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Since 2008, I’ve had the privilege of serving as an altar server at Holy Rosary. All these years of service have brought me closer to Christ through this beautiful community that has supported and guided me along the way. The one experience I will always remember and keep in my heart was the time at an Easter Vigil in which I carried in the Paschal Candle and chanted “Lumen Christi” while processing. Never in my life did I feel so humbled and so close to the light of Christ as I did that night.
My husband, Jeremy, and I began attending Holy Rosary Parish about 2002. We have borne 6 children since. I must digress, however, to explain the path that led us to the front row of 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday. When we lived close to downtown, a resolute, but delightful Lora Lou Miral, married to the amusing, yet precocious, Pierre Miral, purchased the house next door to Jeremy and me.
Lora Lou invited us to HER parish, Holy Rosary, and was absolute that we would never consider another one. She was correct! From the first time Jeremy and I entered the doors of Holy Rosary, we were enchanted, not only by the beauty, but also the ease to glorify God. For this, we are eternally thankful to our friends, the Mirals!
It was shortly after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, that the wise men of Holy Rosary’s indoor manger scene went missing. Unfortunately, they were still nowhere to be found when it came time for the Vigil Mass for Epiphany. I will never forget Fr. William Brenda’s special and memorable announcement concerning their absence. At the top of his homily he said, “Uh, it seems that our wise men have, uh, gone missing. My suspicion is, uh, that they were detained at the airport. You know, uh, three strange men from the Middle East.” Needless to say, the church erupted with laughter, and once again Fr. Brenda charmed the people of Holy Rosary with his indelible wit. I miss him very much.
Director of Music/Cantor
K of C Sunday was determined to be the third Sunday of the month. Several activities were tried from taking candid photos and displaying them the following Sunday to hot dogs and tamales on the first and third Sundays.
One idea was red beans and rice with someone’s family recipe, which involved cleaning, washing, and overnight soaking. The team had to show up very early Sunday morning to drain and cook the beans and then the rice. Parishioners loved our beans. We rotated teams, and one weekend it was Brothers Bob Rogers and Bill Buei’s turn. They didn’t show up on Saturday, and on Sunday, they didn’t allow anyone in the kitchen. Nevertheless, their beans and rice were delicious.
When we were cleaning up, someone found big institutional-size boxes of Tony Chachere’s Creole Red Beans and Rice mix. Brothers Bob and Bill, ever the ones for time-saving efficiency had come up with the ultimate – show up, boil 30 minutes, then clean up. We kept our secret, but since Tony Chachere wasn’t in the Knights’ blood, we moved on to roasting chicken.
Knight of Columbus
I enjoyed getting to know Fr. Boley Brenda, O.P., when I was at Holy Rosary for my preaching summer in 1997. He introduced me to the British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, which had me laughing. Fr. Brenda would usually take me out for dinner on Saturdays. The $100,000 question was, “Where were we going to eat? Luby’s or Clebourne Cafeteria?” Fr. Brenda loved Cleburne Cafeteria, because he could get his usual chicken and dumplings. Still, Cleburne Cafeteria was often crowded on Saturday nights, which sometimes dissuaded Fr. Brenda from going there. So we’d go to Luby’s on South MacGregor instead. Fr. Brenda was a good nature fellow. He reminded me of ALF from the 80’s sitcom by the same name.
When I was in college at UH Main-Campus I was a brand-new Catholic; I was blessed to find the wonderful Dominicans at Holy Rosary (and the University Newman Center) who helped form me. I will always remember Fr. Moraczewski’s short and simple vocation story that led to 50+ years of faithful priestly life and Fr. Brenda’s (aka Fr. Boley’s) homilies with his emphatic, yet gentle, fist tapping the podium while he reminded us that all we need to do is “to know God, to love him, and to serve him.”
You responded with such love and compassion to God’s call to Adopt a Family for Christmas. We were able to assist twenty families who were struggling financially and whose Christmas would have been spent worrying about having a roof over their head, having their electric service kept on, having enough food to eat, and having winter clothes to wear or toys for their children. What really struck me was how important it was for these families to know that someone personally cared about their situation. It is hard for us to comprehend how difficult it is to raise five to seven children as single parents who have been abandoned by their spouses or how difficult it is for a married couple who has lost a job and is struck with illness. One family that we helped had a new infant and a toddler. The father’s job was having financial problems, and he was so worried about not being able to pay bills that he ended up having a heart attack a few weeks before Christmas. The father was not the sort of person to ask for help, and he had no idea that Holy Rosary was adopting his family for Christmas. We made arrangements through his mother and showed up on his door step with a check, grocery cards, and baby clothes. They were extremely grateful! Thank you for your generosity and for letting these families feel the loving touch of Christ.
Coordinator of Religious Education
On November 15, St. Albert the Great’s feast day, I would take Fr. Albert Moraczewski, O.P., to lunch at a restaurant of his choice to celebrate. We always had the most delightful conversations. On December 21, the feast of St. Peter Canisius, my patron saint, Fr. Albert would always say a Mass for me. Somehow, I always felt like I got the lion’s share. God bless him.
Although it has been many years since I have talked to or seen my uncle, Fr. Kokel, he had always been a blessing to me. His love and prayers have touched me over the years and the miles. Thank you Lord for having such a wonderful uncle in my life!
