Founded in 1982 to minister to some 200 families on Houston's expanding West Side, St. Justin Martyr Parish has grown to include more than 2000 registered families within its multi-ethnic community.
Many of the members of this young parish still remember the early days when they carried lawn chairs to Mass at St. Kevork, a neighboring Armenian facility. The dedication of the new church in 1985 began at St. Kevork, where the faithful gathered for a procession to St. Justin Martyr for the reading of the Gospel.
At St. Justin Martyr, emphasis is placed on the sanctity of the family and on the inherent value of each member of each family. The first Christian Formation Board at St. Justin Martyr was formed in 1991 to address the needs of the younger members of the parish family, with the objective of defining and developing the parish's Youth Ministry and Religious Education programs. The Christian Formation Center was dedicated in 1996.
The parish is careful to address the needs of all members, offering a signed Mass for the hearing impaired and a Mass in Vietnamese each Sunday (at 9:00 am with hearing devices available on request).
Special devotions include a novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Tuesdays, a Charismatic Prayer Group on Thursdays, a Vietnamese Prayer Group on Saturdays, the anointing of the sick once a month, Benediction on Saturday mornings, and St. Joseph Altar on the Sunday nearest March 19th.
Every event of celebration at St. Justin Martyr includes the singing of the parish song, "Find Us Faithful," a reaffirmation of the community's commitment to stand firm in its faith, passing it as a heritage to future generations.
The Life of Justin the Martyr
(100/110 AD - 165 AD)
Justin was born circa 105 AD. He was a Palestinian of Greek parentage, beginning his life in present - day Nablus, 40 miles north of Jerusalem in the currently disputed West Bank area. In Jesus' time, the area had been a part of Samaria. A well - educated young man, Justin tried various schools of thought and experimented with several different philosophies of his day. Eventually, he met one of the early Christians and began a study of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures at Ephesus. At the age of 30, he accepted the gift of faith and was baptized.
Continuing in his chosen vocation as a philosopher, Justin traveled from place to place, now thinking, writing, speaking, arguing and defending Christian beliefs. Unfortunately, only fragments of his many writings have survived. Among these are brief descriptions of the Mass and Baptism which are remarkably close to the rituals Catholics practice today.
In the custom of his time, Justin, as an established philosopher and teacher, founded a school at Rome. He was eventually denounced as a Christian by Crescens, a pagan philosopher whom he had beaten in debate.
Justin and six other Christians (five men and a woman) we re put to death in 165 by beheading, after they refused to offer sacrifice to the gods at Rome. His response to the command of Rusticus the Prefect of worship the idols was a simple statement: "No right - minded person forsakes truth for falsehood."
The emblems of St. Justin are a quill pen and an ax or sword, denoting his writer's vocation and his martyr's death. His feast day (celebrated on the nearest convenient Sunday in our parish) is June 1st and his proper Scripture is 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. He is revered as the patron saint of lecturers. His image and emblems appear in the triptych windows behind and directly above the altar in the church sanctuary.