The first Catholic Chapel in Galliano was built in 1889 under the supervision of Father Emile Peufier, Pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Larose, Louisiana. This building was constructed of a rough wooden framework covered with palmettos. It was built on the present church property, which had been purchased two years earlier, August 18, 1887 by Father Peufier.
Father Peufier purchased the property in his own name from Mrs. Marguerite Charpentier Guidry. In 1889, Father Peufier wrote the following entry in his report to the Archdiocese of New Orleans: "Twelve miles from Larose, Saint Jacob at Cote Cheramie, one palmetto chapel - Mass said occasionally." Galliano was then called "Cote Cheramie", probably named after the Cheramie families who were first to settle in the area.
The first palmetto chapel was demolished by the hurricane of 1893, which is commonly known as "l'ourangan de la Cheniere" (the Cheniere Caminada Hurricane). This storm, as well as the storms of 1909 and 1915, prompted a migration of people from the coastal areas to the banks of Bayou Lafourche. Some settled in Orange City (Leeville), others came from Golden Meadow, Cote Cheramie (Galliano), and Cote Blanche (Cut Off). On the same day as the Cheniere Store, September 30, 1893, the first burial in Saint Joseph Cemetery took place. It was that of Emile Eymard, husband of Eugenie Cheramie.
In 1900, another wooden frame palmetto chapel was built, but larger than the first. This building lasted until 1903 when a frame wooden building was constructed and dedicated under the patronage of Saint Joseph. Father Alexandre Julie', who was pastor at Holy Rosary, Larose celebrated Mass in the Galliano Chapel once ever month or two. The priest came by boat, once a year he would stay three days to prepare the children for First Communion. The wooden chapel served also as the first public school in Galliano in the early 1900's. Miss Effie Verret, a native of Houma, taught the children. By 1910, classes were held in the attic of Julien "None Ton" Galliano's General Merchandise Store directly across the Bayou from the Church.
Father Francis M. Jan was assigned to Holy Rosary in Mary 1912 and was in charge of all the South Lafourche area. In 1913, he obtained a new bell for the Galliano Chapel, which was blessed on May 29, 1913. This bell was transferred to the present Church when it was built in 1949 and still announces Mass this day.
As the population of Folden Meadow and Galliano steadily increased, it was decided in 1916 that a new Church Parish was to be formed and centering in Golden Meadow, with Galliano and Leeville as missions. Father Yves Grail was assigned as pastor of the new Parish, but the plans for the new Parish failed and in February, 1917 Father Grail left and Galliano, Golden Meadow, and Leeville were again assigned to Larose. Then in 1918, Father Euclid J. Blanchet was appointed pastor of Golden Meadow with Galliano and Leeville assigned to his care. He wrote in one of his reports that he celebrated Mass in Saint Joseph Chapel on Sundays, when weather permitted.
Father Leo A. LaBelle succeeded Father Blanchet as pastor at Golden Meadow on April 6, 1920. Four years later, Galliano was assigned to the newly formed Parish of Sacred Heart at Cote Blanche, with Father Francis Weiss as first Pastor. Father Weiss celebrated Mass in Galliano every other Sunday beginning in 1924. By 1928, Saturday Masses were being celebrated and in 1929, Mass was celebrated every Sunday in Saint Joseph Chapel. Father Weiss remained pastor of Cote Blanche until March 9, 1945, serving over twenty years. Father Francis Barbier was the next pastor.
With a growing populations in Galliano, Father Barbier recognized the need for a new and bigger Church in Galliano. Drives to collet funds for the new Church were made, and by the end of 1945 had collected some $24,000.00. Donations, Church collections and Annual Church bazaars provided the balance of $90,000.00.
Ground breaking ceremonies for the new Church were held on Easter Sunday, 1948. Construction began shortly afterwards by the Contractor, Clarence Albert of Thibodaux. The architects were Bendernagel, Cazale and Bendernagel of New Orleans. The cost of the building and architectural fees was $95,182.63. cost of the Church furnishings (pews, altars, tabernacle, brassware, confessionals, lights, statues, etc.) was $21,391.61 for a total of $116,574.24.
The Blessing and Dedication of the new Church was on June 12, 1949 with the Most Reverend Joseph F. Rummel, Archbishop of New Orleans presiding over the ceremonies. Father Barbier celebrated the Solemn High Mass, assisted by Reverends Dennis J. Bergeron and Authur J. LeBlanc, former assistant Pastors, Monsignor A.F Raviore of Saint Joseph Church in Thibodaux delivered the sermon. Father Elmo Romagosa, who was assistant Pastor, directed the Saint Joseph Choir.
