Wednesday, Aug. 15, marks two occasions for Acadiana Catholics: The Feast of the Assumption and The Diocese of Lafayette’s Centennial. The Diocese will commemorate its 100 years of service and the Feast with the Eucharistic boat procession Fête-Dieu du Vermilion and the “100-year walk,” a procession that culminates in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
The Feast of the Assumption is especially important to the Diocese of Lafayette, as it is the Feast of the Acadians who were exiled from Nova Scotia under the star of Our Lady of Assumption. The gold star on the Acadian Flag represents Mary as Our Lady of the Assumption, Patroness of the Acadians.
The boat procession is a day-long affair that begins with 121 boats, which represent each parish within the diocese, moving their way from Abbeville to Lafayette. Masses bookend the celebration, and makeshift altars along the Vermilion will serve as altars for benediction and prayer at each stop.
The day-long affair begins on land, at 8 a.m. at the St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Abbeville. Bishop Glen Provost of the Diocese of Lake Charles will open with a homily. Following Mass, churchgoers will cross the drawbridge to the Riverfront Restaurant, located at 503 W. Port St., with the Blessed Sacrament and a Mary statue. From there, 121 boats will begin to wind through the Bayou Vermilion to Lafayette. Vermilionville will provide shuttles
There are many stops along the way, so even if you can’t join the procession across Acadiana, no worries. Shuttles will also be available at Vermilionville to bring attendees to and from the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Lafayette.
The procession is scheduled to visit Wawee’s in Milton at 11:35 a.m. to recite the rosary and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. An hour later, the boat procession will continue its upstream journey until it reaches Ruffino’s on The River in River Ranch at 1:40 p.m. for an hour-long rosary recitation and Benediction. The boat procession will move to Beaver Park boat landing at about 3:20 p.m., and from there, the procession will move on foot for the 100-year walk.
The walking procession begins at 3:45 from the landing, down University Avenue and to the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Solemn Vespers (evening prayers) will commence at 5 p.m. with Holy Mass following at 5:30 p.m. Bishop Douglas Deshotel will preside over the event. Mass will end at 6:30 p.m.
For more information on the event or the Diocese of Lafayette, visit the website or Fete-Dieu du Teche on Facebook.