Nestled in the middle of the West Park neighborhood on Claiborne Avenue is a church of gorgeous architecture. This church, with it’s stone block facade and crucifix-topped steeple reaching for the sky rests comfortably at the intersection of Claiborne Avenue and St. Charles Street.
The idea of locating St. Mary in West Jackson began to actualize in the late 1930s. In 1937, 5 acres of land was purchased for the purposes of establishing a new parish. 10 years later, West Jackson was becoming a booming part of the city with new homes being rapidly erected. In 1948, the Catholic church appointed Father Peter Quinn to lead the establishment of a new parish.
Father Quinn proceeded to raise funds and to build a new church whose facilities would be built in the following order: “A multi-purpose gymnasium…, then a school and a convent, finally a church and rectory.” Spring 1949 welcomed the opening of the gym and Fall 1949 ushered in the school & convent. Before completing the final pieces–the church & rectory–St. Mary purchased 11 acres from the Public School Board. Then, on October 25, 1955, the church and rectory were dedicated.
Today, the church still stands prominently on the corner of Claiborne and St. Charles. The school that once operated independently, has now been merged with the Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School at Christ the King. In fact, St. Mary and Christ the King Catholic Churches are lead by the same priest–Father Ricardo Phipps.
Thanks for participating in today’s trivia! For more information about St. Mary and Christ the King, visit their website at http://www.westjacksoncatholics.org/