholic Churches built for Latino parishes exhibit modern variations on mission revival architecture. San José and its missions, built between 1939 and 1941, were examples of this as are the expansion of Holy Cross Church in East Austin (1979) and St. John the Evangelist Church in San Marcos (1970). Leo Danze designed Holy Cross Church expansion and St. John in San Marcos. He also designed the third San José Church in Austin.

Arthur Fehr, architect

Arthur Fehr was an Austin-born architect and a graduate of the University of Texas. In 1928, he worked in San Antonio where he supervised the restoration of Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo. In 1934, he was hired as park architect-foreman for the National Park Service Civilian Conservation Corps project at Bastrop State Park. From 1934 until 1939, he supervised construction of all the rustic structures and the furniture used at Bastrop and adjoining Buescher State Park near Smithville. After the work at Bastrop was finished in 1937, he opened his own practice in Austin. His first commission was the First English Lutheran Church at 3001 Whitis Avenue in Austin. The First English Lutheran Church is a Mission style building with interior carvings by Austin-based woodcarver Peter Mansbendel (200).

In 1937, Fehr began to experiment with modernism. The emphasis on craft, economy of construction, use of readily available material and functional design was a reflection of the Depression, his work at Bastrop and his connection with Austin-based craftsmen. In addition to San José and St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Churches, work from this period included houses for Dr. & Mrs. D. K. Brace (1938), Dr. & Mrs. Carl Fehr (1940) and Dr. & Mrs. Charles Darnall (1941). He also designed the St. Elmo-Tel at 4419 S. Congress Street (then the San Antonio Highway) and Central Baptist Church in Luling (201).

After WWII, his architectural design firm, Fehr & Granger (F&G), became famous as modernist architects. He favored rough limestone. He built St. Stephen's Episcopal School (1953) and Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest (1954) and over 1,000 other buildings including the terminal at Austin's Mueller Airport. He died in 1969 (200).

A major source of information about the work of Arthur Fehr is the Arthur Fehr Papers and Drawings, Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe Street, Austin. IV. Project Files, 1931-1941, Architectural Archives flat files, Drawings, 1931-1941, Accession # AR.2013.011. The Fehr index online lists the following drawings: St. Ignatius, Martyr Church and School, West Johanna Street (AF-119); Mision de San Francisco D'Assisi (AF-168); Mision de San Jose (AF-156) (201).

Architect of the Second Church

When the decision was made to relocate San José Catholic Church from W. Mary Street to a new campus south of W. Oltorf Street, the Diocese hired the architectural firm of Walter Cocke Jr. to design the building. In 1955, Walter Cocke, Jr. and Company located at 1507 Franklin Avenue in Waco designed a school auditorium that would serve on a temporary basis as a church (28). Ground breaking was July 17, 1955 and the building was completed in January 1956 (28).

The new church cost $87,000. The KJCZ Company of La Grange loaned the parish money for the building at 3% interest (12). The contractor was Eitze-Kitchens Company, 5615 South Congress Avenue (120) (124).

Walter Cocke Jr., architect

Walter Cocke Jr. was a prolific architect for the Catholic Diocese of Austin during the tenure of Bishop Louis J. Reicher. He designed Austin Diocese Chancery Building in Austin, St. Louis Church in Waco and St. Joseph Church in Houston (202). In 1960 Walter Cocke, Jr. donated the complete set of plans and supervised construction of St. John the Evangelist Church in Marble Falls (203).

Architect of the Third Church

The Pastor, Rev. Fred Underwood, C.S.C., had some experience as a general contractor. He had supervised the construction of the Community Center at Montopolis and several other bulding projects including a large housing development while pastor of Dolores Catholic Church. He also supervised the construction of the Dolores church. He acted as the general contractor of the third San José Church. Buddy Tennison, a retired builder was the Project Manager, and Paul Samaniego was the Superintendent. The architect was Leo Danze (223:19/10/1986).

Leo Danze, architect

Leo Danze was a Catholic and designed several churches for the Diocese of Austin. In 1965, he designed the remarkable St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Kingsland, Texas. He also designed the expansion of the African-American parish of Holy Cross in East Austin in 1979 and St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in San Marcos in 1970. In 1986 he designed the third San José as a modern variation of mission revival architecture (Journal of History and Culture, Vol. 1, Number 5, 2014).

Leo Danze was the principal architect for the Austin firm of Danze and Davis, 4701 Spicewood Springs Road, Austin. The firm designed custom homes as well multifamily and commercial buildings (Danze & Davis website).

San José School

The architect of the school building was William J. Scudder. He met with the PTA in May 1965 to introduce them to the plans for the school (223:05/09/65). The contractor was C & R Construction Company.

Builders of San Jose Church


The first San Jose Church, at the corner of W. Mary and S. 3rd Streets, was built almost entirely by volunteers. The Weise Brothers, contractors, were hired to perform some work. Perhaps they poured the concrete foundation or laid the flagstone floor. They were also the contractors for the first St. Ignatius Martyr church on W. Johanna Street.

Men with trucks and cars provided transportation

Eliseo Gutierrez sold the cedar posts used to frame the walls of the building. José and his brother Gabriel Gutierrez volunteered the use of their truck to carry rock. Rev. Peter Mueller, C.S.C., provided transportation when the builders began working in Buda and Creedmoor.

The stonemasons were parishioners

The volunteers who helped build the church at 715 W. Mary Street included José Botello Sr., José Botello Jr., Luís Calderón, Manuel Castillo, Carlos Fabian, Luís Fabian, Gregorio Fabian, José Loera, Alfredo Moreno, David Ruiz and Aventura Sosa. Father Alfredo Mendez directed the work. Simon Botello was the foreman. Alfredo Moreno, Aventura Sosa, Luís Calderón and Simón and José Botello were stonemasons. Other men included John Botello and Estanislado Calderon (3). José Botello later became a parishioner at San Francisco Javier Church (Parish History,, accessed September 2018).

Altar boys helped

The altar boys, Chris Sosa, Pete Castillo, Vincente Flores Jr., Henry Bargas and Guadalupe (Lupe) Alba, worked as helpers. They helped collect the stone for the walls and mixed and carried cement for the stonemasons (14). Genaro Galarza, a carpenter, and Felipe Alba also helped.


