St. Michael the Archangel at 9214 Main Street, Needville, TX 77461 US - Welcome to Our Website
Welcome to Our Website
The History of Needville and the Catholic Church
Needville was established in 1892 by Mr. & Mrs. August Schendel. Together they built their home and a general store on their 160 acre tract of prairie land. Since this was the era of "free range", many cow trails served as roads to the early settlers.
Schendelville, then Needmore, and finally Needville were names given to this thriving community. Mail was received from several towns including Damon and merchandise came by mule-drawn wagons from Richmond.
The Schendel's supported many area churches by donating land and money. They also donated land for the first public school.
Since its conception, Needville has grown from one family to approximately 2800 families. Needville, Brown, Forester, Seiler, Modena, Williams and Concord Schools were merged to form Needville Independent School District in 1946 and 1947. The school district was the first to merge in Fort Bend County.
Needville continues to thrive and has embraced many Christian Churches with various denominations including our very own, St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church.
A new century was born when Catholics of Czech descent began to arrive in the Needville area between 1901 and 1903. The "virgin land" was ready to give up, in abundance, her riches for the life of the people whom tilled her. So, with faith, the early settlers began to carve out an existence from the good earth. Ever dependent on God's Divine Providence, they looked to building a better future.
The nearest Catholic Church, at that time, was forty miles away in Sealy. Father William Skocek came several times a year to celebrate Mass in the home of John Sitta at Old Guy.
Then, in 1910, Father Vaclav Demel was made pastor of Wallis and began coming once a month to celebrate Mass in the Foster School until 1912 when the old school burned down. The Church now owns the property.
The first funeral was held on December 9, 1906 for Frank Kulcak whom was killed in a hunting accident. He was the son of Paul and Pauline Kulcak. The Kulcak family donated one acre of land near the Foster School, which became the first Catholic Cemetery of the new settlement.
From the time of Father William Skocek, the people began to talk about building a church. Since the people were scattered in different areas, it became almost impossible for them to agree on where it should be built. Of course, each group wanted the church to be built nearest them -- an age old problem. So, Fr. Vaclav Demel, the pastor, stepped in and helped to make the decision -- and age old solution to parish problems. Needville was chosen as the site to build the new church.
Frank Horak donated one acre of the family land for the church, and later sold two more acres for a cemetery.
The first church was 30 ft. wide and 50 ft. long. It was paid for by about 20 Catholic Families and many non-Catholic Friends who made generous contributions once a year. St. John's parish of Ammansville gave the main altar. St. Veronica's parish of Cameron gave the two side altars. On May 22, 1912, Bishop Nicholas A. Gallagher came and blessed the new church. At the same time, he confirmed 48 members of the parish.
In June of 1914, Father James Kveton became assistant to Father Vaclav Demel. He served the faithful of St. Michael's until June of 1915.
In the meantime, St. Michael's became a mission to the Rosenberg parish, Holy Rosary. Father E.J. Hajek was the pastor, and he said Mass twice a month in Needville until he was replaced by Father I.J. Valenta, who served the people until 1922.
In 1922, Father Kveton, who had served this area before, was made pastor and he continued to serve the people of St. Michael's until 1926. At that time there were about 100 Catholic families in this area.
St. Michael's ceased to be a mission and became a parish on January 17, 1926. Bishop Christopher E. Byrnes sent Father Innocent Raska to be St. Michael's first pastor. Almost immediately, a rectory was built. Sts. Cyril & Methodius in Damon became a mission to Needville.
Father John E. Kalas replaced Father Raska, June 17, 1927. He and the people began plans for a new church. The architect was S.N. Nelson, of Houston, and the builder was A. Anders, of the parish. The cornerstone was put in place and blessed on November 7, 1927.
In these days of high prices, it might be interesting to note that the new church, together with three new altars, pews and all artifacts cost only $25,000.00.
The new church being completed was blessed by Bishop C.E. Byrnes on June 25, 1928. Everyone rejoiced that day, but mourned later when Father Kalas died suddenly in March of 1933. He is the only priest buried in the St. Michael's Cemetery.
Bishop Byrnes sent a replacement in May of 1933, Father J.F. Hanak. He served the people until June of 1937.
Around this time a parish hall was built using materials form the original church.
