History of St. Brigid
St. Brigid Catholic Community began on September 13, 1972, with Fr. Peter McKenna appointed as the Pastor of the parish, known only as St. Luke Parish Annex. In October, a house was purchased on Stable St. to be used as a rectory. The first Mass was celebrated at John Marshall High School. 175 people attended. On November 1, 1972, St. Brigid parish was officially established by Archbishop Francis J. Furey. It was the 155th parish of the Archdiocese and had an official membership of 120 families on Christmas Eve 1972. The first weekly Sunday Mass was celebrated at Methodist Mission Home. Masses were held weekly there until May 1976 when the Community Worship Center was completed.
From the very beginning, Fr. McKenna had a vision of what the parish could be, with the involvement and ownership by the people and an emphasis on service rather than structures.
The first parishioners built a strong formation on stewardship. They emphasized the importance of tithing as a way of supporting the parish rather than depending on fund-raisers. Since our beginning, St. Brigid has been a parish whose mission is one of TOTAL Stewardship.
In March 1985, Fr. McKenna announced his decision to leave St. Brigid because of the newly installed policy of the Archdiocese limiting tenure to twelve years. In response, the people, through the Parish Council, expressed their desire for a new form of leadership, already a reality for many of them. Father McKenna left in June 1985, and the appointment of the new Pastor, Fr. Tom Flanagan, was announced. At the same time, Fr. Tom was appointed Director of the Archdiocesan Charismatic Renewal Center. It was also announced that St. Brigid would model a new form of parish leadership. In October 1985, St. Brigid was designated as the first parish to officially be a Collaborative Ministries parish. Fr. Tom Flanagan was installed as Pastor and Sr. Dorothea O’Meara, Pastoral Administrator.
In the spring of 1987, the Pastoral Team presented the need for a Vision Committee to develop a process whereby all members of the parish could begin visioning for the future. The Vision Committee was formally initiated by the Parish Council in May 1987 and the process was completed by June 1988 with a parish wide assembly.
In August 1987, Sr. Dorothea announced that she would be leaving St. Brigid in January 1988 to accept a position on the faculty at Assumption Seminary. In June 1988, Jeannette Easley joined the community of St. Brigid as Pastoral Administrator. She brought to us her expertise and background in Business Administration, Adult Faith Formation and Pastoral Ministry. Before joining us, Jeannette was a lay volunteer missionary in South America for five years. Both Father Tom Flanagan and Jeannette Easley continued the vision and reality of Collaborative Ministry and the calling forth of active, mature participation from all members of our faith community.
On January 7, 1990, Fr. Tom was conferred the Monsignor Award for his faithful, dedicated service. On January 5, 1998, Monsignor Tom was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. On February 16, 1998, Archbishop Flores ordained Monsignor Tom Bishop. His last day as Pastor of St. Brigid Catholic Community was May 31, 1998.
On June 1, 1998, Fr. Leslie A. Vance came to St. Brigid as our new Pastor. He was ordained in 1976 and served as pastor at several parishes prior to coming to St. Brigid. Fr. Les also served as a judge on the Appellate Court for the Dioceses in Texas.
Ground breaking for the new sanctuary took place on Saturday, August 26, 2000, after the 5:00 pm Mass. Auxiliary Bishop Zurek presided at the Mass and Archbishop Flores presided at the Ground Breaking. On August 25, 2002, we participated in the dedication of our new sanctuary with a special Mass at 3:00 pm. This was a momentous occasion for us. On Saturday & Sunday, October 6 & 7, 2012, we celebrated our 40th Anniversary as a parish. We have grown to 2,800 households, with many varied ministries and services that serve the needs of our parishioners and the larger community in which we live. Our commitment to Stewardship is still the foundation of all we undertake as a faith community.
St. Brigid is beginning a massive evangelization project to reach out to the many unchurched and uncatechized Catholics who live in our community.
Father Stuart came to St. Brigid in June of 2010 and was officially installed as the parish’s fourth pastor on October 2, 2010. His ‘can do’ spirit has been welcomed by the people and the many ministries active in the St. Brigid community during its 40th year.
Fr. Stuart Juleen was born and raised in California. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1977 in the order of Priests and Brothers of the Sacred Heart. Father Stuart was incardinated in the Archdiocese of San Antonio in 1983 and served in five parishes over the next 29 years. He has been of great service to the hearing-impaired people of the Archdiocese.
July 1, 2020, marked one year since Rev. Gilberto Vallejo became the new pastor of St. Brigid.
Father Gilberto was born in Nueva Rosita, Mexico, and entered the seminary in 1989. He spent 13 years in priestly formation, became an American citizen in 2010, and was ordained as a priest on August 30, 2002, by Archbishop Flores. His first assignment was at St. Mary’s in Fredericksburg from 2002 through 2004 as Parochial Vicar. He then went to St. Matthew in San Antonio, also as a Parochial Vicar, from 2004 through 2006. After that, he spent 12 years, from 2006 through 2018, as the Pastor at St. Andrew in Pleasanton, assisting the parishes of Charlotte, Tilden and Campbellton, Texas. In July 2019, Father Gilberto came to St. Brigid, where he expects to have two terms as pastor. Before coming to us, he took a detour and earned his degree in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of Mexico.
Father Gilberto “firmly believes in structure. The Church is the Body of Christ, the image used in Vatican II, quoted from the letters of St. Paul to the Corinthians. If the Church is the body of many members, it means structure. Every baptized person has a place, a role, and talents given by God to enrich this Body. The Lord is the Head and the Cornerstone of this Body. Stewardship is very important for our Church; it includes not only financial support but also time and talents to be offered and used for the enrichment of the Body of Christ. We become better Christians and parishioners when we offer our time and our talents for the benefit of the Church. I strongly believe in the leadership of the Church intended by Jesus Christ and the Apostles, as we can read it in the Gospels and in the Pastoral Letters in the New Testament. This is the kind of Church the Second Vatican Council envisioned in the 1960s when the Pope and all the Bishops of the world were discerning about the image of the Church for the modern times.
As I told our staff a week before I arrived at St. Brigid, in our very first meeting, I am not your boss but your collaborator with a special role in St. Brigid, your Pastor. Everyone of us has the same dignity as Children of God, so everyone has a special place in God’s plan and in our parish. This is very important to my vision for this parish.
Thank you to all those who joined me in celebrating my 1st Anniversary as your pastor on July 1, 2020. I appreciate your presence and am ready to start a new year facing the BIG challenges ahead of us.”