Nancy B. Andrews
Fr. Konkel was a big part of our family at Holy Rosary. He celebrated my marriage in 2000 and that of my daughter, Paula, in 2001.
Bob and Debbie Akeroyd
Several years ago John and I had one of our granddaughters at Mass. She was five or six. Her family attends Mass at another parish, so she wasn’t often at Holy Rosary. When we went outside to speak with Fr. Konkel, our granddaughter said “Hello, Father Konkel, remember me, I’m Isabella, you baptized me” Without missing a beat, Fr. Konkel said “Of course I remember you, my how you have grown. It’s nice to see you.” This is just further proof of what a generous and kind person he was, in addition to being a wonderful priest.
In the early 1990’s, the Knights of Columbus council 11023 had become pretty good at cooking and serving fajitas for Holy Rosary Parish. We had one problem – our cooker was an old horizontal soft drink box with the top and internal hardware removed. Still, it must have weighed over 200 pounds, and we had to put it on Brother Gaspar Correa’s trailer to move it close to the kitchen window so we could pass the fajitas into the kitchen. Brother Gaspar, being one of the most creative, hard-working and benevolent members in our council, solved our problem and made a cooker out of aluminum.
The first time we used it, things went great until someone said we needed to turn the heat up to slightly char the outer surface of the fajitas. To accomplish this, one of our brothers got a fan from the storage room and blew it across the top of the coals. We accidentally created a forced air furnace that got the temperature up to 1,220 °F. We know that it must have been at least that as the melting temperature of aluminum is 1,220 °F.
I was in the kitchen when I saw flames, sparks, smoke and confusion outside the kitchen window. Looking out the window, I saw the trailer floor on fire, puddles of molten aluminum, fajitas, firewood, and coals burning, and brother knights bailing off of the trailer as the bottom had melted out of the cooker.
Brother Gaspar put the fire out, got us organized, and we finished the cooking using the kitchen’s grills. The parish loved our product, as always.
Jim Eaton, Trustee KC Co. #11023
During the construction of the New Parish Hall, the Knights of Columbus Council 11023 had to move our trailer mounted smoker across the street behind the educational building. We had a problem catching the parishioner attention to our Smoked Chicken Sales when they came out of Mass. Brother Joe Kendall, being the energetic young man that he is, would stand across the street from church and honk an Ahhhhh-Ougaaaaa! bike horn and point towards our K.C. flag flying at the end of the parking lot. This worked pretty well. Then, Brother Tony Adornetto, always ready with a creative solution, said he used to play a bugle. So we got a bugle. All Tony could remember was Reveille. Now we had folks coming over just to see what was going on. One parishioner said we sounded like a Spike Jones record. But, we put on many a successful Smoked Chicken Sale thanks to Brother Joe Kendall’s Ahhhhh-Ougaaaaa!, and Brother Tony Adornetto playing Reveille.
Jim Eaton, Trustee KC Co. #11023
Fr. Konkel was always climbing ladders and checking on the condition of things, changing light bulbs, etc. I remember one time after he had suffered a fall from a ladder, that the bandage on the top of his head was in the form of a white cross. Each time he bowed down his head there was the cross!
Fr. Konkel entered into eternal life, led by St. Martin de Porres on his feast day. God is good, and His orchestration perfect. I loved to hear Fr. Konkel talk about his parents who formed him so well. I hope and pray one day my children will speak of me as he spoke of his parents. What a lasting legacy! Pray for me, Fr. Konkel.
When Fr. Ian asked me to write about my favorite Holy Rosary memory, I hesitated because I had never really thought about Holy Rosary in that way. I really have no favorite moment, it is more of an appreciation for the excellent priests, staff, and laity that have been my pleasure to know over the years. The staff has allowed me to conduct an adult study program over the last seven years and a stubborn group of about 10 to 15 have endured me. The years honestly kind of all run together for me – from Fr. Brown to Fr. Ian; but 2008 sticks in my mind as the saddest Holy Rosary memory for me. That year Fr. Brenda, Fr. Albert, and Dr. James Considine passed away and now in our centennial year Fr. Konkel.
One particular evening a bride went down the aisle with her adoring father. The assertive photographer caught a moment several of us from the foyer noticed. As the bride kissed her Dad, before her hand was given to her groom, she slipped a note into her father’s pocket. How sweet! Later that evening while the families were taking the last of the photos around the altar, I was able to visit with the photographer. There had been comments made about the bride’s gesture. I said I thought it was adorable. The photographer said that he had too and quipped about it to the Dad who responded with a chuckle saying “Oh, she just returned my credit card.”
Many years ago when one could see the campus of South Main Baptist Church from Holy Rosary, Fr. Mark Barron, who was an associate pastor for some years during Fr. Joubert’s pastorate, saw that one of the smaller buildings on the campus had caught fire. As the fire trucks arrived Fr. Barron was heard to remark dryly, “My word, our Baptist brothers must have got the brimstone too hot this morning.”
