f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Holy Family Catholic Church & School

Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at 12:00 AM

Elementary school students pose outside Holy Family Catholic Church in this undated photo by G.D. Fronabarger.

On Oct. 6, 1940, the Holy Family Catholic Church, a black mission of St. Vincent's Church, was dedicated by Monsignor Leo Steck, the head of the Catholic Rural Life Conference. The church at 1507 S. Sprigg St. in Cape Girardeau was established to serve south Cape Girardeau and the black community.

The vision for the church started when children approached the Rev. Willis F. Darling, with their dream of establishing a church for the black Catholics in the community. The establishment of the parish was not an easy accomplishment for Darling, who had to deal with a shortage of building materials during construction of the edifice.

In 1941, a Catholic school was established by the parish in the church basement and was staffed by the Sisters of Loretto. Darling served the parish until 1944, when he relocated to New Orleans.

For 20 years the congregation flourished, until it was challenged with desegregation. The church and school closed, and members began attending other churches.

The church building is now home to Joyful Praise Ministries.

(From Lost & Saved column by Terri Foley)


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