by Marie Elena Giossi
“Now you must not only listen to God’s word but also preach it,” was the instruction retired Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq gave Michel Pierre Louis as he ordained him a transitional deacon last Sunday morning at St. Catherine of Sienna Church, St. Albans.
Ordination to the Holy Order of Deacons is the last major step toward priestly ordination for Deacon Pierre Louis, 45, a native of Plaisance, Haiti.
Next month, he’ll return to his homeland to complete his theological preparation at the Inter-Institute Center for Religious Formation, known by its French initials CIFOR, in Port-au-Prince. He is scheduled to be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Brooklyn next June.
In the meantime, Deacon Pierre Louis is looking forward to fulfilling the responsibilities of the diaconate, especially preaching in his adopted tongue, English. He had his first opportunity to do so on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption.
Having felt the call to religious life since he was a teenager, Deacon Pierre Louis stayed close to God through his church, St. Michael the Archangel in Plaisance.
For nine years, he worked as a high school religion teacher in Haiti. He was a Montfort Brother for five years before coming to the Brooklyn Diocese at the invitation of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in 2007.
Although older than his fellow seminarians, he undertook the required studies at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation, Douglaston; St. John’s University, Jamaica; and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, L.I. Becoming fluent in the English language was a major part of his schooling.
Msgr. Robert Thelen, rector at Cathedral Seminary, called the newly ordained “a humble man who accepted the program we put him through.”
He has been serving the people of St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Pascal Baylon churches, which make up the parish of Our Lady of Light, for the past two summers under the guidance of Father William G. Smith, pastor.
“I want to serve God, the church and my brothers and sisters,” he said.
He credits Father Smith with helping him to improve his English skills and teaching him “how to administer a parish, how to embrace the people and how to be family with everyone.”
The future priest has likewise endeared himself to Father Smith. “He’ll be a great addition to the presbyterate of the diocese, not only because of his piety but because he demonstrates great initiative,” Father Smith said.
Deacon Pierre Louis’ parents could not be present for the Mass, but several relatives and friends from Our Lady of Light, and Our Lady of Refuge, Flatbush, where he served on weekends during his three years at Douglaston, were in attendance.
His cousin, Father Rodney Pierre Louis from Rome, and his former pastor, Father Andre Sylvestre from Haiti, were concelebrants at the diaconate ordination Mass.
His godmother, Marie Vanise Doriscas, and cousin, Nicolle Presendieu, proudly presented the stole and dalmatic to Msgr. Thelen for his investiture.
“Since he’s small he made the commitment to be a priest,” Doriscas said. “The dream is coming true. I feel so pleased.”