By The Associated Press

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — Hundreds of mourners are saluting the legacy of the first African-American to lead a Catholic diocese in the 20th century as he’s laid to rest in Mississippi.

WLOX-TV reports the Diocese of Biloxi held a funeral and burial Wednesday for Bishop Joseph Howze, who died last week at age 95.

(Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, 2017 YouTube Courtesy Screenshot)

Born in Daphne, Alabama, Howze led the diocese from 1977 until 2001.

First a Baptist and then a Methodist, Howze said he was drawn to Catholicism by a student he taught at Central High School in Mobile. Ordained in 1959 as a priest in North Carolina, Pope Paul VI appointed Howze as auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson. When split into dioceses of Jackson and Biloxi in 1977, Pope Paul VI named Howze to lead the Biloxi church.


Information from: WLOX-TV,