Saint Joseph's Queen of Angels

Building Bibliography

 

Record#

 

Building Name

St. Joseph’s Missionary Church aka Shrine of True Cross Catholic Church aka

Queen of Angels Church (Information was copied from truecrosschurch.org/history web site)

Address

4100 Texas Highway 3, Dickinson, Texas

 

Building Construction & History

*Chronological from established to current

 

 

Date

October 1891

Property Owner

St. Joseph’s Missionary Church

Event

In a letter written by Mother Mary Joseph Dallmer in October 1891: “You have doubtless been informed of the grant of fifteen acres of land offered us by a Syndicate of Dickinson, Texas – on condition of our erecting a building for church and school purposes…If we can succeed in engaging two of our former pupils as teachers, we will open a day school there next January.  May the Sacred Heart guide and direct all for His greater glory.”

In 1891 the Reverend Mother Mary Joseph Dallmer, O.S.U., was elected the superior of the renown Ursuline convent in Galveston.  At the same time that Mother Mary Joseph was leading the effort to build a magnificent new Ursuline Academy in Galveston, she was also earnest in spreading the Word of God to the rural parts of Texas through worship and education.  Construction began on an Ursuline day school called St. Angela’s at what is now the corner of Highway 3 and FM 517 in downtown Dickinson and on January 31, 1891, the first Mass at the school chapel was celebrated by the Rev. Father John S. Murphy, a young missionary from St. Mary’s Cathedral in Galveston.

The school and chapel were destroyed by the terrible Hurricane of 1900.  During this storm, Mother Mary Joseph showed great courage in saving many lives, and became known as the “heroine of the 1900 storm”.  Overwhelmed by the massive devastation to their own convent and academy in Galveston, the Ursuline nuns did not rebuild on the Dickinson site.  The land was instead given to a prominent Galveston banker and Catholic, Joseph Lobit, who preserved the site of the school and chapel.

*Next event

Date

September 1909

Property Owner

Houston/Galveston Diocese

Event

In a letter to the editor of Extension Magazine by Father Jerome A. Rapp in September 1911: “In the name of my bishop I wish to thank the Extension Society and the generous reverend benefactor for the gift of $500, which has been designated for the completion of St. Joseph’s church in Dickinson.  The Italian colony at this place numbers some one-hundred and twenty-five families, and I am sure their combined prayers of thanksgiving will be a source of continued blessings for the Extension Society and the reverend benefactor who designated the gift for Dickinson.”

Italian immigrants predominantly from Sicily began to settle in and around Dickinson in the mid-1890’s.  After St. Angela’s school was lost to the great 1900 storm, the rapidly growing Italian colony there needed a place of worship, a church to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries and to come together in fellowship in the Name of Christ.  Plans were initiated in 1905 to build a new Catholic church in Dickinson and in July 1908 Joseph Lobit donated the site of the old Ursuline School to the Diocese of Galveston for the proposed church. 

*Next event

Date

1909

Property Owner

Houston/Galveston Diocese

Event

Under the direction of the Right Reverend Nicholas A. Gallagher, Bishop of Galveston, and the young missionary to the Italian colony at the time, the Rev. Father Jerome A. Rapp, with a group of dedicated Italian immigrants led by Joseph Benjamin Salvato, Sr., constructed a small wooden mission church and named it St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  St. Joseph is dear to the Sicilian people, and altars erected to God in his honor on his feast day, March 19, are a tradition that is observed to this day. This building is now the community room and is the one recognized with the Landmark designation.  On March 19, 1909, the catholic community of Dickinson came together to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph at the new (but unfinished) church.  The parish that would become the Shrine of the True Cross was born.

*Next event

Date

1915

Property Owner

Houston/Galveston Diocese

Event

In  April 1915, Rev. Father Carmel Gagliardoni, O.M.I. took over four of the mission churches, including St. Joseph’s.  Four months later on August 17, 1915, a destructive hurricane hit Galveston and brought tragedy to the region.  All four churches were severely damaged and St. Joseph’s Church was destroyed.  “The Catholics of my missions are mostly truck growers.  They have lost heavily in the last storm.  If there is no help coming to us from the outside, I do not know where or how the churches will be rebuilt.  Well, God will help us!” wrote Father Carmelo Gagliardoni on August 26, 1915.

Though they were a community of poor truck farmers, the Italians in Dickinson persevered in raising the funds to finish their new Catholic Church by 1912, with the help of the Catholic Extension Society.  But their perseverance was tested again as a powerful windstorm knocked the new church off its foundations in July 1914. And then, after little more than a year of recovery, the Hurricane of 1915 swept into Galveston in August and completely wrecked the new St. Joseph’s Church.

The Rev. Father Carmelo Gagliardoni, O.M.I. was the missionary to Dickinson and pastor of St. Joseph’s at the time of the 1915 storm.  Just as Mother Mary Joseph and the Ursulines over a decade before, Father Gagliardoni felt overwhelmed by the daunting situation as he stated in his letter to his provincial quoted above: “Well, God will help us!”  And he was correct.  With the continued strength and courage of the Catholic community in Dickinson, the support of the Bishop, the clergy and the generous donations from people from far and near, and most importantly, by the favor of God, St. Joseph’s Church was rebuilt.  Bishop Gallagher dedicated the new edifice on the First Sunday of Advent in 1916 confirming ninety-four children.  For this new generation of the Church in Dickinson, something wonderful was in store.    

*Next event

Date

March 7, 1936

Property Owner

Houston/Galveston Diocese

Event

In a letter written by the Most Rev. Christopher Byrne, Bishop of Galveston to Father Thomas Carney, Pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Dickinson, March 7, 1936:

“I was taken with your purpose, mentioned some time ago to create a place of special reverence for the Cross, the instrument of our redemption…Then when you showed me how you could transform the little church at Dickinson into a beautiful and worthy place to promote the devotion brought by St. Helen to Rome, and still continued there I was delighted.  In this year when we are celebrating the Centennial of Texas’ freedom and hope, you may be able to inaugurate your plan of honoring the True Cross, symbol of that freedom wherewith God has made us free.”

*Next event

Date

December 1934

Property Owner

Houston/Galveston Diocese

Event

In December 1923, the Rev. Father Thomas A. Carney became the pastor of the Galveston County Mainland missions, now centered at St. Joseph’s Church in Dickinson.  Father Carney had previously served as the president of the University of Dallas and as the rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Galveston.  He had a gifted speaking ability, which even led him to host The Catholic Hour program nationally on NBC Radio.  Father Carney was also a visionary in a time when communism and fascism were spreading viciously throughout the world, when people were falling away from religion to secularism even in the United States.  Father Carney felt that a center of devotion to the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ was needed in America.  And that place of devotion, that Shrine of the Holy Cross, would be in Texas.

*Next event

Date

1936

Property Owner

Houston/Galveston Diocese