AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — In 2018, Amarillo’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Church celebrated the milestone of 100 years.
In order for that milestone to be reached, though, numerous families and individuals had to put in long hours and hard work to build the sanctuary, brick-by-brick.
The historic catholic church found on the corner of 11th and Houston has been around since 1918.
Vickie Rosas Martinez, a current member of the church, shared, “At that time, it was Father Rodriguez, and he bought a brick-making machine from Puerto Rico. So they made the bricks, and during their lunch hours and everything, they’d work on the church. That- my mom was a teenager at that time.”
However, Martinez is not the only member with family ties to the beginning of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
President of the Guadalupanas, Gloria Alonzo Carlile, shared, “Actually, my family has seven generations here.”
Gloria Valdez, a Guadalupana with the church, recalled her grandfather being good friends with a previous priest of the church. “I know that my grandfather, Jesus Flores, was diligent in helping build this church together,” said Valdez.
Families like these played an instrumental role in laying the groundwork for what would be a safe place and second home to many.
“Our church would help people coming, establishing themselves here,” said Valdez.
“My parents, both my grandparents, both sets of my grandparents worked for the railroad and that’s actually how the church, a lot of the church had ties to the Santa Fe Railroad,” explained Carlile.
Valdez shared that since the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church has been around since 1918, it was initially in an attempt to serve Spanish-speaking Catholics settling in Amarillo due to working on the railroad.
Ever since Our Lady of Guadalupe has served as a welcoming safe place to not just the Hispanic community but to all.
“Even people that don’t belong to this church, they come to our meals. Back in the day, whenever there was bad weather everybody knew to come to the basement of the school,” said Martinez.
Additionally, the church “assists in guiding children through religious education and preparation in making their sacraments. Our Lady of Guadalupe builds community and fellowship with adult groups such as Knights of Columbus, Guadalupanas, and Prayer Groups,” shared Valdez.
While reflecting on how far the church has come, Valdez stated, “Family and church. That’s where it all begins and it’s important to keep things going because they worked so hard to keep this church going, and I want to keep it going also.”
The ladies shared that fundraisers, such as food plates, helped raise funds to help pay for the church to be built over 100 years ago.
As for one of the church’s annual events, Las Fiestas de Amarillo is an event that is sponsored by Our Lady of Guadalupe which invites and brings the community together.