G. Ernest Caldwell
In 2001, Knights of Columbus Council #11023 put on it’s first Chicken Cooking. On a Sunday morning around 4 a.m., Emmitt Shorter, our Grand Knight, and myself, his deputy, after rousing the homeless guy that slept on the stairs of the kitchen and after dragging our grill (a 2’ X 7’ one) from under the fire escape, started. Neither of us had ever done a massive chicken cooking of this scale. Emmitt said the thing to do was to cover the whole grill with aluminum foil and put the chicken halves on top of the foil. This didn’t seem to be doing the job, and we had put some of the halves’ bones down that had punctured the foil. Those halves were on fire. So it was decided to remove the foil. I started rolling up the foil with Emmitt removing the chicken and repositioning them directly on the grill. As I rolled the foil, a lake of chicken fat preceded the roll and got bigger and deeper. Suddenly it poured onto the hot coals. The fat vaporized and went up into the early morning darkness, and at about 15’ to 20’, it flashed with a whisssssing sound, lighting up all of Travis St. and the surrounding apartments, clubs, and the rectory. Shortly, Father Konkel, who was up, came out and with a huge mushroom cloud still lingering about 30’ to 40’ up in the still morning air said, “James, how’s it going?” I said “Just fine, Father.” Nothing could shake Fr. Konkel. Emmitt got the situation organized, and when the rest of the guys showed, we put on a very successful Foil Bagged Grilled Chicken Sale for the parish.
Jim Eaton, Trustee KC Co. #11023
I am writing this memory in honor of my parents, Frank J. and Annie M. Bonno. During the early 1920’s, there were three Catholic churches in Houston: Annunciation, Holy Rosary, and Sacred Heart. These churches were my parents’ only access to celebrate important family events. My mother was born in 1902, baptized at Sacred Heart, and then married at Holy Rosary in 1923. She came from a family of ten children, who were raised on a farm on property that is now in the Galleria area. My grandfather would bring his vegetable crops to sell at the market in downtown Houston.
Throughout my adult life, my mother would ask me to come to Holy Rosary Church on holy days to light candles and offer prayers for deceased relatives and special intentions. She always had a special sentiment for Holy Rosary throughout her life.
Lucia A. Bonno
Friend of the Parish
It was October 14, 2004, and Fr. Vicente began the adult Scripture class with an outline followed the next Sunday by Fr. Albert with a power point presentation. Both were preparing the way for Bob Mitchell to continue, which he has to this day. (Thank you, Bob!) The beauty of those first meetings is my image of Fr. Vicente speaking and telling his beloved, pastoral stories, painting vivid pictures with words in our hearts and minds. I know his images are true, because when I was able to visit that part of Spain much later, I recognized it already. He would slowly weave his details and build his story into the beauty of Catholic theology. He continues this through his writings on the backs of the bulletin. Thank you, Fr. Vicente.
Caryn Goloby Vukelich
My memory is as clear as the philosophy and theology Fr. Albert was able to explain to the dullest mind. I enjoyed seeing him in his lovely white Dominican habit teaching us the deep mysteries of our Faith with simple humility. Sometimes he would stand, other times sit, but always he brought Jesus, Himself, to my mind’s eye as he engaged us all. Fr. Albert and so many others over the years come to my mind when Fr. Konkel asks us to remember in prayer those who have brought us closer to Jesus, for to KNOW God and His Word is truly to love Him more and more.
Caryn Goloby Vukelich
My Dad cooked for the priests; he always made outstanding Italian meals like eggplant parmesan, which was Fr. Konkel’s favorite. When Dad worked in the kitchen, my sister always tagged along watching or wanting to help. Dad showed that he loved cooking and especially for his parish. He always looked forward to his turn for cooking.
Every Christmas my Dad would bring seven-layer cookies (an Italian specialty) for the priests. He was a good cook and always made an Italian dinner, either soup or anything else delicious.
Even though he’s gone, he always wanted to help people using his gift to show how he cared about that person or thing he gave the meal to. He wanted this dream to come true, and I will finish the rest for him.
In my memory, I see Father Brenda with his tall and lean aspect, smiling and enjoying his parishioners as he stood on the steps of the church after Holy Mass. He was one of those people, it seems to me, who paid attention to the important things and did not take himself too seriously. He was very cheerful, his eyes twinkled when he told jokes, and I often asked to hear them. He enjoyed puns and “dumb” jokes, and he really liked to tell them!
When I first came to Holy Rosary, Fr. Joubert was the pastor in residence. He would often end the mass with such-n-such holy day or holiday is coming up this week. We will be celebrating a full-Sunday schedule of masses to help you celebrate. We invite you to come and receive the blessings and grace of God. We will be here and hope to see you too. Fr. Joubert was such a warm, wonderful, pastoral priest. God rest his soul.
I am a parishioner of Holy Rosary today, because of my uncle, Fr. Albert Moraczewski, O.P. He died on May 1, 2008, in Houston. He is dearly missed by me, my children, my sisters and brothers and many of you. Today, September 1, would be my uncle’s 93rd birthday, so in his honor I agreed to share a memory:
I have many cherished memories of my uncle but the one I hold dearest is when he would travel to Houston to visit my father, his brother, after my father had become terribly ill. Prior to Fr. Albert returning to Houston and becoming a resident here at Holy Rosary, which he did during the course of my father’s illness, he would say the Mass in my home and we would pray the rosary together at my father’s bedside. My uncle’s presence during this time was a great comfort to me. It was also a great relief to me when he decided to stay in Houston after my father’s passing. When I was a child, Fr. Albert was my uncle, who happened to be a priest; he would buy me birthday gifts and take me to the park to fly kites. When I was older, I thought of Fr. Albert as a priest, who happened to be my uncle; I took full advantage of this relationship constantly seeking his counsel.
