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The church and rectory were completed in 1941 at costs of $18,293.84 for the church
and $7,171.65 for the rectory. The church was built in Roman style and its exterior design
was influenced by the Basilica of St. Ambrose in Milan, Italy.

The church was dedicated on December 7, 1941, on the feast of St. Ambrose and thus
given its present name. Officials at the dedication were Most Reverend Laurence J.
Fitzsimmons D.D., the new Bishop of Amarillo, Reverend Virgil Kaiser, Father Charles
Knapp, Reverend G.A. Boeckman, Reverend Bartholomew O’Brien and Monsignor
Pokluda. Alter boys were Daniel Hirt, Eugene Hirt, Bernie Franke, James Zentner, Bernard
Moeller, and A.W. Strube Jr.

The parish men barbequed the dedication dinner and the women of the parish served the
meal. Everyone present at the dedication remembers the announcement of the bombing of
Pearl Harbor. As of that day, 84 families with 300 souls were registered at St. Ambrose

The official decree establishing St. Ambrose as a parish was signed by Bishop
Fitzsimmons on January 31, 1942. The geographical boundaries of the parish were
established and Monsignor Pokluda appointed the first pastor.

The tradition of the annual fall festival continued to be a major source of funding for the
St. Ambrose parish. According to the 1946 Financial Report, the first beef donations were
recorded for the parish social. The 1947 report mentions the first donations of cotton and
cash donations for the auction. A total of 6,979 pounds of cotton were donated by 51
farmers and $106.50 was contributed by 42 men for the auction. This cotton was ginned free
of charge by the Wall Gin Company, Mikeska Gin, and A.J. Hoelscher Gin.

In 1949, the Financial Report showed a total of 34 bales of cotton donated by the
parishioners. All of this cotton was ginned by Wall Gin Company, A.J. Hoelscher Gin,
Hiway Gin, Van Court Gin, Mikeska Brothers Gin and Veribest Gin without charge to St.

The 1950 Financial Report indicates the building fund had a total of $11,619.20 for
future use. Of this amount, $10,000 was loaned to Rowena parish at 3% interest.

In 1955, an all brick educational building was completed under the guidance of Father
Jerome Vitek. The metal hall was built in 1961 under the supervision of Father Joseph
Walters and was enlarged in 1967. Other improvements on the parish grounds included a
garage, well house, and restrooms.

In 1963, a new mission church was established in neighboring Mereta and was named
Holy Family Catholic Church. The church was built with the aid of a $10,000 grant from
the Catholic Church Extension Society under the guidance of Father Bernard J. Binversie.
The land was donated by Mr. And Mrs. Ed Wanoreck, Sr. of San Angelo. The Holy Family
Church in Mereta is served by the pastor of St. Ambrose.

St. Ambrose Church was remodeled in 1981 under the guidance of Father Kevin J.
Heyburn in accord with the reforms of Second Vatican Council. This project included
refurbishing the main marble alter, providing air conditioning, and installing stained glass

Most recently, in 1988 the metal hall was replaced by a larger, more accommodating
structure complete with a new kitchen and barbeque pits, a meeting room and a stage. The
new hall was attached to the brick building, which was renovated into a complete CCD
center. This major project was completed under the direction of Father James Plagens,
and was finished in time for the 1988 fall festival.

The congregation has grown to almost 300 families in 2000. Purchases have expanded the Parish's property from 6 to over 22 acres.

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