Our Mother of Sorrows Church in Biloxi was founded in 1914 by the Josephites, an order of priests, to serve the needs of black Catholics.
The Rev. Steve Benden, a Redemptorist priest, was assigned to the church in September 2014. Serving with Benden is the Rev. Gil Enderle, who is retired in residence.
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, St. John and St. Louis parishes were combined to form Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos parish in Biloxi, of which Our Mother of Sorrows is a part.
The Redemptorists assumed administration of the parish in 2005 and continue to maintain it.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
"We are of the Redemptorist Order," Benden said. "We are not from the diocese. As a Redemptorist, I have been in many locations in the western two-thirds of the U.S. and absolutely am enjoying being in this area now. We go where we are sent."
Redemptorist priests are trained at St. John's University in Bronx, N.Y., and Redemptorist priests oversee many places and treasures in the Catholic Church.
To that end, 2016 is a special year as it is the 150th anniversary of the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help being placed in the care of the Redemptorists by Pope Pius IX.
In 1499, Our Lady of Perpetual Help was brought from a church on the island of Crete to the city of Rome. In 1796,
Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Rome and destroyed the church of St. Matthew but not before the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual help was removed to a monastery outside of Rome where it remained for 50 years.
In 1854, Pope Pius IX asked the Redemptorists to rebuild the original church to give the icon a new home.
In April 1866, the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help was installed in the new St. Matthew Church under the care of the Redemptorists.