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Rev. Msgr. Joseph C. Mercier

Deceased: 2023-03-20

Diocese: BILOXI

Seminary Graduation Year: 1956

Monsignor Joseph Clement Mercier “Fr. Joe”, a native of Hattiesburg, MS, passed away on March 20th, 2023 after a long and full life of priestly ministry. Msgr. Mercier was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Ella Mae McGinley; five brothers, Albert Lucien, Patrick Bernard, Adrian Gabriel, Delphins Francis & Michael James; two sisters, Agnes Therese Morgan and Mary Claire Debrow. Msgr. Mercier is survived by his brother, Damian Mercier of Hattiesburg; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews; and many priestly brothers and deacons. Msgr. Mercier graduated from Sacred Heart High School, Hattiesburg, in 1944. After a brief tour in the U.S. Navy during World War II he began his seminary training at St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, LA, and then completed his formation at the North American College and Gregorian University, both in Rome, Italy. He was ordained a priest at the Church of The Twelve Apostles in Rome for the Diocese of Natchez, MS on July 17, 1955. As a priest, Msgr. Mercier served as associate pastor of St. Mary’s parish, Jackson MS, Nativity cathedral, Biloxi, MS, St. John the Evangelist parish, Gulfport, MS, and Sacred Heart parish, Hattiesburg, MS. He then served as pastor of Christ the King and Holy Family parishes in Jackson, MS, Sacred Heart parish, Pascagoula, MS, St. John the Evangelist parish, Gulfport, MS, and Sacred Heart parish, Dedeaux, MS. During his nearly 68 years of priestly ministry Msgr. Mercier served the Catholic community in many roles. He served as a teacher in three Catholic high schools in MS, overseeing many parishes with attached schools, he also served Catholic Students at the University of Southern Mississippi as chaplain of the Newman Club on campus and acquired the land on behalf of the diocese where St Thomas Church and the Newman center are today. He also served on the Diocesan Board of Consultors, Clergy Council, Diocesan Liturgical Commission, Personnel Board, Synodal Examiner, Parish Priest Consultor and Editor for “The Mississippi Catholic” newspaper for the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson. While at Sacred Heart parish, Dedeaux, he was the Priest Director of the Cursillo Movement of South MS and Lay Retreats. After his retirement he spent many years assisting fellow priests by traveling to celebrate mass, hear confessions and continued ministry with the Cursillo movement. Msgr. Mercier spent his last years at The Claiborne assisted living facility in Hattiesburg where he continued to celebrate mass for small groups in his room until his health prevented him from continuing. It is only fitting that he passed away on the Feast of his namesake St. Joseph, near cherished family, anointed with oil blessed by Padre Pio. “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Heb. 7:17 Visitation will be held at Sacred Heart Church, 313 Walnut St., Hattiesburg MS Thursday, March 23, 2023 from 4 – 6 pm with rosary following. Also, visitation will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 24, 2023, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 10:30 a.m. with interment directly following at Sacred Heart Cemetery on Bonhomie Road.