Saint Martinville, LA. (KLFY) In honor of the Jubilee of Mercy, the second annual Fete Dieu du Teche will celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. Some 50 boats will take part in a Eucharistic Procession along Bayou Teche.
The Fete Dieu Du Teche will begin with Mass in Leonville at 8 a.m. on Monday, August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption. The boat procession will span 38 miles, with stops in Arnaudville, Cecilia, Breaux Bridge, Parks and various churches in Saint Martinville. All prayers and songs will be in French.
Father Michael Champagne with the Community of Jesus Crucified oversees the event and says the Fete takes months to plan. “We have about 120 volunteers and we’ve been meeting for about two months. We’re doing the final preparations so a lot of things have to happen.” That includes figuring out logistics for the 8 boats that will lead the procession. Some will be mounted with bells and an incense burner.
A total of 24 priests will be stationed at the 6 stops along the Teche to hear confession. “Four priests per stops, four units so that’s 24 hours of confessions. Probably in that time we’ll hear about five to six hundred confessions,” says Father Champagne. Father says the Fete also celebrates the 251st anniversary of the arrival of the Catholic faith in Acadiana. “They went under the protection of what we call ‘Stella Maris”, or ‘Star of the Sea’. And then when they came over here, Le Grand Derangement, they came with Mary’s protection, Mary of the Assumption. So the 15th of August is always seen as the feast of the Acadians. In fact, it’s the national day of the Acadians.”
Father Champagne says the hope for the future of Fete Dieu Du Teche is for it to be recognized as a bank holiday in Acadiana. A resolution to recognize August 15th as the Feast of the Acadians passed the Louisiana Senate during the regular session earlier this year.