By Pamela Seal
Diocese of Lake Charles
LAKE CHARLES — In celebration of National Catholic Schools Week, held Jan. 31-Feb. 6, Bishop Glen John Provost celebrated two special Masses in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
The first Mass was celebrated for the senior class of St. Louis Catholic High School on Wednesday, Feb. 3. A second Mass was celebrated on Thursday, Feb. 4, for eighth-grade students of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lake Charles. Two Masses were celebrated this year to allow for social distancing among students.
Bishop Provost commended the six Catholic schools for opening so quickly after Hurricanes Laura and Delta.
“Our Catholic schools were the first to reopen after the storms in the fall. Catholic schools have remained open consistently nationwide throughout the pandemic,” he said. “That is part of what Catholic education is about. Catholic education is intrepid as it moves forward.”
In his comments to the eighth-grade students, he reminded them they are all part of the mission to spread the message of Christ.
“You are part of a great adventure in Catholic schools that began centuries ago,” Bishop Provost said. “Catholic schools is Jesus Christ himself and everything that he intends without any watering down. The message of Christ can never be compromised, and it is with this sense that we approach Catholic education.”
As Bishop Provost spoke to the seniors of St. Louis, he said they should always want to offer God their best.
“God has given us a free will and an intellect that he intended us to use,” he said. “Catholic education is a dynamic education, one in which there is always interaction between the student and the teacher, yes, but also with Christ at the center of it all. We are never alone. We are always called to this interaction.”
The bishop credits the Diocese’s dedication to the art of education as the reason the Catholic schools reopened so quickly after the hurricanes.
“Education is about a personal interaction between a student and a teacher, which cannot be substituted by a computer screen or distance learning,” he said.
After each of the Masses, Bishop Provost did his own interacting with the students by inviting them to ask him anything they wanted to know, and he would do his best to answer their questions.
When asked what his favorite memories of the Cathedral are, he smiled and said, “Meeting with students every year for the Catholic Schools Week Mass.” He also enjoys midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and celebrating the ordinations of priests for the Diocese of Lake Charles.
Concelebrants for the Masses were Very Rev. Rommel Tolentino, pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; Rev. Nathan Long, pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church and rector of St. Louis Catholic High School; Very Rev. Keith Pellerin, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church in Jennings; Rev. Levi Thompson, parochial vicar of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church; Rev. Michael Caraway, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Sulphur; Rev. Sam Orsot, parochial vicar of St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church; and Rev. Andrew DeRouen, parochial vicar of St. Theodore Catholic Church in Moss Bluff and St. Pius X Catholic Church in Ragley. Deacon Brian Kirk assisted the bishop, and Rev. Sam Bond served as master of ceremonies.
Catholic schools in the Diocese are St. Louis Catholic High School, Immaculate Conception Cathedral School, St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic School, and Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic School, all in Lake Charles; Our Lady’s Catholic School in Sulphur; and Our Lady Immaculate Catholic School in Jennings.