St. Joseph/St. Anthony Catholic Churches

Bishop Jules B. Jeanmard was the Bishop of The Diocese of Lafayette who wanted black parishioners from the rural areas and surrounding areas of Broussard to have a respectable place of their own to worship. They had been worshiping at Sacred Heart Church with Msgr. John Kemp for many years while sitting on the right side of the church separated by a railing. Pews were sold to the parishioners who were able to purchase one at $6.00 per year. The majority of the parishioners were field workers or domestic workers for the Billeaud's, Comeaux’s, Landry’s, Garber’s, Hebert’s, and other landowners. They worked as field hands or at Billeaud Sugar Mill during harvest season. There were few landowners in the Cade and Pilette area.

After the arrival of Father Perry, he said mass on Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. Parishioners paid 10 cents to get in church. At this time the ushers collected the money at the door. Mrs. Roy Billeaud and housekeeper Ms. Ann Lassigne kept Father Perry fed and happy while he went about the task of serving the people in their time of need. The Faith Community he had been charged to serve was happy and ready to do all that needed to be done in establishing their new parish. The surrounding communities of Maurice, Duson, and Scott had their own churches and Broussard was anxious and willing to begin theirs.

Father Perry fulfilled all the needs of the people while the rectory and the church were being built. The rectory was built first. St. Joseph School was moved to the new location, while the church was being built. St. Joseph educational funding changed in 1954 from Mother Katherine Drexel Funding to the Lafayette Parish Funding. Teachers began receiving their salaries from the Lafayette Parish School Board.

Father Maurice Rousseve became the second pastor of St. Joseph/St. Anthony from 1958-1966. The church stopped having its Annual Fall Bazaar which was its main source of income. Only dinners were sold. A fall tax to replace the Bazaar was instituted. During Father Rousseve’s tenure a new school for black children was built across the street for the first time. In 1961 Broussard Negro Elementary (now called Katherine Drexel Elementary) was completed. The catholic children continued to attend religious services on Fridays.

Father Mark O. Figaro was appointed the third pastor of St.Joseph/St. Anthony from 1966-1969. Upon his appointment the Church Bazaar was re-instated.

Father John Dauphine was appointed the fourth pastor of St. Joseph/St. Anthony from 1969-1978. During his tenure, the St. Joseph Council was formed and the various commissions came to fruition. Parishioners were active in serving and assuming responsibilities. The Legion of Mary came to life. Father Dauphine was a frequent visitor of the sick and elderly of the parish. On Thursday mornings a group of ladies met at church for devotions to the Blessed Mother.

Father Michael Moody served as associate Pastor at St. Joseph/St.Anthony along with Father Dauphine from 1975-1977.

In 1978 Father Francis Alvin Dixon was appointed the fifth Pastor of St. Joseph/St. Anthony. Father Dixon continued providing the spiritual needs of the people. The young people of the parish were overwhelmed with his youthfulness and his introduction of a new movement where drums and musical instruments were added to the church music. Because of his leadership the mandates of the Vatican II were fully implemented. The changes involved adding lectors and Eucharistic ministers while the role of women changed as they became usherettes and young girls became altar servers. Thanksgiving Ecumenical Service was instituted with the three main churches in Broussard, which included St.Joseph/St. Anthony, Sacred Heart and First Baptist Church. Our altar was renovated to comply with the new Vatican mandate. Carpet was installed on the main altar, center aisle and side aisles. At Holy Thursday services, a number of men in the parish along with the Pastor participated in the washing of the feet. Adoration lasted until midnight. On Good Friday the passion was acted out by the members of the Holy Name Society, Ushers, Knights of Peter Claver and the St. Joseph Society. Members from the Altar Servers, Solidity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and other parishioners acted out the parts.

Our Parish History
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