St. Pius X Church was established in March 1959 as a mission of a fairly young Parish – Our Lady of Fatima Church (est. 1949). With the growth of the city of Lafayette came the need for growth in church parishes. Our Lady of Fatima Church was carved out of the Cathedral of St. John (est. 1821) and established on Easter Sunday 1949. The first Mass for the St. Pius Mission was held in a metal warehouse on Verot School Road, with the use of a portable hand built altar and removable chairs. The location was rural, the building openair, and a cow sauntered inside at one Mass. Yet enthusiasm grew, pledges of labor and donations were made, and by August 1960 a 30 by 60 foot cement-block church was built by parishioners at the present location on Kaliste Saloom Road.
Designated a separate parish in 1968, St. Pius X continued to grow. A rectory on East Bayou Parkway was added in 1969. By 1972, the original parish population of 179 families had risen to 500, leading to the construction of our present 500-seat church in 1975. The cam pus grew again in 1982 with the addition of the Parish Life Center, and from 1995 – 1997, the original cement-block structure was renovated to provide for the preschool and the beginning of St. Pius Elementary School. The largest single addition to the complex then took place in 2000. The gymnasium, auditorium, dining hall, and two story academic center. In 2004, the completion of the Annex building of the complex was completed providing additional office and meeting space for the parish.
Strong clerical leadership and a rich liturgical background have enhanced the spiritual life of the parish. Many priests and religious have left mark. Monsignor Benedict brought the idea of a mission church to Bishop Schexnayder, who authorized its establishment. Father Brennan served for seven years as a mission priest, with Father Zaunbrecher in that role for the next two years. Monsignor Benefiel was the first pastor of the newly designated Parish, leading it from 1968 to 1972. Father Cremaldi served briefly during 1972, followed by the lengthy pastorate of Father Theriot, from 1972 to 1987. He was in turn assisted during some years by Fathers Courville and Richard and by Sister Carmelita Latiolais. Monsignor Richard Mouton arrived in 1987 and was with the Parish until 2007. He was driving force behind the development of the pre-school and the new St. Pius Elementary School (SPES). In that, he has brought about the fulfillment of Bishop Schexnayder’s original intention for the parish to create a school. Our present pastor, Father Steve LeBlanc has been with us since 2007.
Parishioners had many informal conversations of the dreams of a new church building with thier former pastor, Monsignor Richard Mouton. Fr. Steve LeBlanc also encountered these same types of conversations. Fr. Steve raised this conversation to a formal level in beginning a Long Range Advance Planning Process using the Institute for School and Parish Development (ISPD) and their consulting expertise to determine what the people of St. Pius saw as their top priorities. The number one priority that came out of the LRAP Convocation, inviting the entire parish to come together, was “how do we improve our aging and inadequate facilities….”
In January 2008, parish leaders and members of our Parish initiated a comprehensive long- range planning process for St. Pius X Parish, which resulted in The Long-Range Advancement Plan. Through this process, hundreds of parish families were involved in identifying challenges, creating solutions and determining priorities.
The parish now has more than 2,400 registered families and is growing on an average of 25 new families each month. St. Pius had outgrown it’s present church. Parishioners want to build a new church for the ever-growing population of the St. Pius X Catholic community. The new church will be built on the 600 block of Kaliste Saloom Road. Kaliste Saloom Road was once a “country road” with a “country parish church” has become a 6 mile major artery for the southeast side of the city of Lafayette. The community that St. Pius serves continues to grow and with that growth St. Pius continues to grow. Out of the sixteen par- ishes in the city of Lafayette, St. Pius has grown into one of the largest in the city of Lafayette.
With enthusiam that parishioners had in 1959 by pledges of labor and donations, parishioners today share that same enthusiam; Building the Faith in Acadiana: Body and Soul, Bricks and Mortar. One of the things the early settlers of this area brought with them was their Catholic Faith. The community is the beneficiaries of their struggles and accomplishments in what is popularly known as Cajun country. This theme encapsulates the culture, the history of faith and the future needs of a growing parish.