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2018-2019 DOLC Seminarians

Thirteen Men Return To Seminary Studies

The 2018-2019 class of men continuing their discernment and training for the priesthood for the Diocese of Lake Charles is one of its largest and each man has been assigned to various seminaries by Bishop Glen John Provost. The Bishop, seen center in the above photo, is seated with the class. Seated with him are, from left, Andrew DeRouen, Joseph Caraway, Deacon Michael Caraway, and Levi Thompson. Standing, from left, are Michael Beverung, Alec January, Josh Page, Conner Chaisson, Samuel Bond, Treville Belcher, Lai Nguyen, Olin Scot Chester, and Garrett Broussard. Belcher, Chaisson, and Broussard are the three newest men accepted by Bishop Provost for entry into the seminary. Deacon Michael Caraway, who will return to the Pontifical North American College in Rome following his fall internship, was ordained to the diaconate in June. He will join three other men, at the PNAC - Andrew DeRouen, Joseph Caraway, and Levi Thompson. Deacon Caraway will be completing his fourth year of theological study while the trio are in their third theological year. They, along with Sam Bond, studying at Notre Dame Seminary College in New Orleans, are expected, with God’s grace, to be ordained next June to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Provost. The priestly ordination of Deacon Caraway is expected at the same time.

New seminarians, Treville Belcher and Garrett Broussard, both in First Year Pre-Theology at Notre Dame Seminary and Conner Chaisson in First Year College at St. Joseph Seminary College. Alec January and Josh Page are in their fourth year of philosophy study at St. Joseph. Also, at Notre Dame Seminary will be Michael Beverung in second year theology, Lai Nguyen in second year pre-theology, and Olin Scott Chester in first year theology. The men represent 10 church parishes of the diocese – Michael Beverung – Our Lady Queen of Heaven; Sam Bond – Our Lady of LaSalette, DeQuincy; Levi Thompson – St. Theodore, Moss Bluff; Joseph Caraway – St. Charles Borromeo, Fenton and its mission, St. John the Evangelist, Lacassine; Andrew DeRouen – Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; Lai Nguyen, Garrett Broussard, and Treville Belcher – all Our Lady of Good Counsel; Deacon Michael Caraway – Our Lady Help of Christians, Jennings; Alec January – St. Philip Neri, Kinder; Olin Scott Chester – St. Joseph, Vinton; and Josh Page and Conner Chaisson – both Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Sulphur. Rev. Jeffrey Starkovich, the pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Ragley, serves as Director of Seminarians and Vocations for the diocese, overseeing the education, training, and discernment of these men. Additionally, before their return to school, three seminarians – Olin Scott Chester, Michael Beverung, and Sam Bond - were accepted by Bishop Provost to Candidacy for Admission to Holy Orders. The Rite of Admission is celebrated when a seminarian has reached a maturity of purpose regarding his vocation and has shown the necessary qualities for ordained ministry. Through this liturgical rite, a seminarian makes a public intention of receiving Holy Orders and resolves to continue his preparation, in mind and spirit, in order to give faithful service to Christ and His Church.

OBERLIN – An effort that began more than two years ago, an effort to bring the Saint Maximilian Kolbe Prison Ministry to the Diocese of Lake Charles, bore fruit recently with the first retreat for 65 men incarcerated at the Allen Parish Correctional Center.

Fifty-five volunteers, from church parishes in the Diocese of Lake Charles and the Diocese of Beaumont, staffed the retreat, which was “well received” according to Shelley Hacker, founding director of the Kolbe Prison Ministry in the diocese and a parishioner of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church.

Monsignor Daniel Torres, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Heaven, served as the Spiritual Director of the retreat at Allen Correctional, which came there “with the blessing of our Bishop, The Most Reverend Glen John Provost,” Msgr. Torres noted.

“I watched the prisoners come in on Thursday with a coldness and stoic expression in their demeanor,” Msgr. Torres said. “On Sunday, there existed joy, hope, peace, and love.  A visible transformation was evident in the lives of these prisoners.They felt the Love of God penetrating their hardened hearts and experienced hope, peace, love, joy, and the tools on how to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ,” he continued. “They learned the importance of how to discern God’s Will versus the will of society.  They understood they have to be men owning up to their choices and consequences.  It was a beautiful retreat for my soul as well as everyone present.”

  St. Kolbe Prison Ministry Retreat at Allen Correctional

The gymnasium of the prison had been transformed into a makeshift retreat center for Mass, prayer, testimonies, adoration, and sharing meals, according to Msgr. Torres.

“The organization and execution of the four days was unbelievable,” he said. “Shelley brought a genuine, humbling, hard-working spirit to help the prisoners to see they are loved by God.  The many volunteers worked well with the leadership of Shelley and others.”

The ministry came to Southwest Louisiana from the Diocese of Beaumont through personal relationships between men involved in various church ministries, including the ACTS Ministry.

“It came to the Beaumont from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fredericksburg, Texas,” Hacker said.

 According to the website – kolbeprisonministries.com -  the ministry came about following numerous KAIROS weekends (an interdenominational Christian ministry whose programs are designed to be presented in correctional institutions). From interaction between an offender in the Texas prison, a volunteer, and the prison chaplain, ACTS Prison retreats began and were soon approved to be brought into any unit within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) who may wish to have the retreat in their unit.

“The focus is prisons,” Hacker said. “We have prisons in Oakdale (a federal facility) and in Oberlin, as well as the Calcasieu Parish Jail. We hope to expand into that facility and overall do two or three retreats a year and continue to expand, hopefully going statewide.

“That, though, will have to be a missioning effort among the bishops of the state and volunteers in each diocese who would like to take it up,” Hacker noted. “We have already been invited back to Allen Correctional for a second retreat.”

Hacker spoke of the men who worked diligently with him over the past two years to make that first retreat possible - David Hennigan, Bernard Marcantel, Estel Matt, Joe Hacker, Gerald Fruge, Randy Daigle, David Rogers,  Jason Touchet, Cecil Ashford , Bill Bourgeois, and Dewey Duhon. “They prayed and sacrificed their time to travel to Beaumont for St. Kolbe ministry.  Their efforts blossomed at Allen Correctional.”

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