On Mission: There’s lots of generosity, fried chicken in Lexington
By Msgr. Tom Frank
I was a member of the Diocesan Mission Council when we visited a home in Lexington on June 9, 1990, to discuss the formation of a formal Catholic presence in Lexington. It was discovered that Lexington Catholics were attending parishes in Giddings, Rockdale, Dime Box, Caldwell and Elgin. It was an exciting meeting and at a later meeting, one member said, “We need to pinch ourselves. I believe we are starting the Catholic Church in Lexington.” They were!
Lexington is about an hour northeast of Austin. The Catholics of Lexington first met in the town school, then the American Legion building. They began hosting fried chicken dinners to raise money and became known for their fried chicken dinners twice a year.
Land was donated and a donated office building was moved and remodeled to be a church building.
Several names were suggested for the mission. The members settled on Holy Family as their parish name. Holy Family Parish of Copperas Cove then gave them a diorama of the Holy Family, which was installed on the porch of the little church building.
The new stone church was begun with a grant from The Extension Society. Above the altar was a large circular window. One older member told his wife that when he died, she was to sell the two tractors and pay for stained glass for that window –– two years later the Holy Family window was installed. The upper part of the church has a series of stained glass windows depicting the life of Christ from birth to Resurrection.
A visitor came to Mass one Sunday and enjoyed it so much, he kept coming. He inquired about the church debt; then in his will he left 34 acres to the parish –– when the land was sold, it was enough to pay off the debt.
Next the mission built an education building and then had a chance to purchase land with a large building next to their land. The building is now the Parish Activity Center and is available for rentals. The owner on the other side of that property planted pecan trees. He was in error about the property line so Holy Family now owns two rows of mature, producing pecan trees as part of its 14 acres.
Maintenance, repairs, cleaning and beautification are all done by volunteers. I celebrated Mass one Sunday in March and again in April –– they have a lively, dedicated choir and an enthusiastic group of ministers for their weekly Sunday 10 a.m. Mass.
Religious Education and youth programs are getting stronger and larger. There are 35 in RE, seven made their first Holy Communion and this was the second year for Vacation Bible School.
Some 60 households are members of the mission and it is growing slowly with retirees and with young couples returning to start their families.
Some hopes for the future include trips/outings for monthly youth activities, more training for liturgical ministers and teachers, more faith study for adults, and an outdoor meditation garden with a bell tower.
Holy Family is a mission of St. Joseph Parish in Dime Box and part of the Brenham/La Grange Deanery. To visit the mission, call (979) 716-7197, or just come to the annual church festival on the first Sunday of October –– fried chicken will be served.