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.
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.