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Holy Family Catholic Church celebrates rededication

Diane Good, center, and the Holy Family Choir sing during Sunday afternoon’s celebration of the church’s rededication. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

Diane Good, center, and the Holy Family Choir sing during Sunday afternoon’s celebration of the church’s rededication. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Miss-Lou residents celebrated Sunday the rededication of Holy Family Catholic Church.

Through grants and many monetary donations, Holy Family was able to renovate its historic structure, which was showcased in a special service Sunday.

Holy Family members and guests eager to see the renovated church filled every pew the church, including the balcony, leaving others standing near the back of the church.

 

“The rededication of the church was much needed,” said Holy Family member and Judge George W. Armstrong Library director Pam Plummer. “And now that it’s done and we see all of the beautification, it just gives you a feeling of great pride to see a church that is over 100 years old restored to how it looked 30 years ago when I first joined.”

Plummer said she was originally Baptist until she married her husband, Robert, who is Catholic.

“It’s just a rewarding feeling to see that your church is sill thriving and that we are still here,” Plummer said.

Work began on the church in 2008 with emergency repairs when moisture seeped through brick mortar and destroyed plaster on the inside. The repair process, called repointing of bricks, was exhaustive work and wiped out the church’s savings, said the Rev. James Fallon.

However, the church would see a light at the end of the tunnel when The Historic Natchez Foundation obtained a grant of $169,000 from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History so the church could make exterior repairs, mainly to the roof, steeple and drainage.

Parishioners later raised an additional $65,000 and the state provided a second grant of $42,000. Those funds opened the possibility of renovating the interior of the building, Fallon said.

Holy Family Financial Director Sister Bernadette McNamara said the rededication was a miracle.

“We would not have been able to do this without the help of the community,” McNamara said.

The Most. Rev. Joseph R. Kopacz, who is Bishop of the Diocese of Jackson, gave the rededication prayer for Holy Family, a moment which he believed to be special.

“This church has a very long standing relationship with the Diocese of Jackson,” Kopacz said. “This is the longest standing, consistently worshiped in church for the African American community in the State of Mississippi.

“I’m happy to be here. The church has been restored beautifully with the help of community, state and church grants.”

The rededication of Holy Family also meant the rededication for one’s faith, said parishioner Valencia Hall.

“It’s a rededication to our Catholic faith,” Hall said. “This is a place of reverence and Jesus is here. Hopefully, our parishioners will come to understand that this is a holy place.”