The Church of the Annunciation is the oldest Catholic Church in northeast Mississippi. The cornerstone was laid on May 4, 1863, marking the beginning of a ministry that once covered 12,000 square miles from Corinth to Meridian. The Parish now serves 1,100 Catholics residing in Columbus and Lowndes County.

The history of Annunciation Parish precedes the date of the laying of the cornerstone, however. Records show that Bishop Henry Elder baptized two Columbus infants on October 6, 1857, before a handful of Catholics gathered around makeshift altars in private homes.
The first pastor was Father J. B. Mouton, a French missionary, who envisioned a grand church in the Gothic design. Construction was begun, but the chaos of the Civil War and Reconstruction delayed completion of the project for almost 15 years. By that time mortar between the handmade bricks had crumbled and formed a ring of red dust around the base of the church. The weakened wall were reinforced with stucco and painted gray. The current sandstone color was applied two years ago.

Originally the Annunciation Church was even with the street. It is not known in what year the floor was raised, but the bases of interior columns alteration was made to protect the floor from water damage since early descriptions of the site noted it, was "swampy." Still, the elevated floor does not seriously diminish the Gothic proportions of the church's interior. A series of arches rise 40 feet to form a ceiling that once was painted with stars. At the top near the altar can be seen a medallion-like cluster of angels and a dove representing the Holy Spirit. From this point hung the sanctuary lamp Once it fell- without injury to anyone. Since then the lamp has stood on a brass floor stand to one side of the altar.
In the beginning there were three altars in the Church. Eventually, the two small ones were removed and life-sized statues there were three altars in the Church. Eventually, the two small ones were removed and life-sized statues of the saints were donated by parishioners to be placed upon wall brackets surrounding the main altar. The statue of St Patrick was a gift from a caravan of Irish gypsies passing through Columbus.
The altar was carved from wood by a monk from St Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama. It features a trim of alternating cross and shamrock. During one of three major renovations over the past century original scaffolding was uncovered beneath the altar.
The beautiful Jacoby stained glass windows depicting events in the life of the Virgin Mary were installed sometime between 1908 and 1923. Three arched openings behind the main altar were bricked up and disguised with frescoes to keep the glare from distracting the congregation. The frescoes were painted over during subsequent redecorations.
 
The grotto on the east side of the church is the work of another monk from Cullman, Alabama, Father Damian Gusmus, who served as pastor from 1952 to 1961. Like the church, it is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The most extensive renovation in modern times was carried out to mark the Centennial Anniversary Celebration on May 12,1963. Jeremiah Harnett, the Pastor, met a traveling artist from Trieste, Italy, who had dedicated his life to painting churches. The current color scheme of umber, blue, and gold was the work of the artist, Joseph Kadich. The paint has been freshened once since 1963. At that time globe light fixtures on the marbleized columns were replaced with the elongated lanterns you see today. Seating capacity was increased to 250 by removal of a vestibule and replacement of the original wooden stairway to the choir loft. The antique curving altar rail, made of wrought iron, was straightened and its "squeaky" gates removed. A central heating and air cooling system was installed , along with new confessional, pulpit and pews.
Most important, perhaps, was the opening of St Mary Elementary School as the congregation's Centennial gift to the Parish. The school was the first parochial school in northeast Mississippi and has now been renamed Annunciation Catholic School.
 

Annunciation Church sustained moderate damage during a tornado in October of 1992. The wind blew off about 150 asbestos shingles and 20 feet of wood framing on the west side of the roof. Roofers found that the old shingles were laid on topof wood shingles, and there was evidence of one or more earlier roofs.
The force of the tornado did not uproot the 300 pound Gothic cross bolted to the pinnacle of the church façade. However, careful inspection showed that the thick layers of very old cypress were in need of repair. Donations from parishioners made possible restoration of the Gothic cross, which was encased in fiberglass to prolong its life for possibly another 100 years.

Father Gerard Hurley, who came to Columbus in January of 1993, supervised the planning and construction of a new sanctuary which is now located next to the historic one. Patterned after Sainte-Chapelle in Parish, the new sanctuary was dedicated in December, 2000, and seats over 600 people.

In January of 2005, Father Robert Dore was assigned as pastor at Annunciation - now a growing parish serving more than 400 families. Many programs are offered for children, youth, and adults. Over 40 organizations and ministries exist in the parish and are supported by talented and hardworking parish volunteers.