Our Parish History
St. Benedict the Moor and St. Augustine had their origins in the desire of a small group of people to have their own church and serve God in peace and harmony. Their cry was "give us a priest and we will build the church". In answer to this plea, the Josephite Fathers took charge of the Black Missions along Bayou Lafourche.
On October 1, 1911, Fr. Joseph Favard, SSJ, arrived as the first pastor of St. Benedict the Moor. From there he established the church of St. Augustine. The first work at began at St. Benedict was the opening of a school. In 1918, a zealous missionary named Fr. Joseph P. Van Baast, arrived on the bayou. He was followed by Fr. Harry J. Maloney. He too was a builder, erecting a fine church in Klotzville and a complete school at St. Benedict. He was also a fearless champion of justice for his parishioners and inaugurated many reforms.
Other Josephite priests included Fr. John Rawlins, Fr. Jeremiah D. Brady, Fr. Edward Walsh, Fr. John Murphy, and Fr. Michel Parent, who served 14 years until his retirement in 1986. He is now deceased and buried in the St. Benedict Cemetery. He was succeeded by Fr. Richard Sadlier and Fr. Joseph Rodney, the first and only African American pastor in our parish. He was also the last Josephite.
At the invitation of the Josephites in October 1998, the Missionaries of St. Paul-Nigeria started serving the St. Benedict and St. Augustine faith community. Fr. Emmanuel Ekuri Agbor began serving as administrator at that time. He was followed by Fr. Agbor Fredrick Isek in 2003. On July 1, 2004, the Josephites turned over the parish to the MSPs, and Fr. Oliver Obele became the first pastor under the MSPs. He was followed by Fr. John Osom in December 2007. Fr. Eliseus Ibeh served the parish during his sabbatical, which began on July 1, 2012. Our present pastor, Fr. Gordian O. Iwuji, became pastor on July 1, 2013. With Fr. Gordian being transferred in September 2017, Fr. Ibeh returned to be our pastor.
To God be the Glory for the great things He has done! Through the Grace of God, the parishioners of St. Benedict the Moor and St. Augustine have been walking in their ancestor's footsteps. Each generation has endured many challenges, but the church has always been a solace in the midst of storms for black people. There is much to be proud of and much more to commit to doing!
St. Benedict the Moor / St. Augustine Catholic Churches
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