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Welcome to St. Joseph Syro-Malabar Catholic Parish, Houston Website!!!.

About us

People from all over India began to migrate to United States in 1960s. Keralites, especially Syro-Malabar Catholics arrived in U. S. only in the early seventies and settled down throughout the country. Appealing weather conditions and oil boom in eighties that created immense job opportunities prompted a substantial number of Syrian Catholics to move to Houston from other parts of the country.

For spiritual sustenance, the pietistic Syrian Catholics became members of the local Latin parishes. They utilized the services of local parishes for attending Holy Mass, children's catechism classes and other spiritual needs. By the end of eighties, there were hundreds of Syrian Catholics successfully settled down in Houston metropolitan area.

In 1980, Rev. Fr. K. K. Joseph, who was working as a parish priest with Galveston-Houston diocese took initiative and tried to bring all Catholics from India together and began celebrating Holy Mass for them. It was gladly received and provided occasion for the elated catholic families to get together and meet their spiritual needs. It provided ample opportunities for social interaction among the Syro-Malabar Catholics. In 1983 Indian Catholics joined together and formed an organization, India Catholics of Houston. All the Indian Catholics regardless of their affiliations (Syro-Malabar, Malankara, Kanaya, and Latin) frequented the Holy Mass Every first Sunday of every month. In 1987, a group of fifty families left the I.C.H and forged a new group called St Thomas Kerala Catholic Community. In 1991, they acquired a plot with a building at 1622 Staffordshire, Stafford, Texas. His Excellency Mar Joseph Pallickaparambil, Bishop of Palai, who was the chairman of the committee of bishops who looked after the immigrants in North America and Europe, consecrated the building.

Syro-Malabar catholic priests visited every Sunday and celebrated Malayalam Mass in the new community center. Mar Jacob Angadiath, then parish priest in Dallas, visited the community center a number of times and celebrated the Holy Mass. He supported this community in its infant stage for its existence and growth.

Rev. Fr. Antony Nirappel arrived from Kerala to fulfill the spiritual welfare of Syro Malabrar Catholics in Houston. He was designated as a resident priest at Holy family Catholic Church, Missouri city, Texas and looked after the spiritual matters of Syro-Malabar Catholics affiliated with the community center. When there were disagreements among the members of the community center on certain issues, a new group was formed named St. Mary's Community which was under the leadership of Fr. Antony Nirappil. This community had rented a Church named First Life Community Church in Missouri city and celebrated Holy Mass and conducted CCE classes on Sundays. St. Thomas Community Center continued to offer Holy Mass on every Sunday by available Priests.

It was during this time, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Bishop's the Synod planned to set up a commission to study the feasibility of establishing a Syro-Malabar Diocese for the faithful in United States and Canada. Mar Gregory Karotemprayil, the bishop of Rajkot diocese, was entrusted with this task. Bishop Mar Gregory visited Houston and discussed the issues and concerns of Syro-Malabar Catholics residing in Houston.

Rev. Fr. Antony Nirappel was discharged from duty and recalled to Kerala in 2000 November, after serving the Syro-Malabar community for nearly one year. Priests from nearby cities were invited to the community center to celebrate the Holy Mass and fulfill the spiritual needs of the Syro-Malabar Catholics.

Meanwhile, due to the inconsistency in providing spiritual services to the faithful in Houston, Kerala Catholic Bishop's council started deliberating about resolving the problems of Syro-Malabar Catholics in Houston. Kerala Bishop's Conference decided to send a priest to Houston to serve the Syro-Malabar Catholic living here. Fr. Ligory Johnson Philips Kattikaran, working as a parish priest in Palghat diocese, was sent to Houston in March 2001. The Catholic community whole-heartedly received Fr. Ligory.

