St. Mary’s, Odessa’s oldest Catholic church, is progressing rapidly with extensive interior renovations, but it still needs half of the $610,000 that the work is costing.
The Rev. Bernard Getigan, senior pastor, is working with a steering committee chaired by Gloria Apolinario to complete work on the altar, baptismal, pews, floors, ceilings, confessionals and chancery or administrative offices. This fall, the columbarium where funeral urns are stored will be renovated.
“We’re putting cement on the floors and redoing the electric wiring,” said Father Getigan. “We will have new ceilings, new floors with light gray tiles all over the church, new stained glass windows, new pews and a new chancery by August or September. The idea began when a hail storm damaged the roof in 2017.”
The history of the Catholic Church in Odessa dates to 1932, when the city’s five Catholic families traveled to Midland for Mass. The current St. Mary’s building was opened at 612 E. 18th St. in 1955.
Getigan said the project’s final cost may increase because the materials keep getting more expensive, “but we are still confident that we can finish it.
“We are only working on the inside and the results look good,” he said, noting that half of the money has been raised from the parish and the rest borrowed from the Catholic Diocese of San Angelo. “We are the mother church of all the Catholic churches in Odessa.”
Having started March 16, the general contractor is Miguel Garcia Jr.’s Quality Roofing Installation and the architect is Stefan Molina while Joseph Mansanales stands ready to install the tiles when the concrete work is finished.
Getigan has a long familiarity with St. Mary’s, having served as its parochial vicar or chief assistant to Monsignor Francis X. Frey from 1998-2000 before returning as pastor in July 2017. “We have had no problems with getting materials so far,” he said.
“The owners of the companies are also parishioners.”
Apolinario, a Realtor and former regional director for Congressman Mike Conaway, who retired last year, said she realized the need one day when she looked at the dilapidated ceiling during Mass. “Father Bernardito said something had fallen from the ceiling and that showed how much work needed to be done,” Apolinario said.
“We’re asking for donors for the different parts like the confessionals and the altar, which we need $50,000 for.”
She heads a committee whose members are Amber Mendoza, Marissa Prieto, Joe Jacobo, Irma Castillo and Getigan.
Bishop Michael Sis said St. Mary’s has a prominent place in the Diocese of San Angelo. “As the first Catholic parish in Odessa, St. Mary’s Church has deep historical significance for us,” the Most. Rev. Sis said.
“For several years, I have heard the people of St. Mary’s say that they would like to renovate the interior of their church building. With careful planning and the consultation of expert architects under the leadership of their pastor, Father Getigan, they have prepared a great plan to beautify the church.
“They are a vibrant community of faith with deep devotion to Jesus Christ and this renovation will greatly enhance their experience of worship.”