The first Catholic Church in Texas was built on ‘The Flat,’ near the Dumaresq River. Texas was originally in the Parish of Stanthorpe then later became part of Goondiwindi Parish. After repeated floods on the flat, land was bought on ‘The Hill,’ the town of Texas. In 1935, a church, school and convent were opened on the present site.
In 1947, the Sacred Heart Parish was declared, with Father Stan Skehan as first Parish Priest. Fr William Murphy followed in 1950. He could speak some Italian, which was helpful, as so many parishioners had recently arrived from Italy to grow tobacco in the area. Until this time the priest had lived at the Commercial Hotel, in Severn Street. Father Murphy supervised the building of a brick presbytery and moved in, in 1955. The successful meetings of the Texas St Patrick’s Picnic Race Club provided the funds necessary to build the presbytery and to maintain the beautiful wooden buildings of the convent, school and church. Father Vincent Maher came in 1958, and a church was built, at Beebo, in 1962. The church was used to celebrate Mass as well as weddings and baptisms until its closure and sale in 1984. The building was relocated to a property, Lochnay, not far from its original site where it remains as part of a home today. In 1961, with the arrival of school buses, the boarding section of the school was closed. The boarding school had accommodated many young country students for many years under the guidance of the sisters.
In 1972, Father Bernie Kane was appointed to the parish where he remained until 1974. When he transferred Father Frank Hall joined us as Parish Priest. It was Father Hall who saw to the alterations to the Convent building. It now had a dual purpose and was home to the sisters while the front section housed the classrooms. With Father Hall’s failing health, Father Peter Mulder came to Texas and ran the parish for a time. During this period the Sacred Heart Parish continued to hold an annual Christmas Carnival. While the primary purpose of the Carnival was to raise necessary funds for the Parish it was an important social event for the entire community of Texas.
Father Tom Keegan arrived in 1976 and during his time in Texas the Catholic community celebrated his silver jubilee. Once again the spirit of the community was encapsulated in the preparations and the success of the jubilee celebrations. Father John Ryan came in 1982 and was the instigator of the Parish Council. For the first time the parishioners formally had a say in the running of the Parish. Catechists began going to the State School to instruct the children in religious education. Sadly at the end of 1983, the Convent and school were closed. With the sad farewell to the Sisters a huge void was left in the Community. It was a privilege for parishioners to send their children to the Convent School and any association with the Sisters enriched their lives.
In 1985, Father Frank Filipetto was welcomed into the parish. He was a young Italian priest who ministered to our community until 1987 when Father Kevin Noble arrived to take up the position of Parish Priest. By 1997, with the number of priests declining, Father Brian Connolly was appointed visiting Priest Director and Brother Pat Smith as Pastoral Leader. Brother Pat Smith involved the parishioners in accepting responsibility for the future direction of the Parish. After much soul searching, Patrick made the decision to study for the priesthood. In November 2002, Texas hosted his Ordination to the Deaconate, a superb event held in the Texas Memorial Hall and supported by hundreds of parishioners and town folk. Deacon Pat continued his studies until completion, and was ordained in Toowoomba, in May 2003. Many Texans travelled to witness this very memorable occasion. Once again Texas had a Parish priest and the parishioners realized how fortunate they were to have Father Patrick Smith to guide the faith community into the future.