In 1949-1950, a group of young people formed the Rosarian Club at Holy Rosary. It was a good place for young Catholic people to meet. Holy Rosary Hall was the meeting place, and we had dances and parties there. Roland and Donna Hernandez met there. They had nine wonderful children. Donna was a nurse at St Joseph’s Hospital. Many of the young nurses at the hospital came to the Rosarian Club for social activities. The group enjoyed taking lots of trips to Galveston.
Frank Fitzsimmons was here from Ireland. He enjoyed the club and learned how to Jitterbug while a part of it! He later became a La Salette Missionary. He served as Pastor of Mary Queen in Friendswood and then in another parish in Louisiana.
My family, the Ciullas, lived on Hawthorne Street and were members of Holy Rosary Parish. We always opened our home to the Rosarians and had many parties and socials in our home.
Friend of the Parish
I have attended Holy Rosary for nearly thirty-five years, since my husband, Jim, and I were married here by Fr. Joubert, O.P. I have always treasured the beautiful traditional church and liturgy in combination with the Dominican friars, who have nourished my faith and my family’s faith.
About eight years ago, I felt called to organize a prayerful presence at Planned Parenthood just two blocks east of Holy Rosary on Fannin. With the help of the Coalition for Life and their 40 Days for Life program and with Fr. Konkel’s permission, we began a commitment as a parish to the unborn. On that first day during the 40 Days for Life during Lent, over eighty people, young and old, came to pray, including four of our priests. About a year later, we began a once-a-month commitment to be a prayerful presence on the sidewalk to the unborn and those entering Planned Parenthood. Soon we extended our prayer warriors to include those that couldn’t physically be present but would commit to praying wherever they were. Usually not seeing any tangible results, but confident that God will use us and our prayers, we continue our commitment with new people regularly becoming aware of the need to be instruments of God for this cause for life.
Secular Franciscans at a Dominican Parish? Yes! It was around 1996 that our local fraternity, St. Thomas More, needed a new home. Early meetings had been held at the University of Houston and then at the Co-Cathedral. Jeff Ramirez, altar server at Holy Rosary and one of the founding members, received permission to meet at Holy Rosary. Jeff remembers a comment Father Joseph Konkel, O.P., pastor of Holy Rosary, made to Bishop Fiorenza when the presence of secular Franciscan group was discussed: “The Franciscans belong here!” Franciscans and Dominicans feel a sense of kinship, as our founders lived in the same period of time and had met and respected one another. Father Albert Moraczewski, O.P., agreed to serve as Spiritual Assistant, and later Father Victor Brown, O.P., also shared his spiritual gems with the Secular Franciscan Group. We have grown through the years in the joy and simplicity of the Franciscan charism. Secular Franciscans meet at Holy Rosary on the fourth Sunday of each month in the religious education center. We welcome inquirers!
Writing memories of Holy Rosary is a lot like writing an autobiography—Holy Rosary is that much connected with my life. Looking back I can see all those influences being reduced to just one category—Dominican!
I remember so many of the priests like Fr. Kavanah. I was always so glad when Fr. Kavanah was the celebrant at Mass, because I knew I would be able to grasp his sermon. I also remember him giving us our report cards every six weeks; he was always so gentle.
I remember the Dominican liturgies: the simple low Masses and the elegant Solemn Masses with their cast of thousands! I remember watching and listening to the friars saying their Divine Office with the steady cadence of the psalms and the graceful inclinations at the Glory Be.
I remember the cycle of special devotions, the processions for the May crowning, for Rosary Sunday, for Forty Hours (and the free day from school that always followed to the dismay of the Sisters!). Even today, the fragrance of incense will stir very vivid memories of those occasions with flower petals strewn on the isles of the church and the breeze flowing through the open windows—yes, way back before air conditioning! I remember my First Communion and being allowed to go up on the altar steps to receive the Host at a time when women were not allowed in the sanctuary during the liturgy! I think we were the last ones to do that.
There is much more, but I’ll end with a word of gratitude for being raised Dominican, for still being Dominican, and hopefully dying Dominican.
Sr. Mary John, O.P.
Monastery of the Infant Jesus
Father Joseph Bang Dinh Doan, O.P., was one of two priests in the first contingent of Vietnamese refugees to arrive in Houston. Someone from Immigration and Naturalization Service at the airport called Bishop Morkovsky, the Bishop of Galveston-Houston, and told him, “We have two of your boys out here who don’t speak English. They are both priests and keep saying something about Dominoes or Dominic.” Whereupon Bishop Morkovsky called Father Joubert, O.P., the pastor of Holy Rosary, who went out to the airport and took them to live in the rectory, thus beginning the association of Holy Rosary Parish and the Vietnamese Community, which continues to this day.
G. Ernest Caldwell
Friend of the Parish
Five years ago, my wife and I moved to the Museum District and picked the Holy Rosary Church as our parish. Since then we have participated in many church events involving our fellow parishioners. A majority have involved the Knights of Columbus. These events include: Hot Dog and Tamale Sundays, fish fries, taco breakfasts, pancake breakfasts, a blood drive, Oktoberfest, an Advent breakfast, a ministry fair, and a health fair. With the Knights, we have also helped with the Nativity scene, Christmas decorations, Easter Egg Hunts, Marian Day, Market Day, and St. Nicholas Day. It’s hard to recall all of the events and how we became so involved at Holy Rosary. I hope that over the next five, ten, or twenty-five years we have the chance to continue to participate and support our church however we can.
