By Pamela Seal
Diocese of Lake Charles
LAKE CHARLES — Surrounded by clergy and staff of the Diocese of Lake Charles, Bishop Glen John Provost dedicated the new Chancery to Our Lady of Lourdes at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, September 8, 2023. The dedication and blessing on the corner of Ryan and Clarence streets coincided with the Feast of the Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary.
“In our modern world, anything new implies recent construction, but here at 1201 Ryan Street, this is not the case,” Bishop Provost remarked in the main lobby of the diocesan one-story office building. “Through a fortuitous, if not providential, set of circumstances, the Diocese was fortunate to obtain this building.”
After the purchase on May 5, 2023, and minor renovations to adapt the space to fit the needs of at least 35 administrative staff members from five locations, full-time operations began on July 1. It is the first time since the inception of the Diocese of Lake Charles in 1980 to have a centralized office that consolidates everyone.
In dedicating the office space to Our Lady of Lourdes, His Excellency noted that the Blessed Mother is keeping her sight on the staff and on the Chancery.
“Not only is our Cathedral under the patronage of her Immaculate Conception, but also the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes looks squarely down Bilbo Street in the direction of the new Chancery. There is a visual that goes directly from the Grotto to this building,” said Bishop Provost.
While there are numerous people to thank, the bishop extended his gratitude in a special way to Father Joseph Caraway, Vice-Chancellor, who was appointed the “yeoman’s job” of coordinating the move.
“The project was very complex, very work intensive, and involved a lot of moving parts,” Bishop Provost said. “I was greatly appreciative to have Father Caraway’s oversight.”
Acknowledging the help of staff and multiple volunteers, Bishop Provost mentioned several groups: numerous Knights of Columbus Councils, of which the bishop is communicating with to personally to thank each of them; Hispanic Community; Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana — both with staff and volunteers; Seminarians of the Diocese; St. Louis Catholic High School football team; and scores of volunteers from parishes throughout the Diocese.
“All these people and more contributed and made the transition incredibly smooth and effective. The transformation was indeed incredible. Beginning with me as bishop, our gratitude — yours and mine — is profound for those that made all this possible,” he said with deep sincerity.
His Excellency also expressed his thanks to the priests who work so closely with him as well as the staff of the Diocese of Lake Charles saying, “What we do here is very important for the message of Christ that we try to preach.”
After Bishop Provost went room to room sprinkling the Chancery with holy water, he and Father Caraway unveiled the dedicatory plaque outdoors on the west side of the main entrance while everyone sang “Salve Regina.”
The Chancery includes offices for Bishop Provost and Diocesan Administration, Office of Catholic Schools, Tribunal, Marriage, Family and Pro-Life, Communications, Religious Education and Evangelization, Fiscal Services, Vocations, Archives, Child and Youth Protection and Safe Environment, Human Resources, Clergy Immigration, Hurricane Recovery, and Development.
Tours of the building followed, and all enjoyed fried fish dinners prepared by the Cathedral’s Knights of Columbus Council 1207. Fresh flower arrangements were donated by Paradise Florist.
The Diocese of Lake Charles will host a public open house for tours of the Chancery between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Saturday, September 16. All are invited.
To contact the Diocese of Lake Charles during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, call 337-439-7400. The mailing address is P.O. Box 3223, Lake Charles, LA 70602-3223. The physical address is 1201 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601.
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