Annunciation Church changes, grows with passage of time

Published 9:20 am Monday, June 23, 2014

Annunciation Catholic Church of Bogalusa has been a vibrant part of this community for well over 100 years. The Abbot of St. Joseph’s Abbey sent monks to this log town to celebrate Mass as far back as 1906.

Col. W.H. Sullivan, vice president and manager of the Great Southern Lumber Co., saw to it that people in this area had places to worship. The Great Southern Lumber Co. under his guidance donated land for a Catholic church.

It is especially noteworthy that not only was the land for the Catholic congregation donated under his watch, but also the building to house the First Baptist Church.

The first Annunciation Catholic Church was erected, and dedication of the new church took place on Sunday, May 12, 1907. On this historic occasion Fr. Placid Dobyns was the celebrant for the High Mass, with Abbot Schaeuble delivering the sermon. The choir and band from St. Joseph’s Seminary performed for the event, which drew large crowds from as far away as New Orleans.

The church began as a mission under the charge of Fr. Paul Unmuessing with about 20 families. Ten years later, in 1917, Annunciation Church rose from the status of a mission to that of a parish, with Fr. Maur Frieslich as pastor. At this time the men of the parish worked together to build the first rectory. It was used until the present one was built in 1962.

Over the span of this parish’s history the men and women of Annunciation have worked together for the betterment of their church and community, thus living out their faith. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and a tragic fire in 1957 Annunciation’s parishioners put their faith in action and rebuilt what the fire and Katrina had claimed.

A new church was erected in 1927, under the leadership of Fr. Placide Dobyns, the same young priest who celebrated the first High Mass in the church in 1907 at the dedication ceremony. This church, with its ornate stained glass windows, stands today as a beacon of the Catholic faith in Bogalusa.

Annunciation Church added a school to its ministry in 1939. A new school building was completed in 1956 under the direction of Fr. Bordenave. In 1980 Bordenave Hall, containing a cafeteria, auditorium and two classrooms, was erected.

Annunciation Catholic School continued to grow, necessitating yet another addition in 1996.

This historic church is located at 517 Avenue B in Bogalusa and holds weekend Mass at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.