Welcome to the Diocese of Lake Charles
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.

LAKE CHARLES – One of the major goals in the Return to the Lord Capital Campaign of the Diocese of Lake Charles was to enhance the Priest Retirement Fund.

These monies are invested and only the interest earned from that investment goes to assist retired priests, of which there are currently 13, with pensions and health insurance coverage. All of these men are priests who have been incardinated into the diocese and, thus, are the responsibility of the diocese.

The goal set for adding to the funding of the Priest Retirement Fund, which had nearly $1.5 million at the start of the Capital Campaign, was $3.2 million.

Currently, generous donors from throughout the Diocese of Lake Charles have pledged $1,533,996.23 with payments totaling $863,337.96.

Providing a dignified retirement for these men that have spent their lives in service to God in this local church is of utmost importance. Increasing this fund is significant because our priests are living longer and, just as for the laity, their healthcare costs continue to increase.

Not that far into the future, there will be additional priests who will retire. In the next eight years, perhaps as many as 12, and that does not take into account those who may become too ill to perform their pastoral duties during that time.

Bishop Glen John Provost ordained a single priest in 2018 and, with the Grace of God, will ordain another in 2019. Four men studying in Rome and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans currently are schedules to be ordained transitional deacons next year and then to the priesthood for the Diocese in 2020, the largest class of men to be ordained priests for the Diocese in its history.

Currently, retired priests will have paid into Social Security, receiving a monthly check from the Social Security Administration and being eligible to receive benefits from Medicare. Those diocesan priests serving now also pay into that system. Religious order priests serving in Southwest Louisiana are the responsibility of their religious orders.  

Many of the retired priests continue to perform significant service to various churches of the local church, such as filling in for masses when a priest is on vacation or has out of the parish on retreat or educational reasons.

Father Don Piraro, left, and Father John Poerio, right,
are two of the 13 retired priests of the Diocese of Lake
Charles. Both men live at Villa Maria Retirement Center
in Lake Charles. Father Piraro, a native of Lake Charles
ordained in 1967, served as the first director of Saint
Charles Center in Moss Bluff until his retirement while
Father Poerio, ordained in 1959, served in a variety of
parishes, including St. Margaret of Scotland, St. Raphael
in Iowa, St. Lawrence in the Hathaway-Raymond area,
St. John Vianney in Bell City and St. Mary of the Lake
in Big Lake, prior to his 2003 retirement. He also held
positions in the diocesan Tribunal.




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