3462 Royal Road
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Mrs. Ligouri Matheson, widow of Mr. Hugh Matheson, donated the land for the church building and the parish was named St. Hugh for her late husband. With the help of a few parishioners, Fr. Ward began a church building drive to raise $200,000. Parishioners Mr. Blair Wright was the architect and Porfiri Constructions was the builder. The church statues were designed by parishioner Hubert Dumont and they were baked at Barry College, now Barry University. The temple was dedicated with great joy in 1961, by Archbishop Carroll with a solemn high mass. Msgr. Romuald Philbin preached the sermon. Fr. Ward was transferred in 1961, and eventually died on December 29 1987.
Fr. George Bucko was St. Hugh's second pastor. He was actively involved in the school on Douglas Rd., originally a mission for black students under Holy redeemer parish, and named after St. Augustine , from northern Africa . Fr. Bucko had health problems and was transferred in 1962.
Fr. Anthony Navarrete, our third pastor, began a ten year pastorate. Father enlarged the school, bought land to expand the parking lot and built a convent for ten sisters, our present rectory. However, the parish lost land when House of Urban Development (HUD) forced Archbishop Carroll to sell some unused parish land to the Federal Government.
Fr. Navarrete was a liturgist, musician and painter who pioneered the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. He eventually retired in Spain , returned to Miami and died at St. Augustine parish where Fr. Francis Lechiara, his old St. Hugh associate, took loving care of him.
Fr. Charles Zinn administered the parish from 1972 till 1973. Fr. Zinn studied in Rome , was Archbishop Carroll's secretary and eventually left the active ministry. He was a gifted and dynamic young priest.
Msgr. John Glorie, our fourth pastor, served the parish from 1973 to 1984. Msgr. Glorie sold the school property on Douglas Rd. and built our present school, hall and offices at a cost of 1.5 million dollars. Two building fund drives were needed to reach the goal. Parishioner Jose Sierra was the architect. During Msgr.'s ministry, St. Hugh bloomed with many active and social ministries: St. James society to help the sick, Seniors group, ministry to the separated/divorced, etc. He hired Sr. Kathleen Donnelly O.P. as school principal and Sr. Dolores LaVoy O.P. as D.R.E. Our parish hall is named after him.
Fr. John Vaughan, our fourth pastor, began his pastorate in 1984. Fr. Vaughan began the Grove Outreach Program to help needy families in the area. An impressive building program was started with the church plaza with fountain, monumental cross and statues donated by the Gilbride family and security fence around the whole property. A science lab, computer lab, art room, meditation garden, running track and picnic area were built in the school.
The parish hall and church sanctuary were renovated for the parish's 25 th anniversary. A new church roof, organ and piano were purchased. The rectory was also refurbished. In 1995, Father was transferred to St. Patrick Church in Miami Beach where he was made Monsignor in 1997. Fr. Andres Coucelo, his associate pastor, served the community for twelve years with great dedication.
Fr. Tom Honold was named temporary administrator while retaining his duties as head of Catholic Community Services. Fr. Honold continues to serve our parish on Sundays.
Fr. George Garcia was named pastor in June 1996. The sacramental preparation program was renovated: group baptisms started, as well as Bible classes and a Youth Group directed by Fr. Rolando Castillo, the associate Pastor. Renew 2000 groups began in 1998, as well as preparations for the parish's 40 th anniversary events on Pentecost Sunday 1999.
The school accreditation was renewed in 1997 with high marks and a development program created for the next ten years. With the generous help of parents new computers were bought for the lab and classrooms and a new basketball-volleyball court was built. The school's Endowment Fund was started to secure the financial future of the school. By 2005, the Fund had its first million dollars.
Beginning in 1998, a program to develop the school physical plant started: new computers for lab and classrooms, new Art Room , new School Chapel, a rebuilt field track, smart boards in all classrooms and a new playground and picnic area.
In 2005, problems with the church roof beams were detected. The renovation of the church was completed in 2007 with repaired beams, new metal roof, new pews, carpets and windows at the cost of 1.3 million dollars.
St. Hugh parish will celebrate its 5 0' anniversary in 2009. Plans are being developed to celebrate half a century of loving service to the Catholic community of Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and Miami.