On December 25, 2011, Our Lady Star of the Sea will mark its 100th Anniversary of being a Faith Community.
The Parish was founded in November of 1911 by Archbishop James Hubert Blenk. On Christmas Day, 1911, under the leadership of Father Alexander Charles, the people of the historic St. Roch community gathered together in a house on the corner of St. Roch Avenue and North Johnson Street to celebrate the first Mass in our now-revered old parish.
Within seven months of that celebration, the land was purchased and the first “real” church for this new community was dedicated. But, the “Great Hurricane of September 29, 1915″ leveled the little church and the need for a second church was pressing. Six months after the destruction of the first church, a second church was dedicated on the same parcel of land
During the 1920′s, through the Grace of God, the parish’s membership began to grow by leaps and bounds. And, by 1930, the need for a larger church was apparent due to the overflowing crowds that were being packed into the small church building. So, the parish embarked on designing and raising funds to pay for a new church structure. Before the first brick was laid for the new church, the parishioners had already collected enough money to fund their “Dream Church.”
In 1931, the present Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, on the corner of St. Roch Avenue and North Prieur Street, was dedicated. It is of Greek cruciform (cross) style with red brick and carved white stone exterior.
The beautiful structure that we now call our spiritual home was built at a cost of $150,000.
Through the years, many pastors and parishioners have worked extremely hard to build up our parish family and to keep our parish home looking as beautiful as it did on the day it was dedicated. The present group of believers that gathers in this majestic place is now one of the fastest growing congregations in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Since July of 1999, more than 250 new families have joined our community. Our Liturgical and Social Ministries have all gained new members and our Sunday School Program has tripled in size. Mass attendance has increased by 30-40 %.
On December 25, 1999, we embarked on our “Star of the City: Evangelization Program.” With this program, we are working to restore our parish facilities, energize our parish ministries and build up our parish membership.
In July of 2001, our Church Structure completed a $90,000 restoration. On July 7, 2001, Auxiliary Bishop Dominc Carmon, SVD, presided over the Blessing of our Newly Restored Church. The Highlight of our restoration project is the Sanctuary Artwork by renown, local artist, Vernon Dobard. His work is entitled, “The Dance of Holy Innocence.”
On January 18, 2002, Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes formally named Fr. R. Tony Ricard as our Pastor. Fr. Tony served as our Parochial Administrator from July 10, 1999 until his appointment as our Pastor.
We know that we are in store for many blessings as we now journey under the leadership of our Parish Council, our Council of Elders and our Pastor.
Pride in Our Past Brings Hope to Our Future!
As we now journey through the year 2011, we anticipate many great things happening in our Faith Community.