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Our Lady of the Snows Celebrates 70th Anniversary

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Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Elizabethtown, NC, celebrated its 70th anniversary on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. Our Lady of the Snows is the only Catholic Church in Bladen County. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge presided at a 5:00 p.m. Mass, concelebrated by Fr. Marcos Leon, V.F., Pastor of Sacred Heart in Whiteville and Our Lady of the Snows.

The Church was dedicated in 1941. For ten years prior to dedication, Catholics in the area gathered for Mass in the home of Sam and Helen Parker, who had moved to Elizabethtown from Dunn. Father Henry Vosh from Newton Grove served as the community’s first priestly minister, followed by priests from other communities nearby. The Sisters of Mercy, also from Newton Grove, gave religious instruction to the local children.

In 1931, land was donated to the Catholic community by an anonymous patron, with the stipulation that the church would be named Our Lady of the Snows. Immediately Mr. Parker sought and received permission from Bishop William J. Hafey to solicit donations from different sources for constructing the church. Meanwhile Mrs. Parker spearheaded a fundraiser to purchase stained-glass windows.

Fundraising took ten years. Our Lady of the Snows was dedicated by Fr. Anthony Sullivan of the Graymoor Friars on November 30, 1941. Ten more years passed before the first resident pastor, Fr. Maurice Spillane, was assigned by Bishop Vincent S. Waters. He lived adjacent to the church in the rectory donated by the late Mr. S. B. Baddour. The rectory now serves as the parish activity center and for faith formation.

A new parish hall was dedicated to Fr. Giacomo Ghisalberti in 1996. In 1997, Our Lady of Snows became a Mission Parish of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Whiteville. There were nine Catholics in Elizabethtown in 1941. Today there are more than 200 registered families. Ms. Joan Marion serves Our Lady of the Snows as Pastoral Administrator.

A reception followed the Mass.

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