St. Leo the Great Parish
St. Leo the Great Parish began as St. Leo Chapel. The first mass was celebrated in September 1951 under the leadership of Fr. John Windt, assistant of Msgr. W.J. Teurlings. The Most Reverend Jules B. Jeanmard, Bishop of Lafayette, blessed the Chapel on December 23, 1951. The Chapel became St. Leo the Great Church on June 25, 1960, when the Decree of Erection of the Parish of St. Leo the Great Church was signed by the Most Reverend Maurice Schexnayder, Bishop of Lafayette, and Chancellor Rudolph Arlanti. Father Alfred Gaudet was named its first pastor and Father Gene LaFleur served as associate.
From Chapel to Parish, St. Leo's in 1950 was a shared idea among those dedicated Catholics and clergy who had to secure two-thirds of the costs before construction of the Chapel. They raised funds by means of fairs, raffles, and dinners. According to one parishioner: "We cleaned many chickens!" The late Edgar Mouton, Sr. donated the land that at the time was two-miles outside of the Lafayette city limits. The materials for the Chapel were secured when Fr. Windt was given permission to purchase the Episcopal Church of the Ascension on Jefferson Street that was then demolished and transported to our site. Parishioners worked together to help clean bricks and do what was necessary to get the old material ready for use. When the chapel was finished, it had a seating capacity of 350. The Annual Report of December 1960 showed 3233 parishioners and the church was extended to accommodate the addtional parishioners in 1963.
Sts. Leo-Seton School
St. Leo School School was established on August 31, 1959, while St. Leo was still a Chapel. Originally, the school had nine classrooms, the principal's office, a work room, an entrance lobby and restrooms. The original parish hall was built on the school campus: it also served as school cafeteria and auditorium. The school opened with a staff of four lay teachers and a principal with an enrollment of 86 boys and girls, grades first through fourth. The school continued to grow and on June 9, 1980 the name changed to include St. Elizabeth Seton. Today Sts. Leo-Seton School has a new Jr. High building, over 24 classrooms, 3 labs, a gymnasium, library and Chapel with an enrollment exceeding 550 students.
Pope St. Leo the Great
Who is Pope St. Leo the Great?