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History

During the colonial period, under French and Spanish rule, priests from Natchitoches would minister in the Alexandria/Pineville area four times a year, usually during the Ember days. Land was set aside for a cemetery by Spanish authorities on the Pineville side of the river before 1803.

In the 1840's and ‘50's, the pastor of St. Francis Xavier would cross the river to minister to scattered Catholic settlements in Holloway Prairie, Cotile, Plaisance and Calcasieu. After his retirement from the Alexandria church in 1866, Fr. Bellier took up residence as a professor of languages at the Louisiana Institute of Learning in Pineville. He also served as chaplain for the Institute. In 1877, Bishop Francis Leray blessed a mission chapel in Pineville and dedicated it in honor of St. Louis, King of France. This chapel served the spiritual needs of the Sisters of Mercy who came to Pineville to open an orphanage. In1881, the chapel was rebuilt on Lakeview Street by Fr. Menard and rededicated in honor of the Sacred Heart. A new orphanage, dedicated in honor of St. Joseph, was built on Lakeview Street in 1917. Bishop Van de Ven invited the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word to staff the institute. The orphanage moved to Alexandria in 1948 but the school was continued as a parochial school into the 1970's.

On November 2, 1932, Bishop Desmond established the parish and appointed Fr. E. B. Scallon as the first resident pastor. A new church was constructed on Main Street on land donated by Mrs. Catherine Milhas Ball in 1934. Substantial funds for the church and rectory were received from Mr. Patrick Aertker. In 1951, plans were drawn up for an even larger church to be built on Lakeview Street on lands belonging to the Aertker family  who donated an initial $100,000 towards the project. The new church, built in memory of Mrs. Mary L. Aertker, was blessed by Bishop Greco on December 21, 1955.

Two missions were established from the Pineville church - Immaculate Heart of Mary in Tioga in 1952 and St. John's in Wardville in 1953. In 1971, the Pineville sanctuary was renovated. Bishop Friend dedicated the new Activities building in 1984. A new community center was built between the church and the old school building in 1986. In 1988, Bishop Favalora blessed the new Youth Center. The sanctuary was renovated again in 2004 when a new tile floor was laid down. Extensive renovations to the rectory were completed in 2007.

Map Info: Sacred Heart of Jesus Church 31.318983 -92.435561