Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana

The Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana (French: Diocèse de Lafayette en Louisiane) is an ecclesiastical division of the Catholic Church in the United States. The oldest church in the diocese is the parish church of St. Martinville, dating back to 1765. The diocese was created on January 11, 1918 from the western part of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The size of the diocese was nearly halved by the creation of the Diocese of Lake Charles on January 29, 1980.[1] The diocese includes the heart of Cajun Louisiana.

Diocese of Lafayette

Dioecesis Lafayettensis

Diocèse de Lafayette
Lafayette Louisiana Stjohnchurch.jpg
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Coat of arms of the Diocese of Lafayette
Coat of arms
Country United States
TerritoryThe Civil Parishes of St. Landry, Evangeline, Lafayette, St. Martin, Iberia, St. Mary, Acadia and Vermilion
Ecclesiastical provinceArchdiocese of New Orleans
Area5,779 sq mi (14,970 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
330,000 (52.5%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedJanuary 11, 1918
CathedralCathedral of Saint John the Evangelist
Patron saintImmaculate Conception
Secular priests190
Current leadership
BishopJ. Douglas Deshotel
Metropolitan ArchbishopGregory Michael Aymond
Bishops emeritusCharles Michael Jarrell
Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana map.PNG

Geographic SummaryEdit

The diocese consists of four deaneries[2] containing eight civil parishes:


The list of bishops of the diocese and their years of service:

Bishops of Lafayette in LouisianaEdit

  1. Jules Jeanmard (1918-1956)
  2. Maurice Schexnayder (1956-1972)
  3. Gerard Louis Frey (1972-1989)
  4. Harry Joseph Flynn (1989-1994), appointed Coadjutor Archbishop and later Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
  5. Edward Joseph O'Donnell (1994-2002)
  6. Charles Michael Jarrell (2002-2016)
  7. J. Douglas Deshotel (2016-present)[3]

Other Bishops who once were priests of the dioceseEdit

The following served as priests in Lafayette before being appointed bishops elsewhere:

High schoolsEdit

Ecclesiastical province of New OrleansEdit

See: List of the Catholic bishops of the United States#Province of New Orleans

Sex AbuseEdit

In 1974, Bishop Gerard Frey assigned Rev. Gilbert Gauthe as a Boy Scout chaplain despite the fact that Gauthe had previously come to Frey's attention for having molested altar boys.[4] Gauthe was stripped of his priestly duties after more allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in 1983.[5] Bishop Frey was criticized for his handling of Gauthe's case, and in 1985 expressed his regret, saying, "I ask for the prayers and understanding of all our people and of all people of good will of every faith and belief. I deeply regret and am distressed by the suffering that has taken place because of the tragic events in the diocese over the past several years."[1][dead link]

In total, the diocese settled for more than $20 million in lawsuits involving Gauthe. Gauthe was later jailed for violating the Texas sex offender registration law and released in April 2010.[6]

In 1986, Diocese priest Robert Lane Fontenot was convicted of sexually abusing three children and received a sentence of one year in prison and two years of probation and forced residence at Jemez Springs, New Mexico.[7]

In 2008, the Diocese agreed to pay a financial settlement to a former altar boy who claimed Diocese priest Valerie Pullman had sexually abused him in 1972.[7] Pullman later died in 2017 after being accused as early as 1966 of sexually abusing children at different parishes in the Diocese.[7]

In October 2018, former Acadiana priest Felix David Broussard received a five year prison sentence after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography.[8]

On March 29, 2019, former Morrow priest Michael Guirdy plead to committing acts of child molestation while served in the Diocese of Lafayette.[9] He had surrendered to police in June 2018 after he was charged and began serving time in prison.[10] On April 30, 2019, Guidry received a seven-year prison sentence.[11]

In April 2019, the Diocese of Lafayette released a list of 33 clergy who were "credibly accused" of committing acts of sex abuse while serving in the Diocese.[12]


  1. ^ "Diocese of Lafayette". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Parishes". Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  3. ^, Billy Gunn. "Diocese of Lafayette announces new bishop: the Most Rev. J. Douglas Deshotel". The Advocate. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  4. ^ "Rev. Gilbert J. Gauthe-Assignment". Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  5. ^ Radio, Minnesota Public. "It all began in Lafayette | Betrayed by Silence: Chapter One". Minnesota Public Radio News. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  6. ^ "Church abuse case haunts lawyer who defended priest". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-07-10.
  7. ^ a b c
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External linksEdit

Coordinates: 30°12′50″N 92°01′46″W / 30.21389°N 92.02944°W / 30.21389; -92.02944