They traveled to the area which at the time was known as Lafourche de Chitimachas and declared the new parish "The Ascension of Our Lord". Sent by the King, his purpose was to "minister to the spiritual welfare" of the community.6 The first church along Lafourche was founded on August 15th, 1772 and became an integral part of welcoming the first Islenos in 1779. Legend has it that Valenzuela was born amidst dancing and feasting.5 Because of “good times,” on Christmas 1779, the Islenos held a large celebration with Ascension's Father Angelus de Revillagodos marrying six couples and baptizing two infants. By 1773, he was assisting the parish of St. Gabriel up the river and continued to do so until 1782.7 In 1781, he helped oversee a new church in Ascension.
During these years, Fr. Revillagodos and Comandant Louis Judice didn't always agree. Judice suffered from alchoholism, indigence, and poor adminstration. Many priests in his territories ended up leaving. Given his conservative nature, Fr. Revillagodos also found himself embroiled with the French Acadian population and their customs. In 1776, while standing at the altar of the church, he prohibited all of his female parishioners from utilizing the services of Madame Desire LeBlanc, who had served as midwife for 22 years. Leblanc and her husband filed a complaint with Judice. Gov Unzaga overruled Revillagodos.
With the Ascension church far enough away from most Islenos, Fr. Revillagodos occasionally visited the Islenos in their own settlement for baptisms, marriages, and burials. During the building of the new church, Fr. Revillagodos received an unexpected departure notice in 1782 to serve Natchez for about a year. Although he asked to remain there, in 1783 he resumed his duties in Ascension.
Fr. Revillagodos, perhaps the first Spanish Capuchin to administer a parish in Louisiana, died in the church rectory in December 1784 after serving Ascension for a dozen years.2 It's been said that he died of grief brought on by Judice.5 The following year, he was replaced by Capuchin Father Joaquin de Ajofrin and then by Capuchin Father Pedro de Zamora. Today, many of our Isleno ancestors from Valenzuela and Galveztown had religious sacraments performed by Fr. Revillagodos.
- In and around the old St. Louis Cathedral of New Orleans By Celestin M. Chambon
- Baudier, The Catholic Church in LA, 184, 203-05, 235; BRDR, vol. 2
- Life And Times Of The Most Rev. John Carroll, Bishop And First Archbishop Of Baltimore: Embracing The History Of The Catholic Church In The United States 1763-1815 by John Gilmary Shea
- Canary Islanders of Louisiana by Gilbert Din
- The WPA Guide to Louisiana: The Pelican State By Federal Writers' Project
- History of Louisiana: the Spanish domination by Charles Gayarré