Local church celebrates 100 years of worship

February 20, 2012 3:11:24 PM PST
A local church congregation is celebrating a milestone this year: 100 years of gathering every week to worship.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in southeast Houston were honored for their longevity. A historical marker was placed at the church Monday, not to honor the building, but the congregation.

A church is the cornerstone of a community, and in an old East End neighborhood, Immaculate has presided over the lives and the faith of generations of families -- a century's worth and counting.

The Freitag family's history with the church spans more than half of that time.

"I was baptized here. I was confirmed here. I was married here. We had our 50th anniversary here," longtime parishioner Virginia Freitag said.

If you look through the photographs taken over the years, you can see mention of the Freitags. The girls' softball team hit a ball into the family's yard, but the family didn't care.

The Freitags, the Damicos and the Bissonnets were all part of Immaculate Conception, but the order that founded the church here has a history that dates back before the Civil War in Texas.

We found an old photograph of priests on horseback. They were called the Cavalry of Christ.

"They were riding up and down the border on horseback with cowboy hats, establishing churches between Port Isabel and Roma," Father Kevin Collins said.

Eventually, the order made it here. Immaculate Conception was founded in 1911.

First came the wood frame building, and then the brick one. The last one was completed in 1956 and helped start Spanish-speaking churches in other parts of the city and county.

Now, Immaculate Conception is a primarily Hispanic church, but it blends easily with the older parishioners who still faithfully attend -- the Freitags among them -- a hundred years and counting.

"Another generation and here we are," church staff member Brenda Rodriguez said. "And it's always going to be here."