Pope Francis has named Diocese of Dallas auxiliary bishop, the Most Reverend J. Douglas Deshotel, to serve as the new Bishop of Lafayette in Louisiana. The appointment was announced Feb. 17 in Washington, D.C. by the papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, followed by the announcement in the Diocese of Lafayette.
With the appointment, Bishop Deshotel will return to lead the diocese where he was born and raised and where his large extended family still lives today. Bishop Deshotel says he was surprised by the news but grateful to the Holy Father and adds that while he looks forward to serving his home diocese, he will miss Dallas. “I entered the seminary here in Dallas in 1972. This has been my home for 43 years. I have loved Dallas and the Church of Dallas and the many dear friends I have made here. But, when I was ordained, I promised my life to God in service to his Church. The Holy Father has told me he needs me to lead Lafayette and I accept this call as a new opportunity to show my love and fidelity to Christ.”
Expressing his support, Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of the Diocese of Dallas said, “I happily congratulate Bishop Doug Deshotel. The Holy Father has made an excellent decision in appointing him to lead the Catholic faithful in Lafayette. Bishop Deshotelís knowledge of the diocese and the wonderful Cajun culture there will be a tremendous asset as he returns as the chief shepherd. Bishop Deshotel is extremely well thought of by parishioners and his brother priests alike. His pastoral manner and deep devotion to our Church will certainly be missed by all in our diocese. I wish him many blessings in this new chapter of his ministry and I am certain he will be a tremendous blessing to the people of the Diocese of Lafayette.”
Bishop Deshotel was born in Basile, Louisiana on Jan. 6, 1952. He entered Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving in 1972 and completed his seminary studies in 1978. That same year he obtained his Masters in Divinity degree at the University of Dallas. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 13, 1978.
He served at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Dallas; St. Anthony Parish in Longview; and St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish and St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Dallas. Bishop Deshotel was also a popular pastor at St. William Parish in Greenville, St. John Nepomucene Parish in Ennis; St. Luke Parish in Irving and St. Monica and St. Juan Diego in Dallas.
From 2001 through 2006 he was the Vice-Rector of Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving. In 2008, he was appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Dallas which is second only to the bishop in the administrative structure of the diocese. He also served in the important role of Ecumenical Officer for the diocese.
The Diocese of Lafayette was established in Louisiana in 1918 and is located in southwest Louisiana between the Atchafalaya and Sabine Rivers. The diocese serves 291,991 Catholics and is made up of 121 parishes.