26 May Faith at Work – May 2022
May’s “Faith at Work” features none other than our diocese’s Very Rev. Simon Peter Engurait who celebrated 9 years as a priest this month! A priest that our Foundation is incredibly blessed to know, Fr. Simon Peter has worked with us at every level — as a pastor for his parish, as Vicar General for our diocese, and formerly as the Interim Director of Catholic Charities.
From the moment you meet him, Fr. Simon Peter’s warm nature and bright smile make his care and love for other people evident, but what you may not know is just how diligently Fr. Simon Peter has worked behind the scenes with our Foundation to bring about real healing, growth, and recovery to our diocese.
Originally from Uganda, Fr. Simon Peter came from a large, faith-filled family as the seventh of fourteen children — with one brother who is also a priest, and a sister who is a nun. Today, he uses that strong sense of faith and family to lead his parishioners as pastor of St. Bridget Church in Schriever, and beyond.
Fr. Simon Peter’s work with the Catholic Foundation over the years has touched thousands of lives – he helped to launch and create the St. Bridget Endowment which provides perpetual funding for operations and support of the church and its ministries. Additionally, he has been a large advocate for our Foundation and the resources we have to offer our diocesan priests and other consecrated religious, parishioners, diocesan staff members, local families, and more — helping them to learn about the options they have access to with personal wills and legacy planning via the Catholic Foundation.
Through #iGiveCatholic, an annual day of Catholic-driven giving facilitated by our Foundation, Fr. Simon Peter has been quite successful in his fundraising efforts. Most recently, he worked with the Catholic Foundation step by step to develop plans to renovate the church. Together we were able to raise the funds necessary to beautify St. Bridget, and what was only intended to be a replacement of broken pews turned into a large-scale renovation project that encompassed renovating the interior of the church with new paint and floors!
But Fr. Simon Peter’s drive to better our diocese didn’t stop there…As Louisiana residents well know, as beautiful as our connection to the coast is, it makes us extremely susceptible to extreme weather. When Fr. Simon Peter witnessed the devastation that Hurricane Ida left in its wake earlier this year, he sprang into action. At the time, he was serving as Interim Director of Catholic Charities where he worked alongside Bishop Fabre, and they approached our Foundation to assist in developing recovery and aide efforts. He shared, “Catholic Charities fights the everyday disaster of hunger, sheltering, clothing and comforting our people year round, but the words ‘Disaster Relief’ took on an entirely new meaning for our diocese in 2021 as we quickly responded to Hurricane Ida. Our local community was completely devastated by Ida’s aftermath and I am proud of the tremendous work our organization has done in response to the community’s needs. We simply could not have done it all without the generosity of so many, and our partnership with the Catholic Foundation whose team helped to lead the philanthropic efforts for Catholic Charities.”
Since then, Fr. Simon Peter has helped raise over 4.5 million dollars in donations with our Foundation for Catholic Charities. These donations went straight to work aiding people who were affected by the hurricane in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes and Grand Isle, which was hit particularly hard. These funds were used for home repair, mucking and gutting of homes, individual financial assistance, as well as expansion of our feeding ministries.