Report from Louisiana: Book your reservation for Fête-Dieu du Teche Now

Posted: July 25, 2022 by Pat Austin in catholic
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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – August is upon us and for those in south Louisiana, specifically in Cajun country, that means it is time for the Fête-Dieu du Teche which celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and also commemorates the arrival of the Acadians in south Louisiana.

On August 15, for the past eight years, Catholics have gathered along Bayou Teche from Leonville (Pop. 2,127) to St. Martiville (Pop. 5,844) to participate in the 38-mile journey down the bayou in a Eucharist procession by boat. The day begins in Leonville with Mass celebrated in French at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church.

Then everyone loads into their boats; the Eucharist is fixed on a altar in the lead boat, under a canopy. Everyone follows by boat down the bayou to Arnaudville (Pop. 1,614) where everyone disembarks. First communicants dressed in white scatter rose petals from baskets and the Eucharist follows, to an altar on the bank at St. Francis Regis Catholic Church. Participants kneel, pray the Rosary and Benediction, and then are back on the boats to the next stop.

By the end of the day, they reach St. Martinville where they process through town to the church, St. Martin de Tours for benediction. Confession is available at each stop.

It is a sight to behold. I’m not Catholic; we are Episcopalians, and my husband likes to say we are “Catholic-lite.” But, we love attending the Fête-Dieu du Teche because face it, what’s not to love about entire communities engaged in prayer?

Last year, as everyone was getting back into their boats at Arnaudville, Steve and I walked over to the bridge so we could see the procession as they passed under us on the way to the next town. Smiling nuns with habits flying behind them waved up at us; the incense perfumed the air and then behind the laity came the families who followed along. All in all it is easy over a hundred boats.

As more people around the world learn about this event, it grows each year. This will be year eight. We already have our lodging reserved and will be there once again to witness the event. I love how this event brings families and communities together; I love how tied to their very Cajun culture this is, too. The journey to St. Martinville commemorates the journey their Acadian ancestors made in fleeing religious persecution all those years ago.

It is a glorious thing to see and I’d encourage anyone to see it if you have the chance. Joseph Pronechen wrote in some detail about the event here and the Facebook page is here. And there is a cool video here. I wrote about it last year on this blog which you can see here.

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