Rodney Sacred Heart Catholic Church | Built c. 1868 in Jefferson County, MC | Relocated to Claiborne County, MS
Once located in the now ghost town of Rodney, MS, this church served a community of European immigrants in a Mississippi river town. They came here for guidance, solace, celebration, community and even education- in the late 1870s it served as a school as well. But over the years, fires, floods, and the fall out from the Civil War relegated the town to a memory of the booming place it once was.
The Town of Rodney Fades Away
By the 1930s, Rodney was largely abandoned and by 1957, there were only 7 congregants left on the register at Rodney Catholic Church.
Due to the decline in the town’s residents and church attendance, the Natchez-Jackson Diocese deeded the property to the Rodney Foundation in February of 1969.
Rodney Catholic Church Gets Another Chance
Luckily for us and for future generations, the Rodney Foundation donated the building to the State of Mississippi, and in 1983 and they moved it to Grand Gulf Military Park nearby in Port Gibson, MS. At this point, it was lovingly restored for use as a non-denominational chapel.
In 1985, it was declared a Mississippi Historic Landmark and in 1987, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it is cared for by the park which maintains a collection of original historic buildings that have been relocated here from different corners of the state.
It is the most outstanding of the few remaining examples of carpenter gothic church architecture in the state of Mississippi.
Rodney Sacred Heart Catholic, Then and Now
People of Note at Sacred Heart Catholic Church
In 1894, the church was the setting for the christening of the future Most Reverend Bishop Charles P. Greco, Bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria (Louisiana). Charles Greco was born in Rodney to Frank and Carmela Greco. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1918 and in 1946, Greco was appointed the sixth Bishop of Alexandria. Bishop Greco was the first Mississippian to become a Roman Catholic Bishop.
During his tenure, he established 33 parishes, over 125 churches and chapels, 100 convents and rectories, and 7 healthcare facilities. In 1954, he also founded St. Mary’s Residential Training School in Clarks (later relocated to Alexandria, LA).
After twenty-seven years as bishop, Greco resigned in 1973.