The old wooden Church had been moved from the center of the Church grounds to the far left, and used for a Parish hall until 1964 when it was sold and moved. Saint Joseph Church remained a Mission of Sacred Heart Church in Cut Off under the care of Father Francis Barbier and his associate Father Kermit Trahan for another nine years.
On June 28, 1958, Saint Joseph Mission was established as a separate Parish by Archbishop Rummel, with Father Tjebbe Bekema, a native of Holland, as the first Pastor. On his arrival in Galliano, Father Bekema rented a house belonging to Mrs. Elvest Galliano on the corner of West Main and 176th Street to use for a temporary Rectory. Funds were raised and formal plans drawn for the present Rectory, which was completed in 1962.
The first babies to be Baptized in the new Parish of Saint Joseph on June 29, 1958 were Wade Anthony Bourg, son of Calvin and Betty Barrios Bourg, and Jay Jody Michael Cheramie, son of Lawrence and Claudia Cheramie. The records of Baptism, Marriage and Burials in Saint Joseph Church began in October 1949. Bishop L. Abel Callout administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to the first class of Saint Joseph Parish on May 13, 1960. The first Mausoleum was built in 1964.
Following Father Bekema as Pastor was:
Father Emile Fossier (1966 - 1969)
Father Jean Villere (1969 - 1970)
Father Brendon Foley (1970 - 1981)
Father Henry E. Naquin (1981 - 1985)
Father Albert Richardson (1985 - October 1985)
Father Phillip Whitney (1985 - 1988)
Father Jerome Webre (1988 - 1997)
Father Shenan J. Boquet (1997- 2007)
Father Joseph Perria (2007 - 2013)
Father Mario (2013 - 2014)
Father Joseph Tregre (2014 - 2017)
Father Peter Tai Lê (2017 - Present)
The story of this beautiful painting of the Divine Mercy that now rest in St. Joseph Church.
The Divine Mercy Chaplet and Novena was introduced to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Galliano in 1988. Audry Plaisance, Sue Cheramie, Kathleen Cheramie and Jeanelle Dufrene went on a trip the Medjugorje, Yugoslavia to visit where Our Blessed Mother Mary was appearing. When arriving they were housed with a group from Ireland. When the trip ended as they were headed home, one of the Men from Ireland "Ed" told Audry the story of The Divine Mercy Chaplet. He stated how powerful this Chaplet was. Ed, then gave Audry a book on this said Chaplet. After returning home Audrey purchased books for the ladies and they begin reading about it. When Jeanelle shared the story with her Husband Golden Dufrene, he was so devoted that he wanted to start this chaplet at St. Joseph Church. So Audry, Jeanelle and Golden spoke with Fr. Jerry Weber. In 1989 the Chaplet was started in the Cry Room of the Church. For the next few years the chaplet remained in the cry room until Fr. Weber agreed to start having it in church. During the Good Friday Service in 1992, Jeanelle imaged a Divine Mercy picture on a empty wall of the church. Across from where the Our Mother of Perpetual Help hung. Then on Easter Sunday 1993 Jeanelle's attention was brought back to that empty wall. After Jeanelle and Golden spoke about it, Joy Wagnon who is their daughter Jamie Wagnon's mother in law, was asked to paint a Picture of the Divine Mercy. With the blessing of Fr. Weber of course. Joy was hesitant at first but agreed to do the painting. In January of 1994 a few weeks after Joy started the painting, she was diagnosed with terminal Cancer. Joy was giving months to live. Joy's doubts were arising that she would not finish this painting. As time grow the only relief from Joy's pain was when she was painting this picture. Joy felt that God was giving her the strength to paint this picutre. Joy completed this painting and a month later was going to her final resting place. The painting was presented to Fr. Weber. The Painting was framed to match Our Lady of Perpetual Help's picture. Fr. Weber blessed it at a mass with Joy's family present. The painting was then hung in church. Today the painting is hanging in the back of church. This year 2023 will mark 34 years that the "9 day Novena & Chaplet will be said in St. Joseph Church" starting on Good Friday and ending Divine Mercy Sunday. (In Memory of Joy Anthony Wagnon)
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is said every weekday after Morning Mass for the Sick, Individuals with Cancer or any other illnesses, Surgeries, Our Children, Country, etc.