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Saint Rose De Lima Catholic Church

301 S Necaise Ave, Bay Saint Louis, MS 39520
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(228) 467-7347 Additional Contacts
 
History The history of St. Rose de Lima Church and school are interrelated and it goes back over one hundred years. In 1868 the first school in Bay St. Louis, Miss. for African Americans opened with twenty-four black children in attendance. It was a t...read more
History The history of St. Rose de Lima Church and school are interrelated and it goes back over one hundred years. In 1868 the first school in Bay St. Louis, Miss. for African Americans opened with twenty-four black children in attendance. It was a two-story white building originally located on Second Street where Holy Trinity School stands today. The school came into existence about 13 years after St. Joseph Academy (1855) was opened. At that time it was affiliated with Our Lady of the Gulf Church (1845). The Sisters of St. Joseph who were taking care of St. Joseph Academy were asked to take over the school in 1885. In 1921, the Sisters of St. Joseph asked that some other group take over the school as they found it too difficult to administer to both. In 1921 The Divine Word Missionaries (SVDs) took over the administration of the school. The Divine Word Missionaries (SVDs) are a group of religious Priests and Brothers, whom originated as a German congregation. They later established a seminary in Techny, Illinois in 1895. They moved down to the south in 1921 and established a seminary in Greenville, Miss. to train the African American men to Priesthood and religious life because no other seminaries would accept them. Due to the racial climate at that time, the seminary known as St. Augustine was relocated to Bay St. Louis, Miss. Along with training the African American men to priesthood and religious life, the SVDs also took over the responsibility of educating the African American children. Fr. Francis Baltes, SVD was appointed as head of the school in 1923. It was immediately recognized that a separate parish and school should to be established for the African American Catholics in Bay St. Louis. Fr. Baltes, SVD was very instrumental in petitioning the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) for help in this endeavor. Four sisters arrived at Bay St. Louis in 1924. Mother Catherine Drexel now known as St. Catherine Drexel greatly contributed toward this project. Fr. Baltes decided to relocate to the property purchased on Necaise Avenue, Bay St. Louis, Miss. On August 28, 1925, the school was named St. Rose de Lima and was made independent of Our Lady of the Gulf Parish. That same year the construction of the church began with the efforts of its parishioners with Mr. Joseph Labat as general contractor. On November 14, 1926, the church was dedicated by Bishop Richard O. Gerow along with eleven priests. Adding to the solemnity of the occasion forty-two people made their first Holy Communion and was confirmed that same afternoon. St Rose Parish had become a reality. In January of 1935, Fr. Holken built the gymnasium and also enlarged the playground. Fr. Nau in 1955 built the new grammar school and the new school building was built in 1959. In 1968, the last high school graduating class held their commencement exercises and the last eighth grade graduation ceremonies were held. Amidst the call for integration, St. Rose with grades from kindergarten to sixth grade was a predominantly African-American population for several years. During the early years the number of enrolled students surpassed capacity. Unfortunately, the inevitable happened, and with it the demise of the Catholic education for African-Americans along the Coast. Thus, the doors of a great institution, St. Rose School, were closed forever. In September 1975, St. Rose School paired with Our Lady of the Gulf to become Bay Catholic Elementary. However, the Church continues to thrive and has been the home for primarily African-American families. As the Church was gearing to its 65th anniversary celebration, Fr. Ken Hamilton, SVD and the parishioners felt the need to renovate the house of worship. Seeking a way to re-acquaint St. Rose parishioners with themselves as a parish and the parish with its ethnic heritage, Fr. Hamilton developed the concept A Re-Rooting and Re-Routing in Christ, a program which included renovation of the church and the families sharing thei
 
 

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History The history of St. Rose de Lima Church and school are interrelated and it goes back over one hundred years. In 1868 the first school in Bay St. Louis, Miss. for African Americans opened with twenty-four black children in attendance. It was a two-story white building originally located on Second Street where Holy Trinity School stands today. The school came into existence about 13 years after St. Joseph Academy (1855) was opened. At that time it was affiliated with Our Lady of the Gulf Church (1845). The Sisters of St. Joseph who were taking care of St. Joseph Academy were asked to take over the school in 1885. In 1921, the Sisters of St. Joseph asked that some other group take over the school as they found it too difficult to administer to both. In 1921 The Divine Word Missionaries (SVDs) took over the administration of the school. The Divine Word Missionaries (SVDs) are a group of religious Priests and Brothers, whom originated as a German congregation. They later established a seminary in Techny, Illinois in 1895. They moved down to the south in 1921 and established a seminary in Greenville, Miss. to train the African American men to Priesthood and religious life because no other seminaries would accept them. Due to the racial climate at that time, the seminary known as St. Augustine was relocated to Bay St. Louis, Miss. Along with training the African American men to priesthood and religious life, the SVDs also took over the responsibility of educating the African American children. Fr. Francis Baltes, SVD was appointed as head of the school in 1923. It was immediately recognized that a separate parish and school should to be established for the African American Catholics in Bay St. Louis. Fr. Baltes, SVD was very instrumental in petitioning the Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) for help in this endeavor. Four sisters arrived at Bay St. Louis in 1924. Mother Catherine Drexel now known as St. Catherine Drexel greatly contributed toward this project. Fr. Baltes decided to relocate to the property purchased on Necaise Avenue, Bay St. Louis, Miss. On August 28, 1925, the school was named St. Rose de Lima and was made independent of Our Lady of the Gulf Parish. That same year the construction of the church began with the efforts of its parishioners with Mr. Joseph Labat as general contractor. On November 14, 1926, the church was dedicated by Bishop Richard O. Gerow along with eleven priests. Adding to the solemnity of the occasion forty-two people made their first Holy Communion and was confirmed that same afternoon. St Rose Parish had become a reality. In January of 1935, Fr. Holken built the gymnasium and also enlarged the playground. Fr. Nau in 1955 built the new grammar school and the new school building was built in 1959. In 1968, the last high school graduating class held their commencement exercises and the last eighth grade graduation ceremonies were held. Amidst the call for integration, St. Rose with grades from kindergarten to sixth grade was a predominantly African-American population for several years. During the early years the number of enrolled students surpassed capacity. Unfortunately, the inevitable happened, and with it the demise of the Catholic education for African-Americans along the Coast. Thus, the doors of a great institution, St. Rose School, were closed forever. In September 1975, St. Rose School paired with Our Lady of the Gulf to become Bay Catholic Elementary. However, the Church continues to thrive and has been the home for primarily African-American families. As the Church was gearing to its 65th anniversary celebration, Fr. Ken Hamilton, SVD and the parishioners felt the need to renovate the house of worship. Seeking a way to re-acquaint St. Rose parishioners with themselves as a parish and the parish with its ethnic heritage, Fr. Hamilton developed the concept A Re-Rooting and Re-Routing in Christ, a program which included renovation of the church and the families sharing thei