This year, the fifth annual Eucharistic Procession known as the Fête-Dieu du Teche is set to take place on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thursday, August 15. While the feast day is an important celebration for all Catholics, it is especially so for the faithful of Louisiana who revere the Blessed Mother as the patroness of the Acadian people and of Acadiana — those of the French Louisiana region and the culture known today as Cajun.
The day will also mark the 254th anniversary of the arrival of French-Canadian immigrants who brought the Catholic faith to Acadiana. In a press release, Fr. Michael Champagne, CJC, organizer of the event, spoke of the significance of an aquatic procession in relation to this history. He said:
“Having a Eucharistic Procession by boat on the waters of the Teche rather than by foot in the streets makes a lot of sense. Fête-Dieu du Teche on the Feast of the Assumption recalls our rich Acadian history and, in a way, re-enacts the journey made by the Acadians 250 years ago.”
In the mid-18th century, the Acadian people were settled in Nova Scotia, but they were persecuted for their faith and were eventually exiled. The Acadians left Canada by boat, and many of them wound up settling in Louisiana. The Acadian priest who was exiled with them eventually founded lÉglise St-Martin de Tours (St. Martin of Tours Church), which is believed to have given its name to the town of Martinville.
This year’s Eucharistic procession is expected to draw hundreds by boat and thousands by foot. Attendees who have boats are welcome to register them with the procession and sail down Bayou Teche as a Eucharistic escort, but those who travel by foot are equally as welcome at the many stops along the 38-mile stretch.
Read more at Aleteia.