St. Gerard Community for the Hearing Impaired
Serving the Deaf / Hard of Hearing
3037 Dauphine Street - New Orleans, LA 70117
Office Phone (504) 943-2456
Video Relay: (504) 383-8808
Link to Deaf Apostate of the Archdiocese of New Orleans: http://deaf.arch-no.org/
During the late nineteenth century, the Archbishop of New Orleans, the Most Reverend Placide Louis Chapelle, asked the Redemptorist Congregation for priests to work with the Deaf and Hard-of Hearing Communities of Louisiana. Using New Orleans as their home base, these Redemptorist missionaries traveled all over Louisiana ministering to deaf people. The early missionaries’ responsibilities included learning sign language, sacramental preparation, religious education, and offering signed Masses to helping remote communities contact one another. The Redemptorists were the link for the deaf for many years.
In 1967 the first diocesan priest, Rev. Gerard Howell, was appointed as Director of the Deaf Apostolate. Under his direction a Center for the Hearing Impaired was established in New Orleans at 2824 Dauphine Street, at the old Holy Trinity Convent. This Center had been repaired and renovated with the help of many deaf people after its damage from Hurricane Betsy in 1965. The Center served the spiritual and social needs of the deaf community. A highlight of the new Catholic Deaf Center occurred in 1969, when the New Orleans Deaf Community hosted the annual International Catholic Deaf Association (ICDA) convention.
March 1971, the Catholic Deaf Center of New Orleans became the first non-territorial Parish for the Hearing Impaired in the United States. Father Howell was the first Pastor. The parish was named after Saint Gerard Majella.
In 1978, Rev. H. Paul Desrosiers became Pastor. Fr. Howell went to Baton Rouge to set up a new center and parish there. July 1984, St. Gerard Parish hosted another ICDA annual convention in New Orleans coinciding with the 1984 World’s Fair.
1989 Rev. Rodney Manko became Administrator and then Pastor. The New Orleans Catholic Deaf Community faced difficulty moving from Holy Trinity buildings to St. Vincent de Paul Parish.
August 1, 1995, Rev. Pedro Nunez became Pastor. He believed that St. Gerard Parish was very important to the Catholic Deaf Community. Fr. Pedro “empowered” the Catholic Deaf Community by enabling them to take care of their own!
June 30, 2001, five (5) parishes (including St. Gerard Parish) in the Archdiocese of New Orleans closed and reopened as one parish (Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos). The church that our Deaf Community had been at for over 10 years (St. Vincent de Paul) stayed open. After a severe fire in 2003, this Church was Dedicated to Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. We continue as the Deaf Apostolate for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, serving the needs of our Deaf brothers and sisters. The Deaf Apostolate is now part of the St. Gerard Community for the Deaf.
St. Gerard Community offers the following services to the Greater New Orleans Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community:
Mass with Sign Language every Sunday - 9:30 A.M. at Blessed Francis Seelos Church, 3037 Dauphine St., New Orleans
ROSARY every Sunday - 9:00 A.M. before Mass
CONFESSION - every Sunday before Mass or on request by appointment
RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION - for children and adults.
RITES OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION (RCIA) - for people wanting to know more or join the Catholic Faith/Religion.
SACRAMENTAL PREPARATIONS - Baptism, 1st Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, First Penance (Confession).
COUNSELING/SUPPORT - link to community resources.
RETREATS/PRAYER WORKSHOPS - check Newsletter
SUMMER CAMP - Week long residential camp for deaf children, their siblings, and hearing children of deaf parents and deaf grandparents, ages 5-15.
INTERPRETING SERVICES - for religious needs/services.
SOCIALS - throughout the year. Epiphany Celebration, St. Joseph Altar, annual picnic, Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas celebration, Krewe of Dauphine Ball (every two years) every odd number year.
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Psalm: 90:1