Beginnings

Our beginnings were simple and humble. We owe it greatly to Rev. Emil Gerlich for the selection of the present location. As the first pastor from July 6, 1937 until April of 1956, he had a strenuous task in front of him. Indeed, with joy and excitement, he celebrated the first Mass in the rectory on August 8, 1937 with 60 people. Construction of the new Church began on September 5, 1937 and was formally dedicated on December 5, 1937 by Most Reverend Joseph Patrick Lynch. A surplus army barracks was purchased in the summer of 1947. It was renovated and converted into the living quarters for the sisters who would staff the school. A parish school was opened in the fall of 1947 and it was staffed by the Benedictine Sisters of Lisle, Illinois. The present school building was built between 1951-1952. In 1967, the Benedictine Sisters of Lisle, Illinois withdrew from St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School and they were replaced by lay teachers with Mr. Ronnie Matus as the principal, who was later ordained to the priesthood for the Catholic Diocese of Forth Worth on December 8, 1979. When the school was closed in 1968, the convent used by the sisters was renovated and converted into the parish rectory. Rev. Walter Silk served as pastor from April 1956 until November 1958. Rev. John Morse took over the responsibilities from November 15, 1958 until September 1965. Rev. Raphael Kamel came in as the pastor in September 1965 and he served until September 1966. Rev. Robert Litteken replaced him in September 1966 and he ministered for a short time until November 1966. Rev. William Hoover was appointed as the pastor in November 1966 and he served until July 1977 and he was there until August 1981. Under his direction, plans were made to build a parish hall. Rev. Warren Murphy, TOR took over as pastor in August, 1981 and served until July 1988. In February 1982, Rev. Warren Murphy, TOR converted the former parish hall into the parish office. In 1982, additional property was purchased on 27th Street in order to enlarge the parking area. He also bought additional land in order to accommodate the new parish hall. Most Reverend Joseph P. Delaney, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Forth Worth, officiated at the groundbreaking for the new hall on March 6, 1983. The parish hall was formally dedicated on September 11, 1983. In November 1982, Rev. Warren Murphy, TOR established the mission of Holy Trinity for the people living in the city of Azle. The Mission Community met at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church for prayer and worship. Rev. Salvator M. Stefula, TOR was appointed pastor in July 1988 and served until July 2008. During his 20 yeas of tenure as pastor, there were several accomplishments. To mention a few, he built a multipurpose hall for Holy Trinity. He added the second floor to the school building at St. Thomas the Apostle in 2002. He began a Mass in Spanish for those immigrants who do not have English as their first language. He promoted youth ministry. he had a well-organized religious education program at both the parishes. He built St. Anthony Hall for Holy Trinity Mission. He also bought property across the parking lot for a youth center at St. Thomas the Apostle and it was completed in July 2008. In August 1, 2008 Rev. Anthony Mathew, TOR assumed the position of pastor. Under his leadership, the Diocese began to study the possibility of relocating the Parish. Obviously, there were several reasons for such a proposal. At the moment there were an estimated 1,200 families that made St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. There was no land for expansion at its present location, and the present facility was old and did not have the infrastructure to cater to the growing needs of the community. Therefore, in June 2010, 31 acres of land were purchased on Bowman Roberts Road, about 5 miles away from the present location. In March, 2014, the Diocese approved to proceed with contracts for, and construction of our New Church and Administration building on the new land. November 8, 2014 after much sacrifice the parish broke ground for our new home. It is a new chapter for St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. God, Almighty has blessed our Parish and parishioners in an incredible manner. As we celebrate this milestone in our Parish history, our appreciation and gratitude to one and all who spent so much of their time, talent, life and treasure for this wonderful project. May God continue to keep us unwavering in our dedication, commitment, support, sacrifice, and generosity as we move forward with our project.

Today's Leadership

Since September 15, 2014 Rev. Mathew Kavipurayidam, TOR assumed the position of Pastor. Fr. Mathew Kavipurayidam is a TOR Franciscan Friar from the Province of St. Thomas in India. He was born on July 6, 1949, at Ponkunnam in the State of Kerala in South India. After having completed his High School studies at the State High School in his home town, he joined the TOR Franciscan Fraternity in 1965 and went on to become a Missionary in North India. He studied Philosophy at St. Albert’s College, Ranchi and Theology at Papal Athenaeum in Pune and was ordained a Priest on October 18, 1975. He holds a Master’s degree in Theology. After his ordination to the Priesthood he got a Bachelor’s degree and later a Master’s degree in Political Science.