By Pamela Seal
Diocese of Lake Charles
LAKE CHARLES — Bishop Glen John Provost will ordain Rev. Mr. Stephen Joshua Page to the Sacred Order of Holy Priesthood for the Diocese of Lake Charles at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 27, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Deacon Page said he is looking forward to celebrating Mass as a priest.
“The Eucharist has been a powerful reminder to me of the love of God. Celebrating the Eucharist will be a concrete example of giving back to my Diocese who has given me so much,” he remarked.
A parishioner of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church, Joshua is the 27-year-old son of Stephen and Jennifer Page of Sulphur and the brother to his two older sisters, Britni Tommasi and Mikaela Blanchard.
For Deacon Page, God’s calling began stirring in his heart when he was a junior at St. Louis Catholic High School.
“I attended a vocation retreat at Saint Charles Center at the recommendation of one of my teachers,” said Page, admitting that he would have never gone otherwise. That retreat, along with a deeper conversion after receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, led him to pray more about his vocation.
“After high school, I stayed a year at the Vianney House. I had a great year working, attending McNeese State University, and getting to know the Diocese better,” Deacon Page recalled. “By the spring semester (in 2015), it was a no-brainer that I should apply to the seminary to further my discernment.”
It might sound obvious, but the best advice Page can offer a young man considering the priesthood is to pray, go on vocation retreats, and talk to priests.
“God calls us, so we must listen to him in prayer. Daily Mass, praying the Rosary, spending time in Adoration are all essential,” Page emphasized, while viewing discernment as a two-way street. “Both the individual and the seminary say, ‘yes’ to the vocation.”
Deacon Page is grateful for the formation he received at both St. Joseph Seminary College and Notre Dame Seminary, where he will complete his studies with a Master of Divinity degree.
“Seminary makes better Catholic men. It really is a well-rounded education,” said Page. “It is not only rooted in the intellectual classes of Theology, Scripture, History, and Tradition, but also the human, spiritual, and pastoral dimensions as well.”
Page is a strong believer in making time for recreation, too. He played football in high school and shared some of his athletic abilities in the role of sports chaplain at a Catholic high school in New Orleans last year.
“I believe sports can help young men and women to become more disciplined on and off the field,” he said. “Just as in seminary, formation includes classes and recreation, so extra-curricular activities can help educate and form the minds of students.’
A couple of books that proved helpful during Page’s discernment process include The Lives of the Saints and the Cure d’Ars – Life of St. John Vianney. He said they are inspiring examples of courageous individuals who can help encourage one to be brave in discernment and prayer with God.
While summer parish assignments for seminarians offer opportunities to learn more about the diocese and the people in it, Page said his diaconate internship at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in 2022 helped him get his feet wet in parish ministry without being overwhelmed with responsibilities.
“I was part of a team at Our Lady Queen of Heaven that worked together to build up the community,” said Page. “Whether I was at Christus OCHSNER St. Patrick Hospital, Villa Maria Retirement Center, OLQH School, Consolata Cemetery, Crossroads Catholic Books & Gifts, or doing work in the parish, there was always someone whom I could learn from who has been devoting their service to helping people at these various places.”
Deacon Page recognizes that the Diocesan Priesthood is rooted in the community and said he is looking forward to soon being able to serve.
“I am excited to come back to the Diocese full time and be a part of the lives of family and friends after being away at seminary for eight years,” he remarked. “Many of my friends have grown up and started families. Priesthood means being with people during the most important moments of their lives.”
When asked how he can be a vessel to keep the Light of Christ shining for younger Catholics in the Diocese of Lake Charles, Page has observed that many of the younger generation want to know more about their faith in a much deeper way.
“The youth today want to know why we do what we do and how to defend their faith,” noted Page. “This encourages me to continue learning so that I can more effectively minister and catechize in the future.”
He will have plenty of opportunities to teach through his homilies, something he said has already been a grace-filled experience.
“Someone told me that I come alive most when I am giving a homily,” Deacon Page said, noting that his preparation includes prayer, reading theology, commentary, and corresponding catechism texts. “I hope to offer some concrete spiritual nugget that people can remember and carry with them.”
Before the conclusion of the Liturgy of Holy Orders, the first priestly assignment for Page will be announced.
NOTE: The ordination will be live streamed on the Lake Charles Vocations Facebook page for those unable to attend. A reception will follow in the Ave Maria Hall. The Cathedral is located at 935 Bilbo Street.