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Longtime Catholic priest retires

Governor and Mrs. John Bel Edwards were among an estimated 600 parishioners, friends and family of the Rev. Jeffrey Bayhi who gathered today at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church for his retirement mass and reception.

Ordained in 1979, Fr. Bayhi spent the past 17 years as the priest of SJB and Our Lady of the Assumption in Clinton. The Baton Rouge native has come to think of Zachary as home, and will be retiring here following a 6-month sabbatical — a move which he laughingly admits is meant to give his successor the time and space to acclimate.

Since Fr. Bayhi’s arrival in Zachary in 2006, the number of Catholic parishioners in Zachary has more than doubled, and a beautiful new cathedral was constructed on Main Street and opened in 2017. He was also the catalyst for establishing a convent for the Hospitaller Sisters of Mercy here in Zachary. With their help, he opened Metanoia Manor, also in 2017, as a safe haven for underage victims of human trafficking.

Following the 11 a.m. mass, all were invited to reception catered by Chef John Folse. Grits and beef grillades, shrimp remoulade, boudin balls and marinated crab claws were some of the highlights, as well as plenty of desserts.

For more information on the Catholic parishes of SJB and OLA, click here.  For the stories we’ve written covering Metanoia Manor, click here and here.

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