May 2, 2016
Amarillo—It’s been a very busy, productive period for the Faith Community at Blessed Sacrament Church.
On Dec. 12, the new Blessed Sacrament Monument in front of the church was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Patrick J. Zurek.
Now the parish is planning to note two additional milestones: first, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the parish; and, second, the dedication of a new Parish Hall that has long been in the works for the parish.
The Golden Jubilee of the parish and the blessing and dedication of the new Parish Hall will take place Saturday, May 7, with activities beginning at 4:00pm at 4112 Southeast 25th Street.
“The 50th anniversary of Blessed Sacrament Church is a wonderful opportunity to be thankful for God’s tenderness, kindness and mercy, which have never failed, as providential fulfillment of the words of the Gospel according to Matthew, ‘I am with you all the days, until the end of time’” (Mt 28:20) said Father Haider Quintero, pastor. “We are grateful to all the pioneers who have always been present. We thank all the benefactors who have given of themselves and what they have for this work of God and the Church. Thanks to all the simple, humble and silent people, that even from anonymity accompanied the birth, growth and development of this work. In a word, thanks to all parishioners for their dedication and service.”
New Parish Hall
Ground was broken May 30, 2015 on the new 14,000 square-foot Blessed Sacrament Parish Hall, which according to Dan Koetting, Project Manager for Plains Builders, Inc., contains:
• Eight classrooms;
• Six bathrooms;
• An updated kitchen;
• A 4,600 square-foot gathering space;
• Four new parish offices and a large conference room; and;
• A 960 square-foot multi-use room.
Plains Builders served as the contractor for the new Parish Hall and Bryan Rhodes was the architect.
According to diocesan archives, Blessed Sacrament Church was born in 1965 to serve the growing southeast part of Amarillo. It became the seventh Catholic parish in Amarillo at that time. Southeast Amarillo began to grow up in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. This growth was especially signified by the construction of Caprock High School, which opened its doors in 1963.
When then-Bishop Lawrence M. DeFalco announced that a new parish was to be built, he placed Father (now Monsignor) James A. Comiskey as the first pastor. Father Comiskey and a number of other Catholics conducted a door-to-door census to determine how many Catholics were in the area.
An energetic man who was one of the founding members of the Southwest Liturgical Conference, Father Comiskey had volunteered for mission work in Peru in 1962, but after completing training in Mexico, he was hospitalized with hepatitis. He returned to Amarillo to recover and shortly after, began this new project.
The church building for Blessed Sacrament Church was a reflection of Vatican II—a modern building geared to the performance of modern liturgy. Father Comiskey saw to it that construction of the sanctuary was done according to the latest liturgical direction of the Second Vatican Council and post-Conciliar commission.
Blessed Sacrament Church was formally established by Bishop DeFalco on Jan. 3, 1965, with Mass offered at Oak Dale Elementary School, where the new parish had rented nine classrooms from Amarillo ISD for Sunday classes.
A 10-room house was donated by Gertrude Bessey, a resident at St. Ann’s Nursing Home in Panhandle, to serve as a rectory. The house was moved to a seven-acre site where Father Comiskey kept a temporary rectory on South Spring Street.
Construction on the new church began on June 15, 1965 by Southwestern Bricklaying Company. Oscar Schilling was the architect. The church was built to accommodate 325. Designed as a multi-purpose building, it contained nine classrooms for Faith Formation, a meeting room, a kitchen and restrooms.
The cornerstone for the new church was blessed and placed on Sept. 5, 1965 by Bishop DeFalco.
Seating in the church was arranged in a semi-circle in compliance with the changes coming out of the Council.
On Dec. 5, 1965, four Protestant ministers and Jewish Rabbi Maurice Feuer joined the Catholic clergy for the dedication of the new combination church/hall building.
The new structure was blessed and dedicated by Monsignor John Steinlage, who was the Vicar General at that time. Assisting Monsignor Steinlage were Father Edward Chrisman of Sacred Heart Cathedral and Father (now Monsignor) Norbert Kuehler of St. Laurence Church.
In the ecumenical spirit of the times, the Protestant and Jewish clergymen took part in the procession preceding the blessing ceremony and then sat with the Catholic clergy.
“It is with fondness that I remember the early days of Blessed Sacrament Church,” Monsignor Comiskey said recently. “I remember being thrilled to be assigned to start the parish. It was only through the hard work of the parishioners who formed the committees and organizations before the building was ever built, that laid the foundation for what would become Blessed Sacrament Church.
“It took a lot of people to set up and celebrate Mass at different locations and I was thankful for the love and determination of the parishioners. I greatly enjoyed my time at Blessed Sacrament.”
The Past 25 Years
In the past 25 years at Blessed Sacrament, the look of the church was enhanced with a major remodeling project during Father Phil Lindley’s term as pastor. The project included new red carpet, a paint job, a new kitchen in the parish hall and a new chapel. At that time, the first blueprints for a new parish hall was drawn up, but there were not sufficient funds to begin construction.
During Monsignor Harold Waldow’s term as pastor, the Life Teen Program was introduced at Blessed Sacrament and a Life Teen Mass was also initiated.
On Oct. 22, 2014, the first time that the Feast Day of St. John Paul II was celebrated, the St. John Paul II Chapel was dedicated by Bishop Zurek.
Priests Who Have Served
Priests who have served Blessed Sacrament Church include:
• Monsignor James A. Comiskey, Jan. 3, 1965 to June 1968;
• Father Jack Gist, June 1968 to January 1970;
• Father A.M. Bottoms, January 1970 to August 1974;
• Father James Sonderman, August 1974 to June 1976;
• Father Raymond Eisele, June 1976 to August 1976;
• Father Wilmer Riechel, September 1976 to August 1977;
• Monsignor Orville Blum, August 1977 to October 1981;
• Monsignor Richard Vaughan, October 1981 to June 1993;
• Father Phillip B. Lindley, July 1993 to December 1998;
• Monsignor Harold Waldow, December 1998 to July 2003;
• Father Francisco Perez, JCL, July 2003 to October 2004;
• Father Franklin Pantoja, October 2004 to May 2005;
• Monsignor Arturo Meza, May 2005 to August 2011;
• Father Ignacio Candales, September 2011 to May 2012; and,
• Father Haider Quintero June 2012 to present.
Deacons Who Have Served
Three Deacons have served at Blessed Sacrament:
• Deacon Art Stewart
• Deacon Orville Blunt, and
• Deacon Willy Montaño.
Currently serving as Deacons at Blessed Sacrament are:
• Deacon Mark Seidlitz, ordained in 1996; and,
• Deacon Jesús René Peréz, ordained in 2011.