Father Bernard
Monsignor Daniel Lucas Bernard June 21, 1913 - June 22, 1977

It is impossible to measure the impact that Monsignor Bernard had on the Arnaudville area.  In a recent conversation about Arnaudville and the growth experienced in the period after World War II and 1970, Monsignor Bernard was the constant.  His many programs brought people together.  There was a great sense of belonging.  Everyone wanted to be involved at St. John Francis Regis Catholic Church. And, those who knew "Nonco" know that he helped Monsignor Bernard in his accomplishments.

In the publication "TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF PRIESTHOOD, Rt. Reverend Msgr. Daniel L. Bernard, there is the picture of "Nonco," shown below, crediting him as the "Backbone of the Sacred Heart League."

When Father Bernard became pastor of St. Francis, he modeled his ministry after Monsignor Massebiau who was convinced that the parish would never have truly Catholic families unless there were truly Catholic fathers, who set the example of Faith, religious fidelity and piety. Father Bernard agreed that if the conversion of the parish was to be certain and deep and lasting,  it must come from within the family. The church truly became the center of the lives of the citizens of the area through the efforts of these two priests.

We owe a great deal to Monsignor for bringing the Marianites Sisters of the Holy Cross to our community.  Little Flower School former students testify to the significance of that early Catholic education. Ahead of the times in many areas, the Sisters even played a role in making the students environmentally conscious with their royal Trash King and Trash Queen!

Father Bernard worked tirelessly to insure the construction of the convent for the Sisters and also the Little Flower School.  He asked parishioners to pledge their labor to construct these buildings. After these buildings were constructed, Father Bernard turned his attention toward the building of a new church. 

In 1948, the building fund had reached the total of $57,000.  Parishioners urged Father Bernard to go ahead with construction of the sorely needed new parish church.  But, the pastor resorted to his usual democratic procedure, leaving the decision to a "consensus" of his flock. At the two Sunday Masses in January 1948, he had the parishioners vote on whether or not they wanted a new church.  At least 98 percent of the parishioners favored undertaking the task.  Father Bernard girded himself for months of intensive weary work, and the faithful parishioners rallied around him loyally. Demolishing of the historic church built in 1872, the structure that had seen so many vicissitudes of the parish for more than six decades began on April 1, 1948.  Parishioners were use to their pastor, wearing his khaki clothes, working alongside workmen in construction and repair and maintenance of the church property.

And, it was thus that a house was prepared in Arnaudville--a house for God.  On Christmas, 1948, Christ came into His new temple for the first time, for Midnight Mass was celebrated within its sacred precincts by His devoted priest, Father Bernard.  Some 3,000 people attended this first Mass in the new Church.  They were seeing their cherished dreams come true!

It was only the beginning of the many successes that Monsgnor Daniel L. Bernard brought to the parishioners of Saint. John Francis Regis Church. 

If you have a story about Monsignor Bernard that you would like to share, please mail or email it to the Auguste "Nonco" Pelafigue Foundation and it will be published below.
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