Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in St. Amant, Louisiana was established on the left bank of New River in 1905. It was formally known as St. Joseph Chapel and had been a mission of Sacred Heart of Jesus at Cornerview for over thirty years. The parish has a long and interesting history stretching back well over 100 years. Today Holy Rosary is a unique and devoted faith community in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.
A History of Holy Rosary Parish:
1863 - Sacred Heart of Jesus Church at Cornerview was designated as the parish church for a new ecclesiastical division.
1868 - Mass was occasionally offered by visiting pastors from Cornerview in the home of Captain Joseph Gonzales in St. Amant.
1874 - St. Joseph's Chapel, a mission of Sacred Heart Parish, was built at the site of present-day Holy Rosary Church on land donated by the Gonzales, Dugas, and Campbell families.
1880 - The Reverend Mesnil served Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish for eleven years. He was followed by the Reverends Magliore Simon in 1893, A. Juille in 1895, Joseph Eugene Lavaquery in 1898, and Wenceslas Geens in 1900.
1905 - Father J. C. Gonon was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. St. Joseph's Chapel in St. Amant was separated from Sacred Heart Parish and consecrated under the patronage of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
1906 - Father George Harding was appointed the first pastor, but left after 18 months; Holy Rosary Parish was short lived.
1914 - Our Lady of the Lake Chapel was built on land donated by Mr. Emile F. Keller at the present site of the Sacred Heart Chapel at Lake. The chapel was blessed on Oct. 16th, with Father Gonon offering the first Mass.
1917 - The first rectory at St. Amant was completed.
1918 - Father Gonon was transferred and was replaced by the Reverend Eugene Hubert.
1919 - Archbishop Shaw declared St. Amant an independent parish, and it was re-consecrated as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The first resident pastor, Reverend A. Delnom, began raising funds to build a new church.
1921 - Reverend Victor Baron became pastor and continued to raise funds for the new church building. Church construction began.
1922 - Holy Rosary Church was completed in July and dedicated in September. The old church was moved to the site of the present day cemetery and was used as the church hall.
1926 - The new church was destroyed by a hurricane, and the decision was made to rebuild the church in a similar style.
1929 - The "Great Depression" adversely affected the community and support of the church became impossible. The parish was forced to apply to the Archdiocese for aid.
1934 - Reverend A. M. Domsdorf became pastor when Fr. Delnom was transferred. The church grounds were landscaped and a mound was built in front of church. A statue of Christ welcomed all.
1936 - The Dominican nuns of New Orleans gave the first Catholic schooling in the parish. This catechism became a summer tradition.
1941 - Reverend Arthur Brue replaced Father Domsdorf. Activities in the parish were curtailed because of WWII.
1944 - The Reverend August Wyshoff became the new pastor. He was responsible for the installation of padded kneelers in church. Pew rentals were discontinued, and a shell parking lot was built.
1945 - The Cemetery Association was organized.
1946 - A new chapel at Lake was built and renamed Sacred Heart Chapel.
1947 - The garage apartment was built behind the rectory.
1954 - St. Anne's Chapel in Sorrento was built. It remained a mission of Holy Rosary until the early sixties.
1956 - Father A. J. LeBlanc replaced Father Wyshoff in July. Ms. Anna Mae Kraemer became the permanent housekeeper (remained so for 38 years). The cemetery was enlarged and the old oak was cut down.
1960 - The Sunday Bulletin was first published.
1961 - The Catholic Daughters formulated a religious education program on a weekly basis for elementary and high school students, and the Baltimore Catechism book was retired. Holy Rosary became part of the newly formed Baton Rouge Diocese.
1962 - Father James Clement replaced Father LeBlanc. Heating and cooling systems were installed in the church and at Sacred Heart Chapel.
1963 - St. Anne was separated from Holy Rosary and made an independent parish.
1968 - The first lay lectors were initiated, and the Parish Council was formed. Annie Marie Lambert was hired as secretary.
1971 - Holy Rosary Catholic Center was built and the first religion classes were held in the new center in September.
1973 - Reverend Jesse R. Ortego was named associate pastor.
1976 - Reverend David Chaloux replaced Father Ortego as associate pastor. The Community Responsibility Committee was formed in June.
1978 - Father Chaloux served as temporary parish administrator when Father Clement transferred. Eucharistic Ministers were introduced.
1979 - Father Donald Blanchard was named pastor and Father Clyde Landry was named associate pastor. RCIA was initiated and major church renovations were begun. Betty Bourgeois was hired as the first Religious Education Coordinator.
1980 - Holy Rosary Parish celebrated its 75th anniversary, and the year of celebration began with the Jubilee Fair (1st fair since 1945). Holy Rosary was rededicated on December 21.
1981 - Father Jon Koehler was appointed associate pastor when Fr. Landry was transferred. The Building and Maintenance Committee was formed.
1982 - Reverend Tom Ranzino joined Holy Rosary as associate pastor when Fr. Koehler was transferred. The Liturgy Committee was initiated, and the music ministry was strengthened.
1983 - Father Tom was appointed pastor when Father Blanchard transferred to LSU. Reverend Henry Gautreau became the new associate.
1984 - The Renew Process was introduced, and Sister Ann Regina Ross joined the staff as Religious Education Coordinator.
1986 - Sister Mary John Hotard replaced Father Gautreau as pastoral associate. Stewardship of ministry was identified as a priority for the parish. The Good Shepherd ministry was initiated.
1993 - Reverend Robert Stine was assigned pastor of Holy Rosary. Father Tom was transferred to St. George in Baton Rouge.
1995 - The cemetery was expanded and a new mausoleum was added. The "Walk with the Cross" was begun on Good Friday.
1996 - Returning God's Gifts fund raiser was started for new building construction, and the Parish Council appointed the Building Committee.
1998 - Reverend Greg Daigle was appointed associate pastor.
1999 - The Teen Band "Witness" was formed, and the first Life Teen Mass was celebrated.
2000 - Life Teen was expanded to include Edge (6th-8th) and FLOCK (2nd-5th). Deacon John Ferguson joined the parish staff. Construction began on the Administration Building, Adult Education Building, and the Adoration Chapel.
2001 - Reverend Matt Dupre replaced Father Greg as associate pastor. Life Teen went to Canada and met Pope John Paul II. The first Christ Renews His Parish Retreat was held in March.
2002 - Juliet Babin became the first Youth Ministry Director.
2003 - Reverend Vicente Panaligan replaced Father Matt as associate pastor. Construction of the new buildings was completed at an estimated cost of $2,200,000 for construction and furnishings.
2004 - Bishop Muench dedicates "The Chapel of Jesus, Our Light" on August 30th.
2005 - Holy Rosary celebrates 100 years as a church parish.