Meet the Chaplain: Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel – Lafayette-Acadiana Chapter
Roused by charity of Christ, bishop prioritizes education, catechesis and families
of Lafayette, Louisiana is the new chaplain of Legatus’ Lafayette-Acadiana Chapter.
Bishop Deshotel, 66, became the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette in 2016. He was previously a priest of the Diocese of Dallas, where he was ordained on May 13, 1978. He served as a parish priest and served on the faculty of the diocesan seminary. Bishop Deshotel recently spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.
When did you discern your vocation to the priesthood?
I first started thinking that I wanted to be a priest probably around in the sixth grade. What really inspired me to think about a vocation to the priesthood was the very saintly priest who was the pastor in the little town I grew up in. He was a wonderful priest, a member of everyone’s family, even those who were not Catholic, and just showed very good qualities of what my concept of a priest grew to be. I saw it all in him at a very young age, and that attracted me to the priesthood.
Why did you choose your episcopal motto of “CHRISTUS CARITAS URGET ME” (The love of Christ compels me)?
Even before I knew I was going to be a bishop, a long time ago, I had reflected on that verse from one of St. Paul’s letters, that despite everything and all the difficulties that he faced, even persecution, he mentions that it is the charity of Christ that urges him to go on. So when I was named a bishop, and I started thinking about a motto for my episcopacy, I decided to use it because it is certainly a very beautiful phrase.
What are your biggest challenges as a diocesan bishop?
One is try to make Catholic education available as much as possible, to find ways for anyone who would like to attend one of our Catholic schools to be able to do that, through looking for different funding mechanisms, tuition assistance, and trying to encourage as much as possible people to choose a Catholic education. Another challenge is catechesis. I’m very concerned and want to make sure that all of our children and adults are well catechized in the Faith. I think that if we’re not catechized, we became prey for a lot of secular movements and also some of the non-denominational megachurches.
Another one is to strengthen family life. So much comes from family life. The faith is transmitted for the first time through family life. To work on strengthening marriages, strengthening Catholic marriages, and practicing the Faith in the home. Families are subjected to a lot of secular pressures, and the very busy lives that they lead often leaves them very little time for family life.
How did you come to be acquainted with Legatus?
I knew Legatus from the time I was a parish priest in the Diocese of Dallas. Legatus had a very active chapter there and many of the members belonged to my last parish, St. Monica Parish in Dallas. When I was named the auxiliary bishop there, the Legatus chapter was a big help to me. It was my pleasure to be with them and to learn of their mission and how important it was for leaders in business to bring the teachings of their faith into the workplace, both for themselves and for their colleagues and employees. They had excellent opportunities for evangelization.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I’m getting a little older and can’t enjoy sports as much as I used to, but I used to scuba dive, and I enjoy snow skiing, as well as reading. I’m also kind of a videophile. I enjoy classic black and white movies. In fact, when I was on the faculty at the seminary, the students used to laugh me because they wondered why I bought a color TV since everything I watched was in black-and-white