Northern Louisiana Vocations Inspired by Ruston Friars

by Br. Mike Ward, OFM

Br. Michael Ward, OFM, was the “vesting deacon” for Luke LaFleur’s transitional diaconate Mass held at Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Alexandria, LA, on May 25. Br. Mike was Luke’s spiritual director at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Ruston and is the campus minister at the Catholic Student Center serving the students of Louisiana Tech University.

Luke graduated from Tech in 2012 with an engineering degree and entered the Josephium Pontifical College in Columbus, OH, three months after graduation. His priesthood ordination is scheduled for May 2018 at the Cathedral in Alexandria, LA.

Eight Tech grads attended the diaconate ceremony at Luke’s home parish.

Currently, three other Tech graduates are pursing priesthood ordination in the the dioceses of Shreveport, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. All of these graduates started their journey with the friars at St. Thomas. Currently two young men at the Catholic Campus Ministry Center at St. Thomas in Ruston are interested in priesthood and two young women are interested in religious life. Daniel Mayer, a recent graduate from Tech will be entering the postulancy program this year for the Sacred Heart province. Fr. Frank Folino, OFM, pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas parish, was his spiritual director.

In recent years, the campus ministry program at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Ruston has seen an increase in activity. Currently, about 70 students go to the Center daily and in 2016, the center was named one of the top 50 Catholic college ministry programs in the U.S. The students have organized themselves into a campus organization called ACTS (Association of Catholic Tech Students) and have activities at the Catholic Center every day or evening.

Governed by a servant leadership team of 30 students, ACTS’ motto is “Christ-Centered and Student Led” and the mission can be summed up by five words: Joy, Evangelization, Sacrament, Unity, Service. With such guidance the students make conscious effort in “Being Catholic at Louisiana Tech.”

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