by Mary Farrow
Lafayette, La., Dec 23, 2020 / 04:00 pm MT (CNA).- Three Cajun Catholics from the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana are on their technique to changing into canonized saints after a historic ceremony earlier this yr.
In the course of the Jan. 11 ceremony, Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette formally opened the causes of two Louisiana Catholics, Miss Charlene Richard and Mr. Auguste “Nonco” Pelafigue.
The trigger for a 3rd candidate for canonization, Lt. Father Verbis Lafleur, was acknowledged by the bishop, however the means of opening the case takes longer, as it’s essential to collaborate with two different bishops – additional steps the results of Lafleur’s army service.
Current on the ceremony have been representatives of every candidate, who introduced brief accounts of the particular person’s life to the bishop in addition to an official request for his or her trigger to be opened. Bonnie Broussard, a consultant from the Mates of Charlene Richard, spoke on the ceremony and highlighted the precocious religion of Charlene at such a younger age.
Charlene Richard was born in Richard, Louisiana on January 13, 1947, a Cajun Roman Catholic who was “an peculiar younger particular person” who cherished basketball and her household, and was impressed by the lifetime of St. Therese of Lisieux, Broussard stated.
When she was only a center schooler, Charlene was given a terminal analysis of leukemia, a most cancers of the bone marrow and lymphatic system.
Charlene dealt with the grim analysis with “religion past the power of most adults, and decided to not waste the sufferings she would face, she joined herself to Jesus on his cross and provided her intense ache and struggling for others,” Broussard stated.
Within the final two weeks of her life, Charlene requested Fr. Joseph Brennan, a priest who got here to minister to her every single day: “Okay Father, who am I to supply my sufferings for as we speak?”
Charlene died on August 11, 1959 on the age of 12.
“After her dying, devotion to her unfold rapidly, many testimonials have been given by individuals who have benefitted by prayer to Charlene,” Broussard stated.
1000’s of individuals go to the grave of Charlene every year, Broussard added, whereas 4,000 attended the Mass at for the thirtieth anniversary of her dying.
The second trigger for canonization authorized on Saturday was that of Auguste “Nonco” Pelafigue, a layperson whose nickname “Nonco” means “Uncle.” He was born on Jan. 10, 1888, close to Lourdes in France, and emigrated together with his household to the U.S., the place they settled in Arnaudville, Louisiana.
Charles Hardy, a consultant of the Auguste “Nonco” Pelafigue Basis, stated Auguste ultimately earned the nickname “Nonco” or Uncle as a result of he was “like an excellent uncle to everybody who got here into his (circle) of affect.”
Nonco studied to turn out to be a trainer, and taught public college in a rural space close to his hometown earlier than changing into the one lay member of the college of the Little Flower College in Arnaudville.
Whereas learning to be a trainer, Nonco additionally turned a member of The Apostleship of Prayer, a company that originated in France and whose charism is to advertise and unfold devotion to the Sacred Coronary heart of Jesus and to wish for the pope. His devotion to the Sacred Coronary heart of Jesus would come to paint Nonco’s entire life.
“Nonco was identified for his passionate devotion to the Sacred Coronary heart of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary,” Hardy stated.
“He devoutly attended each day Mass and served wherever he was wanted. Maybe most inspiringly, with a rosary looped round his arm, Nonco traversed the highways and byways of his neighborhood, spreading devotion to the Sacred Coronary heart of Jesus.”
He would journey nation roads on foot to go to the sick and people in want, and would refuse rides from neighbors even within the harshest of climate, as a result of he thought-about his walks an act of penance for the conversion of souls on Earth and the purification of these in purgatory, Hardy added.
“He was actually a door-to-door evangelist,” Hardy stated. On weekends, Nonco taught faith to public college college students and arranged The League of the Sacred Coronary heart, which distributed month-to-month pamphlets across the neighborhood in regards to the devotion. He additionally organized inventive performs for Christmas time and different particular feasts that portrayed biblical tales, lives of the saints, and devotion to the Sacred Coronary heart in dramatic vogue.
“By means of drama, he shared a passionate love of Christ together with his college students and the complete neighborhood. On this manner, he opened not solely the minds however the hearts of his college students,” Hardy stated. Nonco’s pastor referred to Nonco as one other priest in his parish, and Nonco was ultimately awarded the Professional Ecclesia Et Pontifice medal by Pope Pius XII in 1953, “in recognition of his devoted and humble service to the Catholic Church,” Hardy stated.
“This papal ornament is among the highest honors awarded to the members of the lay trustworthy,” Hardy added. “For twenty-four extra years till his dying in 1977, on the age of 89, Nonco constantly unfold devotion to the Sacred Coronary heart of Jesus for a complete of 68 years till the day he died on June 6, 1977, which was the feast of the Sacred Coronary heart of Jesus,” Hardy stated.
Fr. Mark Ledoux, a consultant for the Mates of Fr. Joseph Verbis LaFleur, stated at ceremony in January that the army chaplain is most remembered for his heroic service throughout World Battle II.
“Fr. Joseph Verbis LaFleur lived a unprecedented life in simply 32 years,” Ledoux stated.
Lafleur was born on January 24, 1912 in Ville Platte Louisiana. Though he got here from “very humble beginnings…(and) a damaged residence,” LaFleur had lengthy dreamed of being a priest, Ledoux stated.
Throughout his summer season breaks from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Lafleur would spend his time instructing catechism and first communicants.
He was ordained a priest on April 2, 1938 and requested to be a army chaplain, simply earlier than the outbreak of the Second World Battle. Initially, his request was denied by his bishop, however when the priest requested a second time, it was granted.
“As a chaplain he displayed heroism past the decision of obligation, incomes the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest honor for valor,” Ledoux famous.
“Nonetheless it was as a Japanese prisoner of struggle that Lafleur would reveal the depth of his love” and holiness.
“Although kicked, slapped and overwhelmed by his captors, he at all times sought to raised the situations of his fellow POWs,” Ledoux stated.
“He even let move alternatives for his escape with a purpose to stay the place he knew his males wanted him.”
Ultimately, the priest ended up on a ship with different Japanese POWs that was torpedoed, unwittingly, by an American submarine that didn’t understand the ship was carrying POWs.
“He was final seen on Sept. 7, 1944, serving to males out of the hull of the sinking ship for which he posthumously earned a Purple coronary heart and a Bronze Star. And in October 2017, for his actions as a POW, Father was awarded a second Distinguished Service Cross,” Ledoux stated.
The physique of Lafleur was by no means recovered. Bishop Deshotel on Saturday said his intent to formally open the priest’s trigger one he has obtained the right permissions from the opposite bishops concerned within the trigger.
Lafleur was acknowledged in a keynote to the Nationwide Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, on June 6, 2017, by Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the army archdiocese, who stated: “He was a person for others proper to the tip… Father Lafleur responded to his POW scenario with inventive braveness. He drew on his advantage to take care of, defend, and fortify the lads imprisoned with him.”
“Many survived as a result of he was a person of advantage who gave unstintingly of himself. To talk of the greatness of our nation is to talk of women and men of advantage who gave of themselves for the advantage of all. We construct for a brand new tomorrow once we draw from that wellspring of advantage.”
This text was initially revealed on CNA Jan. 14, 2020.