After the first church was finished, other Mexican families moved to the area. A note written in June 14, 1944 said, "San José Church, We worked, José y Simón Botello, David Ruiz, Luís and Estanislado Calderón, Alfredo Moreno, José Rocha, our spiritual guide Rev. Alfredo Mendez." It is unknown to what work the note refers. Jose Rocha came to Austin from Buda after the first church was completed. The parish purchased a house next door to the stone church and the men of the parish converted it into the parish hall. Perhaps this was the work the note referred to.


Church/school furnishings including church vehicles and kitchen equipment

Church and school furnishings

The Guadalupanas, a sodality devoted to the Virgin of Guadalupe, provided vital support to the pastor by paying for maintenance and repairs that the church could not otherwise afford. Sometimes they raised money by selling tamales around Christmas time. In December 1964, the pastor noted that, "The Guadalupanas took in $114 on their last sale of tamales. Very nice work". He then went on to explain that, "With the consent of the Socias (the members of the Guadalupana society), we hope to buy a new organ. Will the Guadalupanas, the Mesa Directiva, please have a committee inquire into the purchase of an organ?" (223:12/06/64).

A few weeks later, the pastor wrote, "The Guadalupanas would like to present San José with a new Organ for Christmas. They may surprise us. Never underestimate the power of Woman" (223:12/20/64). A week later, he wrote, "Thanks to the devotion and sacrifice of the Guadalupanas, San José has a beautiful organ" (223:12/27/64). The new organ was blessed January 10, 1965 (223:01/10/65).

On September 4, 1966 an announcement in the Sunday Bulletin said, "Any Individual or Group who donates $500.00 for a school room will have a plaque put on the door of that room" (223:09/04/66). The new San José School was under construction at the time and was scheduled to open in October. When the Guadalupanas met in September 1966, they did so in the Guadalupana Room of the new school. He pastor wrote, "Congratulations on the number of Socias, over 100 members. Thanks you for paying for the furniture of the Meeting Room" (223:09/11/66).

In July 1969, Rev. John Haley reported to the Parish Council that the Guadalupanas had set aside $2,000 to remodel the sacristy and rework a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe (213). A year and a half later, the Guadalupanas donated $870.00 for renovations to the kitchen and rugs for the rectory. They paid for new cabinets in the sacristy (223:01/31/71).

During 1972 the Guadalupanas donated $1,985.00 to pay for a cry room and kneelers in the church (223:23/04/72) (223:25/03/73). In June 1975, they sold Mexican dinners for $1.50 (223:08/06/75) and donated $3,000 for the church renovation project (223:13/07/75).

In April 1979, the Guadalupanas purchased another organ for the church. It cost $2,395. This was not the first organ the church had. The Guadalupanas had purchased another 15 years before but the new organ was said to be fancier (223:01/04/79).

In February 1983, the Guadalupanas donated $1,015 to pay for painting the second floor, the stairways and exterior doors of the school (223:27/02/83) and in November they donated $3,000 to help pay for the rug in the renovated church (223:11/12/83). The Guadalupanas donated most of the $6,189 donated to the parish in 1983. The money came from fundraisers such as cake sales (223:13/02/83).

The Sunday Bulletin frequently mentioned individuals who had donated time and labor to maintain the church and the school. The Sunday Bulletin often mentioned that Vincent Flores repaired or donated office equipment such as typewriters (223: 17/02/1985). In 1985, he donated at least three used IBM electric typewriters to the church to replace the old manual machines in the church office (223:17/03/1985) (223:01/09/1985). Also during 1985, Joe Riojas repaired an upholstered chair in the rectory (223:21/04/1985) (223:21/06/1987) and Jim Sanchez and his children donated green, indoor-outdoor carpeting "on the side of the church" (223: 16/06/1985).

Church vehicles

For many years the parish maintained a vehicle for use by parish organizations. In the fall of 1967, the parish purchased a new 1967 Ford Station Wagon using money given as a gift for that specific purpose (223:08/20/67). Four years later, the parish purchased a green Chevrolet Station Wagon to replace the 1967 Ford Station Wagon. The vehicle cost $3,000 plus the trade-in of the old car. Six organizations contributed $500 each: the Guadalupanas, the Socios, the Community Center, CCD, the PTA and the CYO (223:07/11/71) (223:13/02/72) (223:07/11/71). The donations were listed in the Financial Report of 1971: Donations- Guadalupanas, cabinets in sacristry, $538.00 and Donations-Parish Car, $500 each from Socios, Guadalupanas, CYO, Community Center, CCD and PTA $3,000.00 (223:13/02/72).

While Rev. John Korcsmar was pastor of San José, he allowed parish organizations to use his van. When he left the parish in December 1982, the parish purchased the van from him for $1,000 (223:26/12/82). The van was useful but was found to be too small. Two years later, in March 1984, a meeting was held to discuss the purchase of a school bus for San José to transport renewal teams, Youth Groups, CCD, make trips to San Juan, etc. (223:25/03/84). There were three Mission Teams of 25 to 30 persons each and over 350 youth participated in the various Youth Groups (223:01/04/84).

In May 1984, a used 1982 Chevette was purchased for $4,300 for Sister Eva to use (223:13/05/84). Sister Eva Walsh was the Religious Education Director for the Children and the Youth and Youth Activities. At the same time, the parish ordered a new school bus (nicknamed the Spirit of San Jose) from an agency of Carpenter Body Works in San Antonio. The bus cost $27,334 plus tax, title and license (223:20/05/84). The Ladies of Charity donated $500 toward the bus to help with the Parish Renewals (223:27/05/84). Tom and Rosie Cantu donated $1,000 for the new bus (223:03/06/84).

The bus was delivered and placed in service in August 1984 (223:12/08/84). The bus cost a total of $29,365.30. The money came from various sources. $24,672 came from donations from outside of the parish, $1,903 was raised by parish dances, $1,420 came from donations from parishioners and $1,370 was from the sale of snow cones (223:19/08/84). Thirteen persons volunteered to be bus drivers (223:03/02/1985).

In addition to the school bus, the parish owned the 1982 Chevette car driven by Sister Eva and a Ford Escort. Volunteers maintained the vehicles. In January 1985, Henry Flores and Richard Reyes repainted the Ford Escort (223:06/01/1985). Later Henry Flores serviced, washed and polished the Chevette (223:13/01/1985). Juan Flores repaired one of the parish cars in January 1985 (223:20/01/1985) and, in June, Eloy Garcia washed and polished the Ford Escort (223: 09/06/1985).

