It is with gratitude and humility that I accepted the appointment to the office of Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette. I am grateful to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, for his confidence in me and for his pastoral concern for this local Church. I am grateful for the years of pastoral care provided by Bishop Edward O'Donnell and for the opportunity I have to learn from his experience here. I am grateful for the years I served in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux and for having shared life and ministry with the fine people of that diocese.
At the same time, I am humbled at the thought of following in the footsteps of five bishops who have built up and cared for this venerable diocese for 84 years. I pray that Almighty God may grant me the grace to serve with the same love and solicitude as they have. I ask everyone's patience and prayers as I become reacquainted with my home diocese. With God's blessings, we will work together to proclaim the gospel and build his kingdom.
I welcome the opportunity to shepherd the Diocese of Lafayette where I served as a priest for 26 years and where I have lived for most of my life. Not only did I serve here, but I was formed in this culture so heavily influenced by the Catholic faith and the Cajun way of life. In his statement, Bishop O'Donnell said, speaking of himself, that the Pope could not have sent a bishop who would love you more. I am sure that that is true. Today I make the same pledge as my journey through life comes full circle, and I return to the people who have always been so dear to my heart.
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