The Ragin’ Cajun Catholics at Our Lady of Wisdom unveil a new Church and Catholic Student Center design and relaunch their fundraising effort. The current facilities at 501 E. Saint Mary Boulevard were constructed over 80 years ago and are in grave disrepair with no room for expansion. The facilities were built on land leased from the State of Louisiana with no guarantee of lease renewal, further complicating matters.
In June of 2022, the Diocese of Lafayette completed a historic land transaction. In the cash and trade deal, the Diocese exchanged 5 acres of land with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to acquire 1.4 acres in the heart of the campus - located across the street from the current Our Lady of Wisdom Church and Student Center. “We now have the incredible opportunity to build a permanent home for Jesus Christ and a home away from home for more than 15,000 students in the heart of a secular university campus,” said Gus Zepernick, Wisdom’s Capital Campaign Chair, at a recent fundraising event.
The 35-million-dollar project includes a new Church that will seat 534 and a 25,000 square foot Catholic Student Center. The student center facility will include spiritual and intellectual formation spaces, including an Adoration Chapel, multiple bible study rooms, a lecture hall to seat 150, and a library. Community and student gathering spaces include a café, game room, living room, and a grand hall to hold large events and wedding receptions. Outdoor spaces that connect Our Lady of Wisdom to the main university campus include the church plaza, and student center lawn, courtyards, porches, and balconies.
Mary Hernandez, Executive Director of Advancement for Our Lady of Wisdom, reported, “The ministry has already raised 12.8 million dollars toward the 35-million-dollar project budget. Our alumni finally have the opportunity to build a lasting legacy on campus and are excited to give back to this historic project.” In addition to the 35-million-dollar project budget, an additional 3.5 million dollars is needed for the capital reserve fund, which is designated for the care and maintenance of the new facility – and already has $600,000 in donations.