St. Mary Catholic Church was organized in 1880 and through many blessings has grown to be the vibrant church filled group it is today. The parishioners believe that the church is a house of prayer for all people and a haven for the parishioners in all ways.

St. Mary Altar Society was organized in 1883 by two Dominican nuns, who came to Beaumont to wash linens and vestments. They asked some of the women in the parish for help and the St. Mary Altar Society of Orange was formed.

For 131 years the women of the society have been washing church linens and vestments, and they are willing to bet it is easier now than it was in 1883.

Through the years, the women have not only washed church linens and cleaned the church, they have also provided flowers for the altar, candles for the church and the chapel, made and bought church linens, vestments, altar bread and wine and mended linens.

The society has helped the soup kitchen, Birthright, St. Mary youth group and St. Mary School.

The ladies of the altar society pray that their work will continue to serve the Lord and the church parish. This is why they encourage their friends and church members, especially the younger generation, to join them as the younger generation are the future of the next 131 years.

The oldest member  was Mrs. Coke Tilley who was 105 years old when she died. She joined the Altar Society in 1924, and is the reason that the organization is what it is today.  She worked very long and very hard for the church.

In later years, the members would meet in the white building, formerly known as St. Mary High School. There were work shops for arts and crafts, and many other good works were done there as well. So many ladies worked relentlessly to make the Altar Society a success.

The women of St. Mary Altar Society will be holding their annual Gift Shop and Gumbo Luncheon beginning at 9:00 am, and continuing until 2:00 pm. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the parish hall, at 912 W. Cherry, Orange.

The gumbo will be cooked by Larry David, and served from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. Tickets are $8, and tickets can be purchased at the door. Take out orders will also be taken and will include the container. Delivery will be available for orders of five or more, and orders orders must be placed by Tuesday, Nov. 18.

The luncheon will consist of chicken gumbo over rice, potato salad, crackers, tea and homemade cake for dessert.

Homemade baked and canned goods, frozen gumbo, frozen homemade casseroles, and cobblers will be sold, and the sweet shop will have homemade cakes, goodies and candies. There will also be aprons, handmade arts and crafts, a silent auction and much more.

The public is invited to come and enjoy a fun filled day with good food, fellowship and fun.

For questions, call 886-4623 or 779-7076.

Pictured are Alice McCray and Shirley Swoboda, comprise the “Mrs. Santa’s Workshop” aspect of the Gift Shop. They make lovely craft gifts for the Gift Shop as well as donate the materials, their time, and all the proceeds from their work to the Altar Society.