Local Catholic church announces several appointments

Magee seeks Whitney’s House seat
June 10, 2015
Terrebonne storm ready: Parish’s levees raised, evacuation plan tested and revamped
June 10, 2015
Magee seeks Whitney’s House seat
June 10, 2015
Terrebonne storm ready: Parish’s levees raised, evacuation plan tested and revamped
June 10, 2015

From Montegut to Matthews, in Galliano and in Grand Isle, Bayou Region Catholics are seeing some new faces in their pulpits, as well as returns of the familiar.

Bishop Shelton Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux announced last week that two newly ordained priests will be tending to the spiritual needs of the faithful in two local parishes; re-assignments of 13 other priests and pastors is underway.

Aggregate 2010 census figures show that well over half the populations of Terrebonne and Lafourche identify as Roman Catholic, meaning the changes will affect a significant amount of people regionally. The diocese also includes St. Mary Parish east of the Atchafalaya River and Grand Isle in Jefferson Parish.

Diocesan spokesman Louis Aguirre, said the ordination – and local assignment – of homegrown priests is not unusual. Local parishes, he said, can look forward to more in the future.

“It’s not rare but it is a blessing because vocations are growing,” said Aguirre. “We have 19 men in the seminary and for a diocese of our size that is very good. We have more native vocations, local men who are coming forth to serve as priests.”

At St. Bernadette Church in Houma the new associate pastor, who begins work July 1, was ordained just last week. The Rev. Jacob Lipari III is a native of the Good Earth.

The 35-year-old Vandebilt High School alumnus is a graduate of Nicholls State University and Notre Dame Seminary. While preparing for the priesthood he served at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Thibodaux and also St. Genevieve Church. He celebrated Mass for the first time Sunday at Houma’s Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales, the church where he was ordained by Fabre.

Also ordained in Houma Saturday was the Rev. Alex Gaudet, a 27-year-old Thibodaux native. He will serve as associate pastor at St. Francis de Sales. After attending UL Lafayette and Nicholls, Gaudet went on to St. Joseph Seminary in St Benedict and graduated from Notre Dame.

Gaudet spent time during his priestly training at St. Joseph’s in Thibodaux and at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Bayou Black, performing home-bound ministries, which he also provided at Christ the Redeemer Church in Thibodaux. He served as a youth minister at St. Louis Church in Bayou Blue, and tended to the sick at Terrebonne General Medical Center as part of an assignment at St. Bernadette.

“They both received a very high quality education in the seminaries, which are among the best in the country,” said the Rev. Andre Melancon, who heads up the Diocesan vocational effort at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Thibodaux. “The professors gave them tremendous insight into the faith that they will be able to bring, to transmit to the people that they serve. They are both men of prayer and had instilled in them the need for a very active prayer life, observing a holy hour every day. They are ready to serve in whichever way God is calling them to serve. They have great generosity, the generosity of servants with servant’s hearts.”

In addition to the premiere assignments for the newly ordained priests, Fabre announced new pastors at seven local churches, effective July 1. All will serve six-year terms, which may be renewed.

The Rev. Robert-Joel Cruz, pastor at Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Chackbay, has been appointed pastor of Sacred Heart Church parish in Montegut. A native of Lucban, Quezon, Philippines, he was ordained June 8, 1996.

Sacred Heart’s current pastor, the Rev. John Nambusseril, will be the new pastor at Holy Savior Church in Lockport. A native of Kunhome, India, he was ordained Dec. 29, 1993.

The Rev. P.J. Madden, who has been serving in Ireland since 2009, is returning to Terrebonne Parish as pastor at St. Hilary of Poitiers Church in Mathews. A native of Ballinasloe, Ireland, he was ordained May 14, 2004.

The current pastor at St. Hilary, the Rev. Sabino “Benny” Rebosura II, moves on to Our Lady of Prompt Succor. A native of Bohol, Philippines, he was ordained April 22, 1987.

The Very Rev. Robert Rogers, pastor of Holy Savior Church in Lockport, has been appointed pastor of St. Louis Church parish in Bayou Blue. A Houma native, he was ordained June 13, 1992.

Moving from St. Louis Church is the Rev. Carlos Talavera, the new pastor of Our Lady of the Isle Church in Grand Isle. A native of Iriga City, Philippines, he was ordained May 31, 1997.

Administrators at two local churches, the Rev. Joseph Tregre of St. Joseph in Galliano and the Rev. Alexis “Alex” Lazarra of Holy Family Church in Dulac, have been formally appointed as pastors of their respective parishes.

Tregre, a Houma native, was ordained May 26, 2012.

Lazarra, a native of Can-Avid, E. Samar, Philippines, was ordained June 5, 2010.

Aguire said church assignments are determined through meetings between the Bishop and a Diocesan advisory committee.

In the past, he acknowledged, priests had little input in such decisions. But in recent years aspects of the transfers and assignments are discussed more openly, so that the input of priests themselves is taken into account.

Melancon, who has headed up vocational efforts at St. Thomas since last year, said philosophies and strategies for increasing interest in the priesthood began in 2003, when Bishop Sam Jacobs was the shepherd of the Diocese.

“One of the main things he wanted to focus on was increasing the number of men in the seminary,” Melancon said, adding that vocation remains a big priority under Fabre. “Things are different now. We didn’t have as many young local priests and as many seminarians until now. High school and college students don’t see it as a foreign concept. There is a national culture of vocations, and a national trend of the seminaries in the U.S. to fill up again.”

• Bishop Shelton Fabre announced these additional appointments for associate pastors:

• The Rev. Simon Peter Engurait, associate pastor at the Cathedral of St. Francis de Sales in Houma, is assigned to St. Genevieve in Thibodaux.

• The Rev. Vanathuraj “Raj” Rayappan, associate pastor of St. Bernadette in Houma, was assigned to Maria Immacolata in Houma.

• The Rev. Blair Sabaricos of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Thibodaux is assigned to Christ the Redeemer Church parish in Thibodaux.

• The Rev. Joseph Varughese, associate pastor at Maria Immacolata, is now assigned to St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Thibodaux.