May 14, 1941—Dedication services for the new church recently erected at St. John the Baptist Mission near Folsom were held Monday morning with the Rt. Rev. Columban Thuis. O.S.B., Abbot at St.Joseph’s Abbey, at St. Benedict, delegated by Most Rev. Joseph F. Rummel, Archbishop of New Orleans, and with many visiting clergy in attendance. The procession, headed by the cross-bearers and the St. Joseph’s Seminary band, under the direction of Rev. Robert Laplace, O.S.B., with the St. Joseph’s Abbey cantors chanting liturgical music, marched to the front of the church where prayers were sung. Parishioners and friends were at the dedication of the new St. John the Baptist mission church with Father Odilo Alt.
Dedication of the church was followed by Solemn High Mass with Rev. Odilo Alt, O.S.B., pastor of the church, celebrant, assisted by Rev. Aemilian Egler, O.S.B., Rev. David Melancon, O.S.B., Rev. James Erickson, O.S.B. of Abita Springs, subdeacon and Rev. Athanasius Brugger, O.S.B., of St. Joseph Abbey, as master of ceremonies. Rev. Martin Barre, O.S.B., of St. Joseph’s Abbey delivered the sermon, paying tribute to Father Odilo for his accomplishment in building up the mission.
The mission was started 20 years ago, when Father Odilo, riding horseback through what was then virgin pine woods in St. Tammany parish, came upon a little group of children and found that they knew nothing of church nor school. Filled with Apostolic zeal, Father Odilo first held services in the open, giving instructions along the roadside. Later he found a barn in which to hold classes and then erected a simple church. Approximately 50 children now attend the school daily and almost 250 people, representing 34 families, make up the congregation of the mission. Father Odilo obtained permission from Archbishop Rummel to dismantle the church at the old Chinchuba Deaf-Mute Institute on the Covington-Mandeville Highway and transfer it to the mission.
Louis Lavedan in 2003 created this pamphlet on the history of St. John’s. Click here SJ Church History, May, 2003 to view it.
St John’s was featured in Living Northshore. The article can be found at Living Northshore Bicentennial article on St John’s