Our Lady of Mercy
Catholic Church

322 S. Vermont (PO Box 805) Mercedes, Tx. 78570

(956)565-1141 Office  ~  (956)565-1640 Fax  ~  (956)514-5138 CCE Office

olm@olmmercedes.org or  olm@cdob.org

Church History

Our Lady of Mercy of Mercedes has a rich history and serves as one of the

oldest churches in the Diocese of Brownsville.  This information is provided

as a historical perspective of those that served the people of Mercedes,

Rio Grande Valley, and Texas.


  • Pastoral History of Our Lady of Mercy
  • Bishops of the Diocese of Brownsville
  • Early History and Origins of the Roman Caholic Diocese of Brownsville



If you or someone you know has information, historical photos, documents,

or other information you would be willing to share to add to the archives of the

church's history, please contact us at olm@cdob.org

Fr. Gregory T. Labus


Fr. Octavio Escobar


Msgr. Luis Javier Garcia


Fr. George Kerketta


Fr. Armando Escobedo


Fr. Emmanuel Bialoncik


Msgr. Herbert H. Bockhol


Fr. Jerome Burnet, O.M.I.

1969-1974; 2010

Fr. Arthur N. Kaler, O.M.I.


Fr. William Meagher, O.M.I.


Fr. Michael Moore, O.M.I.


Fr. James M. Lyons, O.M.I.

1962-1969; 1987

Fr. Adrian Haile, O.M.I.


Fr. Manuel Munive, O.M.I.


Fr. Walter Cox, O.M.I.


Fr. Edward F. Brauman, O.M.I.

1931, 1941-1952

Fr. Philip J. Kennedy, O.M.I.


Other priests serving OLM.  We are in the process of identifying them and their tenure.

Fr. Gerald J. Fogarty, O.M.I.


Fr. E.Carlos Krzewinski, O.M.I.

Fr. Jean-Baptiste Haas

Fr. Jose Arratibel, O.M.I.


Fr. Humberto Acosta, O.M.I.

Fr. Andre M. Douche, O.M.I


Fr. Francis T. Mysliwiec, O.M.I.


Fr. Yves-Marie Gourmelen, O.M.I


Fr. Louis J. Mariarty, O.M.I


Fr. Enrique Janvier, O.M.I.


Fr. Gustav Golbach, O.M.I.


Fr. Jules A. Bornes, OMI


Fr. Charles Conaty


Fr. William Nash, O.M.I.


Fr. Eloy Fuentes, O.M.I.


Fr. Sebastian Mozos, O.M.I.


Fr. Joseph M. Lyons


Fr. Jean-Joseph Maurice

Bishops of Our Lady of Mercy of Mercedes

Most Rev. Daniel E. Flores, Bishop

Dicocese of Brownsville

Appointed:  December 9, 2009

Installed:  February 2, 2010

Most Rev. Raymundo J. Peña

Fifth Bishop of Brownsville

Installed:  August 6, 1995

Retired:  December 9, 2009

Currently serves as Bishop Emeritus of Brownsville

Most Rev. Enrique San Pedro

Fourth Bishop of Brownsville
Appointed:  August 31, 1991 (Coadjutor Bishop of Bronwsville)
Installed: September 26, 1991; succeeded to the See, November 30, 1991
Died: July 17, 1994

Most Rev. John J. Fitzpatrick
Third Bishop of Brownsville
Installed: May 27, 1971
Retired: November 30, 1991
Died: July 15, 2006

His Eminence Humberto Cardinal Medeiros
Second Bishop of Brownsville
Appointed:  April 14, 1966

Installed: June 29, 1966
Appointed Archbishop of Boston: October 7, 1970
Created Cardinal: March 5, 1973
Died: September 17, 1983

Most Rev. Adolph Marx
First Bishop of Brownsville
Installed: September 2, 1965
Died: November 1, 1965

Earlier History and Origins of the Roman Catholic Diocoese of Brownsville

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brownsville was founded on July 10, 1965.  Prior to this important historical date,

--The following provided courtesy of the Diocese of Corpus Christi---


In 1747 José de Escandón commissioned an expedition to map the area south of the Presidio of La Bahía. Don Joaquín Orobio Y Basterra with 25 men and one priest reached the mouth of the Nueces River and named the bay he found San Miguel Arcángel. In 1766 the mission and Presidio of La Bahía was moved for the fourth time to its present location in Goliad. It was from here, responding to rumors that the "English" had landed somewhere south and east along the coast, Don Diego Ortiz Parrilla lead an expedition to the Gulf. Although he found no "English" he did re-map the area and re-named the bay Corpus Christi. The named stayed and remains significant for South Texas Catholics, who live in the only diocese in the world named after the Body of Christ.

Historically, the Catholic Church, in the form of religious missionaries, played a large role in the development and growth of early South Texas. People of faith from the pioneer era to the present day have answered callings and shaped the face of the South Texas Church.

Church administration during the early years was varied. At times, South Texas was administered under the Dioceses of Guadalajara, Monterrey and Durango of Mexico. Political situations made it necessary to change the administration of the Church, and in 1841, the entire Republic of Texas was made a Vicariate Apostolic.

Bishop Jean Marie Odin was named the first prefect apostolic in 1842, and he went to live in Galveston. Operating under the Diocese of Galveston, the Church flourished and grew, providing South Texas with a steady increase in the number of Catholics. He later held the title of Bishop of Galveston and had jurisdiction over all of Texas, and with only four priests to serve the entire area, he quickly made recruitment of men and women religious a major part of his administration.

In 1874, the Diocese of Galveston was divided into the Diocese of San Antonio and the Vicariate Apostolic of Brownsville. Bishop Dominic Manucy was named the first Vicar Apostolic of Brownsville, and in 1875, he moved his residence to Corpus Christi. He died in 1885.

Through the years, missionaries traveled on horseback, visiting as many ranches and settlements as they could reach. It was not unusual for bishops to travel in this fashion, taking as long as two years to cover South Texas on their confirmation tours. In fact, Bishop Peter Verdaguer, who succeeded Bishop Manucy in 1890, died while on a confirmation tour of rural parishes in 1911.

In 1912, the vicariate was raised to the rank of the diocese, with Corpus Christi designated as the Diocesan See. A tiny adobe and shell building, the first St. Patrick's Church which was built by Father Bernard O'Reilly in 1853, had been replaced in 1881, when Bishop Manucy undertook the building of a new church. This new St. Patrick's Church was elevated to a Cathedral.

Bishop Verdaguer was succeeded by Bishops Paul Joseph Nussbaum (1913-1920), Emmanuel Ledvina (1921-1949), and Mariano Garriga (1949-1965). It was under Bishop Thomas J. Drury (1965-1983) that the four southern counties of the Diocese of Corpus Christi were separated and became the Diocese of Brownsville in 1965.