Although administering to the religious needs of Catholics in this area was probably begun around the time of Sonora’s founding in 1890, there is little recorded history of Catholic activities before the first request was made in 1918 to establish a church here.
Earliest records show that Father Peter Baque, originally from Catalunia, Spain traveled from San Angelo to Sonora regularly to hold services and say mass in a tiny wooden building. At that time Sonora was a mission taken care of from the San Angelo District.
Church records show that in 1927 donations were given for completion of a church and in 19129 contributions were received for the priest’s rectory, built in November of that year. The first baptismal and other church records date back to 1929. At that time pastors of St. Ann’s Church stayed in Sonora and from here took care of the church needs in Eldorado, Ozona, Mertzon and Van Horn.
Not until 1955 was Sonora made a parish, with Fr. Godfrey Blanck, O.F.M., as pastor. In a letter dated August 15, 1955, the Very Rev. Msgr. A. M. Bottoms, J.C.D., Chancellor, informed the Rev. Godfrey, “His excellency, the Most Reverend Laurence J. FitzSimon directs me to inform you that on August 15, 1955, he canonically erected St. Ann’s as a parish with its missions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Eldorado, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Ozona. You are hereby appointed pastor of St. Ann’s Parish, Sonora effective August 15.”
The Parish was under the care of the Franciscan Order, which took care of the Southwest Texas churches, until September 7, 1967, when the Sonora parish was annexed to the Diocese of San Angelo and governed by the diocesan priest Father Michael Fernandez. The first diocesan priest to follow after the Franciscans, Father Michael provided the leadership under which the new church was built.
ST. ANN’S CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILDING COMMITTEE
Guiding the way for the construction of new worship facilities for St. Ann’s Catholic Church, these members of the building committee take pride in the completion and dedication of the new church. Committee members are Pete Gomez, Polo Cervantes, Cesario Martinez, Father Michael Fernandez, Louis Olenick, Monica Davis and the late Louis Davis.
After the decision was reached to build a new sanctuary for St. Ann’s Parishioners, a building committee composed of Mrs. Louis Davis, Polo Cervantes, Cesario Martinez, Pete Gomez, Louis Olenick and the Late Mr. Louis Davis set about planning for the building.
A debt ceiling was set at $55,000, and this remains to be paid, although actual building cost totaled around $80,000.
The San Antonio architect who drew plans for the new sanctuary, Alvin Julian, said a building such as St. Ann’s Church, capable of seating 400 people, would have cost $130,000 if all work had been contracted.
With Father Michael Fernandez working as a contractor and parishioners and the whole town donating time and efforts, cost was almost cut in half. The main builders of the church, Norberto Ortiz and Frank Morales, deserve a large amount of credit for the work they did in the church construction.
The Solemn Dedication of St. Ann’s Catholic Church of Sonora, Texas was held on Sunday, December 28, 1969, at four o’clock in the afternoon by His Excellency, Stephen Leven, Bishop of San Angelo.
TOUR OF THE NEW CHURCH
Sonora Catholics have been working toward a new church for several years. First efforts were rewarded with a new parish hall, and a new sanctuary now stands as a monument to their efforts.
With the need of a new church being evident and the people asking for a new building, the priest called a meeting of parish members, asking if they were willing to help with the building and take on the burden of building a church. Their answer was yes, and a building committee was formed, headed by Father Michael Fernandez, and including a non-Catholic, the late Mr. Louis Davis, and five others.
A San Antonio architect, Alvin Julian, drew the plans which were accepted. They guided the building of a church made close to nature by the use of as many natural materials as possible. Native rock, donated by Stella Keene from her ranch, was hauled to the building site by parishioners.
The external shape of the church is that of a Roman cross. The Altar and Tabernacle (the main parts of the Sacrifice) were originally in the center of the church, with pews set on a semicircle so that the faithful will be close to altar and priest. The large crucifix on the back wall can be seen from all entrances to the church. Light fixtures, including the big chandelier, are from Mexico. The altar is of granite, as in the back wall, on which is mounted a redwood carving of the stations of the cross, a project that took Charlotte Wright of Midland one and one half years to complete.
Foremost thoughts in the minds of planners, simplicity, and naturality, are evident for all to see because of the extensive use of natural products such as wood, rock, and iron in the construction of the church. Reaching 36 feet in the sky are the steeple and cross, which is made from an auger.
Father Michael expresses' his thanks to all the people, members, and non-members, who have helped with the project, and reminds them that their efforts in building the new church will never be regretted, and will be reflected for many years in the beautiful building they have helped create.
