The community of The Woodlands, Texas was founded in 1974 on 25,000 acres of Pine and Oak forest in Montgomery County, just north of the Harris County line, and about 30 miles from downtown Houston. Plans for a build-out of the entire property as a pre-planned community with an eventual population of approximately 120,000 began shortly thereafter. Homes, businesses and people began to populate the area almost immediately. By the year 1979, Sts. Simon & Jude, the first Roman Catholic Parish in The Woodlands, was established. The land and buildings for the new community would be located in the Panther Creek Village on Glen Loch Drive. During the ensuing two decades, there was a steady increase in the Catholic population, which put a strain on the physical resources of the parish. With the increasing rate of new home construction to the north and west, the establishment of new Villages, and the increase of business relocations, the time had come to form a new Catholic Community.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, announced the establishment of a new parish for The Woodlands in early 1997, and named it for the great Saint and Intercessor of the Church - St. ANTHONY of PADUA. At the same time, in response to the desires and needs of the Catholic Community, the Bishop also mandated that the new parish establish the first Catholic elementary school in The Woodlands. Thus, things had been put into motion that would have a profound effect on individuals and families over the next 3 years as they responded to the call, the challenge, and the joy of seeing a new, permanent home rise up from the forest of the Alden Bridge/Cochran’s Crossing section of The Woodlands.
This book is an attempt to chronicle the PEOPLE and EVENTS that contributed to the success of that effort, so that future generations of PADUANS will know, not only who they were, but also, how they were motivated to achieve so much in such a short period of time.