LAFAYETTE, LA – Father Benjamin Pitre, a United States Navy chaplain candidate, was ordained a priest on Saturday, June 23, in Lafayette, LA. His ordination was celebrated at a 10:00 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist through the laying on of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette. AMS Auxiliary Bishop Richard B. Higgins concelebrated the ordination Mass.
A native of Opelousas, LA, Father Pitre, 34, is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having spent five years as an active-duty submarine officer from 2006 to 2011. He is a 2006 graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU), where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, and a 2014 graduate of St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, LA, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy.
Most recently, Father Pitre earned a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (STB) from the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Father Pitre hopes to go on active duty as a U.S. Navy chaplain following three years of pastoral service in his home Diocese of Lafayette.
Father Pitre said:
“I have always had a great desire to be a father and to raise children. However, I never thought that God would fulfill that desire by calling me to be a priest. Now that I am ordained, I know that God has given to me many children, and I ask for the grace to raise them well in the Faith.”
Among those in attendance at the ordination Mass were the new priest’s parents, Ben and Suzanne Pitre; his sister, Natalie Gaudin, her husband Stephen, and their two daughters, Victoria and Lauren; his sister, Alison Garcille, her husband Eric, and their two daughters, Caroline and Sadie; his brother, Joseph Pitre; and his last living grandparent, Ms. Sue Hebert.
Father Pitre celebrated his first Mass at St. Landry Catholic Church, his home parish in Opelousas where Army Air Corps chaplain, Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur served and is immortalized with a statue in front of the church.