St. Gerard Community for the Hearing Impaired
The DEAF APOSTOLATE
Serving the Deaf / Hard of Hearing
3037 Dauphine Street - New Orleans, LA 70117-6724
Office Phone (504) 943-2456
Video Relay: (504) 383-8808
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 under the patronage of St. Joseph.
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. Fr. 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 the
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 our Deaf Community attended for over 10 years (St. Vincent de Paul) stayed open. After a devastating fire in 2003, this Church was rededicated as
Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Church on December 9, 2006. It continues as the location of the Deaf Apostolate for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, serving the needs of our Deaf brothers and sisters.
St. Gerard Community offers the following services to the Greater New Orleans Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community:
- Masses with Sign Language
Sundays - 9:30am Mass at Blessed Francis X. Seelos Catholic Church,
3037 Dauphine St., New Orleans, 70117-6724
Sundays – 6:30pm Mass at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church,
312 Lafitte St., Mandeville, LA 70448-0584
- BIBLE STUDY – Fridays – 10:00am at Blessed Seelos in the Conference Room
- Interpreting for CONFESSION or ANOINTING OF THE SICK –
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 our Newsletter
- SUMMER CAMP – A 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, Annual picnic,
St. Joseph Altar at Bl. Seelos, Thanksgiving Dinner,
Christmas celebration for the children, Krewe of Dauphine Ball (every two years)
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Psalm: 90:1