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LAKE CHARLES -- Wylace Vincent Jr., a member of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Kinder, was named the “Distinguished Catholic of the Year” by St. Peter Claver Court and Council #168 of St. Henry Catholic Church at the 2018 Sapphire and Ice Gala fundraiser. Bishop Glen John Provost was present and greeted the evening’s guest speaker, Bishop Shelton Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.

Bishop Provost offered his personal congratulations to Mr. Vincent on his fine accomplishments.

Wylace Vincent, Jr., center, named the 2018 Distinguished Catholic of the Year by St. Peter Claver Court and Council #168 of St. Henry Catholic Church, stands with his pastor, Father Keith Pellerin of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church of Kinder, and Father Matthew Cormier, right, pastor of St. Henry.

Vincent has been a faithful and devoted Catholic his entire life. Married to Margaret Ann Richard Vincent since November 3, 1961, the couple has three daughters and sons-in-law along with seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.  

He has served the church as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, a Lector, an Usher and a member of the Pastoral Council and was the  co-coordinator of the first Parish Renewal at St. Philip Neri. Vincent is a member of the East Deanery Serra Club, a recipient of the Devoted Service Medal from the Diocese of Lake Charles, a Sir Knight Commander of the Knights of the Holy Sepluchre, a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1959 serving as Grand Knight of Council 2893 for two years, and a member of the Msgr. Cramers Assembly of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus since 1987.

Vincent served his country in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve. He has also been a member of the Alvin L. Nevil Post 9933 in Moss Bluff, Woodmen of the World, the Allen Parish Cattleman Association, and the United Braford Breeders Association.

He is a former councilman for the City of Kinder, is a Past President of the Kinder Jaycees, officer with the Lions Club and the Kinder High School Athletic Association. Vincent served as a coach for elementary football and girls Little Dribblers basketball teams, and a “band Dad” for the Kinder High School Band.

During his retirement, he has enjoyed activities with his family, to which he is tirelessly devoted, and friend. Vincent maintains contact with and support for St. Philip Neri Church, the Knights of Columbus, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

He also enjoys his life’s dream as owner and operator of Rocking V Ranch.

Other nominees were Robert J. Richard of Christ the King Catholic Church in Lake Charles and Joseph Citizen of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lake Charles.

Bishop Fabre serves as the chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. He spoke of the new pastoral letter from the bishops entitled, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love — A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” which was passed later in the month at the autumn conference of the bishops, which was held in Baltimore.

Bishop Fabre spoke of previous pastoral letters from the bishops on the sin of racism.

“At significant times in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, leaders of the Church have written pastoral letters of concern over the sin of racism,” Bishop Fabre noted. “In 1958, the bishops of the United States issued Discrimination and Christian Conscience to condemn the blatant forms of racism found in segregation and the "Jim Crow" laws. Ten years later in the spring of 1968, the bishops again penned a letter entitled National Race Crisis to condemn the scandal of racism and the policies which led to the violence that had erupted in many major cities across our nation.

“In 1979, the bishops wrote Brothers and Sisters to Us, a pastoral letter addressing how racism was still affecting so many, highlighting the structural and institutional forms of racial injustice evident in the economic imbalances found in our nation,” Bishop Fabre continued. “These three documents directly addressed issues concerning race within our nation's borders. It demonstrates that during the turbulent sixties and seventies, the Catholic Church was aware of the persistent evil of racism.”  

Proceeds from the event will be used to support college-level seminarians studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Lake Charles and the St. Henry Catholic Church’s Building Bridges Capital Campaign, which is in its second year.    Pastors of the church parishes of the Diocese of Lake Charles nominate an individual for the award, with St. Henry serving as host for the gala.

Previous award recipients include Willa Golden (2017);  Craig A. Guillory (2016); Tammy Welch (2015); Patrick Guillory (2014); Rosie Richards (2013); Herman Guidry (2012); Cheryl Riley (2011); and Clarence Prudhomme (2010).

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