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.

Bishop Joseph Lawson Howze, the first black bishop to lead a diocese in the United States in the 20th century, died Wednesday, January 9 at the age of 95 after a lengthy illness.

Howze was appointed as the first bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi in 1977, and served there for 24 years. He had previously served as auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson, and as a priest for the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina.  

“While we are saddened by the death of Bishop Joseph Lawson Howze, we rejoice in his life,” Bishop Louis Kihneman III of the Diocese of Biloxi said in a statement.

“His was a life well lived in faithful service to Almighty God and to the people of Mississippi, both as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson and later as first bishop of Biloxi from 1977 to 2001.”

“Establishing a new diocese was hard work, but Bishop Howze was very proud of what he, with the help of devoted clergy, religious and laity, accomplished during his tenure as bishop of Biloxi and was forever grateful to the people of the diocese for their unfailing generosity of time, talent and treasure,” Kihneman said.

Howze was born in Daphne, Alabama on August 30, 1923. He was the oldest of four children born to Albert Otis Howze Sr. and Helen Lawson. When he was just five years old, his mother died, and from then on, he spent much of his time in the homes of his grandparents, aunts and uncles. His father would eventually remarry and have three more children.

A bright student, Howze graduated as valedictorian of his high school class in 1944, and went on to graduate with honors from Alabama State College in Montgomery, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in science and education.

For the next two years after college, Howze taught high school biology and chemistry at Central High School in Mobile, Alabama. It was there that he was inspired by one of his Catholic students, Marion Carroll, Jr., to convert from Methodism to Catholicism.  

After his conversion and confirmation into the Catholic Church at the age of 25, Howze’s curiosity about becoming a priest grew, and after a few years he officially began studying for the priesthood, in spite of also having had dreams of joining the medical field.  

On May 7, 1959, at the age of 35, Howze was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina. He became known for his ability to integrate his parishes despite racial differences, and was known for emphasizing the unity that the body of Christ had in God.

After serving as a priest for 13 years, Howze was appointed as auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Natchez-Jackson by Pope Paul VI, and was ordained a bishop on Jan. 28, 1973 in Jackson, Mississippi.

On March 8, 1977, Pope Paul VI appointed Howze as the founding bishop of the newly-created Diocese of Biloxi, along the Mississippi coast, where he would serve 42 parishes, 28 Catholic schools and some 48,000 Catholics.

Howze was the first black Catholic bishop appointed to lead a U.S. diocese in the 20th century. The first black Catholic bishop ever appointed to lead a U.S. diocese was Bishop James Augustine Healy, who was of mixed African and Irish descent. He was appointed to lead the Diocese of Portland, Maine by Pope Pius IX in 1875.

When Pope John Paul II visited New Orleans in 1987, Howze shared with him the concerns of many black Catholics about racism in the Church, and about the difficulty some black Catholics had in reconciling their faith with their race and culture, the Sun Herald reported.

Dr. Todd Coulter, a former student of Howze who is now an internal medicine doctor, said his example as a black Catholic leader was inspiring.

“We looked up to him,” Coulter told the Sun Herald. “He was a trailblazer for us, a hero — period. Especially for those of us who were considering the possibility of becoming a priest.”

Throughout his time as auxiliary bishop and as bishop of Biloxi, Howze served in numerous leadership positions, including as president of the National Black Catholic Clergy, a member of the World Peace Committee of the United States Catholic Conference (USCC), the Mississippi Health Care Commission, the NCCB Liaison Committee to the National Office for Black Catholics, and the NCCB Interreligious and Ecumenical Affairs Committee, among several others.

He was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Peter Claver, and a Third Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.

Kihneman said in his statement that he was honored to have had Howze present for his own installation as the fourth bishop of Biloxi, and that every time he visited him, Howze’s “first concern” was for the people of the Diocese of Biloxi.

“He loved the Diocese of Biloxi and prayed unceasingly for its continued success. He had a genuine concern for the salvation of souls,” Kihneman said.

“Now, we pray that God, who called Bishop Howze to priesthood and the episcopate, will now welcome him to his heavenly home where he will continue to intercede for us. May he rest in peace.” ​

The funeral Mass for Bishop Howze will be held at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral in Biloxi on Wednesday, January 16.


DOLC Campaign
Support The Diocese
Event Registration
Grief to Grace
Rachel's Vineyard

Together For Life

Diocesan Policies & Guidelines

2017 DOLC Audit