The Lieutenant Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur Memorial Mass will be at 6:30 PM, Monday, September 7, 2015 on the 71st anniversary of Father Lafleur’s death at St. Landry Catholic Church, 1020 North Main Street, Opelousas, Louisiana.
Celebrant and Homilist: Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Military Archdiocese, Washington D.C.
Joseph Verbis Lafleur was born in the Louisiana town of Ville Platte on January 24, 1912. Later, he would move with his family to nearby Opelousas, where he faithfully served as an altar boy at St. Landry Church during his youth; he also celebrated his first Solemn Mass there following his ordination to the priesthood for the Lafayette Diocese in 1938. He was then assigned to St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville but soon joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and was sent to serve in the Philippine Islands during WW II shortly thereafter.
During his service, Father Lafleur was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, and Bronze star for his valor. He was taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese, and on September 7, 1944, he and several hundred other prisoners were killed when the ship upon which they were being transported was torpedoed. Father Lafleur’s body was never recovered, but memories of survivors report that he was last seen aiding others to escape the sinking ship. The year 2015 marks the 71st anniversary of his death.
All are invited and welcome to attend the memorial Mass on September 7.
Those who are interested in learning more about Father Lafleur are encouraged to visit http://www.fatherlafleur.org for further information