Our family has been parishioners of Holy Rosary for many years, and this is where many of our most important life events have taken place. When our son, Alex, was six years old, we had his three-month old sister, Sofia, baptized at Holy Rosary by Father Vicente. It was a beautiful and blessed event. We were all very happy to share such an important event with our loved ones. Father Vicente asked our son to hold Sofia’s lighted baptismal candle. The wax started burning pretty fast, and Alex’s eyes kept getting bigger and more concerned while Sofia was being baptized. The hot wax eventually burned Alex’s hand, and he said, “Ouch!” Father Vicente heard him and said to him, “Now, you will never forget this day!” A true fact: whenever we bring up Sofia’s baptism, Alex always remembers the candle event. Today, our son is an altar boy, and our daughter celebrated her First Communion here just a few months ago. We love Holy Rosary and the sense of community it has, which make Holy Rosary near and dear to our hearts.
Harvey and Lily Wagner
My parents, Frank Martin and Magdalena Weber, were married at Holy Rosary Church on November 5, 1919. My maternal grandparents couldn’t attend the wedding, because they got lost in the fog and couldn’t find the church. I grew up in Bellaire where the Martin family settled in 1903. The Martins were dairymen, farmers, and the founders of Westmoreland Dairy in 1947. The dairy closed in 1976. My husband of 58 years is Joe Kowis.
Betty Ann Kowis
One memorable tradition that many Holy Rosary parishioners enjoyed for years was the Wednesday Lunches after 12:05 p.m. weekday Mass. Six to eight volunteer cooks prepared a wonderful variety of meals for their fellow parishioners to enjoy. The fact that so many people enjoyed these meals proves that too many cooks don’t spoil the pot! It was a wonderful fellowship. Too bad it had to end because of a lack of cooks and dishwashers. I hope Holy Rosary will be able to revive this tradition in the future.
In 1990, shortly after we built our new home and became parishioners of Holy Rosary Parish, Fr. Victor Brown, O.P., the pastor at the time, asked us to host the Southern Dominican Gala. This was only the second time for this event. We, of course, were quite apprehensive to undertake such an important event. When Fr. Brown said that there would be approximately 125-150 guests, we became even more concerned. Christine Ember was the chairman and very supportive. With the assistance of the committee and elegant flower arrangements by Joanne Edmundson, the gala was a great success and produced significant funds for the Southern Dominican Province. Dr. Paul Chu received the St. Martin de Porres Award for his work at the University of Houston on electrical conductivity in the absolute zero state. Fr. Val McInnes, O.P., the Promoter of Development for the Southern Dominican Province, gave the award speech across our swimming pool. We felt blessed to have been given the opportunity to host this event, to meet so many wonderful parishioners, and to become a friend of Fr. Brown.
Margaret and Malcolm Granberry
I have been a member of Holy Rosary Parish for most of my life! My family became a part of this wonderful parish in the early twentieth century. The family grew from the Gibbs Family to become the extended Gibbs-Burkhart-Chambers Family. There are other Holy Rosary parishioners who I know have similar stories. Each family group has its own unique story and charm! Before Holy Rosary was established, many families belonged to Annunciation Church in old downtown Houston. And so the history and the friendships were and are still intertwined.
My family memory of Holy Rosary comes from the World War II era. We lived at 425 Hawthorne Avenue. A few years beforehand, we lived at 428, which was across the street. It was our custom to stay together and to stay close and connected to one another and to the parish family. Gasoline was rationed, and so when a Sunday offered good weather, our family would walk to Sunday 8:30 a.m. Mass together. After Mass, we returned home for Sunday dinner preparation, a wonderful family meal, conversation, and enjoyment. We, of course, missed our men in uniform and were so grateful when our prayers were answered and they came home to the Hawthorne House—425 Hawthorne. What wonderful conversations we had, and what wonderful memories I have today of those Sunday Morning walks, talks, and life lessons.
My family was grateful for the dear Dominican Culture, the special charm of Holy Rosary Church, and the devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary. As a small child, I was intrigued by a nearby large school building at 3901 Fannin Street. I would ask, “What is that big place with steps that reach up to the second floor?” When I was told it was a school, I wanted to attend school there. And so when I was five years old, my mother walked up those big stairs and asked if I could be enrolled. I was at that school for twelve years and thus received the best Dominican education possible.
I thank God every day for the many special Dominican blessings of St. Agnes Academy and Holy Rosary Church. The blessings continue today in 2013. Holy Rosary priests are very special individuals and gifts to all who call Holy Rosary HOME!
Mary Ann Chambers
My husband, Vernon, and I became engaged in Houston in 1982. At Christmastime, we traveled to my hometown in Missouri to make the arrangements for our wedding. A long story short: the traditional wedding I was hoping for was not permitted by the Catholic parishes in my hometown. My tearful and emotional heartbreak would eventually turn into an amazing blessing from God as Fr. Gerard Joubert, O.P., the pastor of Holy Rosary, agreed to officiate at Vernon’s and my wedding at Holy Rosary. Fr. Joubert and Alicia Chavez, his pastoral assistant, also started a young married couples group to support marriages. As a result of this ministry, Vernon and I made lifelong friends. To name a few of those young couples who still belong to Holy Rosary, they are Jim and Cindy Hotze, Beth and Bruce Hotze, Rick and Nancy Hotze, Bill and Colette Durbin, and Harry and Verena Isensee.
