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St. Charles Borromeo in Grand Coteau celebrates 200 years

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Posted at 10:36 AM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-03 00:11:53-04

A Grand Coteau church is celebrating 200 years of service to the community. On Saturday, several gathered to hear about the history of St. Charles Borromeo from Bonnie Barry inside the church in Grand Coteau.

Barry grew up attending mass at the church and often wondered what the various relics meant.

"You can't see it behind that bouquet there, but there is All Seeing Eye of God, and it always frightened me and mystified me at the same time. That was just one of the things that got me wondering what it all meant," Barry said.

In the 1980s, Barry started to research the history to write a book. In her research she found that several of the stained glass windows had been added in the 1940s. Each window depicted real people, and the 12 promises of God.

"Each of the 12 promises are represented in the 12 windows of the nave, which are the youngest windows in the church," Barry said.

Another window Barry found a new meaning to sits above the altar. It depicts a pelican wounding herself to feed her babies.

"The mother pelican would pierce her own breast to feed her babies. The Christians adopted this as a symbol that God feeds us his body with the blood of the Eucharist," Barry explained.

She says what makes the church even more sentimental is the international efforts to build it.

"The Pope in Rome contributed, the Society of the Sacred Heart in France and throughout Europe made contributions. Even the school kids from Cuba, the Caribbean Islands enrolled in the Sacred Heart Schools made efforts. It was an international effort, because at the time we were a mission church," Barry said.

According to the diocese, St. Charles Borromeo Parish was established in 1819 and is the third oldest parish in the Diocese of Lafayette. It is pre-dated only by St. Martin de Tours Church in St. Martinville and St. Landry Church in Opelousas.

"St. Charles Borromeo Parish was formed some 99 years before the Diocese of Lafayette was created out of what was then the Archdiocese of New Orleans," a release states.

A Bicentennial Mass will be celebrated Sunday November 3rd at 10:00 a.m.

All friends and former parishioners are encouraged to join in this special celebration. St. Charles Borromeo Church is located at 174 Church Street in Grand Coteau.

The bicentennial mass will be streamed live for viewing at www.diolaf.org. Commemorative souvenirs will be available.

Learn more about St. Borromeo here.