DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) — Shrine of the Holy Cross Catholic Church is celebrating its 75th anniversary on Oct. 16.

History of Shrine of the Holy Cross

The Archdiocese of Mobile purchased 10 acres of land in Daphne in 1947 to establish a mission run by the Society of Saint Joseph, or Josephites.

This community of Catholic priests and brothers provides sacramental, educational and pastoral ministry, service to those in need and works for social justice for the African American community.

On Oct. 16, 1948, the church was dedicated with Father Vincent Warren, S.S.J., as the founding pastor. It would serve as a mission to the African American community of Baldwin County.

A school for African American children opened in 1953 with the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore, Maryland, as teachers. By 1955, there were 230 students, and a brick schoolhouse was built.

The school closed in 1966, with the Oblate Sisters of Providence staffing the school, but its history in the Daphne community lives on as parishioners prepare for its biggest celebration yet.

‘Our heritage is a testament,’ pastor says

“We are deeply honored to be a part of such an impactful legacy that has served the Eastern Shore and Baldwin County community for 75 years,” Father Lito J. Capeding said.

“Our heritage is a testament to the tireless efforts of visionary leaders who made it their life’s work to uphold the Josephite mission of service to the African American community.”