As fate would have it, I am now on staff at Holy Rosary, and there is a new young married couples group. It is called “St. Valentine’s Guild,” headed up by Brigid Stauduhar, Christian Hinkie, and Johanna Garcia. I invite all young married couples to join and to receive the same blessings we did.
Coordinator of Religious Education
on Lake Zell in Austria, September 1995
Photo taken by Nick DeLeonardis
Not long after Father Victor Brown, O.P., arrived at Holy Rosary, my wife, Jackie, and I discovered his love for travel. He would research, organize, and direct trips to wherever anyone would like to go, provided it is or was once part of the Christian World. His vast knowledge of history and geography made him an excellent tour guide.
Our first trip with Father was in 1992—an Alaskan Cruise out of San Francisco. Needless to say, my wife and I were hooked! We have been traveling with him every year since, and our travels have taken us throughout much of the world. Although he was transferred to St. Dominic Priory in New Orleans in 1995, he continued to take “The Holy Rosary Travel Group” wherever he went.
All of his trips, to say the least, were memorable, but the one in 1996—“Father Victor Brown’s Aegean Cruise and Pilgrimage To The Holy Land”—stands out to me in particular. Many of the members of Holy Rosary who are still with us speak of it often. We arrived in Athens, Greece, on October 3. It was a beautiful day, and the night was clear and moonlit. We had dinner at an outside restaurant with the lighted Parthenon atop the Acropolis in full view. What a sight! I’ll never forget the beauty of it. The next day after touring Athens and the Acropolis, we boarded our ship, the Stella Solaris, and sailed off to Istanbul, Turkey. As we entered the harbor at Istanbul with the sight of the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace in view, all I can say is, “WOW!!” We then went on to Ephesus, Turkey, where the Apostle Paul preached for many years. Next, we went to the Greek islands of Patmos, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Delos, and Mykonos, arriving back in Athens on October 11. Continuing on to the Athens Airport for our flight to Tel Aviv, Israel, followed by our bus ride to Jerusalem, we settled in at the King Solomon Hotel, which was our base for the next four days and nights. After seeing all the religious and historical sights in Jerusalem, we traveled to Nazareth, Qumran, Masada, the Dead Sea, and so on. We were off again to Tiberias and our hotel, the Galei Kinnereth, which was located on the Sea of Galilee—the only hotel right on the beach. We departed on October 18 from Ben Gurion Airport for home. Throughout our entire trip, we celebrated Mass each day as we always do on all of Fr. B’s tours—often in many of the most beautiful and historic cathedrals and churches in the world.
Traveling with Father Brown over these past twenty years has enriched my life enormously, none of which would have happened had I not been a member of Holy Rosary Parish.
I met Norman Thomas about fifteen to twenty years ago at Holy Rosary. He was an usher at the 11 a.m. Sunday Mass and had been a Knight of Columbus for over forty years. He considered it a privilege to be a Knight. Norman was quite a character. He recited the rosary every day and let me know that Pope John Paul II messed up his routine when established the Mysteries of Light. It took him a while to learn those new mysteries. Norman was also known for saying he was too “young” to try something new—a saying he used well into his seventies. He also liked saying “Gig ’em” in honor of his beloved university, Texas A&M. He had Aggie stories by the bushel full. Even if you did not have time to listen to them, he made you listen to them.
Norman was a parishioner who gave Holy Rosary character, dignity, and an example of what a Catholic gentleman should be like. He died last December at the age of 79. His funeral was held at Holy Rosary. I wish I had him around to tell one more of those dumb Aggie stories.
Grand Knight, Father Joubert Council 11023
After a brief absence overseas, my husband, Thom Potempa, and I returned to Houston and were visiting different parishes seeking a spiritual home. One evening we wound up at the 5:15 p.m. weekday Mass at Holy Rosary. After Mass, then Pastor Fr. Brown invited everyone to stay for evening prayer in the sacristy. We couldn’t stay that evening but went back the next day. My husband said: “If he asks everyone again, that will be a sign that this is the place for us. Hospitality is a sign of community!” Well, Father asked everyone to come, and so we went and became part of the evening prayer “groupies” … and the rest is history! We felt immediately at home in this warm and welcoming community.
After a time, Fr. Brown asked Thom to lead the Confirmation class. At first, it was a very small group. We met in the parlor of the rectory, which the kids (and we) thought was so cool! We felt blessed to know and share the faith with such wonderful young people and their families. More young families began joining the parish, so our classes grew as well. A youth group grew out of the Confirmation class. One of our first activities was a pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Denver in 1993. This was a huge undertaking, but with the support and backing of our wonderful priests, the Knights of Columbus, and the generosity of so many parishioners, who helped us raise funds and find lodging and transportation, the youth of Holy Rosary Parish were able to participate in World Youth Day and experience the incredible graces and blessings of these days with Catholic youth from all over the world in the presence of our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II.
