The Friends of Lt. Fr. Lafleur request your presence to commemorate the 71st Anniversary of the death of Lt. Father Joseph Verbis Lafleur, Chaplain-United States Army Air Corps, on Labor Day Monday, September 7, 2015 at 6:30 pm Mass in St. Landry Catholic Church, Opelousas, LA. The Celebrant and Homilist will be Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D. head of the 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; and where he also celebrated his first Solemn Mass following his ordination to the priesthood for the Diocese of Lafayette in 1938. Fr. Lafleur’s first and only diocesan assignment was to St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville but he soon volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps and was sent to serve as Chaplain at Clark Field in the Philippine Islands before the United States entered the War.
During his service, Father Lafleur was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, and Bronze star for his heroism, charity and 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 encouraged to attend the Memorial Mass at 6:30 p.m., Labor Day, on September 7th. Learn more about Father Lafleur by visiting www.fatherlafleur.org for further information and by purchasing the newly published book “But He Dies Not” available in Catholic bookstores in Lafayette.