Location: 141 Main Road (Hwy 658), Waterproof, LA
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 198, St. Joseph, LA 71366
The first wooden church was built in 1911 and served till 1960. The Most Reverend Comelius Van de Ven, Bishop of Natchitoches, formally blessed and consecrated the first wooden church in 1908, giving it the name “St Francis of Assisi Catholic Mission”, as a mission of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Vidalia, LA.
“I know that the 25 persons in the 1911 chapel would have included members of the Testa (my family) and the Massony families and the Hazlip, Thompson, and Castleman families,” says Mrs. Louise Magoun, a parishioner.
The second St. Francis Church was built in 1960 and was dedicated by His Excellency the Most Reverend Charles P. Greco, DD., the Bishop of Alexandria. This church served the faithful until February 27, 2011; when the last mass was celebrated by Fr. Peter J. Kuligowski.
“My daddy and his siblings were first cousins to Bishop Greco and he always took a great interest in our church,” says Mrs. Magoun.
St. Francis of Assisi was once an active and bustling church in the small river town of Waterproof, located off of Highway 65. Over the years, as the town declined, so did its church members. In the later 1960s, the original wooden structure was demolished and the brick (the second) church was built.
Today, the church members are few, especially during the winter months. But during the summer months, attendance is significantly up due to people visiting the surrounding lakes, who are fondly referred to as the “lake people.”
On July 1, 2010, Father Peter J. Kuligowski was appointed the new pastor of St. Joseph and St Francis of Assisi. Within a few months of his being there, he noticed severe problems at St . Francis with both the foundation and the structure itself. The foundation was sinking and the walls were visibly buckling.
Father Peter made the decision to raise money from many faithful in the state and out of state and purchase a nearby vacant Episcopal Church.
St. Francis of Assisi is the only Catholic Church which offers Saturday Vigil Mass, one mile west of the Mississippi, between (north) Tallulah, 55 miles and (south) Vidalia, 50 miles.
The new St. Francis of Assisi Church was consecrated on October 6, 2012 by Most Rev. Ronald Herzog, Bishop of Alexandria.