LAKE CHARLES – The Reverend Archimandrite Herbert J. May, J.C.L., 64, Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Creole and Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Cameron, died Monday, May 9, 2016, in a local hospital.
He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Lafayette on Nov. 14, 1975, by The Most Rev. Gerard L. Frey, Bishop of Lafayette, in St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church in Lake Charles.
His parents, Herbert J. May, Sr. and Francesca Tramonte May, and a sister, Frances M. Compton predeceased him. He is survived by one sister, Phyllis May of Welsh; along with numerous cousins, including four seminarians of the Diocese of Lake Charles
A native of Lake Charles, Father May’s seminary studies came at the University of Dallas and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, where he earned a Master of Theological Studies. He attended McNeese State University earning a Bachelor of Arts before his seminary studies. He did post graduate work at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now ULL) gaining a Master of Arts in History and Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, graduating with a Licentiate in Canon Law.
Assignments following his priestly ordination included Parochial Vicar at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Eunice, Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Jennings, St. Martin de Tours Parish in St. Martinville, and St. Bernard Parish in Breaux Bridge. He also served chaplain at Bethany Nursing Home in Lafayette.
He transferred to the Diocese of Lake Charles in 1981 and was assigned as Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles. He was appointed Administrator on two separate occasions of St. Mary of the Lake Parish in Big Lake and Administrator at St. John Vianney in Bell City.
He was in residence at St. Raphael Parish in Iowa, and then St. Theodore Parish in Moss Bluff. Father May also served as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady Queen of Heaven in Lake Charles, and Priest in Charge of St. Joseph Parish in LeBleu Settlement. He served as pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Lake Charles, and was appointed Administrator of Our Lady of Seven Dolors Parish in Welsh, then named Pastor there, serving until July 2014 when he was named to Sacred Heart and Our Lady Star of the Sea as Pastor. Father May served in numerous administrative assignments in the Diocese, including Vice Officialis of the Tribunal, Director of the Tribunal, Judicial Vicar of the Tribunal, Adjunct Judicial Vicar, and Promoter of Justice of the Tribunal. He was a member of the Diocesan Personnel Board and chair of the Senate of Priests.
He served as Diocesan Chaplain of the Companions of Honor. He was a member of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem and served as a Senior Chaplain of the Order as well as having received one of the Order’s highest honors, the Companionate of Merit in the rank of Knight. He was chaplain of the Bishop Jude Speyrer Chapter of Pontifical Knights and Dames and a Knight of the Military and Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. Father May was a member of the order of Fleur De Lis. He was appointed Grand Archimandrite of the Church of Antioch by His Beatitude Maximos V. Hakim in May 1988. Father May was a member of the Canon Law Society of America (Press Officer and Consultor); the Conference of Chancery/Tribunal Officials of the Provinces of New Orleans and Mobile (President); and the Society for the Law of the Oriental Churches.
The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for Father May by The Most Rev. Glen John Provost, Bishop of Lake Charles with concelebrants Reverend Monsignor Daniel Torres, Carlos Garcia, and The Very Reverend Aubrey Guilbeau in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Thursday, May 12. Interment was in Graceland Cemetery under the direction of Johnson Funeral Home. Visitation and a Scripture Service, led by Father Garcia, were Wednesday in the Cathedral. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations be made to the Seminarian Education Fund or the Priest Retirement Fund for the Diocese of Lake Charles.
Blessed are those who have died in the Lord;
let them rest from their labors
for their good deeds go with them.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.