DONALDSONVILLE, La. (WAFB) - Boo LeBlanc has been working for God and his community as a lay minister at Ascension Catholic Church for well over two decades.
“It’s been a privilege to work for God in this capacity,” Leblanc said.
He serves in many capacities, but undoubtedly, the dearest to his heart is his role as tour guide of the church he has loved all his life.
LeBlanc knows Ascension Catholic.
“In 1772, before we declared independence as a nation, this church parish was formed,” LeBlanc said. “Ultimately, this great structure is evidence of faith people had over the years in this parish.”
Not only is his tour a fascinating, 45-minute history lesson, he makes sure you know and see the difference between the original stained glass windows. Each window, the ones from Munich, Germany, or ones that originated right down the river in New Orleans, tells a story.
The church has undergone extensive restoration over the past 18 months, resulting in a new appreciation for the original marble columns sent from Croatia, and the beauty of the pews made from red oak in the Amish country of Pennsylvania.
“People like to be baptized here and get married here, and they like to be buried here,” LeBlanc said. “My three children, two of them don’t live in Donaldsonville anymore, they have crypts in the mausoleum for when they die.”
Sandy Pizzolato, principal of Ascension Catholic School, knows full well the importance of community.
“This school has graduated so many successful people. It’s amazing to see how many come back to serve our school and support it,” she said.
The church and the school walk the same walk, the same talk and would not be the same today without each other.
In 1845, the Daughters of Charity founded a school, an orphanage, and a hospital. While only the school remains, the nuns stayed in service until the 1980s.
Pizzolato said they’re careful not to lose their identity as Ascension Catholic, a school rooted in history.
“Our school has to keep up with the changing times, so we offer what other schools offer, but the difference is the culture and the traditions that have been here for so many years,” Pizzolato said. “I give credit to and I am so thankful for those who came before me.”