PHOTOS – St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church celebrates its centennial this weekend; see details – Port Arthur News

PORT NECHES — Brotherhood, friendliness and “so much spirit” is how Dinker Wallace describes St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Port Neches.

And that probably kept the church alive for 100 years.

Altar Society members Wallace and Kitty Trahan were busy Friday preparing the church for the celebration and Mass on Saturday and Sunday.

Trahan has been a member of St. Elizabeth’s Church since 1958. She was in the church on Friday ironing gold cloth to be placed decoratively for the celebration.

“There’s a positive attitude,” Trahan said of the church. “There are no borders. We take the opportunities we see and we love everyone.


On Saturday, during the 4 p.m. mass, Bishop David Toups will officiate the service followed by the dedication of the time capsule. The church will receive a commemorative plaque in honor of the 100th anniversary.

Mark Fiorenza, a member since 1994, heads the church’s 100-year committee. He said the time capsule will include a COVID mask, a church bulletin and the names of all members who were born, died, confirmed and those who graduated from high school as well as the names of new members. .

The capsule will be kept sealed for 50 years.

On Sunday, after the 11 a.m. mass, there will be a dinner served by the Knights of Columbus, a bouncy house, face painting, toy trucks and music.

The events are open to everyone.

Good works and history

“We are blessed by God, we always give back to the community and do what we can to help our schools,” Fiorenza said, adding that the church also works to help those less fortunate.

The caring nature of the community church goes back to the roots of Port Neches.

Fiorenza spoke of the founding priest, the Reverend Fred Hardy. The 1920s priest took in orphans and helped them find homes. He was also involved in the establishment of a number of local churches.

Hardy came to the area in 1921 as a missionary to found St. Elizabeth’s Church. His first mass was celebrated at the Liberty Theater in Port Neches, later known as the Peltier Store, and the parish was officially established in 1922, according to church records.

The original location of the church was on Avenue B and most of the labor and lumber were donated.

Throughout it all, Hardy faced danger and adversity. According to information related by historian WT Block, the Port Neches Klan was active in the city and considered the city park as their territory.

“In 1923, crank phone calls warned Father Fred Hardy not to organize a local chapter of the Knights of Columbus, and a large pile of lumber to be used for the construction of St. Elizabeth’s Church was set on fire, a obvious arson,” Block wrote. .

But rather than be intimidated, Hardy organized the Knights of Columbus in Port Neches Park and they marched through the streets to the new church on Avenue B. The senseless phone calls stopped and there was no more incidents of violence.

Port Neches Church is named for Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, also known as Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia.

The church is currently located at 2006 Nall St.

Reverend Jim McClintock, who is the current priest of the church, described the congregation as strong, vibrant, generous and serving the community.

“They’re just inspiring, inspiring to me,” McClintock said. “We have helped different charities in the area, helped the poor and been a place of education and service.”

He recalled how the congregation survived the challenges; strong anti-Catholic sentiment, the Great Depression, hurricanes, floods, plant explosions and the COVID pandemic – “but through all these challenges, St. Elizabeth Parish has not only preserved, but thrived, as a shining light for all.”

The parishioners of St. Elizabeth’s community of faith, like St. Elizabeth, served Christ and the region with distinction, feeding the hungry, helping the poor and those in need, teaching children and adults about Christ and his Church by word and example. , he said.

And while the events of this weekend have a place in church history, there is more to consider.

“This is just a small function to mark in the history of the Catholic Church of Port Neches and we are looking for many more chapters of faith, fellowship and service,” McClintock said.

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