South Mississippi Pastor Makes History

For the congregation at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, Saturday was a day to celebrate and welcome their new pastor.

Unlike all of the other pastors of the past, Father William L. Norvel is an African-American.

"We have had good white priest who understood our culture and our spirituality and helped to preserve it. I'm here now as one of their own to help continue our celebration and hopefully I'll be able to bring more meaning to it," Father William Norvel says.

But bringing more meaning to his home parish is something he wanted to do 40 years ago.

"I wanted to be a priest in Mississippi. But when I wrote to the bishop and asked for his permission to go to the seminary, he told me there was no place in the church in Mississippi for a black priest," Norvel adds.

So Father Norvel went north, graduated from a New York seminary and has been bouncing to Catholic churches around the world ever since.

Father Norvel's back on the coast and back in his home parish.

He now say he wants to help his people unite their spirituality with their culture.

Father Norvel says doing this is the greatest joy of the priesthood.