Bay St. Louis Church Turns 75

A Bay St. Louis parish had two reasons to rejoice this weekend. Not only did the congregation at St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church celebrate 75 years as a part of the coast community, but they also welcomed a new parish priest.

The congregation said the spirit that fills the church is just as much alive in 2001 as it was the day it was founded. Long-time members say St. Rose has always been a haven from the injustices of segregation that African Americans faced in the outside world.

"Growing up at St. Rose, we didn't feel it as much," life-long member Mary Labat said. "It was when you stepped outside of St. Rose that you felt it. Now you can see from today both black and white that are together, and that didn't happen years ago when I was going to school."

"It's a wonderful spirit-filled parish where people have come together now for 75 years to just praise God in word, in sacrament and the liturgy," Bishop Thomas Rodi said.

On their 75th anniversary, the congregation celebrated the installation of a new priest. St. Rose's newest leader says he feels fortunate to be a part of a parish with such a rich history.

"This church is special is special because it is a well mixed community," Father Sebastian Myladiyil said. "Everyone has a place whether you are an Afro-American, or whether you're a Euro-American, or you're a visitor, all feel at home."

The church is 75 years old, but the school affiliated with it is even older. The school was started back to the mid-1800s.

by Danielle Thomas