On Mission: Bells still ring at Good Shepherd in Lometa

By Msgr. Tom Frank

This summer I visited Good Shepherd Mission in Lometa to celebrate Sunday Mass at 8 a.m., which began promptly when the 94-year-old official ringer pulled the ropes on the church bell. Lometa, a small town of less than a thousand people, located 90 miles northwest of Austin. Good Shepherd is a mission of St. Mary Parish in Lampasas.
Catholics of German background came to the Lometa area as early as 1890. In addition to the faith, they also brought with them the knowledge and skills to develop a successful sheep and wool industry to the area. In 1927, the “Little Red Church” was completed (constructed of red bricks), and the parish mission was established under the name Good Shepherd.
In 1957, the new church was built. The pastor at the time always wore cowboy boots. One Sunday, the four altar boys agreed among themselves to wear boots to match the pastor, but that only happened once, according to history. The church has a large statue and a small stained glass window of the Christ, the Good Shepherd.
In 2002, for the community’s 75th anniversary, several fundraisers were held and enough money was raised to purchase a building that is now used for religious education. A few years later, the mission purchased a building across the street and transformed it into the Family Life Center. The center has a large gathering area and full kitchen and is used for Vacation Bible School, family gatherings, bereavement dinners and much more.
The original “Little Red Church” was renamed the Shared Blessings Thrift Center. Volunteers man the center once a week and all proceeds are returned to the community. Locals are proud of this effort and many say it has helped build unity in the Lometa community.
Every year the mission holds two work days during which most of the families turn out to beautify the buildings and the grounds. Volunteers also care for the linens and altar each week, preparing for Mass.
The town of Lometa will soon get a new high school, gym and a Dollar Store. New people are moving in and others are coming back to retire, so the town is experiencing slow and pleasant growth.
For a tour or for more information about Good Shepherd, call (512) 734-0768.