St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, located in Grand Coteau, La., is the third oldest parish in the Diocese of Lafayette. St. Charles was established in 1819, and the Jesuits came to serve in Grand Coteau and the surrounding area in 1837 and have been in service to the parish ever since.
On March 19, 1879, the cornerstone of the current church building was put into position and blessed. The primary builders were two Jesuit Brothers: Cornelius Otten and Joseph Armand Brinkhaus. The unique bell tower at the back of the church, built six years after the church was completed, is a rare structure in church architecture and is one of the most photographed sights of the area.
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church also includes Christ the King Mission in nearby Bellevue, La., and is the center of a vibrant church community. The original mission church was built in 1937 under the administration of Fr. Father Godfrey Cook, S.J., and the Jesuits and parish staff of St. Charles Borromeo continue to provide sacramental ministry to Christ the King.
The parish also runs the Thensted Outreach Center, which opened in 1982 and is named in honor of Fr. Cornelius J. Thensted, S.J., whose mission of helping the poor in the area began in 1947. Social outreach ministry through the center includes an emergency food pantry, home visits to the elderly, a thrift store, after-school tutoring and counseling.