Convention will focus on roles of shepherding

By Peter Finney Jr.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York; Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas; and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, will address more than 400 priests from the state of Louisiana Sept. 19-21 at the 2017 Louisiana Priests’ Convention in New Orleans.

The theme of the convention, held every four years, is “Shepherding Today as Priest, Prophet and King.” The attendance is expected to be the largest in convention history.

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond characterized the three-day gathering as “blessed days which give us an opportunity to spend time together, pray together and to learn more about the ministry entrusted to us by Jesus Christ.”

The priests will hear three keynote addresses: Cardinal Dolan will offer the opening address Sept. 19 on “The Priestly Dimension of Shepherding Today”; Bishop Flores will be the homilist at a Sept. 20 Mass at St. Louis Cathedral in which he will discuss “The Prophetic Dimension of Shepherding Today”; and Bishop Kicanas will close the conference Sept. 21 with a talk on “The Kingly Dimension of Shepherding Today.”

In addition to the major addresses, there will be four breakout sessions on Sept. 20:

  • Emily R. Cash, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist and a member of the clinical services department at St. Luke Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, will discuss “Internet Pornography and Its Effects Upon the Clergy and Laity.”
  • Mary-Rose and Ryan Verret, the founders of “Witness to Love” Marriage Prep Renewal Ministry, will speak on “Forming Engaged Couples for Marriage.”
  • Father Philip Bochanski, the executive director of Courage International and a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, will discuss “Pastoral Care of People with Same-Sex Attraction.”
  • Father Gary Thomas, a priest who serves as the mandated exorcist of the Diocese of San Jose, California, will speak on “Exorcisms and Prayers of Deliverance in the Ministry of the Priest.”

A St. Louis ‘cardinal’

Cardinal Dolan has served as archbishop of New York since 2009. The native of St. Louis was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1976 and served as a parish priest for eight years, as secretary to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, D.C., as a professor at Kenrick Seminary and St. Louis University, and as rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

In 2001, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of St. Louis by St. John Paul II, and a year later he was named archbishop of Milwaukee. Pope Benedict XVI transferred him to the Archdiocese of New York in 2009 and named him a cardinal in 2012.

Cardinal Dolan has served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services and was co-chair of the National Jewish-Catholic Dialogue. He was a part of the 2013 conclave at the Sistine Chapel in which Pope Francis was elected. He now serves as chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Bp. Flores: A native of Texas

Bishop Flores has served as the Bishop of Brownsville since 2009. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1988 for the Diocese of Corpus Christi and was named chancellor in 2000. After serving as a faculty member and later vice rector of St. Mary’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, he was named in 2006 as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was appointed the sixth bishop of Brownsville in 2009. Bishop Flores is the former chair of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.


Bp. Kicanas served seminary 

Bishop Kicanas was ordained a priest in 1967 and served in various capacities in the seminary system of the Archdiocese of Chicago for more than 25 years. He was appointed an auxiliary bishop of Chicago in 1995 and served as episcopal vicar of Vicariate I in Chicago. He was named coadjutor bishop of Tucson in 2001 and installed as bishop of Tucson in 2003. Bishop Kicanas is vice chancellor of the Catholic Extension Society and chair of the Mission Committee. He is the former vice president and secretary of the USCCB and the former chair of the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services.

Archbishop Aymond said he hopes the convocation will nurture priests in their ministry “so that we can together continue to serve the people of God with renewed energy, faith and enthusiasm.”

Click here to view the entire special supplement, “2017 Louisiana Priests’ Convention: Priest, Prophet, King.”

Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at

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