The Formation Of
St. Gabriel The Archangel Catholic Community
Towards the beginning of 1995, a group of Catholic citizens in the area began hearing of the need for a new parish in the McKinney area. Rapid growth in the area and a high percentage of Catholics (over 20%) among the new population made the need more pressing. In light of this situation, this group began meeting in the Spring of 1995 to do some informal brainstorming about the need for a new parish. As information was shared, the need became even more clear.
The group sought and received the full support and prayers of both Father Carl Vogel of St. Michael's in McKinney and Father Bruce Bradley of St. Jude's in Allen. During the summer of 1995, additional information was shared by each of the pastors and a strategy began to be formulated by the group, which called itself Catholics for Growth, to explore in more detail the need for a new parish. By the Fall, an expanded cross section of citizens were invited to participate in this effort. The first order of business was to survey the registered parishioners in St. Michael's and those with McKinney zip codes attending St. Jude's. As the group expected, the response was overwhelming. Significant effort went into follow-up phone calls to make certain as many people were polled as possible.
These efforts produced a documented 400-500 families that had serious interest in a new parish. With these numbers, the group knew it was important to make a very thorough, professional presentation to Bishop Charles V. Grahmann and the personnel board of the Diocese of Dallas. In January of 1996, a slide presentation was put together for the diocese to demonstrate the high growth rate of the area and the overwhelming support for a new parish. The formal presentation was given to the priests on the personnel board in February of 1996, and they were given a bus tour of the area that would be served by a new parish. It proved to be an eye-opening experience for the priests. A favorable response seemed likely. The one remaining issue was finding a priest to fill the position of pastor for the new parish.
Many prayers from our community were answered in May of 1996, when word came that Fr. Greg Kelly had been assigned as pastor for the new parish.
The inaugural Mass was held at Dowell Middle School on Saturday June 15, 1996. Close to 600 people attended. Regular weekly Masses for the New Catholic Community of McKinney (as it was being called) began in the gymnasium of Earl H. Slaughter Middle School on July 28, 1996.
In December of 1996, this new community received its official name of St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Community from Bishop Grahmann.
The community is thankful to have received what it had wished for years. The parishioners have taken on the work of building the new parish with great enthusiasm