During the third quarter of the 19th century, the first Mass ever celebrated in the Cote Gelee area was conducted in Valsin Broussard’s mercantile store. A priest from Youngsville would travel to Broussard to celebrate Mass. In 1870, Valsin donated the building in order to serve as a church building. After repeated petitions to the Archbishop of New Orleans, the new church parish of Sacred Heart was established on January 9, 1883. A small chapel was constructed and Rev. Christopher Cuny was assigned as the first resident priest of Broussard. Father Cuny had been there almost two years when during the night of November 17, 1886, a tragic fire destroyed the church and presbytery and the unpopular Father Cuny left.
In an effort to maintain the church in Broussard, the leaders of the area immediately began the construction of another building for a church. However, this project was not completed due to the lack of a priest. For 22 years, the parish was more or less dormant as no priest was available for Broussard. During this period, people traveled to Youngsville, Lafayette, and St. Martinville for church services. Finally in 1901, the pastor of the Youngsville church, Father Roguet, began traveling to Broussard for Sunday Mass and sometimes weekday Mass. Under his direction, the church was completed.
On October 15, 1904, Rev. Arthur Drossaerts (originally from Holland), assumed the duties of resident pastor – the answer to many petitions and prayers. As a living, vibrant parish, Sacred Heart really advanced – the rectory was built, the modest chapel was enlarged and beautified, and Saint Cecilia School was established in 1909.
Father Drossaerts served until January 16, 1911, when he left to become Archbishop of San Antonio. Rev. Louis Castel then assumed the duties of pastor and served until July 14, 1919. At that time, Rev. M. Massebiau took over as pastor and served until July 18, 1933, when Rev. P.G.J. Kemps assumed duties as pastor. To aid the financial difficulties that emerged due to the Great Depression, Father Kemps assisted in implementing a church fair that had been originated during the 1920’s. Subsequently, during Father Kemps tenure the church progressed to the present beautiful church built in 1954.
Throughout more than 100 years, Sacred Heart Church has steadily grown and prospered. There were setbacks and disappointments, but eventually growth and progress prevailed. It presently serves over 2,600 families in the ever growing community of Broussard.
Image of The Sacred Heart
One of the earliest memories may very well be the pictures or statues of the Sacred Heart in our parents’ bedroom or over the side altar at Church. Their popularity can be traced to another promise – that Jesus will bless every place where the image of His Heart is honored. Many artists since Margaret Mary’s time have sought to honor Him in a painting or sculpture or even through a film or television program.
While no one knows what Jesus looked like (the Gospels are remarkably silent on this point), Christians, since the days of the catacombs, have tried to depict Him reverently. Countless portrayals of Him have come down to us from centuries past and form a priceless spiritual treasury of Christian art. It seems important for people in every age to show forth the Jesus they know, to represent His love and mercy, His glory and majesty, in ways that inspire others to a hope-filled response.
Jesus appeared to Margaret Mary with His Heart aflame with love. He asked her to portray that Heart with a cross and crown of thorns that would remind people of His great love. Many people since then have found such an image a great help to their own faith and prayer life. They are reminded of the two great commandments to love God with their whole heart and to love their neighbor as themselves.
Of course, not every image of Jesus has the same meaning for everyone. We each have our favorites. We look for the Jesus who welcomes us when we are weary and find life burdensome and who sends us forth refreshed to help His kingdom come. It’s a tall order for any artist to fulfill.
Any portrait of Jesus is meant to help our faith. A picture or statue of the Sacred Heart is meant to deepen our love as well. When a particular artwork does not strike us in this way, we can best leave it to the devotion of others. But if an image of Jesus helps us live a better Christian life, then we will surely be blessed when we carry it with us or set it in a place of honor.
Stations of the Cross
Jesus suffered and died to save all people. If you were the only person on earth, Jesus would still have died for you. The Stations of the Cross help us to understand how much Jesus suffered for us during His last hours on earth. We can thank Him for His great love by thinking of His sufferings and by trying to become better each day. Let us often tell God how much we love Him and that we are sorry for all our sins. Fourteen paintings from Germany are displayed in Sacred Heart Church depicting these events in the life of Jesus. The first one is displayed over the side door near the graveyard. The last one is displayed over the side door near the confessional. The original Stations of the Cross were on copper. Although, these paintings are not the original ones, they depict the exact same drawings as the originals. The second and thirteenth stations were made narrower to fit in Sacred Heart Church.
