July 1959. Films depicting John Wayne and Rock Hudson in the Wild West were all the rage in the movie theater. The real star, however, was the West Texas landscape. As towns like San Angelo grew in size, Father Ammian E. Lutomski knew the diocese must respond to the growing pastoral needs. He purchased four acres of land near Goodfellow Air Force Base, built a four room house, and began to hold religion classes for the neighborhood children.
One cold Saturday morning, Father James A. Ostrander and Father Bernard Gully of Sacred Heart Cathedral came to check on the progress of the religion classes, only to find the buildings empty. Since there was no heat in the buildings, the classes had been moved into the homes of the people. On that morning, Father Ostrander began to plan for a new catechetical center. After determining that many of the people in the neighborhood had no transportation, and often found it difficult to get to the Cathedral downtown for Mass, Father Ostrander was determined to provide a chapel as well.
Saint Margaret’s Church was blessed by Bishop Thomas J. Drury on May 23, 1965 as a mission church of Sacred Heart. The name “Saint Margaret of Scotland” was chosen by donors and happily approved by the Bishop.
At first, Saint Margaret’s Parish was served by the priests stationed at Sacred Heart. Then on September 17, 1968, Reverend Leo Diersing was assigned pastoral duties. The church was declared an official parish on November 16th, 1981 by Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza. Msgr. Larry J. Droll became its first pastor.
Many exceptional priests have served Saint Margaret’s Church over the years, including Rev. Leo Diersing, Rev. Thomas H. Seibt, Rev. Russell Schultz, Rev. Gilbert Rodriguez, Rev (later Msgr.) Larry Droll, Rev Fabian M. Rosette, Rev. Louis J. Droll, Rev James Chaumont, Rev Joseph Vathalloor (sacramental minister), Rev Joseph Choutapalli, Rev Chinnapureddy Pagidela, and the Very Rev Santiago Udayar.
Deacons who have served at St. Margaret’s Parish include Daniel Peña, Fred Green, Gerardo Treviño, Raymond Smith (pastoral coordinator 1997-2003), and Andy Gonzalez.
Currently, Rev Josh Gray is the Pastor of Saint Margaret of Scotland Church, with Deacon Jesse Martinez and Deacon John Rodriguez serving as the deacons.
Margaret of Scotland was a truly liberated woman in the sense that she was free to be herself. For her, that meant freedom to love God and serve others.
Not Scottish by birth, Margaret was the daughter of Princess Agatha of Hungary and the Anglo-Saxon Prince Edward Atheling. She spent much of her youth in the court of her great-uncle, the English king, Edward the Confessor. Her family fled from William the Conqueror and was shipwrecked off the coast of Scotland. King Malcolm befriended them and was captivated by the beautiful, gracious Margaret. They were married at the castle of Dunfermline in 1070.
Malcolm was good-hearted, but rough and uncultured, as was his country. Because of Malcolm’s love for Margaret, she was able to soften his temper, polish his manners, and help him become a virtuous king. He left all domestic affairs to her, and often consulted her in state matters.
Margaret tried to improve her adopted country by promoting the arts and education. For religious reform she encouraged synods and was present for the discussions which tried to correct religious abuses common among priests and laypeople, such as simony, usury, and incestuous marriages. With her husband, she founded several churches.
Margaret was not only a queen, but a mother. She and Malcolm had six sons and two daughters. Margaret personally supervised their religious instruction and other studies.
Although she was very much caught up in the affairs of the household and country, she remained detached from the world. Her private life was austere. She had certain times for prayer and reading Scripture. She ate sparingly and slept little in order to have time for devotions. She and Malcolm kept two Lents, one before Easter and one before Christmas. During these times she always rose at midnight for Mass. On the way home she would wash the feet of six poor persons and give them alms. She was always surrounded by beggars in public and never refused them. It is recorded that she never sat down to eat without first feeding nine orphans and 24 adults.
In 1093, King William Rufus made a surprise attack on Alnwick castle. King Malcolm and his oldest son, Edward, were killed. Margaret, already on her deathbed, died four days after her husband.