St. Margaret Queen of Scotland Catholic Church History
The Hungarian Settlement was established in 1896 by Adam Mocsary, Julius Bruskay, and Tivador Zboray who worked for the Charles Brackenridge Lumber Company. They were offered work in the lumber mill and the prospect of purchasing cut-over timerland. The founders attracted more Hungarian settlers and by 1905, they were holding Mass and other services in a building called the Immigration House-the exact location is uncertain but it was not located on the current St. Margaret grounds.
Population of the area continued to grow and the Hungarians wanted their own place of worship. In 1909, a twenty acre church site was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Juhasz. In that same year, Archbishop Blenk from the Archdiocese of New Orleans approved the official name of St. Margaret Queen of Scotland. St. Margaret was born in Hungary about 1045 and died in 1093. She was well known for her holiness, feeding the poor and her great works of mercy. In the year 1250, St. Margaret was canonized by Pope Innocent IV.
Construction began in 1910 and reached a stage that year that allowed it to be used for religious services. Much of the lumber used in the church was donated by Brackenridge Lumber Company, located at the present Interstate 12 Albany-Springfield interchange, and by Thomas Lumber Company from Springfield. The church was used partially incomplete for some time as many parishioners recall attending mass and being able to see the bright Louisiana sky overhead. Completion was slow since all labor was donated. Farmers tended to their strawberry fields and helped in church construction on weekends when there was no farm work.
The original altar came from Holy Ghost Church in Hammond. Furnishings in the church came largely through donations - the bell from Mr. and Mrs. Joe Novak; the first candle sticks from Mr. and Mrs. Joe Juhasz; the angels from Mr. and Mrs. Steve Megyesi and Mr. and Mrs. Alex Bordak; the Blessed Mother Shrine from Mr. and Mrs. Steve Resetar, Sr.; the monstrance from Mr. and Mrs. Frank Sziber, Sr.; the Infant Jesus of Prague statue from Mr. and Mrs. Alex Prokop; the first organ from Mr. and Mrs. Andy Galya; the tabernacle and central suspended light fixture from Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kluka; and other donations were made by unknown donors.
Construction was completed in May 1912. The solemn blessing took place September 8, 1912, and the church was dedicated to St. Margaret Queen of Scotland.
Since there was no resident priest, a priest came by horseback or by a horse-drawn buggy from Gessen, located on Highway 22, about 5 miles east of Springfield. It is now known as Rosaryville. Young boys would meet the priest as he rode onto the grounds. They would take his horse to a hitching post in back of the church where there was a watering trough and a feeding place. After Mass, the boys would hitch the horse to the buggy, so the priest could be on his way.
Orders that served St. Margaret are as follows: Benedictines from 1905-1912, Dominicans from 1912-1920, Oblates of Mary Immaculate from 1920-1984 and the Diocese of Baton Rouge from 1984 to the present.
Accomplishments made in St. Margaret Church are as follows:
- A school was in existence from 1914-1918.
- An order of nuns, the Eucharist Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist, now known as the Dominican Sisters of Peace, was founded in 1927.
- Four mission churches were created-Immaculate Conception in Denham Springs, Sacred Heart in Livingston, St. Mary in Bear Island and St. Thomas in Springfield. St. Thomas in Springfield is the only remaining mission today.
St. Thomas the Apostle Chapel HistorySt. Thomas the Apostle Chapel is located in Springfield, Louisiana. The geographic location of the Chapel to its mother church, St. Margaret, is close in today’s world. In the 1920s and 1930s, however, the same four miles separating the two churches seemed greater. Automobile transportation was not as plentiful as it is today. There was a need for a community church.
Mr. Marcus Rownd donated the present corner lot for a Catholic church in 1922. It was not until June 29, 1932 that the donation was completed and duly recorded in the court record.
At the request of Archbishop Rummel, architectural plans were drawn up in 1939. The Chapel was financed by Mr. And Mrs. Sloo of New Orleans and built in memory of their son, Thomas Sloo. It was dedicated in 1940. In the 1940s and 1950s, mass was held only twice a month. Today, the Eucharist is celebrated every Sunday.
The Sloos also bequeathed a large sum of money for upkeep and maintenance of the Chapel. This endowment was spent in 1991 on a complete renovation. In 1961, St. Thomas became a part of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.