On Sundays, Fr. Ligory celebrated Holy Mass in St. Thomas and St. Marys Community Centers. Meanwhile, he inquired the feasibility of celebrating the Holy Mass in a Catholic Church rather than in a rented church. He discussed this matter with Rev. Fr. Robert Matzinger, pastor of the St. Theresa Catholic Church, Sugar Land. His response was encouraging and gave permission to celebrate Malayalam Mass in St. Theresa Church in the evenings and also granted permission for Rev. Fr. Ligory to stay as a priest-in-residence. This matter was officially informed to Msgr. Frank H. Rosy, the chancellor of Galveston-Houston Diocese and he approved it. Celebration of Syro-Malabar Mass in St. Theresa Church every Sunday evening was well appreciated and created a lot of enthusiasm among the Syrian Catholics in Houston. Approximately 30 to 40 families participated in the Holy Mass. These joyful occasions put the seed in the minds of the catholic community for having church of their own and sharing the cultural heritage and their own faith to the next generation.

The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese was officially inaugurated in Chicago for the Syro-Malabar Catholics in America and Canada in 2001. His Excellency Mar Jacob Angadiath was ordained as the Bishop of the new diocese.

MSMI Sisters arrived in Houston in 2001 and started their dedicated mission work. The apostolic works by these sisters enriched faithful in upholding their heritage and faith. Sunday school classes were started for the academic year 2001-02, with approximately 120 registered students.

It was a joyful day for the Houston Syro Malabar Catholics; the newly ordained Bishop H.E. Mar Jacob Angadiath visited the Houston Mission in St. Theresa Catholic Church and celebrated Holy Mass with Fr. Ligory. During his stay, arrangements were made for the community members to meet the Bishop in person and discuss with him about the prevailing issues of Syro-Malabar Catholics and proposed framework of starting a new parish in Houston.

Bishop held discussions with St. Thomas Community center members and encouraged them to become a member of the new parish under the direction of Fr. Ligory and transfer the community center building and the adjacent property to the diocese. But due to the discord among the members in transferring the Community Center and the surrounding property to the Chicago diocese, Bishop was forced to discontinue the Holy Mass on Sundays, and He announced that the Syro-Malabar Mass can be conducted only in St. Theresa Church and Fr. Ligory was appointed as Mission Director for the Syro-Malabar community in Houston.

As the faithful were interested in nurturing their spiritual growth, night Vigil was introduced on the first Friday of an every month. Every year, after the thanksgiving weekend, the Christmas carol was organized for the Syro-Malabar Catholics in Houston metropolitan area on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Xmas carol team visited every known Syro Malabar families.

After two years of relentless and hard work of Fr. Ligory and the community members, the number of families in the St. Mary’s Community increased substantially. This provided the opportunity to buy a church in 2003 at 211 Present St. Stafford, Texas. After major modifications and renovations, the new church was consecrated on October 18, 2003 by His Excellency, Mar Jacob Angadiath at 2.30pm. During this Ceremony in which many dignitaries participated, Fr. Ligory Johnson Phillips Kattiakaran was appointed as the first Vicar of the newly named parish St. Joseph Syro Malabar Catholic Church of Houston. In this ceremony many children received the holy sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. After the consecration ceremony, a public meeting was held in which Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, of Diocese of Galveston-Houston, was the chief guest. Rev.Fr. George Madathiparambil, Rev. Fr. Zecharias Thottuveli and Rev. Fr. Abraham Mutholath felicitate in the meeting. Civil authorities, Mayor of Stafford, Commissioner, and Police Chief graced the occasion with their presence and wished best of luck for the new Church.

Fr. Ligory Johson led this church from its infantry stage to it tremendous growth. His dedication, hard work, and commitment was so intense which helped to bring many families to this church. He was transferred in 2009 after 8 years of service. Rev. Fr. Jacob Christy Parambukattil was appointed as the new Vicar of this parish in March 2009. Under his leadership, this parish is reaching for new horizons.

St. Joseph parish has more than 450 families. For the convenience of the People and Vicar a new mission was established for the people of Pearland, Clearlake, and North Houston area in 2011. St. Joseph parish has a well organized Continuing Christian Education Program with 450 students. It also has a vibrant Youth Organization {St. Joseph Young Adult League (SJYAL)} which plans many activities for the youth 9th grade and above. Other organizations in this parish are Altar Servers, San Jose ladies forum, SMCC, Cherupushpa Mission League (CML), and Ave Maria Prayer Group.

Trustees, Parish Council, Planning committees and other volunteers diligently work for the better future of the community every day.