Pastor’s Corner – October 22, 2017
PRO-LIFE BABY BOTTLE COMPAIGN THIS WEEKEND – DesOrmeaux Foundation
Baby bottles will be available today after Masses for donations to benefit our local pregnancy resource center, maternity home, and mother & baby boutique which provide necessary items for both mothers and children. The mothers also receive free pregnancy testing, consultation, education on chastity, shelter, food, and other services to provide the women and children their needs. This is an opportunity to not only say that we are Pro-Life, but to let our actions show that we are Pro-Life! Please return your donations in the bottles next weekend and return the baby bottles so that they may be re-used. Thanks in advance for your support of this most worthy cause!!
- LAFLEUR AWARDED DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
It was an honor for our church to host the award of The Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart to Lt. Fr. Verbis J. Lafleur. It was a beautiful ceremony and we are especially happy that our high school students from Opelousas Catholic were able to attend. Many thanks to all of those in attendance, especially our Bishop, Douglas Deshotel, our Congressman, Ralph Abraham, and all of the local governmental officials. Thanks to all who helped apply for and promote the award: Peter Guerra, Congressman Abraham, Senator Cassidy and of course the Lafleur Family, especially Richard and Carrol Lafleur.
The award was made by proclamation of the President of the United States, which was read at the ceremony:
“The President of the United States of America has awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to Chaplain (First Lieutenant) Joseph V. Lafleur, 19th Bombardment Group, for extraordinary heroism from 30 December 1941 through 7 September 1944. While evading capture aboard the SS Mayon, Chaplain Lafleur was instrumental in saving three men who jumped overboard during an attack from a Japanese bomber. After the three men were rescued, he then assisted soldiers into lifeboats until he was the last man on the ship, denying his own chance to escape to Australia. As a prisoner of war after 1 January 1942, Chaplain Lafleur constructed a chapel at the prison camp to minister to men of all faiths. He continuously advocated for food and medicine for the prisoners, often intervening on their behalf, resulting in beatings at the hands of his captors. Later, while aboard the Japanese ship Shinyo Maru bound for Japan, he organized distribution of the meager rations allotted to approximately 400 prisoners and was observed giving his rations to others. On 7 September 1944, the submarine USS Paddle, believing the ship was transporting Japanese soldiers, sank the Shinyo Maru. Chaplain Lafleur was last seen aiding prisoners to escape in spite of Japanese guards firing small arms weapons and throwing hand grenades in the ship’s hold. Chaplain Lafleur’s personal valor and self-sacrifice in the face of grave danger are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the Army of the United States.”
At the ceremony, Fr. Lafleur was also awarded a second Purple Heart for the wounds he received after he was captured. We recall that Fr. Lafleur’s life was not only saintly, but one of heroic actions in battle. His first Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were awarded for his actions on 8 December 1941, when his base was attacked and he tended to the wounded while under fire (himself being wounded as well).
We should certainly take pause to thank God for the life of Fr. Lafleur and all who have served honorably in our military whose stories are not known, to be inspired by their goodness and bravery, and to rededicate ourselves to living a good and holy life in light of the cost of the freedoms, both secular and religious, that we have been given.
REMINDER – CEMETERY TOURS
Just a reminder that this is the last weekend for our Annual Cemetery Tours. They will be Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon this weekend. Hope you are able to come!!
Just a reminder that our next Sabbatical Presentation will be Wednesday of this week, October 25 at 7pm in the Valentin Hall Dining Room. The topic will be “The Holy Land” and will focus on the “more authentic” sites in Holy Land as well as some commentary on immigration issues that are confronting not only Israel, but Europe and the United States. Hope to see you there!