Stained Glass Windows
Gospel Stories are depicted on the twelve stained glass windows which were originally in the old church.
Left side facing the altar from back to front:
ANOINTING OF JESUS’ FEET Inscription: Heart of Jesus, patient and abounding in mercy, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of M/M Frank Beaullieu, Jr. and M/M Roy Billeaud, Sr. John 12:1-8 – Jesus was visiting in Bethany when Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, and Martha gave a dinner for Him. Mary took expensive perfumed oil and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair. This filled the house with the fragrance of the oil.
THE WEDDING FEAST AT CANA Inscription: Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of M/M Gustave St. Julien and M/M Andre Billeaud Memorial. John 2:1-12 – Jesus changes water into wine at a wedding in Cana. Mary, Jesus’ mother, and Jesus’ disciples, were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out Mary told Jesus. He then asked the servers to fill six stone water jars with water and to take them to the headwaiter. The water was changed into wine.
THE FINDING OF OUR LORD IN THE TEMPLE Inscription: Heart of Jesus, temple of all sanctity, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of M/M Alphonse Comeaux, Sr. and M/M Hebert Billeaud. Luke 2:41-52 – Jesus’ parents took Him to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover when He was twelve years old. After they had completed their stay and were returning home, Mary and Joseph noticed that Jesus was missing. Thinking that He was lost in a caravan, they began looking for Him. After three days, they found Him in the temple talking with the teachers. Jesus had remained behind when His parents left. The teachers were amazed at Jesus’ wisdom and knowledge.
PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD IN THE TEMPLE Inscription: Heart of Jesus, worthy of all praise, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of the Oneil Hebert Family and M/M Gabriel Bernard Luke 2:2-38 – Mary and Joseph brought Jesus into the temple to perform the custom of the law: Consecration to the Lord. They offered a pair of turtledoves in accordance with the law.
BIRTH OF JESUS Inscription: Heart of Jesus, Son of the eternal Father, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of Charles Corne, Sr. and St. Joseph Pray for Louis M. Billeaud, Matthew 1: 18-25 – In Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod. Luke 2:7-12 – Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son, Jesus. She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger. Vs. 11 – Today in the city of David, a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.
ANNUNCIATION OF MARY GIVING BIRTH TO JESUS Inscription: Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mary, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of the Lucien Ducrest Family and M/M Denis Bernard Luke 1:28-38 – Angel Gabriel was sent to Nazareth to tell Mary that she would be with child and that she would give birth to a Son whom she would name Jesus.
Right side facing altar from back to front:
JESUS WALKS ON THE WATER Inscription: Heart of Jesus, rich unto all that call upon Thee, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of The Family of M. P. Dumesnil, Jr. and M/M R. U. Bernard, Jr. and Family Mark 6:45-52 – Jesus saw His disciples far out on the sea tossing about in the wind while rowing. He walked toward them on the sea. When the disciples saw Him, they were terrified. He told them not to be afraid. He got in the boat with them and wind died down.
THE HEALING OF THE PARALYTIC Inscription: Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of M/M Valsin Broussard and Family and M/M D. G. Bernard and Family Mark 2:1-12 – Jesus was preaching the word inside a house in Capernaum as the crowds began to gather. Soon there was no room inside. Four men carried a paralytic to be healed to Jesus. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above Him. They let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven. I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
THE MULTIPLICATION OF THE LOAVES Inscription: Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of M/M Charles Billeaud, Sr. and Family and M/M Paul Billeaud and Family. John 6:1-15 – Jesus and His disciples went up on a mountain. There He sat down with His disciples and when He raised His eyes, He saw that a large crowd was coming to Him. Jesus asked Philip, “Where can we buy food for them to eat?” Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to Him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus told His disciples to have the people recline. Then He took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining. Everyone ate until they were full and there were twelve baskets of food left.
THE TRANSFIGURATION Inscription: Heart of Jesus, infinite majesty, have mercy upon us.Donors: In memory of Auguste Pineau and M/M Eugene Pineau and Family. Luke 9:28-36 – Jesus took Peter, John and James, up to a mountain to pray. While Jesus was praying, His face changed in appearance and His clothes because dazzling white. Moses and Elijah were talking to Jesus. Peter, James and John, who had been sleeping, awoke to witness this appearance. A cloud came over them and a voice came from the cloud and said. “This is my chosen Son; Listen to Him.”
THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD Inscription: Heart of Jesus, our life and our resurrection, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of Victims of World War II and The J. Kemps Family. Mark 16:1-8 – Jesus is risen from the dead. He tells the women who come to anoint Him that He has risen. He asks them to go to tell His disciples that He is going before them to Galilee. The women then went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD Inscription: Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints, have mercy upon us. Donors: In memory of M/M Joe Huval and Family. Acts 1:6-12 – Jesus was talking with His apostles about the power of the Holy Spirit and their responsibility for them to His witnesses, when He was lifted up in a cloud. With two men dressed in white garments standing beside Him, Jesus was taken from their sight up to heaven.
CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPHERD (front wall, top window)
Jesus identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd in John 10: 11-18, specifying, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. As a Good Shepherd, I know my own and my own know me.” Because a shepherd is one who carefully tends and protects the flock under his care, the Old Testament refers to God as the shepherd of His people.
SAINT PETER (front wall, bottom window)
Peter was an apostle of Jesus. He was a fisherman from Bethsaida. Jesus told him, "You are Simon, son of John, you are to be called Cephas, meaning Rock.” Peter became the leader in the early church. He was the first to preach on Pentecost. He worked the first public miracle: curing the lame man at the temple gate. He welcomed the first person who was not Jewish into the church. He was imprisoned three or four times. Finally, in Rome, he was sentenced to death by crucifixion. Out of respect for his Master, Jesus, he asked the guard to fasten him to the cross upside down. He is called the “Prince of the Apostles.”
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (side wall, top window)
Mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She was a virgin before, through and after the conception and birth of Christ. (For more information on Mary, see explanation on the Blessed Virgin Mary Statue located in the next section).
SACRED HEART OF JESUS (side wall, bottom window)
Depicts the inexhaustible source of mercy and love poured out for us by God, through the pierced heart of Christ. It symbolizes God’s love for us in a humanly concrete and profoundly attractive way. Jesus’ heart is wrapped with thorns, thus causing His heart to bleed for love of mankind.
CIRCULAR “ROSE” WINDOW (over the entrance of the church)
Symbols of the twelve apostles surround the center “Christ the King”. It is made with bard blown glass from France and Germany. This window was added during Father Robert Landry’s years at Sacred Heart.
SYMBOLS OF THE APOSTLES
Peter – keys Matthais – open book and lance
James – shells James the Less – the saw
Simon – book and fish Matthew –stack of knives
Philip – cross and wheat Thomas – spear and square
Jude – boat John – snake and chalice
Bartholomew – knives Andrew – anchor and cross on its side
ST LOUIS OF FRANCE (front wall, top window, storage room)
Louis became king of France in 1226 at the age of twelve. His mother, however, made most of the important decisions of the kingdom until her death. In 1244, King Louis organized a Crusade to the Holy Land. Though the Crusade failed, many soldiers remembered Louis’ example. As king, Louis had a great love for God and for individuals in his kingdom. He especially cared for lepers. He built a chapel in Paris and an abbey in Royaumont. He supported the religious orders that served the French people. He also built hospitals, encouraged learning and reformed some of the social structures that promoted injustice. St. Louis died of a fever that destroyed his army in Africa during a Crusade. He holds the Crown of Thorns in his hand.
MEMORIAL STONE (left wall, main altar)
Blessed by Rev. John Kemps on June 25, 1954. Within there is a sealed box which contains the history of the parish, Sacred Heart memorabilia, tokens of two queens of Holland, coins with dates –
1904 – Father Drossaerts became pastor
1922 – Father J. Kemps arrived in the United States
1925 – Father J. Kemps was ordained
1933 – Father J. Kemps came to Broussard
1950 – The Holy Year
1954 – The Marian Year
The cornerstone reads “Under the protection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus during the episcopacy of Most Reverend Jules B. Jeanmard, D.D., Bishop of Lafayette, Reverend P. G. J. Kemps, Pastor, this stone was placed with solemn rites June 25, 1954, The Marian Year.”