On March 9, 2016, Bishop Houck died at St. Dominic Hospital after a heart procedure. His Funeral Mass was celebrated on Thursday, March 17, by Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile. Bishop Kopacz gave the homily. His grave is in the Bishops’ Cemetery next to the Cathedral, which he consecrated in 1998.
Sisters of the Holy Ghost staff Holy Family School in Natchez.
St. Joseph Church in Port Gibson is one of the oldest churches in the diocese in continual use. The current structure dates to 1863. This parish is one of the original 11 established by Bishop John Joseph Chanche. The beams and altar rail were hand carved.
The Mississippi River overflowed its banks and flooded hundreds of thousands of acres in the Delta.
Father Peter Quinn served as chaplain in the army for American European forces during the Second World War.
Bishop Heslin died on Feb. 22, 1911. He guided the diocesan church through the turn of the century. A few weeks prior to his death while visiting churches in East Central Mississippi, he met with an unfortunate accident. Apparently according to Bishop Gunn’s diary, Bishop Heslin was riding in a mule cart and it had stopped. He dozed off and when the driver got the mule going again, Bishop Heslin tumbled out the back of the wagon unbeknownst to the driver. the driver discovered his passenger was missing further down the road and went back to retrieve him finding him unconscious. Bishop Heslin was a tall man and the driver had great difficulty getting him back in the cart. Bishop Heslin most likely suffered a broken rib from this accident and may have ultimately succumbed to pneumonia.
For four years Bishop Anton Blanc of New Orleans served as administrator. Finally, Bishop John Joseph Chanche, SS, arrived in May 1841 as the first bishop of the Diocese. There was no church building and only a handful of missionary priests to welcome him.
The Diocese of Jackson had its origins with the establishment of the Diocese of Natchez by Pope Gregory XVI on July 28, 1837. Father Thomas Heyden of the Diocese of Pittsburgh was appointed the first bishop of the diocese in 1837, but he respectfully declined, thus leaving the newly established diocese as a sede vacante.
In July 1852 while visiting with relatives in Maryland, Bishop Chanche contracted what is thought to have been cholera. He died and was buried in the Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore. In January 2009, he was re-interred in the grounds of St. Mary Basilca in Natchez.