As we approach the anniversary of his death, we remember in a special way, our second pastor.
Father Andrew Frey, the second pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, was born in New Orleans on November 15, 1920 and was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Rummel on September 21, 1946. First assigned to St. Joseph’s in Baton Rouge, he served at Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Westwego and St. Francis de Sales in Houma, until he became the founding Pastor of St. Thomas More in June 1959. Following a successful record of organization, construction, and spiritual activity at St. Thomas More, he became Mercy’s second Pastor on March 1, 1964 succeeding Msgr. Marionneaux.
In 1971, the parishioners of OLOM insisted on celebrating Fr. Frey’s 25 years of priesthood with a four-part jubilee commemoration. A concelebrated Jubilee Mass was held on September 26, at which Fr. Frey was the principal celebrant. His concelebrants included his brother, Bishop Gerald Frey of Savannah; another brother, Fr. Jerome Frey, S.M., and two cousins, Fr. Ignatius Fabacher, S.J., and Fr. Donald Bahlinger, S.J. Bishop Tracy also presided and surprised the overflowing congregation with the announcement from Pope Paul VI elevating Fr. Frey to Monsignor.
While at Mercy, Msgr. Frey directed a series of outstanding changes and improvements. Starting with changes of the old church, which is now the school gym, he installed an altar to permit the officiating priest to face the congregation at Mass, an impressive carved wood crucifix above and behind the altar, and improved sound and air-conditioning systems, just to name a few. He made substantial improvements to the outside as well, including enlarging the athletic fields and facilities.
The last of his major projects include structures that are familiar today, such as construction of Mercy’s permanent church, a new rectory, and convent. The new church was dedicated on June 1, 1975 with these words of faith: The generous faith of our people has built this House of God to His Glory for the eternal happiness of their loved ones to ask His blessings upon all who come to their church.
The parish expansion continued in 1977 when the house across the street was acquired and used as a Parish Activity Center. Another milestone was the establishment of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel on February 11, 1982. An area immediately behind the tabernacle was prepared with a glass wall separating the chapel from the parish church.
After 23 years of service, numerous improvements to the campus, including repairs and modifications after two lightning strikes, Msgr. Frey announced his retirement in 1987. Following his retirement, Msgr. Frey lived in Bay Saint Louis, MS until Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home. He later lived in Baton Rouge until his death on October 30, 2012. He was 91 years old.
Msgr. Frey was an outstanding priest. His gift of pastoral care in providing stable leadership and incredible devotion to the Sacrament of Eucharist and Reconciliation for the faithful are his legacy. As we approach the anniversary of his death, may God reward him with eternal life.