Our Lady of Fatima Church, Lafayette - more than a building
By Stephanie Martin
Every faithful Catholic knows that a church is more than just a building; it is a spiritual home, and its family extends to all those who help to build and maintain it with their faith. Poetically, the words create a beautiful image-practically, they call on people to work as active and dedicated servants of God. It is a message that has been well received at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Lafayette for over the last 50 years.
Our Lady of Fatima Church was established in the Lafayette Diocese in the spring of 1949, under the care of Father Michael J. Benedict. From the beginning, the parish benefited from the generosity of its parishioners, with groundbreaking for the very first building made possible through a donation by the J. F. Whittington family. The structure, once it was completed, was intended double as a school and a church.
Those who are familiar with Our Lady of Fatima are aware that facilities for both the school and church have expanded greatly in the years since. Today, the school educates students from grades pre-K through eighth, and included a special education program. The church serves over one thousand families, and is graciously served by them in return. Through their support, Our Lady of Fatima is able to sponsor active branches of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Fatima Seniors 50+, and the Catholic Daughters of America: Court Our Lady of the Rosary #1613.
Members of Our Lady of Fatima also work to provide a wide range of special outreach ministries to their fellow parishioners and friends. Volunteers come together to offer a Prayer Team to pray daily for the confidential requests of others; to provide meals for parishioners needing assistance as they recover from illness or surgery, and also for bereaved families after the death of a loved one; and to serve as ministers of Communion for the homebound of the community. Other parish activities include adult Bible classes in the spring and fall; Vacation Bible School for children in the summer; and a LifeTeen program for the youth. A more complete listing of all the things Our Lady of Fatima strives to offer can be found at the parish website, www.fatimalafayette.org.
Under the leadership of current pastor Monsignor Glen J. Provost, a campaign known as "Fulfilling the Fatima Promise" also continues to ensure the vibrancy of Our Lady of Fatima Church for many years to come. Through this campaign, the parish and finance councils hope to raise the necessary funds to provide the church with a new, more functional parish hall to support the growing needs of the parish's many programs and activities. The money will also provide for upgrades within the church itself, including lighting and sound improvements, and wheelchair accessibility to all necessary areas.
Other pastors who have served Our Lady of Fatima in the past include Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Tracy, Msgr. Wayne Richard, Msgr. Rudolph Arlanti, Msgr. Alexander O. Sigur, Father James Doiron, and Msgr. Richard Greene. Their contributions, along with the those of the many parishioners who have also served the parish over the years, are indeed an inspirational example of the accomplishments that can be achieved in God's name