The bus was used to take a busload of young people and their chaperones to a national conference in Steubenville, Ohio. After the trip, the youth and young adults who make the trip cleaned the bus (223: 04/07/1985).

In November 1985, the parish sold the van it had purchased from Rev. John Korcsmar three years before and Jim Sanchez helped the Parish negotiate the purchase of a used 1982 Chevrolet ¾-ton pickup truck. The price was $3,650, about half the retail price (223:24/11/1985). Jim Sanchez, Joe Zavala and Bob Haynes maintained the parish bus (223:26/01/1986) (223:14/08/1988).

Henry and Juan Flores were auto mechanics. Juan Flores had a transmission repair shop at 700 W. Jewell Street (223:13/12/1987). He and Henry Flores repaired the cars belonging to the parish (223:12/01/1986) (223:25/01/1987) and Eloy Garcia cleaned and polished them (223:13/12/1987).

In 1991 and 1992, the grand prize for the raffle at the annual Jamaica was used Cadillac cars. Jim Sanchez, who must have been a licensed auto dealer, purchased the cars for the parish. The priests drove the cars prior to their being raffled off. In December 1991, Rev. Joe Devilegher was driving a 1984 Cougar that cost the parish $2,500 while Rev. Underwood was driving a 1987 Cadillac that was purchased for a raffle (223:15/12/1991). Jim Sanchez purchased the used Cadillac for the Mardi Gras drawing, a used Cougar with 75,000 miles for Fr. Devilegher and a used Corsica with 51,000 miles for Fr. Underwood (223:16/02/1992).

Kitchen equipment

The kitchen in the San José Community Center was heavily used by both parish and outside groups. For most of the last sixty years, the Guadalupanas volunteered to maintain the kitchen. In October 1961, the Guadalupanas announced that they would have a tamalada Saturday to help buy a deep freeze for the school cafeteria (223:10/22/61). In other words, they would make and sell tamales as a fundraiser to purchase a freezer for the parish hall. They raised $53 that they contributed towards the purchase of a freezer (223:11/19/61).

In August 1969, the Guadalupanas purchased a new stove for the new Community Center rather than move the old stove from the old parish hall. They paid $570 for the new stove and got $68 when they traded in the old one (213). In November, they purchased about $1,000 in kitchen supplies for the new hall (213). Two years later, the Guadalupanas donated $870 for renovations to the kitchen and rugs for the rectory. They also paid for new cabinets in the sacristy (223:01/31/71).

During 1985 and 1986, Frank and Rebecca Ortiz donated a cash register for use by the breakfast groups (223:09/06/1985), Margaret Loera donated restaurant supplies (223: 22/06/1986), Mr. Chano repaired the air conditioner (223: 21/07/1985) and someone else purchased a new icemaker for the Community Center (223: 23/06/1985). In April 1985, the Guadalupanas (Rosemary Martinez, Josefina Garcia, Ruby Roa and Rosie Villalobos) cleaned the kitchen (223: 07/04/1985).

In August 1992, Jim Sanchez, who had a portable food trailer, donated the kitchen equipment he had in the trailer to make a snack bar in the parish hall. The equipment was placed in the room where beer used to be sold at dances (223:23/08/1992) and snacks were sold alongside the regular breakfast menu.



There is a shrine in Lourdes, France located in a shallow cave where Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception appeared in 1858. The Shrine is called the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes or simply the Lourdes Shrine. In 1941, the Southern U.S. Province of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate dedicated a Lourdes Grotto in San Antonio, Texas modeled after the Lourdes Shrine in France. It was made of reinforced concrete shaped to resemble the cave in which the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.

Several similar grottos exist in and around Austin. There is a man-made grotto on the campus of St. Edward's University called Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. In 1952, a grotto honoring Our Lady of Fatima was constructed at San Francisco Javier Catholic Church near Creedmoor (11)(87). In 1992, when Rev. Fred Underwood was pastor of San José, the parish decided to build a grotto on the campus of San José Church. The parish had built shrine rooms in the new church but fire regulations did not allow burning of votive candles anywhere in the new church (223:13/11/1988).

Until January 1992, a portable building housing a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was located on the parking lot across from the Community Center and between the second and third church buildings. In January, the picture was moved to the old church and the portable building was relocated. The Pastor decided to build a grotto near where the portable building was located "in order to utilize the canopy so crowds can pray in front of the grotto".

The grotto is located just off the parking lot on level ground, facing north. The bottom part of the grotto is made of reinforced concrete and the arched upper portion of gunite (a mortar that is sprayed pneumatically onto surfaces at a high velocity). The arched portion is sculpted on the outside to resemble stone.

A statue of Our Lady of Fatima would be placed in the grotto. Unfortunately, someone had borrowed the parish's statue of Our Lady of Fatima some years before and it could not be located. The statue was described as "white with gold trim, about 3 feet high (223: 09/12/1990). The parish had, however, a suitable statue that was located "under the trees next to the school". A professional artist was hired to repaint the statue and it became the statue of Our Lady of Fatima (white with gold trim). Donors paid for the grotto and the renovations to the Old Church to house the picture and the grotto was built at no cost to the parish (223:12/01/1992).

The pastor was optimistic that the Grotto would be ready for dedication on Sunday, May 31, 1992. "We will need to leave the supports inside for about three weeks. We will landscape around the exterior of the Grotto and plant sod. The Statue of Our Lady of Fatima is being painted. The Grotto is being paid by donations and income from the Sacred Heart Chapel", according to Father Underwood (223:10/05/1992).

The grotto is surrounded on three sides by ancient live oak trees rooted in native caliche. The area where the grotto is located slopes gently north, is shaded and has almost no topsoil. The parish had installed grass sod several times in the past in an attempt to provide a cover of grass (223:01/05/83) (223:14/04/89). After the grotto was finished, the Knights of Columbus prepared and sold a barbecue plate in the parish hall for $3 to raise money to buy lawn care equipment and grass for around Our Lady of Fatima Grotto (223:26/07/1992) (223:09/08/1992). The new pastor, Rev. Kirby Garner, paid someone to water the grass two or three times a week but within a few years the area was again exposed dirt.

