Faith at Work – April 2022

Spring is in full swing and we are basking in the joy that Easter and the Lord’s Resurrection brings us. The month of April is a time that brings forth new life, flowers in full bloom, and lots of sunshine, so it was only appropriate that this month’s “Faith at Work” series highlights a priest who has brought so much brightness and life into our diocese — Fr. P.J. Madden. 

Originally from Ballinasloe, a small town in County Galway, Ireland, Fr. P.J. is a man of faith with a love for books, philosophy, and poetry who ended up across the world in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux as a priest. But, his journey to priesthood and Louisiana was quite an interesting one! Prior to his time as a priest, Fr. P.J. was married for 29 years to his wife, Mary, until her passing. While married, Fr. P.J. and Mary both worked with the Archdiocese of New Orleans in social ministry from 1975 to 1980. Following Mary’s passing, Fr. P.J.’s sister-in-law, Sister Miriam who was chancellor of the diocese at the time, encouraged him to consider entering the seminary. Invited by Bishop Jarell, Fr. P.J. began his journey to priesthood at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans in 2004. 

During his time as a priest in our diocese, Fr. P.J. became beloved up and down the bayou, as his Irish accent and warm nature charmed the community after visiting multiple churches in the area — most recently serving as the Pastor of St. Hilary of Poitiers in Mathews, Louisiana. Fr. P.J.’s impact on his parishioners didn’t go unnoticed – Amy Ponson, the Catholic Foundation’s Executive Director, who was a parishioner of St. Hilary at the time, recommended utilizing Fr. P.J.’s talents to Bishop Fabre. Bishop Fabre then appointed Fr. P.J. to work directly with the Catholic Foundation. 

In 2019, Fr. P.J. retired, but his retirement has never interfered with his impact on the diocese nor his work with the Foundation. In fact, so much so that Fr. P.J. has recently come out of retirement to serve as a Diocesan Administrator!

Fr. P.J. shared, “My favorite part of working with the Foundation is seeing the hard work of our supporters and community come to life,” adding that it has been a joy watching and learning how Amy manages the Foundation and seeing how the Board of Directors supports her and the mission of the Foundation. He also shared his love for our community of priesthood, saying “we are blessed to have a multinational brotherhood of men, each of whom feels privileged to minister to this unique Cajun culture, rooted in Christ. We learn so much from our parishioners as we go through life here.”

Just as Fr. P.J. feels lucky to know and learn from our parishioners, we too, feel lucky to know, learn from, and love Fr. P.J. — thank you for your vocation and your dedication to our diocese and Foundation, even in your retirement! 

If you are interested in how you can leave a legacy through the Catholic Foundation for your favorite parish, school or nonprofit, please give us a call at 985-850-3116, or send us an email at to learn more.