Scholarship fund started in memory of Lt. Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur
With the help of a North Carolina couple, a scholarship fund has now been started in honor of Lt. Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur, a local World War II military chaplain who perished during service to God and his country in 1944. The scholarship will be awarded to students of Sacred Heart School in Ville Platte; which Father Lafleur attended as a boy; to Opelousas Catholic School in Opelousas, where his vocation began; and Vermilion Catholic School in Abbeville, because of Father Lafleur’s dedication to the youth of the area during his assignment as associate pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Church.
Several months ago, Loretta and Alex Theroit were down from North Carolina for a stay in the home they maintain in Denham Springs. On a visit to a local religious shop, they discovered “But He Dies Not”, a biography on Father Verbis Lafleur. As they learned more about Father Lafleur’s life and legacy, the Theriots made a generous contribution to the Father Lafleur Memorial Fund and also learned of the efforts to establish an additional scholarship fund in the priest’s memory. In October 2011, the Theriots offered another donation matching up to $50,000 in local donations. The Friends of Lt.Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur continue to seek donations to complete the scholarship fund with a principal amount of $100,000.00, and the hope is to have the funds raised over the next year.
Donations can be mailed to:
St Landry Catholic Church,
ATTN: Lt. Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur Endowment Fund
1020 North Main Street
Opelousas, LA 70570
Mr. and Mrs. Theriot have also generously agreed to donate the funds for this year's (2012) scholarships. Therefore, the first scholarships are scheduled to be awarded this year in May, with applications due by April 20, 2012 so that they may be reviewed by a committee to select the recipients. The application process is open to any eighth-grade student who wishes to attend either Sacred Heart School in Ville Platte, Opelousas Catholic School in Opelousas, or Vermilion Catholic School in Abbeville. The applicants will be judged on:
- A submitted essay expressing his/her knowledge of the life witness of Lt. Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur
- Involvement/leadership in his/her church parish, school, and community
- Pastor’s testimony of the applicant’s faith, church involvement, character, values, and verification that the applicant is a registered parishioner committed to Mass attendance
- Financial need
Scholarship forms and additional information on the essay portion requirements may be requested by contacting St. Landry Church in Opelousas at (337) 942-6552, Guaranty Glass in Opelousas (337) 948-7700 or (337) 948-6130. Those who may be interested in contributing to the future assets of the future of the Lt. Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur Endowment Scholarship Fund are also urged to contact the parish office for details on where to send their donations.