Two Pass Christian parishes - St. Paul and Our Lady of Lourdes - will merge into one, new parish with two, separate church buildings - effective the First Sunday of Advent, November 27.
In September, Bishop Rodi learned the Trinitarian Fathers, an order of priests serving in the diocese, would not continue to staff Our Lady of Lourdes Parish when its pastor, Father Thaddeus Searles, 81, retires. When the Trinitarian Fathers leave Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, the pastoral ministry will be entrusted to diocesan priests.
"Taking into consideration the number of priests available in our diocese;' Bishop Rodi said, "it is necessary to entrust both St. Paul Parish and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish to a single diocesan priest." The two parishes, with a combined total of 768 households before Hurricane Katrina, will be merged into one new
The Josephite fathers, who staff Our Mother of Mercy Parish in Pass Christian, met with Bishop Rodi in October. They expressed their hope that the Josephite Fathers would continue to staff Our Mother of Mercy Parish. Further decisions regarding the relationship of Our Mother of Mercy Parish with the new parish would be made if the Josephite Father would no longer serve in Pass Christian.
"As this new parish rebuilds, the fact that probably only one priest will be assigned to the new parish needs to be kept in mind," Bishop Rodi said.
Bishop Rodi also granted permission to St. Paul Church to be rebuilt at its current location on the beach. Father Dennis Carver is pastor of St. Paul Parish and will become the pastor of the new parish (HOLY FAMILY PARISH). Father Searles will serve as senior priest.
"I wish to make very clear, however, that this does not include rebuilding the parish school," the bishop said. No decision will be made about the school until the consultation process is completed and the bishop reviews the recommendations.
St. Paul Church was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Our Lady of Lourdes Church, located on Menge Ave., north of the railroad tracks was not damaged.
Celebrating the formation of Holy Family Parish took place on January 8, 2006, with a special Mass at St. Paul Church and a Celebration Feast at Our Lady of Lourdes.