I will never forget the morning when our vans left the church parking lot to set out on the long drive to Denver. Although Father Brown had recently had major surgery and had been confined to bed, he came out of the rectory to give us his blessing and wish us Godspeed before we left! Several young people from this WYD group eventually entered religious life. None of this could have been possible without the vision, support, and encouragement of Father Brown, Father Brenda, and Father Anthony Dao. They and all the Dominican Fathers that continue to shepherd this flock at Holy Rosary have been true spiritual fathers! May God continue to bless them and all the parishioners of Holy Rosary Parish!
Sunday, November 27, 1966, was the first time I ever came to Holy Rosary Church. As it turned out, it was also to be a “last” experience for my family. I was a junior in high school, the second of six children growing up in Bellaire (Holy Ghost Parish/School). The previous year we had received the sobering news that our mother had breast cancer. The ensuing months had meant many back and forth trips to the hospital for aggressive cancer treatment. By the time Thanksgiving 1966 came around, we all knew it was only a matter of time.
Our mom wanted her final days of care to be at St. Joseph’s Hospital, but she also wanted one last Sunday Mass with her family. Holy Rosary was the church of choice, since it was on the way to the hospital. We all sat in the last pew with our mother next to us in a wheelchair, where the Eighth Station of the Cross is. It was an emotional time, to say the least—one that has provided me a lifelong memory. Six weeks later on January 7, 1967, our mother passed away.
Forty-four years after that memorable Sunday, my relationship to Holy Rosary came full circle, in a sense. In December 2010, my wife, Marie, and I became members of the parish. And now new memories are being made—this time as registered parishioners and not as visitors.
with Father Raymond Kavanah, O.P., Pastor
Sigman Bird is pictured third from the right
I attended Holy Rosary School from 1947 through 1955—from first through eighth grade. I remember all of my teachers over those eight years: Sr. Jerome, Sr. Ada, Sr. Eduardo, Sr. Lawrence, Mrs. Leblanc, Sr. Theresa Martin, who taught me in sixth and seventh grades, and Sr. Mary Louis. Sr. Stanislaus taught me music and art.
Sr. Jerome was my first grade teacher, and I remember her best. Once I was at a doctor’s office with my mother, and the middle-aged doctor asked me where I went to school. When I told him “Holy Rosary,” he said he went there too and asked who my teacher was. When I told him “Sr. Jerome,” he said she was his teacher also. She must have spent her whole career at Holy Rosary!
When I look back over my life, I am certain that the most important things I learned in life were during those eight years at Holy Rosary School. I learned how to structure my life around a Catholic model of behavior and thinking. Holy Rosary was a real Catholic school; not just a school run by a Catholic organization.
About ten years ago, my beloved school was torn down, which put an ache in my heart because of so many happy days spent there.
Friend of the Parish
I started work with Fr. Gerard Joubert, O.P., on October 4, 1973. During Father Joubert’s sixteen years as pastor, the organ was restored, the precious stain glass-windows were given a protective shield, and new church bells were installed. The former church and school were renovated to fashion a beautiful downstairs parish hall and an upstairs Dominican Montessori School. Father Joubert also procured wooden angels for the altar from Spain, a Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe consisting of a painting, angels, and a crown from Mexico, and the Retablo with the painting by Stella Sullivan, daughter of the late architect, Maurice J. Sullivan, that features Dominican saints under Mary’s mantle as portrayed in the cell of Saint Dominic at Santa Sabina in Rome.
With changes in the liturgy and the construction of new churches, many appreciated the traditional: the tabernacle and the crucifix front and center, statues of saints on display, votive candles, and a Latin Mass. Sermons were of sound doctrine and inspirational. Wednesday luncheons, Friday Serra Club luncheons, and Diocesan Appreciation dinners for clergy and religious during Holy Week made Holy Rosary a buzz of activities for a mid-town church. A fundraising dinner for Mother Angelica’s plan for a global Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) was hosted at Holy Rosary. Even Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Father Joubert’s former professor, celebrated Mass at the parish. Having at one time been under consideration to be closed, Holy Rosary is once again a vibrant and active parish.
Former Holy Rosary Parish Assistant
Having become disillusioned with my former parish, I decided to become a member of Holy Rosary Parish after attending a funeral here. The church reminded me of European cathedrals. After discussing my possible transfer with my former pastor, who informed me that I would like Father Brown, I decided to make the move. I called the church for Mass times, and Father Brown answered the phone and gave me the information I needed. I decided then that I would attend the Latin Mass. And so I made the move in January 1992. Kathleen McEvoy, the parish secretary at the time, signed me up as a new parishioner. It was she who asked me to become an usher, a position I still hold. It didn’t take long for me to know I made the right choice in coming to Holy Rosary. It took only a short time for me to feel welcome by those parishioners with whom I came in contact. I quickly began making friends, especially through many enlightening trips I took with other members of the church. Transferring to Holy Rosary has been a gratifying experience due to the people I have met here, the amicable and scholarly priests who have been assigned here, and through the spiritual experience I have gained as a parishioner. Amen.
