Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Eucharistic Procession by Boat in Louisiana on the Assumption

On Tuesday, August 15th, the ninth annual Eucharistic Procession by boat down Bayou Teche, Louisiana, will take place as part of the celebration of the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the Acadian people and of the Acadiana region. It is also a day that marks the 258th anniversary of the arrival of French-Canadian immigrants who brought the Catholic faith to Acadiana after enduring great trials and suffering. (The procession was first held in this manner in 2015 for the 250th anniversary.)
This year the procession will travel a southern route, beginning in the city of Franklin at the historic church of the Assumption, and working its way north to St Peter Catholic Church in New Iberia. Fr. William Blanda, the pastor of St. Peter’s and Vicar Forane of the Southern Deanery states, “The Fete-Dieu has become a noble tradition here in the Diocese of Lafayette. Our people, richly steeped in devotion to Our Lord present in the Most Blessed Sacrament and to His Holy Mother, give honor to this richness which has nurtured the people of our diocese for many generations. This yearly pilgrimage down the Teche sustains our devotion for our generation and for generations to come. We are blessed to have this sacred event take place this year in the southern part of the Teche.”
The church of the Assumption in Franklin, Louisiana.
After Mass in French in the church of the Assumption, celebrated by Bishop Douglas Deshotel, there will be a procession with the Blessed Sacrament and a statue of Mary and St. Joseph to the nearby boat landing, where Benediction will be offered. At 9:30 a.m., a cannon will sound, and the boats will depart in procession down the Teche toward New Iberia. The procession arrives in New Iberia on the banks of New Iberia City Park at 4:45 p.m.; from there, the Blessed Sacrament will be brought a half-mile to St Peter’s Catholic Church for Solemn Vespers and Benediction.

During Fȇte-Dieu du Teche, the Blessed Sacrament is fixed on an altar on the lead boat under a canopy. Two bell boats announce Jesus’ arrival and the thurifer boat carries a thurible which burns over 10 lbs. of incense along the journey. A statue of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a statue of St. Joseph follow on individual boats behind Jesus. The Eucharistic Procession pauses and disembarks at makeshift altars along the Bayou Teche for recitation of the Rosary and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. For those who are unable to participate by boat, all are invited to join for Mass at Assumption in Franklin at 8 am, and then to drive and gather at any of the planned stops along the banks. Priests will be available at each stop for Confessions.
For more information, visit the website or Fete-Dieu du Teche on Facebook, or contact Fr. Michael Champagne, CJC by telephone at (337) 394-6550 or email at Videos from past processions can be found on YouTube channel:
Itinerary for Ninth Annual Eucharistic Boat Procession on Bayou Teche
Tuesday, August 15, 2023, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary
8:00 am Holy Mass in French with Bishop John Douglas Deshotel, D.D. at the church of the Assumption in Franklin, Louisiana.
9:00 am Procession from Assumption to the Franklin boat landing
9:30 am Boat Procession departs
11:00 am Arrive at Baldwin and disembark for Rosary and Benediction
12:30 pm Arrive at Chitimacha Reservation and disembark for Rosary and Benediction
2:30 pm Arrive at Jeanerette and disembark for Rosary and Benediction
4:45 pm Flotilla arrives at New Iberia Park and disembarks for Benediction
5:00 pm Procession from City Park across Bayou Teche and Church Alley to St Peter’s
5:30 pm Solemn Vespers & Final Benediction at St Peter’s
Some highlights from last year:

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