Catholic Student Center named Our Lady of Wisdom University Parish
In 1915, Southwest Texas State Normal School sat on the present site of Texas State University. Founded in 1904, the institution had an increase in students each year with a number of those being of the Catholic faith. Seeing a need to give these Catholic students a way to get together for worship and fellowship, a Newman Club began organizing in 1914 and became fully operational in the 1915-16 school year. An important role in this organization was played by Clarentian pastor Father Felix Zumarraga, who also was very important in the development of the Catholic Church in the San Marcos community.
As the school went through many name changes, the Newman club flourished and in 1960 moved into the first Catholic Student Center at 119 W. Wood St.; this is now a parking lot behind Retama Hall. In 1969, the Newman Club became the Catholic Student Organiation and in 1970, the Catholic Student Center moved into the old St. John’s convent/school building at the corner of Wood and Guadalupe. Also in 1970, faithful Catholics began celebrating Mass as a University community.
In 1993, thanks to an unexpected grant from H.L. “Bud” Grant of Houston, the center moved to its present location at the corner of LBJ and Concho Streets. On October 28, 1993, the center was formally dedicated as the H.L. Grant Catholic Student Center. Since the chapel at the center had no patron saint, the community began the process of getting one and on October 28, 2007, the chapel was dedicated as the St. Jude Chapel with the center now being the H.L. Grant Catholic Student Center and St. Jude Chapel.
At the beginning of this school year, the center was an active ministry serving students, staff and faculty of Texas State University and members of the permanent San Marcos community. There were a number of student missionaries working with students with many Bible study classes and other activities going on throughout the year. Several organizations were availbale for students to join and there were many opportunities for service for all members of the center community. The center was under the direction of Father Brian Eilers.
In the fall of 2013, Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Austin Diocese of the Catholic Church announced that the center would become a parish in the Diocese. This required a number of things including the selecting of a new name for the parish and the dedication of the center as a parish. After a lengthy period, Our Lady of Wisdom University Parish was picked as the name and on Saturday, February 16 at 5 p.m. the ministry formerly known as the H.L. Grant Center and St. Jude Chapel was dedicated as Our Lady of Wisdom University Parish by Bishop Vasquez in a ceremony not often witnessed by Catholics. Father Brian Eilers was named as the founding pastor of this parish community.
Since Catholic churches are often referred by shorter names, Father Eilers suggested the parish be called “Wisdom.” It was recently announced that Father Eliers was appointed to work with seminarians in the Houston area and the parish community awaits the announcement of a new pastor.