For Immediate Release
December 10, 2019
(Opelousas, LA) – Opelousas Main Street, Inc. and the City of Opelousas Tourism are excited to present the 2019 collectible holiday ornament which features Holy Ghost Catholic Church. Located on North Union Street, the church was dedicated in 1949.
The arrival of the Holy Ghost order in Opelousas helped pave the way for worship services for Catholic African Americans and influenced the city’s rich spiritual history. Father James A. Hyland arrived in Opelousas in October 1920 where he called a special meeting to create a church to serve the area’s black population. In November of that same year, a charter of the Holy Ghost Church was granted.
Father Hyland united St. Joseph School, a Catholic elementary school that was founded in 1874, to the newly formed parish. The school was called Holy Ghost. There was no church building at the time, so Mass and other services were held in the school’s auditorium. There was also no rectory available for housing a priest, so Father Hyland moved into one of the school rooms. In 1923, Holy Ghost purchased land that included a grand Creole style home built by Opelousas newspaper pioneer, Joel Sandoz. The house became the Holy Ghost Rectory.
To serve the growing congregation, construction began on a new brick church in 1948 on North Union street. The church features a Roman and Gothic architectural style with a seating capacity of 800 people. The large arched doorway is of Roman architect, while the roof and crisscross rafters in the ceiling are of Gothic design. The interior is furnished with terrazzo floors and a hand-made wrought iron communion rail. The church was estimated to cost $75,000. It was officially dedicated on Sunday, June 5, 1949. Today, Holy Ghost remains one of the largest African American Catholic congregations in the United States. This year, the church is celebrating its 100-year centennial.
This 2019 collectible ornament is the eighth in a series of collectible ornaments. The first collectable Christmas ornament debuted in 2012 and featured the famed Jim Bowie Oak and the old Homère Mouton Law Office. The rest of the ornaments include Hope, Hook & Ladder Co. #1 (2013), St. Landry Catholic Church (2014), the Old St. Landry Parish Courthouse (2015), St. Landry Lumber (2016), Old Governor’s Mansion (2017) and Michael Prudhomme Home (2018).
The 2019 ornament is available at select stores in downtown Opelousas which include Sebastien-Dupré Fine Jewelry, Back in Time and the Opelousas Tourist Information Center. The collectible ornament sells for $16 each and is limited in quantity. Proceeds from the sale of the Christmas ornaments assist in preserving and revitalizing efforts for downtown Opelousas. For more information contact Opelousas Tourism at 337-948-5227 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org