The grotto is locked at night and opened by the maintenance crew every morning. It is heavily used by devotees of the Lady of Fatima. In 2018, the grotto was the only place on the San José campus where candles were permitted. In 1988, the pastor announced that no votive candles would be burned in the new church until two shrine rooms were built (one for Our Lady of San Juan and one for the Sacred Heart) (223: 17/04/1988). In November, he announced that the, "Two shrine rooms have been completed" for the Virgin of San Juan and the Sacred Heart. Kneelers were in place but Fire Regulations did not allow burning of votive candles anywhere in the new church. "It will be necessary for everyone to burn their own candles in their respective homes" (223:13/11/1988).


Church Grounds

In 1954, the Bishop of Austin gifted San José Church six acres south of Oltorf Street and west of South First Street for a new church (9). Brother Lambert Barbier of St. Edward's University and Father Edwin Bauer, Pastor of Holy Family Church, had acquired the land for the purpose of building a medical clinic. At the time, there was no hospital in South Austin and Mexican and Negro residents of South Austin traveled to Holy Cross Hospital for medical treatment. When it became apparent that Religious Sisters could not be found to staff the clinic, the Bishop decided that a new church for San José was a greater priority (12).

The tract belonging to the Bishop fronted on Herndon Lane and South First Street. The portion facing South First Street had been cleared and was mostly pasture. The western part of the tract sloped uphill and was covered by a grove of mature live oak trees. South Third Street, Oak Crest Avenue and South Fourth Street were proposed to cut through the property but, after the Catholic Church purchased the land, the right-of-way for the streets running through the lot were closed. Several lots in the interior of the block to the north of the original tract were purchased so that the property had access to South First, South Third, South Fourth, Oak Crest Avenue, Juanita Streets and Herndon Lane. When the third church was built in 1987, another residential lot at the corner of Oak Crest and Juanita Street was purchased for the new rectory. This brought the size of the church campus to 9.936 acres (3) (12). The street address is 800 Herndon Lane.

José Rocha and Luís Calderón and other men helped clear the brush and trees from the tract. Fr. Houser worked alongside them (12). The first church was built in the interior of the tract, facing a large dirt field that was used as a parking lot. A surplus military barrack was placed opposite the church to serve as the parish hall and the existing rectory was moved from the church's old location on W. Mary Street and placed on a foundation just east of the first church. Eventually the campus included four permanent structures and five or six portable buildings and sheds surrounded by large paved parking lots.

Until 1985, parishioners maintained the buildings and the grounds. Robert Deolioz was the first full time yard and maintenance man (223: 21/04/1985). The pastor tried to maintain a grass cover around the sides of the church. A 18HP-riding mower with a 44" cut replaced the old lawn mower with 24" cut when the old mower failed in 1985. The new mower cost $2,400 (223:21/04/1985). The parish still relied heavily on parishioners to volunteer their labor and the Sunday Bulletin noted that in April 1985 Enrique Saenz and Ruben Moline used their pickups to clean up around the church (223: 21/04/1985).

When it was decided to build a New Day Care Center in 1985, the pastor asked for volunteers to cut and haul away two or three trees on the spot where he proposed to build the Day Care Center (223: 28/04/1985). The building was never built and a new church was built there instead. The Sunday Bulletin noted that Jim Sanchez helped around the church (223:09/06/1985). Lorenzo Maldonado was the only full-time maintenance man for the parish's buildings and grounds (223:02/02/1986)

The pastor encouraged parishioners to volunteer by pointing out in the Sunday Bulletin who was doing what to help the church. In July 1985, he noted that Frank Ortega and the Young Adults stripped and waxed the floors in the school (223: 07/07/1985). The helpers included Mr. and Mrs. Frank Ortega, Angel Rivera Jr., Manuel Rodriguez, Paul Sulaica, Isabel Cantu and Yolanda Cantu (223: 21/07/1985). Emilio Cavazos was a radio technician who owned his own business. In 1987, he was often called to repair a loudspeaker system in the church (223:25/01/1987) and to repair microphones (223:10/05/1987) (223:06/12/1987). Enrique Saenz, who was studying to be a deacon, repaired the chain saw and the snow cone machine in May (223:17/05/1987).

Maintaining the grass around the church was a constant concern. In the summer of 1988, Greg Trejo and the Socios purchased and spread dirt on the lawn beside the old church in an attempt to keep the grass alive (223:19/06/1988). The following spring, grass sod was planted around the old church to keep the top soil from washing away (223:14/04/89). After the grotto was built in 1992, the Knights of Columbus sold barbecue to raise money to sod the area around the grotto (223:26/07/1992). The task proved to be hopeless because of the thick canopy of the live oak trees, the heavy traffic on Sunday afternoons and the thin topsoil.

In February 1992, the pastor pointed out that the following persons worked on the church grounds: Wenceslao Ruiz, Arthur Dominguez, Chico Govea and members of the Knights of Columbus including Jose Alcala, Jerry Aguirre, Victor Garcia, Ray Martinez, Pete Sepeda, Ignacio Camarillo and Manuel Garcia (223:16/02/1992). Sylvester Rodriguez, who was a professional sign maker for the US Air Force, painted two signs at the entrance of the church off 3rd Street and Herndon. Ignacio Camarillo cut and trimmed the grass around the church after the spring rains (223:29/03/1992).

Although the city streets that crossed the property were closed to through traffic, cut-through traffic was a constant problem. In January 1989, the circular drive around the grotto area was barricaded. The pastor felt that auto traffic between the school building and Father Joe's House (the old Convent) had become worse and was a threat to the children's safety. Parents were asked to accompany their children to class and pick them up after class (223:22/01/89).


San Jose Religious Articles Store

For many years, the ushers sold votive candles from a table near the entrance to the church after each Mass (223:16/10/1988). Other religious articles, such as Missals and Rosary beads, were often hard to find, especially if the text was in Spanish. Persons who traveled to Mexico often purchased a supply to sell or give to friends and relatives in Austin.

In April 1990, the pastor announced that the room opposite the usher's room in the foyer of the new church would become a "store" where religious articles and presale of tickets for dances would be sold. The plan was for the store to be open after all weekend Masses. He was seeking two volunteers per Mass to mind the store (223:15/04/1990).

At the end of the month, the pastor was able to announce that the Religious Articles store stocked rosaries, candles, Bibles, holy water bottles, wallpaper, etc. The store was open for business on Saturdays 7:45PM-8:00PM; Sundays 8:45AM-9:25AM; 10:30-10:55AM; 12:00 noon to 12:25PM; 1:30-1:55PM and 7:45-8:00PM. When the store began operations in 1990, the Mass times were Saturday 7:00PM in Spanish; Sunday 8:00AM in Spanish; 9:30AM in English; 11:00AM in English; 12:30PM in English and 7:00PM in English (223:29/04/1990).

