St. Patrick Catholic Church in Galveston & Saint Patrick
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Galveston is certainly an attraction if only to see the beautiful architecture. It is another one of noted architect Nicolas J. Clayton’s designs of which he had more than a passing interest. He was a parishioner of this parish.
There are numerous churches on the island of Galveston…more than 50 in fact. They are of all denominations and in addition, there are also 2 synagogues. The number of people residing in Galveston is approximately 57,491 according to a Wikipedia estimate as of April 15, 2011. One can tell from these statistics that “Galvestonians” do love their places of worship!
St. Patrick Catholic Church
A Texas Historical Commission plaque at this church states the following:
“ST. PATRICK CATHOLIC CHURCH
Galveston Bishop C.M. Dubuis established this parish in 1870 to serve Catholics in Galveston Island’s fast-growing west end district. A wood sanctuary was built at this site and the mostly Irish congregation named the church for St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland.
The Rev. Laurence Glynn arrived in 1871, a few days after storms had destroyed the sanctuary. He rallied the congregation and by 1877 an impressive Gothic structure, designed by noted architect and church member Nicholas J. Clayton, was completed. A parish school was established in the 1880’s.
After the storm of 1900, the U.S. Corps of Engineers mandated that Galveston Island be elevated, and between 1905 and 1907 the massive St. Patrick church building was lifted five feet onto a new foundation.
Two mission churches were founded by St. Patrick Church. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church became its own parish in 1927, and Queen of Peach Church continued as a mission of St. Patrick Church. In the late 1980’s the parish elementary schools were consolidated. The school facilities at St. Patrick were converted for parish offices, religious education, and social events. The congregation continues its traditional role as a leading Catholic institution for Galveston Island.”
- Speculation persists to this day as to the actual birth date or even death of St. Patrick. Most people celebrate his date of death as March 17th. That is also the day celebrated around the world both in religious as well as secular fashion as Saint Patrick’s Day.
- Stories are told of his being captured at a young age (around 16) by Irish raiders who then enslaved the boy. He then did herding of animals for about 6 years before he escaped and returned to his family back in Great Britain.
- He entered the church and became an ordained bishop.
- Returning to Ireland he was active in doing missionary work in the latter part of the 5th century, converting thousands of converts to the Christian faith.
- Many churches were built and he is supposedly buried at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down. Even that has not been proven as a certainty.
- Only two letters have been authenticated as having been authored by St. Patrick and those were not dated but can place him as to the approximate dates by other points of reference.
Legend attributed to Saint Patrick:
How many of us have heard the legend that St. Patrick drove all of the snakes out of Ireland? Some legends just seem to take on a life of their own whether based on fact or myth. According to many different accounts, there have never been any snakes in Ireland! So much for that legend! It probably has as much credence as stories about leprechauns.
Shamrocks and the color green are often associated with St. Patrick. It makes sense that any 3 leafed plants could have sufficed when teaching the belief of the Holy Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost are all one and the same God. So it is with a clover or shamrock…the three leaves are separate but all connected as one entity.
Now…where this translates to staining rivers green or pouring and drinking green colored beer when celebrating St. Patrick’s day as often happens is a stretch.
As pointed out earlier, St. Patrick’s day has become just another secular holiday for many people with little or no religious significance. Of course for others, this is a Saint who is dearly loved and revered.
Using the photo that I took on a visit to Galveston as a point of reference, this is a limited edition series of linocuts that I created of St. Patrick’s Church. The edition size is 85 and the block that was carved was defaced so no additional prints will ever be made. Slight variation exists in each print as all are individually inked and printed making each an original in the numbered series.
The tall Gothic spire of the church is an impressive site on the Island City of Galveston.
Nicolas Clayton was originally a native of Ireland who came to America with his widowed mother back in the early 1840’s. Saint Patrick probably meant something special to him as it does to many people living in Ireland who are now Christian due to the long time ago efforts of St. Patrick and his followers who also taught about Christianity.
You should now know more about Irish born architect Nicholas Clayton who grew up learning about St. Patrick. You have seen an image of the Gothic spire on St. Patrick’s Church in Galveston. Hopefully, you learned a bit more about this revered Saint Patrick.
Whether you follow the Catholic religion or not be sure and stop by if visiting Galveston to admire this great architecture. And obviously, if you care to attend a religious service the doors will be wide open and welcoming!
You can learn more about Galveston by clicking on the links below.
St. Patrick Church is located at 1010 35th Street, Galveston, Texas 77550