LAKE CHARLES – A Mass of Thanksgiving, for his 40 years of priestly ministry, was celebrated by Bishop Glen John Provost on Monday, June 29, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
It had been on Sunday, June 29, 1975 that Pope Paul VI ordained then-Deacon Glen John Provost to the priesthood for the Diocese of Lafayette in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The next day, June 30, the newly ordained Father Provost celebrated a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving in the Borghese Chapel of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. The music used in that first Mass of Bishop Provost was also used for his Ruby Anniversary Mass on Monday.
Six of the Bishops of the Province of New Orleans concelebrated with Bishop Provost, including Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, Bishop Michael Jarrell of Lafayette, Bishop Robert Muench of Baton Rouge, Bishop Michael Duca of Shreveport, Bishop Ronald Herzog of Alexandria, and Bishop-emeritus Sam Jacobs of Houma-Thibodaux. Diocesan officials concelebrating were the Rev. Msgr. Daniel Torres, Vicar General; Very Reverend Marcus Johnson, Dean of the Central Deanery; Very Reverend Anthony Fontenot, Dean of the South Deanery; and Very Reverend Jacob S. Conner, Dean of the East Deanery. Father Michael Murray of Washington, DC and Father Robert O’Grady of Boston, longtime priest friends of Bishop Provost, concelebrated on the altar. Priests of the Diocese of Lake Charles along with priest-friends from elsewhere also concelebrated. In the crowd were members of the Bishop’s family along with diocesan staff and well-wishers from other dioceses and churches at which he served before his elevation to the episcopacy.
Deacons serving the Mass were Deacon George Stearns, Deacon Glenn Viau, and Deacon Christopher Fontenot. In addition, the seminarians of the Diocese also served during liturgy.
In his homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Bishop Provost spoke of that Sunday afternoon in 1975, when he, along with 358 other deacons were brought together as Blessed Pope Paul VI ordained them to the priesthood. He also spoke of how the Vatican media covered the event.
“Later in the week, L’Osservatore Romano gave front page coverage to the event, including the Pope’s homily, and the story was the only one reported on that cover page, except a one-line report at the bottom,” Bishop Provost said. “The Soviet Premier had visited the Holy Father that same weekend. No doubt the Holy See had wanted to make a statement. Such things were done with considerable subtlety in those days. I suppose this might still be the case. “The world confronts the priest, and the priest confronts the world—just as Christ did, just as the Church does,” the Bishop continued. “In 1975 there was a great enthusiasm for what many termed a springtime for the Church. However, as with the coming of spring, allergies and hay-fever can result, and in those heady days of the immediate post-Vatican II era, many did not see the broad picture, the vast horizon, or the comprehensive landscape. If they had, they would have seen an approaching storm, provided for shelter, and given heed to our Lord in the Gospel. “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.’”
Later, the Bishop pointed to the times in which we live saying, “These are truly exciting times. Some would view them as a curse. But if you seek a challenge, you need look no further. An ever-increasing encroachment of the government on religious freedom, the fruits of secularism and relativism, the decomposition of the family, and the disillusionment of youth—these are to mention only the first that come to mind. “We must never forget that the Church was planted being watered in the blood of martyrs,” he said. “The saints whom we honor today—one beheaded, the other crucified upside down—were some of the first to witness to the faith in a long line that stretches from the Tower of London to the guillotines of the Terror, from Nazi and Communist concentration camps to the beaches of Libya in our present day.
“It is not for nothing that Jesus chose common bread and a chalice of wine to be his abiding presence,” Bishop Provost said. “The bread that we break is it not a partaking in the Body of Christ? The cup that we drink is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? For the faithful it is a sharing and for the priest it is not only a sharing but his identity. I repent because as a young priest I knew this intellectually but did not absorb it internally as fully as possible.”
Read the complete text of Bishop Provost’s homily by clicking the following - 40th Anniversary Mass/Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul.