Highlights of St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Round Rock, TX
In the mid 1980’s, the Diocese of Austin recognized that growth in the area north of
By 1997, the Catholic population of Round Rock grew to the point at which the second parish needed to be opened. In May of that year, Bishop John McCarthy asked Fr. Samuel Hose, then pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in
What had been St. William’s parish in Round Rock was essentially divided in half. The southern part, south of Rt. 79 and Sam Bass Road, remained as St. William's parish, and the northern half became the new, as yet unnamed, parish. In preparation for the formal opening of the new parish, Fr. Samuel spent the summer of 1997 speaking about the new parish at St. William’s and at other parishes and holding organizational meetings. In late August, a group of prospective parishioners met for a special meeting on the property. It was an evening of prayer and discernment of the name of the new parish. The result was St. John Vianney. On
Building a new parish is the work of the people. The diocese provided a grant of $300,000, which covered most of the cost of the original 9 acres. Beyond that, the parish is responsible for providing its own resources. Those came initially in the volunteer efforts of the parishioners. They cleared the land and converted the rooms in the farmhouse and the former garage into a chapel, offices and meeting rooms. The parish arranged to rent space at
At the first Mass, 67 households registered as members of the parish. By the end of the year, there were 129 member households. Fr. Samuel set up provisional pastoral and finance councils and appointed volunteer coordinators for various liturgical and service ministries. The Knights of Columbus began almost immediately to organize a new council to serve the parish and the community. The SJV Ladies organized as a service group. The RCIA, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, began with the parish’s first set of candidates and catechumens. Initial parish staff included a part-time secretary and a part-time music director.
In those early days, the parish purchased, with donations, a portion of a set of 100-year-old stained glass windows that had been in the old St. Mary’s Church in
In March of 1998, the parish purchased two additional adjacent acres of land on Applegate Dr., bringing the size of the parish property to just over 13 acres. The parish celebrated its first Lenten season with the Sunday Mass at
By the end of 1998, the parish grew to 258 households. That necessitated adding a second Sunday Mass, which began on the first Sunday of Advent in December. In May of that year, Fr. Samuel formed a building committee to begin planning the permanent structures for the parish. In September, on Sundays at Berkman in the hallways, the parish began to offer religious education classes. Those were under the guidance of a part-time Director of Religious Education and a committee of parishioners. The parish planned for its first parish festival, The Big Event, for a weekend in mid-October. The festival had to be postponed until the first weekend in November because that year began what has become the Big Event tradition of challenging weather, with a 100-year rain.
The year 1999 brought some significant changes. Parishioners erected the first permanent structure, a pavilion, under the coordination of the Knights of Columbus. It started as a basic structure with a gravel floor. It was later expanded with a concrete slab poured as a new floor. It provided a space for parish events, gatherings, potlucks and special liturgies, including the Masses of Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter, which were held there each year until the new church was completed. In April, the parish participated in the first annual Relay for Life in support of Cancer Research, under the guidance of the parish youth group. This was part of a growing parish commitment to service to the surrounding community. That service includes participation in and support for the
The pastor and the people of the parish made two very important decisions in 1999 that have become foundational elements in our parish. First, in recognition that St. John Vianney Parish is located in an area of rapid growth, they decided to build the church first rather than a parish hall as is usually done. Next, the parish committed itself to becoming a total stewardship parish. That meant that broad scale lay involvement and leadership would be of paramount importance in all aspects of parish life. It also meant that all funds for operations, programs and building would come from the people through tithing. There would be no capital campaigns and no fundraisers for anything other than charity and service.
In the year 2000, the parish hired a full-time youth minister and a part-time Director of Parish Social Ministries. Also, in the summer of 2000, two deacons joined the staff. Deacon Don Burleson transferred to St. John Vianney from St. Mary’s in
In the spring of 2001, on the eve of Ash Wednesday, the new bishop of Austin, Bishop Gregory Aymond, blessed the building site and turned the first shovel full of dirt at the groundbreaking for the new church. The parish celebrated that event, which attracted nearly 1000 people, with a Mardi Gras celebration. Actual construction began in July. By October, the slab had been poured with the exception of an open area where the baptismal font would be placed. Before that section of concrete was poured, the parish held a special celebration. Parishioners were invited to bring rocks, from their homes or any rock that came from a place of significance to them to place in the foundation under the baptismal font. In that manner, those rocks symbolized the lives of the people becoming part of the foundation of the church.
