Our History

St. Ann Parish had its origin at the beginning of the century when in 1901 Father Rene Sorin, pastor of Our Lady of Good Hope Parish in DeLisle, built a mission church in Lizana.  Father Sorin, who began serving the parish and the many missions of DeLisle in 1800, is also credited with erecting or rebuilding churches throughout northwest Harrison County in Vidalia (Dedeaux), Pineville, DeLisle, Dubuisson and Our Lady of Chartres Church at Delmas-Dedeaux, which today is served by St. Ann Parish. “Father Sorin’s record is edifying”, wrote the late Bishop Richard Gerow, in his “Catholicity in Mississippi” (1939). “Since 1896 Father Sorin has expended $20,000 in erecting new churches. While a special word of praise is due to the bishops of the diocese and to the Catholic Church Extension Society for making this outlay possible, the impressive record is a tribute also to the zeal, patience and energy of a pastor whose territory is not blessed with material resources.”

Prior to 1935 when St. Ann was given to the care of the Fathers of the Divine Word, priests from St. Augustine Seminary in Bay St. Louis assisted Father Sorin, who served the area missions for over 40 years. In 1937, Father Reinalt, who had been serving St. Ann, sent a detailed report on conditions at the Lizana mission, and stressed that a new church was necessary. The old frame church had fallen into a terrible state of disrepair, so a new and more convenient site was chosen.

St. Ann Church

On August 6, 1937 , Bishop Gerow purchased a lot on Highway 53 for $75 for the new church building. July 17, 1938 , the bishop blessed the new church of St. Ann at its present location in Lizana.

Father Francis McCollum from Nativity Parish in Biloxi had charge of the mission, and it was intended that as soon as possible he would take up his residence as the first pastor. But on March 12, 1939, Father McCollum died suddenly following surgery.

Father Francis Waters was sent to Biloxi to serve the Lizana community until a rectory could be built. Father Waters took up residence at St. Ann as the first pastor on August 12, 1939 . He also served Vidalia (Dedeaux), Perkinston Junior College and Wiggins. In the fall of 1946, Father Waters was able to obtain two Dominican Sisters from New Orleans to teach at Lizana Elementary Public School with the blessings of the county school authorities. As the years passed, several more sisters came and were able to stay for about 20 years. Their influence in Lizana is still remembered to this day.

It was decided in 1963 that St. Ann ‘s was in need of a parish hall. On August 24, 1964, Bishop Gerow blessed the newly-erected building. In the summer

Our Lady of Chartres Mission

of 1988 that parish hall was remodeled into eleven beautiful CCD classrooms. On December 3, 1988 the new parish hall was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Joseph Howze. The current hall is divided into two sections, one meeting room (the “North Room”) and the main room. It also has a large modern kitchen.

St. Ann’s Parish accepted responsibility in 1972 for the mission church on Big Creek Road , Our Lady of Chartres. Until that time, Our Lady of Chartres had been served by The Society of St. Joseph.

Priests That Have Served Our Parish

1937 – 1938 (Mission)Rev. Francis McCollum
1939 – 1948Rev. Francis Waters
1948 – 1956Rev. Michael Fox
1956 – 1962Rev. Gregory Johnson
1962 – 1964Rev. Lacy Green
1964 – 1965Rev. Morgan Kavanagh
1965Rev. Gregory Kennedy
1965 – 1968Rev. Lorenzo Diamond
1968 – 1975Rev. Noel Fannon
1975 – 1980Rev. Patrick Grant
1980Rev. Martin Rabbitte
1980 – 1988Rev. Peter Mockler (In Memorium)
1988 – 1991Rev. Patrick Tierney
1991 – 2001Rev. Fintan Kilmurray
2001Rev. Msgr. Joseph Mercier
2001 – 2014Rev. Peter Mockler (In Memorium)
2014 – 2020 Rev. Khoa Vo
2020 – 2023 Rev. David Milton
2023 – PresentRev. Cuthbert “Cuddy” O’Connell