early 1957, Father Raymond J. Gobeil, Pastor of Saint Joseph
Church in Patterson, became acutely aware of the population
growth taking place within the community of Bayou Vista.
He considered the potential expansion of this community
and realized that the families in this area were divided
into his Parish of Saint Joseph and the Berwick Parish of
Saint Stephen. He first began to ponder the need of a chapel-type
facility in Bayou Vista where Mass could be said on Sundays
and Holy Days and also catechism classes held for the children.
Father called together some of the leading residents of
Bayou Vista. A meeting was held on Tuesday, July 16, 1957;
attending were: Mr. & Mrs. J. E. Magee, Hudson Babin,
B. L. Como, Jr., Mr. & Mrs. Overton Barousse, Mr. &
Mrs. J. N. Beaugh, Mrs. Smith Alpha, and Miss Joyce Barousse.
It was decided at this meeting that 4.1 acres of property
at Bayou Vista would be purchased at a cost of $8,252.00
for the purpose of building a chapel and that a $10.00 a
plate dinner would be held to begin the fund-raising necessary
to pay for the property. Also, Father Gobeil had all the
members of his Parish, who lived in Bayou Vista to note
this on their offertory envelopes, so that their money could
also be used in the fund. On December 3, 1960, the 4. 1
acres of land were paid in full.
the next few years, fund raisers were held to raise money
to fund the new chapel. As time went on, Father Gobeil began
to realize that the growth of the Bayou Vista area was now
indicating the need of a separate parish, rather than just
a chapel. He wrote to Bishop Maurice Schexnayder, and told
him of his appraisal of the situation.
On April 20, 1963, Bishop Schexnayder officially established
the Parish of Saint Bernadette and on June 15, 1963 appointed
the first pastor, Father Albert J. Boumans. Father Boumans
arrived in this area in May of 1963 and took up residence
in Berwick at Saint Stephen rectory. Father Boumans appointed
the first trustees of Saint Bernadette Parish to be Dr.
F. A. Russo and Mr. J. E. Magee. Father immediately called
a meeting of all the men of the parish to decide on ways
of raising the funds necessary to build a church and classrooms.
The men began a canvassing campaign of all the Catholic
families asking each to quote an amount that they could
Father Boumans and the men of the parish reached a decision,
based on the funds available and the promises of the parishioners,
that they should set a budget of $100,000.00. A contract
was signed on November 3, 1963 with the architectural firm
of Lloyd Guillory, who designed the multi-purpose building,
which now serves as the Parish Hall.The
bids were let out on January 5, 1964 and the low bidder
to receive the contract to build the multi-purpose building
was James A. Eiland, Jr., Inc., for a bid of $127,900.00.
The ground-breaking ceremonies were held on January 25,
1964 and the actual construction began in February 1964.
By All Saints Day, November 1, 1964, the construction was
completed and the first Mass was said. However, the actual
dedication ceremonies were not held until June 20, 1965.
On this day, the church was dedicated by Bishop Warren Boudreaux,
Auxillary Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette and future
Bishop of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.
1970, Father Boumans and the two Parish Trustees, Mrs. Elizabeth
Russo who replaced her deceased husband and Mr. J. E. Magee,
approached Bishop Schexnayder with plans to finally build
a new, larger church and rectory which the Parish now needed.
This time they believed a budget of $225,000.00 would be
sufficient to serve this purpose. Bishop Schexnayder, after
consulting with his advisors, declined because of the extremely
high interest rates. But when he visited the parish for
Confirmation in 1971, he gave Father Boumans permission
to proceed. At this time, the old church debt was paid off
and the interest rates were more favorable.
May, 1971, the men of the parish again began a door-to-door
campaign asking all the Catholic families of the parish
to increase their offertory donations. This proved to be
a remarkably successful endeavor and yielded a 40% increase.
It was decided that the Parish Council, which consisted
of J. E. Magee, Mrs. Elizabeth Russo, Murray Duval, Howard
Simon, Emmett Sellers, Russell Hebert, Ronald Coleman, Alvin
Legendre, Lester Waguespack, and Rodney Duplantis, would
serve as the Building Committee. On June 30, 1971, bids
for the construction
of the new church and rectory were opened, and the contract
was awarded to the Fangue Brothers of Morgan City at a total
price of $268,836.00. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held
on Sunday, July 25, 1971 after the ten o*clock Mass.
July 17, 1972, Father Boumans (after residing almost eight
years in two small classrooms in the original church) moved
into the new Parish Rectory. By August 5, 1972, construction
was completed and the first Mass was celebrated in the new
Saint Bernadette Church. The Dedication Ceremony was held
on August 27, 1972 with Bishop Maurice Schexnayder presiding
and Mass concelebrated by Father Boumans and members of
his ordination class.
stands the golden spire in the center of the Bayou Vista
community, capped by the cross which proclaims Christianity
over its inhabitants. An edifice which stands to symbolize
man's determination to display reverence to the one true
God, and to exemplify the example of Christ, that men stand
together, as brothers and sisters, in a common bond.
Parish of Saint Bernadette has been Pastored by:
A. J. Boumans
Paul Belliveau CJM
Hebert de Launay
Monsignor Richard Greene
4/2004 - 7/2008
Father Louis Vu
Father William Rogalla
1/2009 - 5/2019
Father Thainese Alphonse
first trustees of Saint Bernadette were Dr. F. A. Russo
and Mr. J. E. Magee. Mrs. Elizabeth Russo replaced her husband as trustee upon his death. Mr. Frank M. Lambert was then
appointed trustee upon the death of Mrs. Russo. Mr. Joseph
Beaugh then replaced Mr. Lambert and Mr. Lester Waguespack
Sr. eventually replaced Mr. J. E. Magee.
At this time, the 2020 Parish Pastoral Council members are: Pastor: Father Thainese Alphonse, Trustees; Paul Tolen, John Trevino, Council; Kenny Alfred, Judy Alfred, William LaPoint, John Cart, Jane Mayo, Michelle Tholen, Patrick Hebert
1980, Directors of Religious Education have been: Ellen
Gray 1980-82, David Roth 1982-84, Bill Melancon 1984-86,
Rene Dorsey 1986-89, Susan Legendre 1989-2000, Becky Blanchard
& Kathy Dupre 2001-2002. Religious Education is presently
administered by Becky Blanchard.