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Louisiana Boat Procession to Highlight Saints Known for Love of the Eucharist

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana – Corpus Christi du Têche in the Diocese of Lafayette takes place on the feast day of the Assumption, August 15, and this year’s 40-mile Eucharistic procession by boat on Bayou Têche coincides with the three from the American Catholic Church A year-long national Eucharistic revival is underway.

“In an effort to cultivate a deeper devotion to the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, boaters will be able to choose a patron from a list of 50 Eucharistic witnesses – saints and blesseds” who exemplified a life totally consecrated to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist,” according to a press release about this year’s event.

Saints known for their love of the Eucharist will be highlighted, including Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John Vianney, Saint Katharine Drexel, Saint Thérèse of Calcutta, as well as Blessed Carlo Acutis.

The boats will display cutouts, flags and banners bearing the name of the chosen saint and feature quotes from them on the importance of the Holy Eucharist.

“The intent of the all-day spiritual and cultural celebration will be a ‘Renaissance Eucharistic’ in Acadiana and beyond,” the statement read.

Acadiana refers to the region of French Louisiana – made up of 22 parishes – which is home to the Cajun people. The Cajuns are the descendants of the Acadians, a people exiled from present-day Nova Scotia by the British during the French and Indian wars. They settled along the bayous and prairies of southwestern Louisiana.

Marie is the patroness of the Acadian people and of Acadiana. This year, his feast marks the 257th anniversary of the arrival of these French-Canadian immigrants in this part of Louisiana, bringing with them their Catholic faith.

“After the French and Indian War, circa 1763, the British demanded that the people of present-day Nova Scotia renounce their Catholic faith and swear allegiance to the British King,” said Bishop Lafayette J. Douglas Deshotel .

“Those who didn’t were expelled from the country. They lost their land, their homes and part of their life,” he said. “It was the first example of ethnic cleansing in the New World. Many came to settle in southern Louisiana where it was French and Catholic.

“They brought their culture, their food and their Catholic faith – a special devotion to the Holy Eucharist and to Mary the Mother of God,” he added.

The Fête-Dieu du Têche will begin with an 8 a.m. mass celebrated in French by Bishop Deshotel at the Saint-Léo le Grand Catholic Church in Léonville.

After mass there will be a procession with the Blessed Sacrament and a statue of Mary and St. Joseph to the nearby landing stage. Families are encouraged to join the family procession and follow it to the landing stage for the Blessing.

The Blessed Sacrament will be fixed on an altar on the lead boat under an awning. Another boat will carry the statue of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

At 9:30 a.m., boats will leave in procession in Bayou Têche towards Saint-Martinville, retracing the journey made by the Acadians 257 years ago. Bayou residents are encouraged to gather as families and salute the Blessed Sacrament as it passes near their homes.

The boats will stop to allow their passengers to disembark for the Rosary and the Blessing in the churches of the municipalities crossed: Saint-François-Régis church, Arnaudville; St. Joseph’s Church, Cecilia; Saint-Bernard church, Breaux bridge; and St. Joseph’s Church, Parks.

The last stop will be Saint-Martinville. Participants will disembark and walk in procession to Our Lady of Perpetual Help for the Blessing, then to Saint Martin of Tours for the Blessing, and finally to the Mater Dolorosa Chapel for Solemn Vespers and Benediction.

Fifteen priests will be available to hear confessions in mobile units at each of the stops along the route.

Besides those who join the Eucharistic procession by boat, others travel by car and gather along the banks of the bayou at the various stops provided.

“The Most Blessed Sacrament traveling by boat on the bayou, which was a major transportation route for our ancestors, is a reminder of the vital role the Eucharist played in the faith of Acadiana,” said Bishop Glen J. Provost of Lake Charles. , neighboring diocese of the diocese of Lafayette.

The region’s Catholic faith “is the fabric that creates our unique culture here in South Louisiana,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said.

“The Têche Corpus Christi is an expression of our faith in God, our respect for family and our dedication to our community which allows us to build a better future,” he added.

Father Michael Champagne, a priest with the Community of Jesus Crucified in Saint-Martinville, who is the organizer of the day-long event, said the day-long flotilla requires some 120 volunteers to ensure the synchronization of its many “moving parts”.

One volunteer, Denise Denais, who is responsible for registering the boats each year, noted that she “experienced a deeper faith seeing the many praying worshipers who line the shores of the bayou simply to worship. Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist”.

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Editor’s note: More information can be found online at Where A livestream will be available on the day of the procession on the Facebook page.