Church Heritage

 

 

Father William Huffer celebrated the first Mass in Altus in 1906. This Mass was held in the upper story of the old Opera House on the corner of Main and Broadway. There were few Catholic families in the Altus area in 1906, but the decendants of those pioneer families(the Fitters, Elliotts, Kruegers, Zumbros, and Littles) still worship at Prince of Peace.

 

A house was purchased in 1914 to be used as a church. In the early years, the Dominican priests from Mangum Catholic Church came to Altus once a month to celebrate Mass. This house was used until 1926 when Father Hugo purchased the old Church of Christ building and had it moved to East Liveoak Street. It was at that time the church was given the name of St. Sophie Magdalen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two decades later in 1946, Father B.J. Loftis purchased the old Air Base Chapel and had it moved to the East Liveoak lot. In 1955, Father J.J. Reagan received the gift of a parish hall complete with table, chairs, and dishes from the James Little family. Mrs. Mick Elliott donated a stove and refrigerator to complete the kitchen.

 

St. Sophie Magdalen Parish remained a mission of the Mangum Church until August of 1962 when Bishop Victor J. Reed sent Father Philip Bryce to Altus as the first resident priest. Bishop Reed also realized that the population of Altus was growing and the little church would soon be too small. He purchased ten acres of land on Falcon Road as a furture site for a larger church for the growing congregation.

 

Father Bryce immediately became aware of the need for a larger church. At the same time, he realized that there were a great need for social reform. In 1962, Altus had many families of migrant workers who came to the area to work the cotton fields. These workers were living below the proverty level in makeshift barracks without proper sanitation. Father Bryce was a man with a strong, dynamic personality. This personality made it possible for him to make the necessary changes to better these living conditions and to also minister to their spiritual needs.

 

For two years, the parishioners worked to fund and build the church we now call Prince of Peace. Bishop Reed returned to Altus to say the Dedication Mass on December 3, 1964.