Searching history for a saint who led an easy life is like finding dry floorboards in a flooded house—tactically unlikely, and most definitely a miracle.
Father Josh Johnson, the young priest of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in St. Amant, understands this more literally than most, having been assigned to the small Ascension Parish church in the wake of 2016’s devastating floods, responsible for mitigating a disaster which saw 85% of parishioners’ homes destroyed and families unmoored by loss.
Only four years later, the plague of COVID-19 would test his parishioners once again, shuttering social services and all but banning public worship. A bad time to be a priest, perhaps. And yet the sun-yellow church campus on Highway 429 proved otherwise, churning out new and unexpected community-building services for the homeless, poor and pious—all by way of an inviting communal courtyard and the calming atmosphere of a café.