|All Saints Catholic
An Abridged History of All
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
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
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
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.
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