There is activity again on the grounds that once was St. Stephens Catholic Church in Delisle. Former members of the church hold a thrift store every Friday and Saturday, and they are hopeful that this is only the beginning of what they would like to see as a vibrant community center.

Mass hasn’t been held at the former church since 2004, but former parishioners are excited for the St. Stephens Cultural Community Center, which has pursued a 501(c)(3) and gained a lease for $1 a year.

“A lot of people had a lot of ties to St. Stephens,” said John Ozene who was married at St. Stephens Catholic Church 60 years ago yesterday (October 26). Ozene said that a Community Center will mean a lot to the Delisle community.

“We’d like to have it where children can come after school and study,” said Ozene. “A lot of parents work. There are a lot of single-parent families out here.

“Most of the kids go to the Boys and Girls Club in Pass Christian. That’s kind of inconvenient,” said Ozene. “The parents have to go to Pass Christian to pick up their kids. It would be good if we had something like that in this area.

“Another thing we’d use it for is receptions, wedding receptions and birthday parties and community functions. We don’t have anywhere to meet if we have a civic meeting, or after a funeral for a repast.”

Ozene also recalled a senior citizen gathering that would take place once a week at St. Stephens when the church was the center of the Delisle community.

St. Stephens Catholic Church served approximately one hundred families from the Delisle area as well as former members of St. William’s and St. Ann’s before the church closed in 2004. Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church on Kiln-Delisle Road opened in 2004 to serve the three congregations.

Ozene said that Fr. Pat Mockler, pastor of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, has been a huge help with supporting the St. Stephens Cultural Community Center.

“Father Pat is working real hard,” said Ozene. “He has people working on a grant-writing committee. We had a meeting this past Wednesday.”

The St. Stephen’s Thrift Store is open on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. St. Stephens Cultural Community Center is located at 25220 St. Stephens Road in DeLisle. For more information, contact Albertine Ausmer at (228) 344-5990.

Story by Maurice Singleton