The next pastor served the parish the longest, Father Joseph Klobouk. He rendered spiritual service to the people, and during his tenure many improvements were made.
While Father Klobouk was pastor, a shrine was built and dedicated to our parishioners who served in World War II and Vietnam. Those who gave their lives in active duty during World War II were Albert E. Jurca, Ignac W. Cernosek, Vit J. Barta, Edwin V. Janicek, Arnold Stavinoha and Peter Pekar and in Vietnam were Antonio Flores Jr., and Manuel DeLuna Jr. Father Klobouk served from June 1937 until January 1954.
In January of 1954, Bishop Wendelin J. Nold appointed Father Gilbert F. Pekar as pastor of St. Michael's. A remodeling program was initiated. The rectory was completely redecorated with additions of a utility room and a two car garage. In 1956 the church was redecorated, and more rooms and restrooms were added to the parish hall. Father Pekar served the parish until September of 1960. At that time the parish had grown to 280 families.
The next three pastors served a short time, but what they accomplished is not to be measured in dollars and cents. Father T.W. Kappe folowed Father Pekar. He was replaced by Father W.J. Bosworth in June of 1964. And Father C.F. Quinn followed Father Bosworth in February of 1965. He served until August of 1966. The current annex building, through Father Bosworth's efforts, was purchased from the Alfred Demel family.
Father Kenneth Mikulik came adn stayed a little longer, from August 1966 until February of 1971. Like all the other priests before him, he looked to the spiritual needs of the people and the material needs of the parish. A new roof was installed on the church during his stay.
Father Ludon Angelle was next, Bishop John L. Morkovsky sent him here in February of 1971. Everything went on as usual until the evening of November 16, 1973 when the church caught on fire. Through the quick and efficient action of the Needville Fire Department, together with the help of Rosenberg, Damon and the West Columbia departments, the fire was put out and the building was saved. However, the smoke, heat, soot and water damage was extensive.
The pastor and the majority of the parishioners agreed to restore the church as it was before the fire with a few exceptions: carpeting was to be installed under the pews; a new altar of celebration and a pulpit was to be designed and built to match the main altar of reposition; the vestibule was to serve also as a cry room; the baptistry was to be made into a vesting sacristy; and a new organ was to be purchased.
The insurance would pay for 100% of the restoration -- for all the fire damage.
The Te-Ko Contractors, Inc. of Houston, Texas had the lowest bid, and the contract was signed on January 21, 1974. Even though Holy Week was celebrated in the church., it was not until May 9, 1974 that the work was completed and the contract finalized.
The parish was blessed to have Fr. Angelle until his passing in November of 1990.
In February of 1991, our parish welcomed Fr. James Ramsey. He would become the fifteenth pastor to lead our faithful. Our parish family had grown in numbers from the original 30 families to 750 families in 1994. In order to better serve these families, St. Michael's facilites had to grown. A building program was launched in 1992 and completed in October 1993 with the addition of 16 classrooms to the Parish Hall, administrative office space to the Chruch, and the Adoration Chapel. Renovation of the Parish Hall, Annex, and Rectory were also part of the program.
On September 19, 1994, Auxiliary Bishop James A. Tamayo blessed the monument to the unborn.
Fr. Ramsey's love and dedication to our parish connat be measured in words. His legacy spans generations and we are grateful for his service.
The Dedication Ceremony of the Family Life Center was held on September 30, 2007. This was the last building project completed before Fr. Ramsey was transferred to Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston.
Fr. Joseph Son Thanh Phan came to our parish in August of 2008 as Pastoral Administrator. On March 14, 2010, Msgr. Dan Scheel installed Fr. Joseph as Pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church and Sts. Cyril & Methodius in Damon. We look forward to the many years Fr. Joseph will have with us as our parish continues to grown and flourish within the Needville community.
On Sunday, May 20, 2012, St. Michael's celebrated their 100th Anniversary. At the 10:00 a.m. Mass the Main Celebrant was Archbishop Daniel Cardinal DiNardo along with Concelebrants: Fr. Phan and Fr. Ramsey. After Mass there was a meal in the Family Life Center. Polka music, good food, and family fun was enjoyed by all.
During the past 100 years, God has sent a succession of pastors to bring his peace and love. Let us continue to pray for our bishops and priests who have served, continue to serve,and will serve St. Michael's parish in the future.