THE HANDS AND FEET OF CHRIST
St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School
Grants was originally known as Los Alamitos and was settled in 1864 by Don Jesus Maria Blea followed by Don Diego Antonio Chavez. In 1882, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad contracted with three brothers named Grant to build the railroad through this area going west. They established a base camp which became known as Grants' Camp and in time shortened to Grants.
[St. Teresa] In 1911 the first Mass was celebrated in Grants by the remarkable Father Robert Kalt, known by everyone as "El Padre Roberto", at the home of Don Jesus Maria Blea. There was no church in Grants and the people usually attended Mass in San Rafael where Padre Roberto lived. Through his energetic leadership, construction started on a church in Grants in 1920 and was completed in 1923. It was dedicated to St. Teresa of Avila in a memorable ceremony by Archbishop Albert Daeger of Santa Fe.
El Padre Roberto was assigned to San Fidel which served as the Parish church for this whole area including Grants, San Rafael and San Mateo. He came to Grants once a month until 1933 when Mass began weekly in Grants. The Catechist Sisters of Our Lady of Victory Knoll cam in 1930 to assist Padre Roberto in teaching catechism. In 1942 Saint Teresa was designated a parish and the venerable and indestructible Padre Roberto was named its first pastor. Construction of a rectory began that same year. Father Roberto lived in the bell-tower of the church until its completion.
Under the the leadership of Father Gerard Geier, OFM, a large solid stone Community Center was built in 1951 on a large tract of land donated by the Gundersons located about four blocks from the old Saint Teresa's church. With the large influx of people during the uranium "boom" a large church was needed to accommodate the increasing Catholic population. In 1959, while Father Austin Ernstes, OFM, was pastor of Saint Teresa, a new church and rectory were constructed at the corner of High and Smith Streets.
The need for an elementary school became evident as Grants grew, and the present school building was built in 1945 under the direction of Father Austin. St. Teresa's Catholic School has graduated students now numbering into the thousands who have grown into leadership roles in the community and throughout the entire State of New Mexico.
St. Teresa, which is currently the largest parish in the area, is the center for such active organizations as te Knights of Columbus, Cursillistas, Searchers, C.C.D., Saint Vincent de Paul Society, the School Board, Third Order Charismatic Group, Parent Teacher Group, Legion of Mary, RCIA, Bible Study group and other such activity groups. It is the home of the Cibola Deanery, Western Cluster, and its pastor also has duties and authorities in the Eastern Cluster of the Cibola Deanery
St. Teresa Parish History