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Cathedral of St. Peter The Apostle Catholic Church

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Bishop John Chanche arrived in Natchez in May of 1841 to take possession of the newly created Diocese of Mississippi. Jackson, the capital of the state was a hastily built frontier village, only 20 years old.

During the 1830's and 40's, the Mississippi Legislature granted plots of land to various religious groups for the purpose of building churches. Thus, Jackson's Catholics built a "neat frame building" at the intersection of Court and President Streets, then at the heart of Jackson's business district. On August 23, 1846, Bishop Chanche dedicated the church to St. Peter the Apostle.

During the next 15 years, Bishop Chanche and his successor, Bishop James Van de Velde would die of wilderness diseases and Bishop William Elder would begin his long and noble service to the diocese. In 1862, when war came to Jackson with General Sherman's first raid, the frame church was destroyed by fire, forcing the congregation to meet in homes, City Hall and the Fire Station. With the capitulation of Vicksburg, July 4, 1863, Federal troops returned to Jackson. Drunken soldiers desecrated the chapel at the Fire Station, destroying vestments, even stealing the chalice. Despite the hardships of the times, the St. Peter congregation sent almost $1,000.00 to Natchez for the care of orphans, many of them made homeless by the war.

Post-Civil War years saw Jackson Catholics, under the leadership of Father William Huber, build a large frame church on the site of the present rectory. The Sisters of Mercy came from Vicksburg in 1870 to establish St. Joseph Academy, built near "The Ravine", present-day Lamar Street. This school, antecedent of St. Joseph Catholic School, now in Madison holds the distinction of being the oldest school in continuous operation in the Jackson area.

Father Charles Oliver, St. Peter's first American-born pastor, built the present church, of modified Gothic design, dedicated by Bishop Thomas Heslin on June 3, 1900, Pentecost Sunday. Father Oliver's tenure, which continued until his death in 1914, saw the installation of the stained glass windows (copies of paintings by Raphael and Murillo), regarded as being among the finest examples of such art in our country. In 1908, when St. Peter donated the 1867 frame church to the newly-formed Holy Ghost Parish, the building was pulled on logs by mules to its new home on Cloister Street.

Under Monsignor Patrick O'Reilly, the present-day rectory was built and the Carrera marble altars, from the same quarry used by Michelangelo, were installed. Another legacy of Monsignor O'Reilly was the formation of lay organizations, including the Knights of Columbus.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation:
Mon9:00 AM4:00 PM
Tue9:00 AM4:00 PM
Wed9:00 AM4:00 PM
Thr9:00 AM4:00 PM
Fri9:00 AM4:00 PM
Notes: None Listed


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