The pastor encouraged parishioners to visit the store. He said, "We are very excited about our Religious Article store. The store is open after each weekend Mass (223:27/05/1990). The next Sunday, he announced that the ushers would no longer sell candles after Mass. "We will sell them in our Religious Store and the church office" (223:13/05/1990). In November, the store began opening on Thursday evenings in addition to Saturday and Sunday after all Masses. The pastor urged parishioners to do their Christmas shopping there (223:04/11/1990).

Volunteers ran the store and in August 1991, the Sunday Bulletin appealed for volunteers to mind the Church Religious Store after all Masses on Saturday and Sunday. María Rosas-Garcia was the contact for the store (223:18/08/1991). Later Sherry Joseph took charge of the store and in October she was looking for volunteers to run the store for 30 minutes after each Mass (223:20/10/1991). "Come by the religious store in the church to see the many new religious items we have", said the pastor (223:19/04/1992).

On May 9, 1993, the Sacred Heart Gift Shop opened in the Sacred Heart Chapel (the old church). This combined the stores that had been in the church office, in the Sacred Heart Chapel and in the new church. The store was open on Sundays and Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00PM to 9:00PM. On May 14, Friday, after 7:00PM Mass, the Sacred Heart Chapel was re-opening with an Enthronement Ceremony (223:09/05/1993). The new hours for the religious articles store were Monday through Friday 12 noon to 9:00PM, Saturday 9:00AM to 9:00PM, Sunday 9:00AM to 3:00PM (223:16/05/1993). Lori Priotti was the contact person for the store in 1993 (223:23/05/1993).

The pastor urged parishioners to do their Christmas shopping in the religious articles store. In December 1993, the Sunday Bulletin urged parishioners to shop at Sacred Heart Books and Gifts Shop. "They are loaded down with many wonderful, inexpensive items for adults and children (223:12/12/1993).


The Church Bell of San José Parish, Austin


Tejas was part of New Spain

East Texas missions

The missions were relocated to San Antonio

A mission bell was left behind

The bell was made in the 17th Century

The bell tower

Texas was part of New Spain

For many years, what is now the State of Texas was a part of New Spain. It was one of the many possessions of the King of Spain. Frontier regions of New Spain that were inhabited exclusively by American Indians were often placed in the care of the Catholic Church and the Spanish military. Missionaries from the Franciscan college in Querétaro in central Mexico established missions in northeastern New Spain and in California. The Spanish military, with headquarters in Mexico City and later San Luís Potosí, sent small detachments of professional soldiers to protect the missions. The soldiers lived in a presidio or fort that was located near the missions they protected. The missions were villages that often included a farm, a ranch, workshops and a chapel as well as residences for the Indian converts and the missionaries.

The East Texas missions

In 1729, Spanish soldiers occupied a presidio called Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de los Tejas near the present-day Texas-Louisiana state line. There were three Franciscan missions near the presidio: Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de los Hainai, San Francisco de los Neches and San José de los Nazonis.

The Spanish king decided to close the presidio and move the troops because, he said, the Indians were peaceful. The real reason for closing the presidio was that the French had gotten control of Louisiana and the Spanish King wanted to concentrate his military forces further south. The missionaries did not want to abandon their missions but were given no choice.

The missions were relocated to San Antonio

The Viceroy, the King's representative in New Spain, recommended that all three missions be relocated to Barton Springs. In July 1730, the missionaries and those Indians who wanted to stay with the priests walked from East Texas to Barton Springs. The Franciscans and their Indian converts quickly realized that the terrain at Barton Springs was not suited for irrigated farms. Within months, they petitioned to move to locations along the San Antonio River.

In the spring of 1731, all three missions were relocated to the San Antonio River south of the tiny village of San Antonio de Béxar (now the City of San Antonio). The new missions survived and the descendants of the Indians still live near the old missions. One, San Juan Capistrano, is still an active Catholic parish.

A mission bell was left behind

The exact locations of the abandoned missions at Barton Springs are not known although there is a historical marker at the south entrance of the swimming pool at Barton Springs. In 1958, the pastor of San José Church, Rev. Joseph Houser, C.S.C., told a reporter that Mr. Charles Dellana accidentally found a bell "some years back". Houser did not say where Dellana found the bell but Charles Dellana had a ranch where Zilker Park and Loop One is today. Dellana gave the bell to Rev. Mendez and it was hung in the belfry of the first San José Church on W. Mary Street.

When the congregation moved to the second San José Church south of Oltorf Street, the bell was removed from the belfry of the old church and taken to the new building. However, the bell was not mounted on the church because the new church had no bell tower until 1984. In 1958, Houser kept the bell in the sacristy of the church. According to a newspaper article dated 1958, he said, "In a few months the men of the parish would like to get it back into its pristine dignity enstoned in a shrine".

The bell was made in the 17th Century

Houser told the reporter that popular tradition was that the bell was brought from France during the reign of Louis XIV. If so it was made of a type of bronze called bell metal. The bell had a crank or rope arm attached to the yoke to which a rope was attached. Pete Castillo recalls that his father pulled on that rope to ring the bell to call the people to Mass.

This bell should not be confused with another bell that was also moved from the old church. The second bell was an iron bell that was mounted on a wooden and iron frame. This bell had a wheel instead of a crank and was made in America. It was similar to bells commonly used to give warning of a fire or similar disaster. This bell was never mounted on the first church, perhaps because it was too heavy. The bell sat on the ground in front of the first church for many years until it was moved to the second church. It was placed on the ground in front of the building and children used it as a plaything. In November 1964, the bell was repaired, repainted and mounted on a concrete platform so it could be used to call the parishioners to prayer (223:11/22/64).

The bell tower

In 1984, Rev. Underwood was the pastor of San José Parish. After finishing a major renovation of the church building, he decided to add a bell tower to the existing building.

A drawing of work he planned was included as an insert in the Sunday Bulletin of June 3, 1984. The work consisted of: 1. A bell tower would be built on top of the present brick entrance wall. The bell in the front yard would be painted and installed. 2. Below the bell tower would be a canopy that extended from the front entrance to the next set of steps. 3. An arch of brick would be put around the existing window in the middle of the front wall of the church. The drawing also showed a new entrance on the east side if and when the church needed to expand in the future (223:27/05/84). Fr. Underwood asked for comments and only one parishioner of all who attended the weekend Masses opposed building the bell tower (223:03/06/84).

