St. Bartholomew Parish celebrates 50 years on patron's feast day
FORT WORTH — St. Bartholomew Church parishioners remembered their roots and gave thanks to God for their parish on Aug. 24 — the Feast Day of St. Bartholomew — with a 50th anniversary Mass celebration and dinner. Bishop Michael Olson and Father Karl Schilkin, the pastor of St. Bartholomew, concelebrated the Mass.
The Diocese of Fort Worth shares a special milestone this year with St. Bartholomew Parish in Fort Worth and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Glen Rose. All are celebrating a half-century of spreading the Good News as part of Christ’s Church in North Texas.
The year 1969 would prove to be an opportune time for the creation of the new diocese and two of its parishes that remain to this day active and vibrant in serving the local faithful.
Like the evolution of the Diocese of Fort Worth, the faith progression that led to the creation of St. Bartholomew and St. Rose of Lima is deeply rooted in history.
For the territory now part of the Diocese of Fort Worth, the long but steady path to existence began in the early 1800s when it was part of the Mexican Diocese of Linares-Monterrey. It evolved to become part of the Diocese of New Orleans in 1838, Prefecture Apostolic of Texas in 1839, Vicariate Apostolic of Texas in 1842, the Diocese of Galveston in 1847, the Diocese of Dallas in 1890, the Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth in 1953, and finally the Diocese of Fort Worth in 1969.
St. Bartholomew in Fort Worth
The Christian community in southwest Fort Worth also experienced an evolution that eventually led to the creation of St. Bartholomew Church. The parish, founded in June 1969 by the Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth, actually predates the Diocese of Fort Worth by a few months.
Bishop Thomas K. Gorman, shepherd of the Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth at the time, established St. Bartholomew as a parish and appointed Father Gerald Cooney as its first pastor.
The original 575 families of St. Bartholomew attended Mass at St. Andrew Church in Fort Worth and various schools until August 1972. At that time, on the feast of St. Bartholomew, parishioners gathered in their new church, which was still under construction, for Mass. By December 1972, St. Bartholomew Church was completed and the growing parish finally had a place of worship of its own.
St. Bartholomew has completed several building projects during the past 50 years. These have included a 23,000-square-foot Parish Life Center, St. Vincent de Paul outreach and maintenance buildings, extensive church renovations, and rectory improvements.
St. Bartholomew is now spiritual home to 3,000 families who are active in several vibrant ministries.
One of those parishioners, Michael Sawey, has been a part of St. Bartholomew for 31 years. He and his wife, April, were married at St. Bartholomew and their daughter, Alara, was baptized and received her First Holy Communion there.
Sawey was 15 years old in 1988 when his parents became parishioners and he has been involved with St. Bartholomew ever since. When he attended Texas Wesleyan University and Texas Christian University, Sawey’s participation never waned. Later, when he married and began raising a family, his faith continued with his local church at the center. That spiritual commitment, he said, is a testament to St. Bartholomew Parish.
“I wanted to be here,” Sawey said. “The Church here has always been a very welcoming place. All of our friends were here. We had a good time here, we learned a lot here, and we grew.
“St. Bartholomew has always been such an important part of our lives. Most of our friends, relationships, and community center around the parish in some way. And so, we always just wanted to attend and be active. We’ve always wanted to be involved here.”