Church has grown with Loyola

WADNER PIERRE The Maroon

What many may not realize about Loyola’s centennial is that the university might not have existed were it not for the Holy Name of Jesus Church.

In 1886, a Jesuit priest, the Rev. John O’Shanahan, S.J., had a vision to build a parish and college in the Uptown area.

According to the church’s website, O’Shanahan told God he would name the church after him if Archbishop Francis Janssens approved the project. Janssens gave O’Shanahan permission with one condition: The Jesuits had to build a “college and a house of retreat” along with the church. In 1912, the college the Jesuits built became Loyola University New Orleans. The Jesuits realized their dream and also fulfilled the promise to their God by naming

the church after him, “Holy Name of Jesus.” On May 29, 1892, the Rev. John Downed, S.J., celebrated the first Mass. He blessed and dedicated the new church “to the honor and glory of God.” Seventy Catholic believers attended this Mass. Today, Holy Name can

hold approximately 1,600 people. The parish’s income for the first year was

$163, according to the Holy Name of Jesus website. The 2011 financial report showed that the Holy Name of Jesus Parish’s income for the year of 2011 was over $5.5 million. The Rev. Donald Hawkins, S.J. is the current pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church and continues to encourage his parishioners to work for social justice. In his January 2012 letter titled, “Charity and Social Justice” the reverend said, “The area of social justice is not necessarily giving direct aid to the poor. Social justice is not a ministry of charity. Social justice involves asking questions about the nature of our

society.”

Wadner Pierre he can be reached at [email protected]