For almost six years, Father Craig Carolan has been at the helm of the San Cristobal Magallanes and Companions Parish.
On June 27, after years of going door to door and talking with the residents around the area — gathering all the proper ingredients that would go into this multi-year project and having the community come together — Carolan and company broke ground on the 20-year project which is located at the corner of Santa Engracia Street and Military Highway in Mission.
“When I got here I started from ground zero,” Carolan said. “There were no missions, no parish organized. Everybody that lived in Sharyland Plantation went to other parishes, so I came in and organized a parish council.”
The parish is being built in three different phases and total completion, which will include a school and a church, will take about 20 years to complete.
“In between the three phases I expect we need to build a parish house, parish offices and we would like to have also a small religious articles store,” Carolan said.
After raising funds and getting families from the community to form the parish, now they’ve got construction going and within four months the first building should be ready. The parish hall will also serve as the sanctuary until a church building is constructed.
“They’re doing it in phases because they’re still raising money,” said Brenda Riojas, director for Diocesan Relations. “The first phase is to build a multi-purpose parish hall that will also serve as the church where they will celebrate mass until they build the church.”
The church will come in the third phase of the construction process. But for now there are two mission churches, Our Lady of Fatima Church in Granjeno and Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Madero where Carolan holds Sunday masses.
“We had to decide where we were going to celebrate mass because there were no facilities available,” Carolan said. “We tried to get several facilities but the doors were closed to us.”
Also being held at the two mission churches and a horse stable are religious education programs.