© Betty Aron Schneider 2002 - 2004
Humphreys County,  
All Saints Catholic Parish
est. before 1918
(Click photo for larger view.)
All Saints Catholic Church 
An Abridged History of All Saints Church 

      By 1918, there were twelve Catholic families in Belzoni.  They had outgrown the Vincent parlor.  At a cost of $2,500, All Saints Church was built on Church Street, directly across from the Vincent home, on a lot donated by Steven Castleman, a Jewish man and Belzoni's first mayor. 
      There was a dispute about a bill from the lumber company and a lengthy correspondence passed between the lumber company, Father Clerico and Bishop John Gunn.  When the company threatened to sell the building to a local Protestant group, Bishop Gunn instructed Father Clerico "to get a good lawyer". 
      Before that reality came to pass, however, three local Catholic men paid off the debt; and the blessing of the Stations, which had been postponed, took place.  "Mother Vincent", as Mary came to be called by everyone, continued as caretaker of the church.  Kathleen Rogers remembers Saturdays as the day to clean the church, and says her first memories of that activity include being so little she had to crawl up on the pews to dust them.  On Mass Sundays her mother would cross the street before dawn to light a fire in the pot-bellied stove.  Years later, Mrs. Rogers would do the same when the church was heated by space heaters. 
      In December 1926, Bishop Richard Gerow paid his first official visit to Belzoni to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation.   The April flood of 1927, which turned the delta into one enormous lake, spared All Saints Church, which was on high ground. 
      By 1944, Belzoni had 20 Catholic families and Mary Vincent was a widow.   The Greenwood parish was divided in 1944.  All Saints and Our Mother of Mercy became missions of St. James Parish in Leland.  Father Francis Quinn 
was the first pastor.  During his tenure, the summer schools of religion were established and Father Quinn arranged for the Sisters of Charity from St. Clara Academy in Yazoo City to teach Sunday school. 
      Father Patrick Martin succeeded Father Quinn as pastor in 1949.  In 1951, when Father Martin left for the war in Korea, Father Cletus Manon replaced him as pastor of Leland.  Father Marin returned in 1953 and was named Belzoni's first resident priest that March.  All Saints Church became a full parish and Our Mother of Mercy its mission church. 
      By this time, Belzoni had 30 Catholic families.  The parish included all Humphreys and Sharkey counties, and parts of Issaquena and Washington counties. 

      Now in 2003, Belzoni has grown.  We have about 30 Catholic families that attended All Saints alone, and 20 families at our mission church, Our Mother of Mercy, in Anquilla.  We have been through many priest.  Father Quinn, who built this church, has now passed to the Lord, this year.  I have not had the pleasure of knowing Father Quinn, but hear the stories from some of the older parishioners.  He has been fondly remembered by many catholic families and will be missed. 

Hope this helps you in your research of Humphreys County Churches. 
Beth Alleman 
email address: turtle@capital2.com

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