Prior to the founding of our parish, Catholics in Texarkana, Arkansas attended Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Texarkana, Texas. St. Edward was founded under the Most Rev. Edward Fitzgerald on June 20, 1903, with its first Mass celebrated in the Miller County Courthouse. On December 25, 1903, a frame chapel on Fourth and Hickory Streets was dedicated, and its first Mass was held there on the same day.
In 1923, a young but generous parish built a beautiful new church building on Fourth and Beech Streets. The new church was blessed with a Pontifical Mass, a first in the state of Arkansas. It was designed and built under the supervision of Lambert deKonning, and modeled on the Church of the Most Holy Trinity at the top of the Spanish steps in Rome. It is graced with a beautiful altar of Carrara marble and classic statues. There are four large, round stained glass windows, depicting the seven sacraments, the birth of Christ, the birth of St. John the Baptist, and St. Gregory the Great. The smaller stained glass windows along the sides of the church follow the lives of Jesus and Mary.
St. Edward's School
St. Edward's School was opened in 1908 by the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters. In 1921, the Providence Academy was founded. When the Benedictine sisters withdrew from Texarkana, the Sisters of Divine Providence of San Antonio, Texas assumed charge of the school. Providence Academy was destroyed by fire on New Year's Eve, 1949, and the students attended classes at the vacant Michael Meagher hospital building until 1953 when a new school was completed. Circumstances caused the high school to close in 1966, and in the following year the Sisters of Divine Providence were forced to withdrawal from St. Edward School. The school building still stands and is the site today of a busy and active Parish Religious Education program for both children and adults.
Vietnamese and Spanish Communities
Decades ago, St. Edward received many Vietnamese refugees, who today are a vital part of the parish, participating as lectors, Eucharistic ministers, and commission members.
In 1987, St. Edward reached out to the large and growing Hispanic community by going to where the migrant workers were located. With the first Mass celebrated in Spanish, ten attended. Now, St. Edward has a weekly Sunday Mass celebrated in Spanish, a bilingual bulletin, and religious education classes for the children and Bible classes for the adults. The Hispanic council plans and coordinates their activities, and a representative is a member of the Parish Council.
Read more history about Texarkana's Catholic churches, here.