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Local catholic church had its last mass Sunday, closing doors after 51 years

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BATON ROUGE- St. Louis the King of France Catholic Church is closing its doors after 51 years.

There wasn't an empty seat during Sunday morning's mass. Churchgoers gathered to attend the last service at St. Louis the King of France Catholic Church. 

Parishioners say this is the largest number of people they've seen at the church in years.

"The hard part is that in involves people and this is a home for people and it has been for 51 years," Father Michael Alello said.

The congregation is being merged with the nearby St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church, were Father Alello already presides over mass.

Lanette Haroldson has been attending the church before it was even built.

"Very, very sad that we wouldn't have this parish anymore," she told WBRZ. "We were going to Red Oaks School before we had a church. We started there."

Harry Fitzgerald, an usher at the church, has also been with St. Louis Catholic Church since the beginning. He said he started seeing signs of the church closing last year. 

"The original people who put things together have all died off. After the flood, most everybody disappeared," Fitzgerald said.

This will be the fourth catholic church to close in the Baton Rouge area in less than a year. 

St. Joan of Arc in Bayou Pigeon and St. Catherine in Bayou Sorrel closed Friday, while St. Pius in Baton Rouge shut down in May.

Church officials believe it's because congregations are becoming smaller, and there aren't enough priests to go around.

"Our faith doesn't end just because out building is closing, our faith continues on and God invites us forward to go out into the world with that message," Father Alello said.

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