One-Hundred Year History Celebration October 27, 2013

History of Assumption: milestones


By FATHER DAVID O’CONNOR


  • Shortly after year 1900, Italian immigrants moved to Adams county (around St. Catherine Creek). Father Patrick Hayden (1891 - 1921) took an interest in them and helped them establish a faith community.
  • First Frame Church was dedicated on April 20, 1913 by Bishop John Gunn. The founding families were: Verucchi, Stallone, Monte, Viccinelli, Mascagni, Boschieri, Zacchiroli. These were later joined by the Benedettini, Baroni, Carrazza, May & Gonnillini families.
  • 1955: the church bell removed from the old church and stored at the home of Augustine Hayden Verucchi. This bell was erected in front of the present church on April 20, 2002 on the occasion of the parish's HOMECOMING celebration. (many baptisms, first communions, rosaries, votive candles, weddings, funerals- priests and bishops from St. Mary)
  • October 30, 1960 the present brick church was dedicated by Bishop Richard O. Gerow. The old church remained for use as a parish center.
  • Assumption congregation remained a mission of St. Mary until it became a regular parish on July 1, 1957. Father Thomas Tuite was assigned as its first pastor. He remained as pastor until 1964.
  • A stainless steel cross was built at International Paper company for Assumption Church by pipefitter Doyle Tapley, a Baptist, under the supervision of Ken Duhe, a member of Assumption parish. The cross was bent by a tornado in the mid 1990s.
  • 1973: Liturgical renewal led to the removal of the communion rail, and the installation of the marble altars. These changes took place under the leadership of Father Martin Joyce.
  • 1992: Tuite Hall was built in 1992, and this replaced the old frame church which had been used as a parish hall and was becoming the target of termites.
  • Around the year 2002, Hispanic people were arriving in Natchez to seek employment and settle. A monthly Spanish Mass was introduced. Outreach to Hispanics grew with the introduction of a weekly Spanish Mass on Sunday afternoons, baptisms, quincinera celebrations, etc. This ministry was further strengthened by the arrival of Guadalupan Missionaries in February 2012.
  • 2003: Assumption church would no longer have its own priest but would share a pastor with St. Mary Basilica. The congregation met this challenge by assuming extra responsibility for increased participation by the parishioners, regular meetings of the pastoral council and its working committees, a program of consistent maintenance of the buildings and property, a parish office, and adequate financial support.
  • 2008: Assumption Church was given an interior facelift with new carpets, refinishing of pews and enhancement of the crucifix in the sanctuary.
  • Assumption parish has been blessed with dedicated priests, beginning with Monsignor Hayden one hundred years ago, bishops and priests at St. Mary until Father Tuite became the first pastor. He was followed by: Fathers Lacy Green, Francis Farrell, Noel Prendergast, John Niemeyer, Martin Joyce (died December 1973), Don Dereveaux, Daniel Gallagher, Sam Messina, John Brock, Mike O'Brien, and now David O'Connor.
  • Assumption congregation members are active in every phase of the life of the parish. Working groups, including the pastoral and finance council, the altar society and grounds maintenance, tend to the faith life, ministry needs, maintenance of property and outreach to the needy. The construction of Tuite Hall and the maintenance of all the church's property and grounds would not happen without the work of parish volunteers.
  • Two individuals who grew up in Assumption parish serve as priests: Robert Dore (Columbus, MS), Wayne Arnold (Memphis, TN). We are proud of them, we are glad they are here, and we thank them for their work of ministry.
  • 2013: The Mississippi State Department of Archives and History has approved a State Historical marker to be erected here in November to recognize the historic site of the St. Catherine Creek Italian Colony and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church.
Prepared by Father David O'Connor


Lithograph on stone - St. Mary Cathedral