Places & Faces
St. Francis de Sales Oratory to Open this Fall
8/1/2020 1:00:00 PM

St. Francis de Sales Oratory

Sulphur Courthouse being restored to its original purpose.

Canon Jean Marie Moreau arrived in Southwest Louisiana earlier this year for a sole purpose: to preside over the opening and operation of a new place of worship for area Catholics. Located at 802 South Huntington St. in Sulphur, this 1924 structure served as the original home of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. In 1984, a larger facility was built for that parish, and the City of Sulphur purchased the South Huntington site for their City Courthouse in 1985. 

Sulphur Mayor Mike Danahay approached His Excellency, Bishop Glen John Provost early 2019 to inform him that the Courthouse was moving locations and the building would be available if the Church was interested. Meanwhile, the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign-Priest sought to open an apostolate in this part of the country, in response to the local religious authorities and the desire of the faithful. Thus were the providential forces that brought St. Francis de Sales Oratory to the Lake Area. Canon Moreau was assigned to the Oratory as its first superior. He says, "It is with unanimous joy that this historic building is being returned to its original purpose.”

An oratory is simply a place of prayer and worship, from the Latin word orare, meaning to pray. It can be private, for example a sacred space in a home or outdoor garden, or public, such as a small chapel or house of worship. "A public Oratory such as St. Francis de Sales is erected by the Bishop of the diocese for a particular purpose; for specific needs of the Faithful,” says Canon Moreau. "Anyone can come and pray as in a regular parish church.”

What makes this church unique is that Canon Moreau will offer a daily mass in the ancient Latin liturgy, also known as the Extraordinary Form. He says the purpose is to pass on the traditions to the next generations, according to the teachings of the Popes and Bishop Provost. "Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that ‘what earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too.’ It is an invitation to a renewal, a ‘Renaissance’ based on our forefathers’ rich legacy and a new experience of the Tradition, ‘ever new, ever ancient’”! The Oratory will also offer the opportunity for confessions, novenas, and various devotions for the needs of the community, as well as all the sacraments such as Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, and Funerals. Pastoral visits to the sick and family homes, catechism classes, and other religious instructions for youth and adults are also part of the mission.

The Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign-Priest is a society of Priests (called Canons), Oblates and Sisters based in Tuscany, Italy. It originated 30 years ago and now has over 80 branches across Africa, Europe, and North America, including 18 dioceses in the United States. This new location will be the society’s first in the southern U.S. Saint Francis de Sales was a 17th century Doctor and Bishop who continues to inspire Christians through his example and teaching on the Love of God. Interestingly, the first church in Lake Charles was named after him, before it became Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

Canon Moreau was born and raised in the countryside of France, near Tours along with 10 siblings. His parents grew apple and pear orchards. After his ordination in Rome to the priesthood in 1992, he served as a missionary in Gabon, Africa. Then he served in America for 12 years, and on to the island paradise of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean for three years. Though new to Southwest Louisiana, Canon Moreau says he immediately felt very much at home. "Our common French ancestry brings us together and speaking with Cajun people is like immersing in our common history. The South is known as a land of tradition, family, and faith. I have been moved by the warm and simple hospitality of both priests and faithful. Among many pleasures here I love the food, unique in the country, specially the crawfish étouffée and boudin!”

Restoration of the Oratory is currently underway. Canon Moreau says the community has generously helped in the construction through several volunteer workdays, but adds there is much more to do. "The challenge is to lay a new wooden floor, add new pews, build a new altar, install some statues, new electrical and air conditioning systems, and a new painting . . . a lot is needed in order to return a courthouse into the church it was originally. With God’s help and that of our Patroness, Our Lady of Prompt Succor, I look forward to opening this new Oratory to be more available to those in need.”

Oratory Restoration Capital Campaign

The diocese has launched a capital campaign to assist with the purchase and expenses to restore this spiritual and historical mission. Donations can be made through:

The Catholic Diocese of Lake Charles with mention 

"St Francis de Sales Oratory, Sulphur” 

414 Iris St, Lake Charles,LA 70601

The Institute of Christ the King- St Francis de Sales Oratory

Canon Jean Marie Moreau

935 Bilbo Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601

work:  817-592-5616

cell:    337-564-2867 or 337-304-1062


PayPal: Oratory in Sulphur: St Francis de Sales

GoFundMe: "St Francis de Sales Oratory Sulphur, Louisiana”

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