Parishioners share parish origin story on feast of St. Therese

By Berta Mexidor

KOSCIUSKO – A special Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Kopacz, and concelebrated by Father Marco Sanchez, ST, to celebrate the patronal feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus on Sunday, Oct. 1.
Over two days of celebration, parishioners were able to enjoy a permanent exhibit press articles and photos donated by the Joseph family following the passing of patriarch Louis Joseph.
All the documents and notes came into the hands of Marilyn Scott, a parishioner of St. Therese since 1969. She, along with Vicky Bell Pope, and others, undertook the task of chronologically compiling the history of the church with the documents received.

KOSCIUSKO – Bishop Joseph Kopacz views pictures painted by Vicky Bell Pope, as a part of a permanent installation at St. Therese chronicling the history of the parish. (Photo courtesy of Father Marco Sanchez, ST)

Additionally, Bell Pope painted reproductions of “The Cabin,” which gave birth to the church, and of the story of Father Julian M. Guillou, riding a horse on his journey from Yazoo to Kosciusko.
Scott says that this was a “glorious” celebration and noting that “…we have been very blessed to receive these historic documents and also by the presence of Trinitarian priests who have taken charge of the parish.”

The Joseph family are considered the founder of the parish since Mr. and Mrs. Joseph began writing letters to Bishop R.O. Gerow and the town of Kosciusko to help build a church for the growing Catholic community.

“In June 1940, Bishop Gerow dedicated the church to St. Therese of the Child Jesus. The energetic young pastor, the Joseph family, other young members, and a new chapel meant there was Catholic activity like Kosciusko had never seen,” said Scott, reading a prepared statement during the Mass.

The departed Louis Joseph wrote in his original letter to Bishop Gerow: “I know in my heart and soul that our parents were guided to Central Mississippi by our good Lord, to not only raise a wonderful family but to help bring the church to our little town.”

(Marilyn Scott, and Father Marco Sanchez, ST contributed to this story)