1929-1931 Rev. Pablo Sokol
1929-1931 Rev. Paul Sokoh
1931-1931 Rev. Maximo Redardo, OSA
1931-1932 P. Morsch
1931-1932 Rev. O.M. Redondo
1931-1932 Rev. W. Salgado
1931-1932 Rev. Santos Abia
1931-1932 Rev. Nicolas Salgado, OSA
1932-1932 Rev. Felipe Calle, OSA
1932-1933 Rev. Santos Abia, OSA
1933-1934 Rev. Felipe Calle
1933-1934 Rev. Mariaus Arcouada
1933-1935 Rev. Mariano Arconda, Osa
1935-1936 Rev. J. A. La Heor
1935-1936 Rev. W. F. Bosen
1935-1936 Rev. J. A. Zieuta
1935-1936 Rev. E. A. Wehner
1935-1938 Rev. W.R. Bosen
1936-1937 J. J. Neff
1937-1938 Rev. C. Gutierrez
1937-1938 Rev. Bertin Harrington
1937-1938 Rev. Virgil Kaiser
1937-1938 Rev. Bertin Harrington
1937-1938 Rev. Bennet Rothan
1938-1942 Rev. Regis Darpel, OFM
1939-1940 Rev. Regis Darpel
1940-1941 Rev. Regis Darpel
1940-1941 Rev. Carol Meyer
1942-1944 Rev. Carol Meyer
1942-1948 Rev. Frederic Doeren, OFM
1942-1948 Rev. Carol Meyer, OFM
1944-1948 Rev. Frederic Doeren
1947-1955 Rev. Cyril Hermann, OFM
1948-1950 Rev. Ronnie Einhaus O.F.M.
1950-1951 Rev. Cyril J. Hermann O.F.M.
1951-1955 Rev. Howard Meyer, OfM
1951-1957 Rev. Howard Meyer
1951-1957 Rev. Godfrey Blanck O.F.M.
1955-1961 Rev. Godfrey Blank, OFM
1955-unk Rev. Julian Hastig, OFM
1957-1958 Rev. Ronnie Einhaus O.F.M.
1957-1958 Rev. Conall P. Lynch O.F.M.
1958-1959 Rev. Godfrey Blanck O.F.M.
1958-1959 Anthony Catalina
1958-1959 Rev. Conall Lynch, OFM
1959-1961 Rev. Godfrey Blanck O.F.M.
1959-1961 Rev. Ralph Zinse O.F.M.
1961-1962 Rev. Cyril Hermann O.F.M.
1961-1963 Rev. Ralph Zinser, OFM
1963-1966 Rev. Joel Byrne
1963-unk Rev. Joel Byrne, OFM
1966-1967 Rev. Cecil Kleber O.F.M.
1967-1969 Rev. Michael Fernandez
1967-1977 Rev. Michael Fernandez, OFM
1967-umk Rev. Cecil Klebee, OFM
1970-1972 Rev. Samuel Hensey, OFM
1972-1972 Rev. Vincente Vidal, OFM
1977-1978 Rev. Louis Moeller
1978-1981 Rev. John Waldron
1981-1983 Rev. Gilbert Rodriguez
1983-1987 Rev. Bernard Gully
1983-1987 Br. George Chengazhacheril
1983-2008 Enemencio (Chapo) Samaniego
1987-1991 Rev. Lawrence D'Mello
1991-2005 Rev. William (Bill) DuBuisson, OMJ
1993-unk Br. Raymond Gallegher
2005-2008 Rev. Miguel Dinio
2008-2016 Rev. Lionel Fernando
2016-2019 Rev. Terence Brenon
2019- Present Rev. Felix B. Archibong
Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Crites in memory of the R.T. Pollock and B. H. Crites families
Mike and Rosario Ibarra
Mr. and Mrs. Gus Eustace in memory of Louis Davis
In memory of Leonardo Virgen by his Sons (Big Window)
Mrs. Pauline Thompson in memory of her family (Big Window)
Mr. and Mrs. Juan Jimenez
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bond in Memory of Mrs. Carrie Freeborn and Mrs. Lottie Walters (Big Window)
Bennie Ball in memory of Louis Davis
Mr. and Mrs. Norberto Ortiz
Louis y Alma Perez
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bond Jr.
Miss Mary Cook
Mrs. Juanita Munoz
Miguel Jolis Y Family
Mr. Willie Duran
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bond in Memory of Louis Davis
Mr. Valentin Favela
Sr. y Sra. Candelario Jimenez Sr.
Mr. and Mrs. Lupe Chavez
Mrs. Eulogia Flores e hijos
Abelino Sanchez, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Neville
Virgenia, Nina, Ozevedo
Mrs. Paul Boland
Mr. and Mrs. Augustine Ortiaga
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wilson
Mrs. Lupe Noriega