LAKE CHARLES – Bishop Glen John Provost will be the ordaining prelate on Saturday, June 29, at a 10 a.m. liturgy in the newly restored Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for the priestly ordination of Deacon Michael Caraway and the historic ordination of four men - Samuel Bond, Joseph Caraway, Andrew DeRouen, and Levi Thompson - to the transitional diaconate, the penultimate step to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Prior to the liturgy’s conclusion and Bishop Provost’s final blessing, the official announcement of the first pastoral assignment of the newly ordained priest will be made by Deacon George Stearns, diocesan chancellor.
Deacon Caraway is a parishioner of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church in Jennings – where he will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday June 30. at 11 a.m. - and the son of William and Betty Caraway. He completed his theological studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
Deacon Caraway noted that “as I approach the end of seminary formation, I am excited because the true journey is only just beginning. As I conclude the first chapter of my vocational journey, I reminisce on the many blessings that God has bestowed on me during my time in priestly formation. As I do so, I am moved to give thanks to God and his faithful people who have been so good to me. The words of the psalmist so eloquently capture my current sentiment. In answer to the question of “How can I repay the Lord for all of His goodness to me?” (Psalm 116:12), I find myself answering with the words of the psalmist, “The chalice of salvation I will raise and call on the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:13).”
As to the change in focus from studying for the priesthood to serving God and his people “my thoughts are thoughts of excitement, wonder, and awe,” he said. “I am excited because this is what I set out to do so many years ago when I responded yes to the call of Christ. I am in wonder and awe because the task at hand is so far beyond me. How is it that I am called to minister to the people of God in the Diocese of Lake Charles for the glory of God and the salvation of souls?
“This task so far surpasses me and yet it is where the grace of God has led me, and what my heart desires to do,” Caraway said. “The words of St. Ignatius of Loyola sum up my thoughts quite well, ‘Pray as if everything depends upon God, work as if everything depends upon you.’”
As he awaits eagerly his priestly ordination, Caraway had a number of people to thank.
“I thank my parents, Bill and Betty Caraway, for the love, support, and sharing of the Catholic Faith with me; His Excellency, Bishop Provost, for his great generosity to me in his leadership, prayers, and support; and all of my family for their prayers, love, and support,” he said. “I thank Msgr. Torres who served as my vocation director for many years and Fr. Jeffrey Starkovich who is currently serving as my vocation director, Deacon Caraway continued. “I thank Fr. Charles McMillin, my pastor and a great support to me, Fr. Aubrey Guilbeau as he has been a great witness and example to me along with Fr. Scott Conner who helped me discern into the seminary.
“The Serra Clubs, West Deanery Vocations, and the Knights of Columbus have been so generous to me in their prayers and support,” he said. “Finally, I thank all who have prayed and supported me during my vocational discernment! Thank all of you for your prayers and support!”
The ordination of the quartet of seminarians to the transitional diaconate is historic for the Diocese of Lake Charles being the largest number of transitional deacons ordained. Additionally, the ordination, occurring in the newly restored Cathedral will only make the event more noteworthy and exciting.
Joseph Caraway (St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Fenton and its Mission of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Lacassine), DeRouen (Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception), and Thompson (St. Theodore Catholic Church) are all students at the Pontifical North American College in Rome while Bond (Our Lady of LaSalette Catholic Church in DeQuincy) attends Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. Following completion of their diaconate internships, generally in October, they will return to their respective seminaries to complete their theological training.
Internships for the to-be-ordained deacons will find Bond continuing his studies at the Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Ill., and at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception under the direction of Rev. Rommel Tolentino; Joseph Caraway at St. Henry Catholic Church in Lake Charles under the direction of Rev. Matthew Cormier; Thompson at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church under the direction of Msgr. Daniel Torres and DeRouen at Our Lady of Prompt Succor under the direction of Rev. Edward Richard, MS.