St. Helena Parish
We at St. Helena Catholic Church are of the concern of educating, directing, and sustaining all who visit, in particular those who draw near, in the teachings and traditions of Holy Mother Church; this will be achieved by utilizing Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude.
On April 25, 1793, the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas was established. In 2006, forty-nine dioceses have been formed from The Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas, including the Diocese of New Orleans, which was raised to the rank of Archdiocese in 1850. In 1860 the Archdiocese of New Orleans assigned them a missionary priest, Father John Scollard, to Amite just two years after John Coleman donated land in Amite for a Catholic Church. Father Scollard celebrated the first Mass in Amite that same year in a two-room home. Eight years later, in 1868, the church parish of St. Helena was created and the first church and rectory were completed.
Missionary priests from the Archdiocese of New Orleans staffed the church until September of 1890, when the Benedictines were assigned to care for St. Helena's twenty families. On April 24, 1908, 1908, Father Felix Rumpf, O.S.B was killed and the church building destroyed by a tornado. Later that year, the first parish fair was held to raise funds for the building of a new church. By 1910, the new church was completed.
In July of 1912, the Spanish Dominicans were assigned to care for St. Helena church. They remained until April of 1938, at which time the American Dominicans were assigned to St. Helena. The second church building was destroyed on April 6, 1940 by another tornado, which also destroyed the church hall and damaged the rectory. Weekend Mass was celebrated at the local movie theater and daily mass was celebrated at the rectory until the third church could be completed and dedicated on September 14, 1941.
The American Dominicans remained at St. Helena until July of 1991, when the Diocese of Baton Rouge (created in 1961) assumed the care of St. Helena. Father Fred Youngs was the first diocesan priest to serve here, remaining until July of 1995, when Father Jack Nutter replace him. Father Jack served until June of 2005, Father Joe Camilleri served until July of 2011, and Father Mark Beard, the current priest, was assigned to replace him.