My wife, Meg, and I moved to the Houston area from Virginia back in 1993. Being reintroduced to the Houston, where I was born and raised, my wife and I felt somewhat like ducks out of water. Until, that is, we became members of Holy Rosary Parish. Getting acquainted with families like the Dulworths, Linbecks, McInernys, Potempas, Beltons, Hotzes and so many more wonderful people made Houston feel very much like home. Fr. Konkel was our pastor then, and a warmer, more engaging pastor you couldn’t find. The simple pleasure of visiting with Fr. Konkel and Fr. Brenda after Sunday Mass on the front steps of the church and afterward in the hall for coffee and snacks was an incomparable feeling of community. I’ll always remember when Fr. Konkel asked me to teach the First Communion class as part of Holy Rosary’s first excursion into CCD. This experience, too, was a great joy as I passed on the beauties of the faith to those delightful children and got to know great Catholic parents whom my wife and I otherwise might not have known.
Our days at Holy Rosary in the 1990’s were some of the happiest of our lives, and we continue to think of and pray for our many friends whom we were so blessed to meet. My wife and I and our seven children now live in Manassas, Virginia.
Friend of the Parish
My uncle, Father Thomas Humbert Dailey, O.P., served at Holy Rosary Parish the last fifteen years of his life from 1957 to 1972. He was born in Penfield, Illinois, and ordained a priest in 1936 at Saint Dominic Church in Washington, D.C. His primary interest was spending time with parishioners and their families. He praised the endurance and persistence he saw in parents, who often gave up their own goals in order to bring about a better life for their children. A large part of his energy was focused on the transitional time in young people’s lives when they make decisions that affect them for years to come. He encouraged education and a strong faith as ways to deal with life’s challenges. My uncle once said to my sister, “Most Dominicans are scholars, but I think my best talent is listening.” Perhaps that is why he was loved by parishioners. He died on May 5, 1972, at the age of 70 and was laid to rest in Earthman Resthaven Cemetery in Houston. May he rest in peace.
Regina Dailey Flynn
Friend of the Parish
In 1985, Father Gerard Joubert, O.P., announced that at the request of the prior provincial and then Bishop Fiorenza, he would be retiring as pastor of Holy Rosary. In that homily, he told us, “I am now embarking upon the sorrowful mysteries of my life.” Many were in tears; I certainly was. He was seventy-five and had been pastor since before I started going there in 1973 or ’74. His tenure had lasted far longer than the nine years usually allotted, and parishioners were both sad and at the same time curious about who might be chosen to be his successor. (No one could ever “replace” him.)
When I heard that the new pastor had arrived in Houston, I decided to go to a weekday Mass to check out the situation. At the very first words, I detected a New Orleans accent and said to myself, “Maybe this guy is going to be ok.” I have family roots in New Orleans and love everything about the city and its people, food, and culture.
The first Masses celebrated by the new pastor were to be that following Sunday. With great anticipation, I watched him ascend the steps to the pulpit and listened to him launch his stay as our Holy Rosary shepherd as he said, “First, I want to tell you all that I know I am about as welcome here as a case of chicken pox!” Then he went on to give the first of many eloquent and beautiful homilies. I am, of course, speaking of Father Victor Brown, O.P., who was with us as our pastor until 1995.
My wife, Mary Esther Hudson, was from Atlanta. I was from Chicago. We met in Nashville where her father was a regional manager for a clothing store. We met at a Catholic Youth Organization, dated, and got married at Holy Rosary Church on September 18, 1954, since my wife’s mother was from Houston. We raised eight children. My wife died on January 10, 2011. Bishop Rizzotto said her funeral Mass. We loved Holy Rosary Church.
Friend of the Parish
Last Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012, my husband, Gene, and I were adoring the Infant Christ in Holy Rosary’s outdoor crèche during the evening. It was raining, but worse was the bone-chilling, damp cold. The near life-size figures in the crèche had no protection from the elements. The Holy Family was drenched, but still seemed welcoming and happy. At that moment, I realized the depth of Our Savior’s Love as His Infant Arms were open wide to receive our love in the midst of His abject poverty. His Gift to us is total and perfect Love to cherish and imitate. And that’s my Christmas moment I wish to share with you.
At the end of April 1975, South Vietnam fell to the Communism, and some people were forced to flee their homes. Some escaped on fishing boats, and many of them came in groups to the United States. Many spent time in refugee camps as they awaited American sponsors. Holy Rosary Church played a major role in the lives of the early Vietnamese refugees in Houston. In August 1975, Father Gerard Joubert, O.P., welcomed Fathers Vincent Nguyen H. Du, O.P., and Joseph Doan D. Bang, O.P., to Holy Rosary. They celebrated the first Vietnamese Masses at the parish, and the parish became both a spiritual and a cultural home to the Vietnamese refugees.
Fr. Hung Tran, O.P.
Chaplain to the Vietnamese Community
Bishop Fiorenza presided at Holy Rosary Parish’s 75th Anniversary Mass. It was a glorious Mass sung by Ernest Caldwell, Arthur Mason, the Marquita Lister Opera Studio Quartet, and the 5:30 p.m. parish choir. Scott Holzhauser and I took turns playing the organ. For the Mass parts, we sang Missa de Angelis as we had done for 75 years. The quartet sang “Set Me as a Seal” as the offertory hymn, and Arthur Mason sang Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” as the communion hymn.
Fast forward to 2013. Musicians have come and gone. Holy Rosary is filled with faithful parishioners. Fr. Ian, Fr. Juan, and Fr. Isidore along with Musician Extraordinaire David Paxton will assist my longtime friend, Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Rizzotto, at the parish’s 100th!