Dear people of God of the Diocese of Baton Rouge,

Your pastor will be attending two mandatory Priest Retreats from Tuesday, Sept. 19, through Thursday, Sept. 21, and Monday, Oct. 2, through Thursday, Oct. 5. The September retreat is the Louisiana Priests Convention held every four years which will take the place of the Diocesan Annual Priests’ Formation Days held in January. The October retreat is the Clergy Fall Retreat mandatory every other year.

I know this may affect certain regular ministries, such as daily Mass and funerals. The daily Mass schedule in your parish can be adjusted as determined by your parish priest to meet the needs of your parish during these retreats. While this is a sacrifice, I consider this sacrifice worth making.

Bishop Muench.pdf

Regarding funerals, I would ask that funerals be scheduled either before the retreat begins or after, but not during, the scheduled retreat days. If this is completely impossible, one of the deacons from the diocese can provide the needed funeral rites, namely the vigil wake, funeral without Mass and rite of committal. If a parish cannot provide a deacon to lead these services, Deacon John Veron has agreed to coordinate finding deacons who are willing to help. In this case, a parish staff member would contact the Office of the Vicar General and Deacon Veron will assist in providing a deacon for that special need.

Over the years attendance at our annual Priest Retreats has been remarkably consistent. Pressing ministry could compromise and jeopardize our commitment to these special opportunities. I hope this letter helps you understand and support our priests with their commitment to their ministry. I ask that you pray for our priests and our diocese during these days, as they pray for you as well.

In summary, every priest of the diocese is expected to be present and take part in these retreats. I appreciate so much your affirmation and encouragement of our clergy who give so much of their lives for our diocese. May God be generous in leading us into the future with hope.