The Society of the Divine Word dedicated a new statue of Saint Augustine and a new historical marker recognizing the history of the Society of the Divine Word in Mississippi on September 16.
Father Gus Wall, SVD Provincial, presided over the dedication ceremony, which was part of the seminary’s centennial celebration, which will culminate with a larger celebration on the weekend of October 28-29.
Saturday, October 28
9 a.m. Mass at Entertainment Stage
12 noon Historical Exhibit Open in the St. Augustine Seminary Chapel and tours of the property will be available
12 noon-7 p.m. Multiple food trucks will be selling a variety of food options
12 noon-8 p.m. Live entertainment throughout the day
6 p.m. Two winners will each be awarded $5,000 at the raffle ticket drawing
Sunday, October 29
8:45 a.m. Procession led by a Walking Jazz Band from St. Rose de Lima Church to Saint Augustine Seminary
10 a.m. Eucharistic celebration at Entertainment Stage
11:30 a.m. Lunch served: fried catfish, chicken tenders, coleslaw, green beans, Hawaiian roll and cake
Table seating provided for 650 guests under the event tents at entertainment stage
The Seminary was founded on September 16, 1923, for the purpose of educating African American men for the priesthood.
Noted historian: Cyprian Davis in his book; “Black Catholics in the United States” said, “Certainly, the establishment of a seminary for African American students by members of the Society of the Divine Word was one of the most important events in the history of black Catholics during the first part of the twentieth century.”
Although there had been a few black priests over the course of the nation’s history (often trained abroad), most Catholic colleges and seminaries, like other American schools at the time, did not admit black students. St. Augustine Seminary would change that tragic omission in the Catholic Church in America. For years the only place an African American candidate could be ordained into the priesthood was at Saint Augustine Seminary in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. Photos/Chris Roth