Holy Family and St. Ann Catholic Churches at 291 THibodeaux St., Lawtell, LA 70550 US - History of St. Ann Church
|History of St. Ann Church|
The History of St Ann goes back at least to the 1850's if not earlier. In November 1856, a tract of land was donated by Jean Gallot and his wife Francoise Gallot "for the sole purpose of maintaining thereon a chapel for the uplifting and religious education of the few hundred colored people living there at the time." Another donation of piece of Land was made by Everest Guillory on June, 1873.
The diocesan records mention a church in Mallet n 1876, but it was not until 1884 or 1885 that a church in the name of St. Joseph was specifically mentioned by a Fr. Blaise Brache. Only in 1917, the chapel in Mallet became identified as St. Ann for the first time. Building a church in this site for the faith community of St. Ann remained more a wish than a reality until 1930.
St. Ann was a mission of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Chataignier and was served by the diocesan priest until 1950 when the church was turned over the care of Josephites. In 1951 St. Ann had its first parish priest, Fr. John J. Barnett, who immersed himself in the business of the church and built the new church and rectory in his first year. On the feast of the solemnity of St. Joseph, in 1951, Bishop Jeanmard, dedicated the new St. Ann Church. The Josephites shepherded St. Ann until July, 1982, when the missionary servants of the Most Holy Trinity took over the responsibility of the parish. Fr. John Ford was the first Trinitarian Priest to be appointed as the pastor of St. Ann. In June 1995, the Trinitarians were bid farewell and the parish was reverted to the diocese of Lafayette and a diocesan priest, Fr. Andrew John was appointed as pastor.
Fr. Andrew continued his assignment until the arrival of Claritian Missionaries in 1999. Fr. Wenceslaus Madu was the first Claretian missionary appointed as a pastor, though his stay was short- lived. Then Fr. Dennis Osuagwu assumed the responsibility of a pastor in October, 1999. With his able leadership and total cooperation from the parishioners a new hall came to be reality and many other developmental works were carried out in and around the Church. St. Ann was very sad to see Fr. Dennis leave in January, 2011 for he had become part of this large family. Fr. Rusty Richard, a diocesan priest of Lafayette was appointed as an administrator until June, 2011. In July, 2011, the parish was again given to the care of another Religious Order, the SVD, popularly known as the Divine Word Missionaries. Fr. Susaimanickam Justin Arockiasamy SVD, is now the pastor of St. Ann's Parish.
The history will be incomplete with mentioning the personal and spiritual Growth. Our ancestors built this faith community by sharing, caring, working and praying together. Today we can proudly say that this community has produced teachers, lawyers, doctors, politicians, and priests and religious men and women. This family is proud to have given a Bishop- Bishop Curtis Guillory SVD, a priest- Fr. Gregory Semien of Lafayette diocese, a religious brother- Bt. Kerry Guillory OFM and two religious sisters- Sr. Beva Bellow, SSF, and Sr. John Marie Semien.
St. Ann has come a long way by faith and will go a long way, of course, by faith.