In 1839, just three years after the Battle of San Jacinto, Pope Gregory XVI officially recognized the new Republic of Texas by creating a Texas prefecture. During these early years, the two priests traveled through Texas dispensing justice and ending the shameless exploitation of impoverished parishioners by canonically deposing many Mexican missionaries who had grown rich at the expense of their spiritual flock.
Late in 1841, then Bishop Odin founded the first Catholic Church in the five-year-old city of Houston and named it after the founder of his order, St. Vincent de Paul.
The current parish of St. Vincent de Paul was established in 1939 by Bishop Christopher Byrne. In 1940 construction began on the new St. Vincent under the leadership of its first pastor, Fr. Michael Leahy. Fr. Leahy dedicated the church and celebrated the first Mass. At summer's end 1941, Fr. Leahy retired due to ill health and Fr. John D. Connolly was summoned from St. Joseph's to become St. Vincent's second pastor. Msgr. Connolly retired in 1975.
Msgr. Connolly quickly opened the school in 1940 with four temporary classrooms, 165 children and four teaching Sisters of the Incarnate Word, the Girl and Boy Scout units were formed and the Legion of Mary was organized. By 1948 a two-story school building was completed and, a year later, the men of the parish built the Boy Scout House using donated materials.
In 1950 St. Vincent acquired an additional 5 acres of land with the “help” of St Jude. This help was the inspiration for our parish’s devotion to St. Jude, the yearly novena, a weekly Mass and chapel area.
A new church was built and the first Mass was on Christmas Day, 1953. A new rectory followed in 1956, followed by the gymnasium, cafeteria, and adjoining primary school building in 1958. After Msgr. Connolly retired our parish was lead by Msgr. Dexter George and then Fr. Laurence Connolly.
In 1985, Bishop Joseph Fiorenza appointed Msgr. James A. Jamail as the 5th pastor of St. Vincent’s. Msgr. Jamail oversaw the construction of five new buildings as well as all physical components of the campus renovated or remodeled. The newly-restored church is the capstone of the 15-year effort.
Monsignor James Jamail died in 2002. Fr. John Weyer the sixth pastor brought a wide spread devotion to Divine Mercy and a renewed devotion to Our Lord through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament through Perpetual Adoration during the weekdays. Fr. Weyer died in December 2008
Our current Pastor Msgr. Bill Young was appointed Pastor in January 2009. He has lead us in a Capital Campaign to begin an expansion of our school to provide more students the opportunity to attend a Catholic School, improve some current buildings and add a “sacramental” daily Mass chapel. This work is in progress and the first steps of implementation began in spring 2012.