LAFAYETTE — The new St. Pius X Catholic Church Church will be dedicated and blessed at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5. Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel will preside.
The parish will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018.
The new church at 201 E. Bayou Parkway is a little over 31,000 square feet, including 1,925 square feet of covered exterior space, and seats 900 in its pews, according to a news release. It was built on 3.3 acres of land purchased from the old Acadiana Bottling Co.
Additional features of the new church, the release says, include separate areas for the choir and band, as well as practice space that will double as a bride’s room, a room for child care, a room to be shared between the Children’s Church and the RCIA group, two reconciliation chapels, two cry rooms, eight restroom facilities for men and women, and an adoration chapel offering 24-hour access.
A custom-designed and hand-carved statue of St. Pius X is situated in a niche finished in gold leaf, his facial features done in a “portrait” finish giving him a more lifelike appearance, the release says.
The floor plan still allows those who come to workshop to be close to the altar, the release says, and a large gathering area outside the main doors of the church will allow for unity and fellowship.
"This is the parishioners' church," said the Rev. Steve LeBlanc, the church's pastor. "This was their dream that they have helped to become a reality. This is where they will gather to pray, worship and enjoy fellowship. This is where their kids and future generations will gather, as well.”
One of the main architectural elements in the church is a marble baldacchino, a canopylike structure in the apse covering the tabernacle. Inside the apse are statues of John, Luke, Mark and Matthew. An 8-foot custom-designed and hand-carved crucifix is suspended above the altar. Shrines for St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother are in each transept area, and both include a mural and statue, the news release says. Each Station of the Cross is made of a Venetian mosaic with a fabric backing.
Originally formed as a mission church of Our Lady of Fatima, the Rev. Joseph Brennan, then associate pastor of Our Lady of Fatima, would celebrate Mass once a week to parishioners who lived on the south side of Vermillion Bayou. Within five years, the membership started to grow, and talk began about building a parochial school that could also be used for Mass on Sundays. Once approved, the men of the community pitched in to build the 60-foot square cement building that still serves St. Pius X as pre-K classrooms for St. Pius Elementary School.
As time and growth of the community continued, Bishop Maurice Schexnayder redefined the geographical boundaries of neighboring parishes, which officially formed the community of St. Pius X in 1968 and a new building was constructed in 1975.