Construction on the canopy was underway in June (223:24/06/84). Paul Samaniego, Augustine Redondo and Eustolio Treviño helped pour the concrete beam for the canopy and bell tower (223:26/08/84). According to Eustolio Treviño, Fr. Underwood was absent from the church campus when the concrete beams for the bell tower were built. Paul Samaniego had in his possession a second, smaller bell. The men had received instructions to hang the large iron bell that sat on the ground in front of the church. They had no instructions regarding the second bell. In the absence of Fr. Underwood, they decided to hang both bells (223:05/08/84).

If the bronze mission bell from the first church dates back to the Franciscan mission in East Texas, it would be one of the oldest bells in Texas. Besides its value as an artifact of the Mexican Mission of 1940, the bell would be of considerable interest to historians. A similar bell from the Alamo mission in San Antonio recently sold for a quarter of a million dollars. Does the small bell that is hanging on the Sacred Heart Chapel on the campus of the San Jose Parish date from 1729? If not, has the bronze bell gone missing?



The banner of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus


The Society is a pious association or sodality

Most sodalities have an insignia

Sodalities traditionally received communion as a group

The Society was organized in 1939

The Society chose the Sacred Heart of Jesus as their patronpThe Society at San José Church is the last surviving such sodality

The Society is a pious association or sodality

In Catholic theology, a sodality is a pious association of lay men or women organized to perform a specific task. It is a form of the "universal church" just as is the local, diocesan church. The sodalities at San José Church operate inside the church but are not controlled by the pastor. They are independent organizations of laypersons that promote the spiritual works of mercy (related to the Catholic faith) and the corporal works of mercy (having to do with the needs of the body).

Sodalities were first organized in the early Middle Ages in Europe and developed rapidly after the 12th century. Spanish missionaries brought them to the Americas after the Conquest and sodalities became a prominent feature of the Catholic Church in the Americas. There are many sodalities in the San José Church community. Examples of sodalities in the San José Church community include the San José Catholic War Veterans, Knights of Columbus, Movimiento Familiar Cristiano Catolico, La Columna de Fuego, Juventud en Alianza para Cristo, Legion of Mary, the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Guadalupanas (the Society of Our Lady of Guadalupe).

Most sodalities have an insignia

Most traditional sodalities in Spanish-speaking America adopt a distinct insignia. The insignia is usually a badge or ribbon that each member receives when she joins the society and which she is expected to wear at every function of the society. The insignia is the badge of membership. At San José and other Central Texas Catholic churches, a distinctive shirt often replaces the insignia as the badge of membership. The shirt is usually embroidered with the name and symbol of the sodality.

Most traditional sodalities also have a banner. The banner is modeled after the standards carried by Roman legions. Both the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Society of Our Lady of Guadalupe currently use banners. Members of the sodalities carry the banner in processions and display it at functions of the group. In Austin, the tradition of carrying banners in processions outside the church grounds has practically disappeared although it was a common practice as late as 1965.

Sodalities traditionally received communion as a group

At San José Church, both the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Society of Our Lady of Guadalupe preserve a tradition of processing into the church as a group once a month with their banner. In the 1960s, many sodalities at San José church received Communion as a group at different Mass times. For example, the Society of the Sacred Heart received Communion as a group on the 1st Sunday of the month at the 8:00AM Mass. The Guadalupanas, the Catholic War Veterans and the Parent-Teacher Association received Communion as a group on the 2nd Sunday of the month but at different Masses. These groups processed into the church together with their banners or flags and received Communion together. The solidarity of group communion was strictly enforced and non-members were urged to avoid cutting into the Communion line.

At San José church, the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus continues to process into the church as a group on the first Sunday of each month. Traditionally, the Society of Our Lady of Guadalupe processes into the church as a group on the second Sunday of each month. In recent years, both groups often process into the church on the first Sunday of each month.

The Society was organized in 1939

The banner on display at the annual exhibition is a banner of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Society was organized in 1939 before San José Church was built. The Society was founded in the tiny chapel of the convent where the Sisters who worked at St. Ignatius Church lived. The chapel was located at 307 W. Johanna Street. There the men who collaborated with Rev. Mendez in the Mexican Mission began to plan for the construction of a mission church on W. Mary Street.

Many of the men who began the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at San José belonged to the Society at Guadalupe Church in central Austin. Among the first members were Luís Calderón, his brother Estanislao Calderón, Antonio Castillo and Simón Botello. Luís Calderón was elected the first President and he purchased the Society's banner in Monterrey, Mexico. The Society enrolled 26 members in 1940.

The Society chose the Sacred Heart of Jesus as their patron

The men chose the Sacred Heart of Jesus as their patron because they belonged to a similar society at Guadalupe Church. It is not known why the men of Guadalupe Church chose the Sacred Heart of Jesus as their patron. Most such groups choose the Virgin Mary, usually under the name of the Virgin of Guadalupe, as their patron. The bylaws of the Society at San José bear the imprimatur of Arthur Drossaerts, the Archbishop of San Antonio. Bishop Drossaerts promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart in his diocese and he may have sponsored societies of the Sacred Heart in Austin as well.

The banner on display was a date of 1980 painted on its reverse side. It is not the banner purchased in 1940. Similar banners can be purchased in Mexico City either off the shelf or by special order. The banner currently used by the Society del Sagrado Corazón was purchased about 15 years ago. The Guadalupanas at San José possess three similar banners.

The San José Society is the last surviving such sodality

At one time, most Spanish-language Catholic churches in Central Texas had similarly named sodalities for adult men. Over time, most of these sodalities became extinct, changed their names or were replaced by groups such as the Knights of Columbus. In 2018, the San José society (Sociedad del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús) was the only remaining traditional Mexican sodality in Central Texas whose patron is the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Women's sodalities have survived in greater numbers. In 2015, there were thirty societies in the Diocese of Austin whose patron is the Virgin of Guadalupe. A few years ago, membership in the Guadalupana societies was opened to both men and women and, in 2018, three men work side-by-side with the Guadalupanas of San José Church.


