A Brief History of All Saints Parish
All Saints Catholic Community was officially established as a parish of the Diocese of Dallas by the Bishop, Most Reverend Thomas Tschoepe, on March 26, 1976. Reverend Raphael Kamel was appointed Pastor as 390 families ushered in our new community. The parish was named “All Saints” by its members during a Town Hall meeting led by Father Kamel. Parish boundaries are Belt Line Road on the South, Marsh Lane on the West, Frankford Road on the North and Coit Road on the East.
All Saints grew quickly in size and spirit. Father Michael Duca became the first Associate Pastor and Frank Milliken was the first parishioner to receive Holy Orders with his ordination to the Permanent Deaconate.
An 800-seat church was the first parish project. After construction was completed, the official blessing and dedication of the Church and Rectory was held on All Saints Day, 1979. The following year, Father Kamel was elevated to the rank of Monsignor. By 1981, All Saints had 1,900 registered families while weekly Mass attendance averaged 3,600. The large frontal stained glass window was installed marking the end of the first phase building program.
In January 1983, the total parish debt was paid off. On March 27 of the same year ground was broken for the second phase building. The new Catholic Community Life Center (now named the Kamel Life Center) was finished and furnished by 1984.
Staff expansion in 1984 included the departments of Liturgy, Music, Religious Education, Youth Ministry, Life Center Director and Business Manager. That same year, Father Gregory Kelly introduced the RCIA program to the parish, which helped registration grow to over 2,900 families with an average Mass attendance at 4,400 - including over 1,200 children in the Religious Education program. We also witnessed several additional outreach efforts in 1984, including ecumenical dialogues between Lutheran and Catholic ministers, as well as study groups between Congregation Shearith Israel and All Saints emphasizing common roots and origins.
The Marian Flower Garden was built outside the Church atrium in 1985. The first priestly vocation from the parish came in 1986 with ordination and first Mass of Father David Flori, who had been an invaluable asset to the administration of the parish with his expertise in finance. The Little Saints Pre-School Child Development Program began in 1986 with 50 children. Sister Karen Anderson was the parish’s first religious vocation in 1988. She made her Profession in the Daughters of St. Paul.
A second priestly vocation from All Saints was celebrated when Father Stanley Corcoran was ordained on March 17, 1990. Later that year the Diocese announced the establishment of a new parish in Plano, Prince of Peace. The opening of Prince of Peace reduced the level of registered families at All Saints to 3,500 from its peak of 4,056.
In 1991, Father Paul Gray came to All Saints as Parochial Vicar and remained active in our parish beyond his retirement until his death in 2009.
On May 18, 1992, the parish lost its beloved founder when Monsignor Kamel was called to Heaven. After the Mass of Christian Burial at All Saints, his body was returned to his home in Tyler, Texas, for burial in the family plot.
Monsignor Robert Rehkemper was named pastor on August 30, 1992. In 1993 the parish began a three-year discernment process to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit on how to best pass on our Faith to our children. In 1995 the Discernment Committee recommended that the parish 1) enhance adult and family education programs, 2) enhance and expand the parish youth ministry, and 3) build an elementary school.
The discernment process led to the expansion of Little Saints to a full time program. Along with this expansion, it was announced in June 1996 that the parish would open a school in the 1998 academic year. The first capital campaign for the school began in the Spring of 1997. Principal Martie Owan joined the All Saints staff in August of the same year.
Msgr. Rehkemper retired in the fall of 1997 and Father Tom Cloherty was named pastor in February 1998.
Property for the school was purchased on Osage Plaza Parkway in the spring of 1998 and classes began in the Kamel Life Center in August 1998 with 57 students. A second capital campaign was initiated in the second quarter of 2000 and groundbreaking ceremonies were held in December 2001 with construction beginning in January 2002.
In mid-2003, All Saints Catholic Community had a registration of 3,449 families with an average Mass attendance of 3,117. Little Saints, which earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children in 1999, had an enrollment of 182 children representing 150 families. The Religious Education Program served approximately 350 children from age 3 through Junior High and the Youth Program counted approximately 200 teens among its participants. All Saints Catholic School, in its fifth year of operation, had an enrollment of 147 students. In preparation for the 2004 stewardship campaign, a review of parish registrations (calling each registrant to determine current status) resulted in a reduction of registered families to 2,849. Average weekly attendance leveled at about 2,400-2,500.
The fall of 2003 brought the first Fall Festival, which was held on the grounds of the new school, phase I of the renovation of the sanctuary, and the approval to proceed with a loan of over $5 million to pay off existing school loans. It was also decided that fall to complete interior construction of the school with the target of opening the new facility in August 2004. The school has grown each year since moving into the permanent facility and in recent years has approached capacity of 400 students. In 2013, the Little Saints Child Development Program began to transition into a function and subsidiary of ASCS.
A capital campaign was initiated in 2005 to gather funds for completion of the sanctuary renovation and reduction of the debt. Phase II of the sanctuary renovation was undertaken during the summer of 2006 and dedicated at Easter of 2007. This phase included the nave, narthex, new lighting and the new Baptismal Font.
In 2008, another capital campaign was undertaken to complete the worship space renovation (Chapel, connecting hallway), to reduce or eliminate the debt, and to build sports fields at the school. Since mid-2008, the debt has been reduced from $2.6 million to below $1.1 million.
In July 2010, All Saints bid farewell to our Pastor of over 12 years, Father Tom Cloherty, and welcomed Bishop Mark Seitz as our new shepherd. This event ushered in a new chapter in the history of this very vibrant and energetic community of faithful Catholic believers.
In May 2011, the Master Plan Committee presented their vision of the next 20 years to a parish “town hall” meeting. The Master Plan included, among other things, a relocated adoration chapel, upgraded/additional gathering spaces, administrative office spaces, expanded sanctuary seating, athletic fields for the school and expansion of the school gymnasium.
All Saints bid God’s speed to Bishop Mark in July 2013, as Pope Francis appointed him to be the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso. Father Anthony Lackland arrived from the SMU Campus Ministry to become our fifth Pastor and to guide the community of All Saints in our quest to know and do the will of God as exemplified by the outreach to the Newman Ministries at the UT-Dallas Campus and renewed emphasis on Young Adult Ministry.
Prepared from information obtained in the Parish Library, the Parish Website and the School website. March 5, 2003. Updated Nov 24, 2003, May 24, 2010, September 28, 2011,November , 2013 and January 25 by Mary Anne Woods