The History of Saint Paul Parish

The History of Saint Paul Parish

Parish History

In late 1955
, Bishop Thomas K. Gorman saw the need for a parish in the farmland north of Dallas and purchased ten acres of the old Hughes farm. At that time there were about 50 Catholic families living in Richardson. He asked the Paulist Fathers to organize this new parish and develop Catholic student Newman Centers on all the North Texas campuses.


On April 6, 1956, the parish was officially established by Father Walter J. Dalton, C. S. P., who was also named as its first pastor. The first meeting was held in the Richardson High School cafeteria, located at that time in the now R. I. S. D. Administration Building on April 15. There were 90 families. The first Mass was celebrated in this facility on April 22, 1956. Plans for a parish school were made and approved that same month. In the summer months the first C. C. D. Vacation School was conducted on Saint Paul property in tents in the open field with more than 90 students. Ground was broken for a 10 classroom school on September 15 with Sister M. Cyprianna, C. S. C., the new principal, and 8 other Holy Cross Sisters in attendance. The school opened in 1957, with a dedication held in November. On May 2, 1965, the first class of 8th graders graduated. Countless priests and sisters dedicated their lives to the spiritual and educational growth during our history.


By 1962, Saint Paul had grown to 975 families and Bishop Gorman dedicated a new church auditorium and four additional classrooms. The parish continued to grow and by 1966 there were 1300 families. In May, 1967, the Dallas Diocese ceased its contract with the Paulist Fathers, and appointed Fr. Edwin J. Johnson as pastor. Fr. Michael Irwin and Fr. Leon Duesman were associate pastors. Under Vatican II guidelines a Parish Advisory Council was established to assist the pastor with parish decisions.


The early 70’s were growth years for the parish. Under Fr. Johnson many assistants served Saint Paul including Fr. John E. O’Connell, Fr. William Doran, Fr. Robert Crisp, Fr. Clayton, Fr. Gayle White, and Fr. Ramon Torres. Monsignor Robert Johnson became pastor in 1981 with Fr. Arthur Malinson as assistant. Fr. Edward P. Fernandez became pastor in 1983 with assistants including Fr. John Alphonso, Fr. Bruce Bradley, Fr. Frank Zakshesky, Fr. Frank Draude, Fr. David Flori, Fr. John Bell, and Fr. Richard Kubiak.


On April 6, 1986 groundbreaking for the new church sanctuary took place exactly 30 years from the founding of the parish. The sanctuary was dedicated on October 29, 1988, and the former church was converted into an activity center. In 1991, a Spanish Mass was instituted and a Hispanic Ministry was created to reach out to new members of our community. Fr. Henry Petter was named pastor in 1992 along with Fr. Paul, Parochial Vicar who although he was in his 90’s inspired parish members with his wisdom and charisma. In 1998, the Parish Pastoral Council was formed from new conceptual directions to "share their wisdom" through the guidance of the Holy Spirit with our current pastor, Fr. David Flori, as we move into the 3rd Millennia and continue to serve the many needs of the community.


Today, Saint Paul the Apostle Parish has more than 2000 families in its community. Saint Paul School is an important part of the community and was awarded the President’s Blue Ribbon Award in 1999. Saint Paul has many active ministries and, with the diversity of our Richardson community, has begun a Multicultural Task Force. Our Hispanic Ministry continues to grow in magnitude and enthusiasm. Our Women’s Guild, Catholic Daughters, Men’s Club, Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Over 55’s, Families with Young Children, and our school organizations continue the work of the Spirit as they serve the many needs of their members and the entire parish. Communication is an important aspect of parish life and a newly formed Communications Ministry has begun to develop the vision of how communication helps tell our story as well as spread the Good News. We look forward to the new Millennium of our Christian Faith in the year 2001 and forward.