Saint Mary Catholic Church has a long and distinguished history of 135 years in Orange, Texas. Visiting missionary priest celebrated mass in Catholic homes throughout Orange county until 1880 when the first Catholic Church, Saint Vital, was built. The little 40 x 65 feet church contained a bell from a Southern Pacific switch engine, a small pump organ, and log slabs for seating. Unfortunately, the little church at Pine and Sixth Streets was completely destroyed by a storm in 1886. A second Saint Vital Church was built on Sixth Street the next year.
In 1896 Orange was assigned its first resident priest, Father ZJ.M. Moran, an Irishman, who served Orange for ten years.
In 1898, again a great storm did damage and blew the church off its foundation. As part of its restoration, a steeple and pew benches were added as well as a larger, hand-powered organ.
Orange's second pastor was Reverend Robert Frei. He arrived in 1908 and served for tweleve years. During his service, the parish purchased property on Ninth and Cherry Streets and the church was moved to its new site. A short time later, fire damaged the interior of the church, but undaunted, the parishioners restored their hurch once more. However, in 1911, when the Saint vital Church was tiotally destroyed by fire, the people set out to build a completely new church.
In 1912, the new church was dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus, and continues today as Saint Mary Catholic Church. Father Frei's successor was Father Otto Bauer who stayed for nine years. Since then, Saint Mary has been served by many other fine pastors: Rev. George Berberich, Msgr. Joseph Berberich, Rev. Charles Sacco, Rev. William Manger, Msgr. Marvin Enderle and our present Pastor, Rev. Jospeh P. Daleo