April 23, 2007
By Theresa Schmidt
The installation of Bishop-elect Glen Provost begins a new chapter in the history of the Diocese of Lake Charles which is considered a young diocese-- compared to many. Provost will become only the third bishop to head the diocese.
Southwest Louisiana had been part of the Diocese of Lafayette until 1980 when Bishop Jude Speyrer was appointed and installed to lead the new Diocese of Lake Charles. "After 20 years of service, having accomplished his goals, he said it was time for younger leadership. I felt that the priests and the people deserved younger leadership."
Then in December 2000 it was announced that Edward Braxton, an auxiliary bishop in St. Louis, Missouri, would become the second bishop of Lake Charles-- a man of wide ranging interests and champion for social justice, here speaking about the Angel of Harmony sculpture in St. Louis erected through his efforts. "Together they are playing a hymn of harmony, a hymn of unity and peace and I selected the quotation on the sculpture base and here we have the famous line from Dr. Martin Luther King, 'Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.'" Braxton was installed February 22, 2001 at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church and served four years when the Vatican appointed him to become the 8th bishop of Belleville, Illinois.
For two years the diocese had no bishop until March when it was announced Monsignor Glen Provost of Lafayette would become the third bishop of Lake Charles.
Since the announcement Provost has been getting to know people here and gave the homily at the Chrism mass during Holy Week. Even before installation day Bishop-elect Provost has been visiting local catholic schools. His love of education and teaching is evident. Provost visited various Immaculate Conception Cathedral Schools where he spoke with children in pre-kindergarten through second grade. "And so the bishops are the successors to the apostles. They are the ones who come after the apostles and they are the apostles to us. Another question? Asked a small girl, "Do you want, are you willing to be a priest?" Explained the bishop-elect, "Oh, yes. I want to be a priest. I wanted to be a priest. I want to be a priest, and I will want to be a priest. Past, present, future, huh?"
There seemed to be no question too big or too small. The children even wanted to know about that hat bishops wear. Provost told them, "When I get the pointy hat, I'm coming back to show you that pointy hat because," Another child interrupted, "What's that hat behind you?" Raising the straw fedora held at his side, so all could see, "This is my summertime hat. I wear that to keep the sun off of my head."
He is a big supporter of Catholic schools. "Catholic education is extremely important because we give a foundation in the faith for our children for the future. It's something that will always be with them. It's something that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. That's the way it was for me and for countless others and I think that it's important work and task in the church."