Celebrating the centennial of the ordination of “the little Frenchman”s

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 4, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS – Staff Reporter

RESERVE – Monsignor Jean M. Eyraud arrived at St. Peter Catholic Church 88 years ago. He made such a profound impression on the parish and its members during his tenure, that there is currently a movement in progress to declare the revered man a saint.

The monsignor died February 1968, but his spirit lives on, according his dedicated followers.

To that end, a mass was held June 29 recognizing the 100th year of his ordination. More than 100 people gathered for the mass. Following the service, the entourage walked through the dusk to the church cemetery to visit Msgr. Eyraud’s tomb.

Church member Helen Williams fondly remembers the monsignor as he was during her childhood. She and her seven siblings were christened by him. “He was a simple, kind, man,” she said. “I remember seeing him working in his garden.”

Born in La Glaizil, France on Nov. 11, 1880, Msgr. Eyraud arrived in America in June 1910. His first pastorate was St. Thomas Church in Pointe-a-la-Hache; then he went on to St. Peter Church in June 1916. He retired in 1963.

He accomplished many things in the River Parishes, most notably the formation of St. Catherine School in 1931 and Our Lady of Grace Church in June 1937. St. Catherine School was changed to Our Lady of Grace School.

In 1947, his mission church, St. Joan of Arc, became a parish.

The idea to canonization Msgr. Eyraud began more than a dozen years ago. A committee for the Canonization of Monsignor Jean M. Eyraud was formed and they are in the process of completing the many steps toward declaration of sainthood..

First, a 4-step Diocesan Plan is required. Following is a 4-stage Roman Phase. The process also requires the performance and documentation of miracles.

“On Nov. 7, 2001, the archdiocese of New Orleans made the public announcement that Monsignor Jean Eyraud was recognized by Rome as a ‘Servant of God,'” said church member Shirley Terrio. “This is the first step to a long road.”

According to literature outlining the specifications of sainthood, it mentions the fact that the process can take many decades, if not longer.

But the group at St. Peter Church will not give up. They plan to continue toward their goal, no matter how long it takes.