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Timeline of Father Lafleur’s Life

Born on January 24, 1912 in Ville Platte, Louisiana. In 1926, his family moved to Opelousas, Louisiana.

From early in his life, he felt a calling to the priesthood. Father Colliard made arrangements for young Verbis to enter St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary in St. Benedict, Louisiana in 1927.

For 11 years, he prepared for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s Seminary and at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was ordained as a priest on April 2, 1938.

He celebrated his First Solemn Mass in St. Landry Catholic Church in Opelousas, Louisiana on April 5, 1938.

Father Lafleur’s first assignment was St. Mary Magdalen in Abbeville, Louisiana.

He joined the Army Air Corps in the summer of 1941, nearly one half year before the U. S. became involved in World War II. Father Lafleur was assigned to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He arrived at Clark Field in the Philippine Islands just a few weeks before it was attacked on December 8, 1941. For his bravery in action, he won the Distinguished Service Cross and was later awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

He became a Prisoner of War for approximately two and one half years including stays at O’Donnell, Cabanatuan, Davao, and Lasang. On September 7, 1944, Father Lafleur gave his life while aboard a torpedoed “hell ship” carrying over 700 American Prisoners of War.

In 1945, Father Verbis’ classmates and family members gathered in Ville Platte for a Memorial Service in his honor.

The Knights of Columbus in 1946 held a parade in his honor from the Opelousas Court House to St. Landry Catholic Church.

Notre Dame Seminary Alumni dedicated a bronze plaque in his memory on November 27, 1951.

On May 21, 1989, he was honored at the dedication of the Chaplain Hill monument at Arlington National Cemetery.

On December 7, 2005, a dedication of the Father Lafleur Shrine in St. Landry Catholic Church, Opelousas, Louisiana, was held.

On September 7, 2007, the Father Lafleur Monument was dedicated at St. Landry Catholic Church, Opelousas, Louisiana.

 

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