St. John the Baptizer
St. John the Baptizer
First Friday of Each month: 9:00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m.
Working Hours: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
( Mon,Wed, Thurs & Fri )
Bridgeport, TX 76426
Telephone: (940) 683-2743
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIZER Bridgeport - Catholic Community of Bridgeport
A hearty welcome to St. John the Baptizer, Bridgeport.
If you need any spiritual assistence please do not hesistate to call the parish Telephone Number 940-683-2743
The mission of Bridgeport was first established by Rev. J.J. O’Reordan, the pastor of St. Mary’s Church of Henrietta, in 1889. The coal miners brought the first missionaries to the Bridgeport area and offered the Mass once a month in different Catholic homes. The first Mass held in the Bridgeport area was at Mrs. Catherine Conner’s home, near the East Mound Community. Masses were also held in the homes of Clement Fury, Sarah Byrnes, and Joseph Roth of Willow Point, until the first mission church was built in 1908. These home Masses were celebrated using dressers for the altar, Irish linen for the alter cloth, and pewter candleholders.
The Fury family came to Bridgeport around 1876 and, with the help of the Boaz, Bordner, Conner, Byrnes, Grill, Koeninger, Hvezdos, Roth, and Cunningham families, helped build the first church in Bridgeport. Without the entire community effort, the construction of the original church would have been delayed. They were able to collect approximately $1,200.00 to begin building a small frame church. The first church was built on a lot which was 75 feet by 140 feet, located on Greathouse Street, on the west side of the railroad. This wood-frame church was 25 feet by 50 feet. It was a shell, with a wooden floor, no inside wall coverings, no ceiling, no water, not toilets, and only one entrance. At the time of church dedication in 1908, Father Goessens served as the pastor of Bridgeport Catholic Community.
Father John Goessens succeded other Priests namely Rev. Fathers Philip J. Kline, Christian A. Dreling, Ferninad J. Schiessel, Thomas J. O’Friel, Ernest F. Kershaw, Michael Munor, Herman Redder, and James A. Schauf.
In 1938, the Bishop of Dallas, the Most Reverend Joseph Lynch, appointed Rev. Edward J. Devers ( August 1938-May 1950) pastor of Decatur, with Bridgeport and Jacksboro as his missions. After Father Devers, several priests followed a growing county mission. Rev. Fathers James Tucek (July 1950-May 1952), Walter Silk (May 1952-February 1954), Casimer Glogowski (February 1954-1961), and Francis Gabryl (1961-1965), all made great contributions to the church and its growth.
In 1967 Father Albiet Tyl was appointed pastor of Decatur, Bridgeport, and Jacksboro, the church set up a building committee in hopes of starting new construction. Miss Rosie Boaz donated a four-acre tract of land from the Pete Boaz Estate located on Irvin Street on which to build the church. The new church was designed to seat 220 people and to have an all-purpose hall adjoining the kitchen. Also, it included a small office office and one classroom.
The Union of Czech Catholic Women of Texas furnished 33% of the financing of the new church, with over 50% raised parishioners, and the remaining $10,000.00 coming from an Extension Society Grant. After general architectural changes, the total cost of construction was $68,750.00. Several parishioners and other surrounding parishes donated various needs like the construction of the bell tower, alter linens, and pews.
The first Mass in the new 5,500 square foot church was on Mother’s Day, May 12, 1968. The church was not dedicated until Sunday, June 9, 1968. The then Bishop Thomas K. Gorman of Dallas Blessed and dedicated the newly built Church and gave it to the Catholic Community of Bridgeport to their spiritual use. The average attendance at this time was over 150 people. Soon after the new church was built, the old church was sold for $3,000.00 to the Bridgeport Assembly of God Church to be used as a day nursery.
On November 15, 1976, Bishop Cassata of the newly-formed Diocese of Fort Worth established the mission of St John’s as a parish, with a priest to live in Bridgeport and serve the mission at Jacksboro.
Father Tyl succeded the other priests namely Fathers S.J. Sullivan (1969), Richard Judge (1969-1970), Michael Irwin (1970-1972), Edward Richard (1972-1973), and Philip Johnson (1973-1975). Father James Miller became the first pastor in the newly established parish from 1975-1977. He was followed by Fathers Albert Nienart (1977-1981), Bill Winaski (1981-1983), Robert Wilson (1983-1993), Raul Garza (1993-1994), Gonzalo Morales (1994-2002), Gilberto Pansza (2002-2006), Sojan George (2006-2011) , Jacob Peter Alvares (2011-2013) At present we are blessed to have Reverend Thomas D’ Souza as our Parochial Adminstrator and Reverend Reehan Soosai Antony as our Parochial vicar. They are priests from India belonging to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, the Pallottine Fathers. They joined the parish on June, 2013.
Today St. John’s has grown to an attendance of over 450 people celebrating Mass each Saturday and Sunday.