Rev. Joseph Chacko
Mrs. Joyce Paulson,
A Short Parish History of Saint Agatha Parish
In 1943, the Catholics of Bay Minette received a penny stamp postcard from Daphne. The postcard read: “Dear friends, starting September 26th (10 am) we shall have Sunday Mass for the Catholic people of Bay Minette at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Lemerise. Trusting in your cooperation, I am sincerely yours in Christ, Fr. Jim Loughlin.” Previously, Mass was being offered in the homes of the few catholics in Bay Minette whenever a mission priest from either Mobile or Montgomery made it to town. With the arrival of this post card, things changed and on September 26th, 1943 Mass began being offered every Sunday in Bay Minette at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lemerise.
While mass was regularly being offered in the Lemerise home, there was still not a single Catholic church in a 3,000 square-mile area until 1946. St. Agatha Church was one of four missions established in 1946 with St. Robert Parish in Atmore being the mother church and Father John Horgan, the pastor. About fiver years later in 1951, the generous financial support of the Catholic Church Extension Society of America allowed for the construction of St. Agatha Church on the corner of Hand Avenue and 10th Street which was about a block from the Lemerise home. The first mass inside the small cinder block church was celebrated by Father Horgan on July 22, 1951 while the dedication of the new church took place on Feburary 17, 1952 with Bishop William O’Brien of the Extension Society and Bishop Thomas Toolen.
Priests continued to serve Saint Agatha Church as a mission of Saint Robert Parish until on November 20, 1974 Saint Agatha Parish became an independent parish with Father Thomas Weise as the first pastor. Since becoming its own parish, Saint Agatha has continued to grow and expand. The growth can be seen by the expansion of the physical buildings of Saint Agatha Parish: a new parish hall which was constructed in 1978; the remodeling of the Church in 1982; and the enlarging and remodeling of the parish hall in 2001. Saint Agatha parish continues to grow and currently there are over 150 families who worship and serve the Lord through Saint Agatha Parish.