In the spring of 2002, the parish acquired another 2 acres of adjacent property on
Summary of the Present Situation of the Parish
St. John Vianney is a new parish of immense accomplishment and potential. During the first five years, before we constructed the permanent church building, the parish grew at an even pace. That growth has accelerated since that building was completed in November of 2002. We expect that growth to continue. A basic challenge posed by that growth is sustaining, and even enriching, the strong sense of community and engagement in parish life that characterized the first years of the parish.
St. John Vianney is a stewardship parish. In response to our basic mission to grow in, give witness to, and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we work to actively engage members of the parish in all aspects of parish life. We encourage all members of the parish, both those who have been here for a time and those who are new, to be open to God’s call in discerning participation and leadership. The Gospel of Jesus Christ provides our parish with certain fundamental commitments. They include:
Growing in and solidifying our identity as a Catholic Christian place of prayer for all peoples.
Understanding that all that we are and all that we have originate in God who has entrusted us with these gifts for the sake of building God’s kingdom.
Being a community dedicated to charity, generosity, compassion and peace.
Dedicating ourselves to personal and communal healthiness in spirit, mind and body,
Committing to faith and trust in God’s providence and in one another.
Recognizing and acting on our responsibilities to the larger community.
Dedicating ourselves on all levels to stewardship as a practical and spiritual way of life.
Certain strong characteristics emerge from the demographic data on the parish. Most of the parish falls into two age range clusters: those between their early 30’s and later 40’s and those born since the late 1980’s. These make up the majority of the parish although there is a significant number of young adults, both single and young-marrieds, and those who are 55 and older. At present, there are more than 800 registered households in the parish. A very conservative estimate would put the parish population at about 1000 households by 2005. With the continued growth of the Round Rock area, the parish will most certainly continue to grow even larger in coming years. Parishioners reflect a variety of origins, in keeping with the demographics of the
The economy is a factor in the life and growth of the parish. Although the parish has grown steadily in population and resources, anticipated growth has been affected by the contraction in the economy since 2000. The stewardship model has continued to be effective, but a key will be continued prudence in financial commitments and taking care to carefully monitor growth trends on all levels while keeping in mind the larger economic realities.
St. John Vianney is a tithing parish. That means that the parish draws almost all of its income from the commitment of the people to tithing in accord with the model promulgated by the diocese. That is, 5% of household income to the parish (the ordinary gift), 1% to the diocese and 4% to whatever else parishioners wish to support. A minor portion of parish income comes in the form of designated (extra-ordinary) gifts given for specific purposes. At present, income is slightly below projections. A compensating factor is that expenses are under budget. Weekly income will need to increase significantly in the coming months and year(s) to sustain current operations and programs, to provide new and expanded services to the people, to pay the debt and to undertake further building programs.
In the first half of the current fiscal year (July 1, 2002-
The parish property consists of just over 15 acres. The new parish church, dedicated in November, 2002, now seats 800. It will seat 1200 when remaining pews are installed. A large temporary building, St. Monica’s Hall has a large meeting area that can accommodate about 100 people. St. Monica’s also contains eight smaller rooms that serve as offices, storage and meeting rooms. A former garage serves as the Religious Education office and youth room. The former farmhouse houses the main parish administrative as well as offices for the Pastor and other staff members. Recently acquired Merton House provides meeting space for small groups. The rectory is used both as living quarters by the pastor and a site for some meetings and parish events. An open-air pavilion accommodates large events during most of the year, when weather permits. The parish site plan includes a future parish hall and a Religious Education/Parish Offices building.
The parish has one full-time priest and 2 deacons. Current realities indicate no change in the number of priests for the foreseeable future, even with significant growth in parish population. That creates a challenge of how, as a parish community, we deal with rapid growth and continue the development of St. John Vianney as a stewardship parish.
The stewardship model calls on the laity to assume more significant roles in parish life than has been the tradition in many parishes. That need continues to grow. Thus far, the parish has experienced considerable success in responding to the stewardship vision, guided by the pastor in providing both the volunteer and the fiscal resources needed to do the work with which we have been entrusted. We are challenged with being open to how God continues to send us new resources and leadership as the parish grows.
The parish continues to grow as a dynamic organization. The parish staff works with a large number of volunteers to provide programs, services and support to the life, mission and work of the parish. In conjunction with the pastor, the staff has developed an organizational chart designating responsibilities under the management of the Pastor, the Deacons and each staff member.
The current staff, in addition to the pastor and the deacons, consists of a Business Administrator, Church Secretary/Publications, Receptionist/Registrar, Director of Religious Education, Youth Director, Facilities Director and a Director of Music. Governance of the parish, in accord with canon law, is the responsibility of the Pastor. Advisory bodies to the pastor are the staff, the pastoral, the finance and the stewardship councils.
SJV is one of 126 parishes in the diocese of