Artifacts including Bells, Images and Garments


A granite marker located inside the south entrance gate on the south side of Barton Springs Pool reads, "Approximate location of the Missions of San Francisco de Los Neches, Nuestra Senora de la Purisma Concepcion, San Jose de los Nazonis. Established in East Texas by Franciscan missionaries in 1716 for the Christianizing and civilizing of the Indians in the region. Abandoned temporarily due to French incursions from Louisian in 1719. Restored by the Marquis of Aguayo in 1721. Removed to the Colorado River in 1730. Permanently placed on the San Antonio River in 1731 and there known respectively as San Francisco de la Espada, Nuestra Senora de la Purisma Concepcion de Acuna, San Juan Capistrano. Erected by the State of Texas 1936" (Texas State Historical Commission Historical Marker #14883, Atlas # 5507014883, a 1936 Texas Centennial Marker of pink granite with bronze plaque, accessible from Robert E. Lee Road).

The Spanish authorities decided in 1729 to abolish the presidio Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de los Tejas that protected the East Texas missions. The presidio, near present-day Douglass, was unnecessary because, said the Viceroy, "of the peaceful demeanor of the Indians". The missionaries of the Franciscan college of Querétaro protested the decision but to no avail.

As a result, the friars decided to move the three missions to a site on the Colorado River near Barton Springs. Vice regal authorities suggested the missions be moved to Barton Springs but the location was found to be unsuitable and within months the missionaries petitioned to remove the three missions to the San Antonio River (The Spanish Missions in Texas,, accessed October 13, 2015.

The three East Texas missions (San Jose de Los Nazonis, San Francisco de los Neches and Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion de los Hainai) were relocated in July 1730 to Barton Springs. After less than a year at Barton Springs, the three missions removed to San Antonio de Bexar and were reestablished as San Juan Capistrano mission (Spanish Missions Near Barton Springs, www.Texasbeyondhistory,net, October 13, 2015).

The location near present day Zilker Park was unsuitable for the type of irrigated farms favored by the Spanish, probably because the typography of the land surrounding the springs. Apparently no attempt was made to dig the necessary irrigation ditches. The terrain downstream of the springs was probably found to be unsuitable for irrigated fields. Because no physical evidence exists, the exact location of the mission has never been determined (Barton Springs,, accessed October 13, 2015).

Two hundred years later, a rancher named Charles Dellana found a bell near Barton Springs. His ranch was located along Eanes Creek near its mouth at the Colorado River. In 1940, Rev. Mendez, C.S.C., and his congregation began gathering building material to build a church on W. Mary Street. The design for the building called for stone walls built around a framework of cedar posts. Mr. Dellana, who was Catholic, gave the priest permission to gather fieldstone and cedar posts from his ranch located where Zilker Park is today. At that time, Mr. Dellana apparently gave the bell to Fr. Mendez and it was mounted in the belfry of the new church. A photo taken in 1940 of the church on West Mary Street shows a wheel-operated bell on the ground next to the building and a smaller bell mounted in the steeple (Photo072, 090). The bell in the steeple was used to call parishioners to Mass. It was attached to a rope that hung to ground level. When the parish left the building in 1956 and constructed a new church, the bell was removed and taken to the new church. However, the new church had no belfry and nether bell was mounted. In 1956, the wheel-operated bell was placed on a low platform in front of and north of the second church. It was hung from a 2x4. Children would ring it while playing and so disturbed the service.

Fr. Houser kept the other bell in the sacristy. In 1958 he said that Charles Dellana found the bell near Barton Springs. He said that the legend was that in 1716 the Spanish planned to build a mission near Barton Springs. Indians drove the Spanish back to San Antonio but the bell was left behind. Father Houser said the bell was supposedly brought from France during the reign of Louis XIV (120).

It was not until 1984 that a belfry was added to the second San José church. A drawing of the planned bell tower noted that, "Bell in front yard will be painted and installed" in the bell tower. The drawing shows one bell mounted in the bell tower (223:27/05/84). The men that built the belfry mounted two bells. The priest was gone at the time and the men took it upon themselves to mount both bells. According to the Sunday Bulletin, Paul Samaniego donated the bell mounted in the belfry (223:05/08/84).

The Sunday Bulletin of April 7, 1985, showed a drawing of the bell tower. The drawing showed one bell hung in the lower rack of the bell tower. The drawing showed that the large bell that sat in front of the church for years was gone (probably hung in the bell tower). The drawing also shows a second, much smaller bell mounted on a support above the lower bell (223: 07/04/1985). It has not been determined whether or not the second, smaller bell is the 17th century French bell or, indeed, what happened to the bell that Charles Dellana found near Barton Springs in the 1930s.


The notes below were transcribed from various sources. Most are from the Sunday Bulletin. The images mentioned may or may not still be in the possession of San José Parish.

1940 When the 1st church opened in June 1940, "there was a huge Jamaica. Everyone came from all around to attend the opening of the new church. I remember them having a big statute of Saint Joseph" (221).

1958 In 1958 Fr. Houser showed a statue, "Pilgrim Virgin" to a reporter. He said that Jose Ferreira Thedim, a Portugese sculptor, made the image (120).

1958 In 1958 Fr. Houser showed an image of Our Lady of San Juan to a reporter. He said that it was important in converting Mexican Indians to Catholicism (120).

1960, Dec. 11 At 5:00PM, the Solemn Blessing of the Statue of the Virgin Most Pure took place. It was followed by a supper from 5:30 to 7:30PM served by the Guadalupanas (223:12/04/60). When Fr. Houser was pastor of San José, someone donated a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe that was placed at the entrance to the second church. Pete Castillo donated a candle rack for this image. The statue is now at the entrance to the women's restroom in the third church (Pete Castillo).

1960, Dec. 11 The Guadalupanas served supper after the Solemn Blessing of the Statue of the Virgin Most Pure (223:12/04/60).

1961, Feb. 26 The church had purchased a new statue of San José. It had not arrived yet (223:02/26/61). Pedro Rivera made the stand for the new statue (223:03/19/61).

1961, Feb. 26 "The Socios of Sagrado Corazón are in charge of the insignia for the blessing of our new statue of San José. The statue has not arrived yet" (223:02/26/61).

1961, March 19 "Tamales by the Guadalupanas for our new statue of San Jose". It appears that the Guadalupanas sold tamales to raise funds for a new statue (223:03/19/61).

1961, April 2 The Insignia of Padrinos for the blessing of the new statue sold for 50 cents (223:04/02/61). Luís Calderón was in charge of the Insignia (223:04/09/61).

