Brief Historical Sketch
St. Edward's Parish
The Congregation of Saint Edward Roman Catholic Church of New Iberia, Louisiana began as a National Parish for African Americans in 1917.
On October 1, 1917, Reverend F. Xavier Lichtenburger, a Holy Ghost Priest, took charge of the African Americans Catholics. He held services at Saint Peter's Catholic Church until Saint Edward, through the generosity of Blessed Catherine Drexel, was built. On November 10, 1918 the first Mass in the new church was celebrated. The new church, however, was not dedicated until May 4, 1919.
The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament arrived on September 12, 1918. The Sisters were and still are an integral part of parish life. The Sisters, for many years, influenced the lives of a countless number of African American youths. With the onset of integration, the racial makeup of the student body changed to include all ethnic groups. The Sisters epitomize Our Lord's Gospel through teaching and performing charitable works for the citizens of New Iberia.
The St. Jude chapel, built through a generous donation from Mrs. Elizabeth Frey Raspberry, had its first Mass celebrated in October 1957. The chapel was officially dedicated in December of that year.
In 1958 the new church and rectory were built. The first Mass was celebrated on Palm Sunday of 1958. It was formally dedicated on August 30, 1958.
The Holy Ghost Fathers served the parish for sixty years. In February of 1977, St. Edward became a Diocesan parish. Father Murphy was the last Holy Ghost Father to serve as pastor for St. Edward. St. Edward was judged by the Holy Ghost Order to be a success. As Missionaries, these priests were dedicated to the spreading of the Word of God. The people of St. Edward made great progress during the Holy Ghost Order's era.
Father William Havenar became pastor in 1977. St. Edward was served by the Diocesans until 1984.
St. Edward continued and still continues to thrive under the leadership of the S.V.D.'s. Father Alvin Dixon, a product of St. Edward Church and School, returned as pastor. Under his leadership, the church was renovated. The parish, currently pastored by Father Thomas James, is still moving forward.
In 1917, the vision and foresight of a dynamic religious woman began the entity known as Saint Edward Parish. Blessed Catherine Drexel and Father F. Xavier Lichtenburger, trailblazers, along with the many saintly men and women who followed them, sowed the seeds that have made Saint Edward grow into the faith-filled community it is today.
More about the History of St. Edward Church and School is available at
Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Corner
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