MORSE — Catholics in the Village of Morse, displaced by a church closure, could soon be celebrating mass close to home once again.
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church was closed a several months ago because of structural and safety concerns.
Now the Diocese of Lafayette is giving them an option, involving one year and a lot of work. In a letter to parishioners, Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel announced the Diocese is forgiving Immaculate Conception's $40,000.00 of debt, and giving the church a second chance. The congregation will be allowed to celebrate mass in the church hall once a week for a year.
"I'd like to win the power ball and build a new one, that's not going to happen either, but I would like to see it rebuilt" parishioner Kermit Richard said, "This was my church, Morse is my home."
Richard has been attending the church for more than 60 years. It's welcomed news for lifelong members of the congregation like Richard.
"We had a really good choir back then, we had a 40 member choir, that's some of the things, but I've been going to church here all my life" Richard said.
The church was closed in the summer following a meeting. A second meeting was later held in September to which parishioners were able to express their concerns on the closure and the Diocese could offer answers.
In an interview with KATC, Mayor Ray Richard said that parishioners came to him over concerns for the funding of the church after the Diocese of Lafayette gave a total of $50,000 to three St. Landry Baptist churches. Those churches were burned earlier this year.
Richard told KATC that parishioners were concerned over why money was not provided to fix their church which is a part of the Diocese of Lafayette.
Since that closure, parishioners drive 10 miles into Lyon's Point for mass, or simply no longer attend.
"I know several people that quit going because it's inconvenient for them, older people especially" Richard said.
The Diocese will evaluate whether Immaculate Conception is financially viable after the one year period. The Mayor says they are in need of volunteers to add more lighting, set up chairs, and clean up.
The first mass is expected to be celebrated on December 16th. If you would like to help call the Parish office at (337) 783-2968.