1961, April 16 The Guadalupanas had a Tamale sale to buy Insignias and to help pay for the Statue, resulting in $42.69. They plan another sale on Saturday, April 29 (223:04/16/61).

1961, May 7 The blessing of the new statue of San José will take place at 10:00AM Mass with a procession into the church for all padrinos (223:04/30/61).

1966, April The Guadalupanas donated a new statue from Mexico to the school. The statue cost $125 (223:04/24/66). The monthly meeting was on May 1. That evening at 7:00PM the Virgin Mary was crowned as part of the living Rosary (223:05/01/66).

1968, March 17 The image of the Virgin of San Juan was moved and a little shrine was built for her (223:03/17/68).

1969, July 21 Rev. John Haley reported to Parish Council that the Guadalupanas had set aside $2,000 to remodel the sacristy and rework a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They wanted to realign the picture so its corner matches that of La Virgen de San Juan (213).

1968, September 6 The 12:30 Choir sponsored a parish dance and raised $1,857.60 to pay for the outdoor statue of St. Joseph for the new church (223: 21/09/1968).

1976, January The statue of Our Lady of Fatima was moved from one parish to another for periods of three days at each parish (223:11/01/76). The pastor admonished someone who was posting a chain prayer to St., Martha in the church. He said the copies were collected and destroyed. He said this was a form of superstition (223:11/01/76).

1976, March Rev. Lawrence Bauer condemned the practice of burning candles under the images of our Blessed Mother. He said this practice damaged the church. He urged people to substitute this practice with a mass offered for a personal intention. He did not specify the amount of donation but said he paid $1 for a Mass 62 years before (223:14/03/76).

1976, July 4 The pastor said San José would ring its bell as part of the Bicentennial celebration (223:20/06/76). He was referring to the iron wheel-operated bell that sat on the ground in front of the church.

1976, July The parish had accumulated a six-months supply of large candles that were sold for $1. The small candles sold for 10 cents each (223:11/07/76).

1984, January Two friends of the parish donated a statue of the Risen Christ that was placed on the rear wall of the second church (223:01/01/84). Previously, a statue of Christ Crucified occupied that spot (223:01/01/84). St. Joseph Statue will be out of the church to be refinished and repainted (223:08/01/84).

1984, January The Statue of St. Joseph was removed and repainted by an artist (223:15/01/84). Grace Cotar put new gold leaf on the statue (223:26/02/84).

1984, April A large set of Stations of the Cross was donated by St. John's Church in San Marcos. Mrs. Grace Cotar, the lady who did such a beautiful job refinishing St. Joseph Statue, is touching up the Stations where the plaster and paint is chipped. The old Stations of the Cross were given to parishioners as keepsakes (223:29/04/84).

1985, April The pastor thanked Felix E. Huizar for repairing the hand of the Sacred Heart Statue. Rev. Herman Reith, C.S.C. repaired the old crucifix that was chipped, cracked, etc. (223: 07/04/1985). Rev. Reith, C.S.C., was helping at San José for a few weeks. He returned to Notre Dame on April 10 (223:14/04/1985).

1985 A photo in the Sunday Bulletin shows the Risen Christ above the altar with Rev. Elmer Gross holding up the Communion host. A second photo shows the image of Joseph and Boy Jesus in a wall niche. This image also shows another smaller image of Christ. The larger image and the Risen Christ image were placed in the Third Church prior to 1993 (223:03/02/1985).

1985 A photo in the Sunday Bulletin shows the Second Church without the bell tower. The large iron bell is shown sitting on the ground in front of the church. Near it is an image of Saint Joseph surrounded by a concrete shelter. This small image is often seen outside of homes (223:03/02/1985).

1986, January Fr. Herman Reith refinished the statue of Our Blessed Mother. A dance at the Community Center raised money for "Outdoor Statue of St. Joseph and Grotto" (223:12/01/1986).

1987, May There was a Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan at the entrance to the second church. The pastor asked that no flowers be left there because of the danger of the votive candles setting them on fire (223:24/05/1987). This shrine was located on the wall in the foyer near the ladies' rest room (223:27/01/1991).

1990, December "Several years ago, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima (white with gold trim, about 3 feet high) was borrowed. If anyone knows of its whereabouts, please return it" (223:09/12/1990).

1991, January A new Holy Water Font with unlimited Holy Water was located on the wall in the church foyer near the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan. Eddie Botello did the plumbing work (223:27/01/1991).

1991, March Mary Jennings donated a statue of Our Blessed Mother for the Parish Hall that was over 100 years old (223:17/03/1991).

1991, April People were urged to not leave photos of loved ones in front of pictures or statues. "We have placed a box in the foyer of the church and another at the entrance to Chapel marked "Prayer Requests" with request forms. Your petitions will be remembered in all our Masses" (223:28/04/1991).

1992, October Alberto Rangel donated a Statue of St. Francis of Assisi that was placed by the water fountain between the church and the rectory (223:25/10/1992).

1992, November Charlotte Born repainted the statue of Our Blessed Mother in the parish hall (223:15/11/1992).

1993, January The KOC Council 10148 donated an American and Papal Flag to the parish (223:17/12/1993).

1993, February A 4' x 6' exact photographic replica of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was shown at San Jose on March 6 from 1PM to 6AM on Sunday. The image was a traveling exhibition (223:28/02/1993).

1993, August Someone threw a rock at the statue of the scourged Christ, resulting in minor damage (223:15/08/1993).

1993, August Greg and Stella Trejo and Dr. Jim and Anne Lassiter donated a fountain located in the front of the church (223:29/08/1993).

Sacred Heart Portrait

Ed Brightson donated a framed photo of the Sacred Heart to San José in January 1991. It was kept in a trailer in the parking lot of the church until at least January 1992. It was an object of pilgrimage. In 2017 the photo was on display at the entrance to the 2nd church near the entrance to the Gift Shop entrance. The staff of the Gift Shop said that this is the original photo but others insist that the photo on display is a copy. Some parishioners believe the original was retained by the Diocese, others that the original was returned to the parish and is buried with Father Underwood.

Christ Crucified

Luis and Beatrice Calderon donated an image of Jesus being crucified. It was placed on the left side in the 2nd church (221).


1985, July María Pérez made and donated a baptismal stole to the church (223:21/07/1985).

1987, December María Galvan made a new Advent Wreath (223:06/12/1987).