Tag Archives: lafayette-acadiana

Meet the Chaplain: Monsignor Curtis Mallet – Lafayette Chapter

Monsignor Curtis Mallet has served as a parish priest and in diocesan administrative roles since he was ordained in 1992. No longer serving in a parish, Monsignor Mallet, 51, is the full-time vicar general for the Diocese of Lafayette, La. The Legatus chaplain has also served as chaplain for a number of organizations, including Courage International, the Serra Club of Lafayette, the Catholic Daughters, and the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Lafayette where he was a founding board member. Monsignor Mallet spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.

Monsignor Curtis Mallet

When you were assigned to both parish and diocesan duties, how did you manage your time?

It kept life interesting, that’s for sure. Time management is very important. I burned the candle at both ends at times. But thanks be to God, I love what I do. My dream job is a priest. I always wake up in the morning with a sense that I have a mission. I know I’m gonna do something meaningful with my day. I put my feet down on the side of the bed in the morning, and for that I’m grateful. If I had a thousand lives to live, I’d live each one of them as a priest.

When did you know you were called to the priesthood?

I was very involved in my parish growing up. It all happened when my pastor invited me to go on a Come-and-See retreat, and I had a conversion. I like to tell people that I fell in love, and I happened to fall in love with God. My family played a vital role in my discernment. I came from a very devout Catholic family who were proud Cajun Catholics. The roots of Catholicism are very strong here. I’m very proud of my Catholic heritage.

What are your duties as the vicar general?

For the most part, a lot of my responsibilities deal with legal matters for the diocese. I’m a canon lawyer as well. I sit on the bishop’s chief administrative team. I go to a lot of meetings. I sit on a lot of different committees on behalf of the diocese. I see a big part of my job as reconciliation, trying to help people to understand one another, to get along, to work together so that the needs of the Church are served.

How did you become acquainted with Legatus?

When Legatus approached us about having a chapter here, the bishop asked if I would serve as the founding chaplain for our chapter, and I was happy to do so. We had two false starts founding our chapter until we found our groove. When we did, it went like gangbusters. We chartered with the largest group in Legatus history. We have gotten to know a lot of wonderful Catholic leaders in our area. We’re very excited about the work that Legatus is doing here.

What are your impressions of Legatus?

Legatus has an important role in shaping the business climate in our community. I really see that as vital for the spirituality of business. There are spiritual professional organizations for lots of folks, but the idea of a professional spiritual organization for Catholic leaders is still, in many ways, something new.

We have very devout people in business here in our diocese. So Legatus has really filled an important place for people who can fraternize with people in the same line of work, people with many of the same joys and struggles trying to be a good Catholic, trying to be a good family person, and at the same time trying to be a good business person.

BRIAN FRAGA is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.

Legatus chapters make history

June 4, 2014: Two chapters charter on the same day, one with record membership . . .

Jamie and S. Craig Henry

Jamie and S. Craig Henry

More than 27 years after its founding, chapters in two states contributed to a record-breaking day in the history of Legatus.  For the first time, two chapters chartered on the same day, one  of them with a record number of member-couples.

Both the Lafayette-Acadiana (Louisiana) and South Bend-Elkhart (Indiana) chapters chartered on June 4. And Lafayette rallied to charter with 53 CEO members, besting the Orange Canyons Chapter’s 38 couples in November 2011. Both new chapters are dedicated to St. John Paul II.


Legatus’ fifth Louisiana chapter grew quickly after its first chapter event in February, when 13 prospective couples gathered and nine of them joined that night. Two months later, with about 16 couples already registered as members, the chapter hosted EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo as its speaker.

“Once they saw the format and the quality of speakers, it lit a fire under everybody,” said chapter president S. Craig Henry. “We’re fortunate because Lafayette has a very Catholic-rich culture.”

The area also has a booming energy sector and a large pool of young entrepreneurs, Henry said. The chapter’s average age is 50, and the youngest member is 30 years old.

Lafayette Bishop Michael Jarrell celebrated the chartering Mass at St. Pius Catholic Church. He was joined by Legatus’ international chaplain Bishop Sam Jacobs, Lafayette vicar general Monsignor Curtis Mallet, Baton Rouge chaplain Monsignor Miles Walsh, Fr. Bryce Sibley and Fr. Louis Richard.

Legatus founder Tom Monaghan (center) with members of the Lafayette-Acadiana Chapter

Legatus founder Tom Monaghan (center) with members of the Lafayette-Acadiana Chapter

The evening’s festivities continued at the City Club at River Ranch, where members were delighted to hear from Legatus founder Tom Monaghan in the form of a question-and-answer session led by their chapter president.

“People loved it,” Henry said. “Tom Monaghan was blown away by how many members we had. He challenged our chapter to be a Confession chapter because he really wants Legatus members to use the opportunity for Confession before their monthly Mass.”

Sheila Zepernick, whose husband Gus is the chapter’s vice president, said Legatus has been a great blessing to them.

“I’ve been inspired by all the young couples with busy families who want to be part of this and have a Catholic date night once a month,” she said. “It’s just beautiful. We don’t have date- night opportunity like this with any other organization.”

South Bend-Elkhart

A thousand miles north of Lafayette, Legates from Northern Indiana gathered for their chartering Mass with Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades at St. Patrick’s Parish in South Bend, Ind. He was joined by concelebrant Fr. Terry Coonan, the chapter’s founding chaplain.

The celebration continued at LaSalle Grill in downtown South Bend with remarks from Bishop Rhoades, Legatus executive director John Hunt, chapter president Kurt Meyer and others.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades (center) with members of the South Bend-Elkhart Chapter

Bishop Kevin Rhoades (center) with members of the South Bend-Elkhart Chapter

Meyer said he and his wife first heard about Legatus shortly after Christmas, just in time for the chapter’s first meeting in February with Legatus founder Tom Monaghan.

“I started researching Legatus and I said, ‘Julie this is for me. It’s the right time, right place. I think this is what God’s telling me to do: to blend my Catholic faith and my business leadership skills,’” he said. “Being able to blend your business skills with your faith is very hard in today’s world, but it’s more important than ever.”

Father Coonan agreed. “Legatus brings these important Catholics together to talk about things and learn how to survive the struggles of business life with your faith intact.”

Mike Witous, who joined the Grand Rapids Chapter last year, transferred to South Bend when it was launched earlier this year.

“When Tom Monaghan spoke to our meeting a few months ago, he said one of the reasons he started Legatus is because he wanted to give people a better chance of going to heaven,” he explained. “I wanted to help build this chapter for similar reasons.

“As Catholics it’s nice to be able to share your faith publicly and comfortably,” Witous explained. “Unfortunately, too often we are apologetic for being Christian these days.”

Bishop Rhoades, who presided over the Fort Wayne Chapter’s chartering last December, said he was delighted and surprised at how quickly two chapters developed in his diocese.

“Legatus has given a new impulse of faith, and I feel it tonight,” he said. “These people have busy lives and they see a lot. But this is impacting them in a way that other organizations don’t because it’s dealing with their spiritual life, their relationship with the Lord, with the Church.

“I think Legatus is going to bear a lot of good fruit in our diocese beyond this immediate circle. I expect we’ll see growth in numbers, but even more importantly a growth in virtue that can happen through membership in Legatus.”

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.