Faith Matters: Catholic Diocese Official Says Flooding Helped Put Life Into Perspective | Entertainment/Life


The 2016 flood changed the course of Randall Waguespack’s life.

For a short time, Waguespack and his family found themselves stranded on high ground near their home in Albany.

“Nobody could reach us because of the water and flooding,” Waguespack said.

After being rescued, the family waited six months for the devastated house to be restored.

“What most people would consider a nightmare to lose so much in the flood, I think, was one of the biggest blessings for me,” Waguespack said. “It’s really helped me put things into perspective and better appreciate how much we need each other and how much we need God and what’s really important in life – and life. importance of God and faith. That’s really how the Holy Spirit moved me where I am today.

Today, Waguespack is blessed to serve as a permanent deacon at St. Margaret Queen of Scotland Church in Albany. He was ordained on August 13 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, along with fellow deacons Tram Phan, Edward Hanks and Patrick Witty.

As a child growing up in Vacherie, Waguespack said he believed he would have a role in the church.

“I imagined myself being a deacon assigned to a parish and working in a church,” he said.

In December, Waguespack was appointed to the newly created position of Director of the Office of Life, Peace and Justice for the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

Waguespack, a psychology student at Nicholls State University, has spent his career providing services to people with disabilities. But the harrowing experience of the flood and the generosity of others caused Waguespack to reevaluate his life and his service to God.

“It was family and friends, but mostly it was the parishioners of St. Margaret’s Church who stepped up to help us in times of need,” he said. “They kind of made me feel like there was more to life than worrying about myself and my family and really got me interested in trying to do more for God and more for others and to really set a good example. … The generosity that I have received and the support and all the help is what God calls us to do for each other.”

Waguespack said the Holy Spirit spoke to his heart — enough to convince him to embark on a journey to be ordained a permanent deacon.

“I had the opportunity to give back working with the church. I really got a lot more involved in the church afterwards and discerned to enter the diaconate program,” said Waguespack, who participated in pastoral training at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University.

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Waguespack’s career work, church service, and work in hospices and nursing homes led to opportunity with the Office of Life, Peace, and Justice.

“It just seemed like a good fit and a good position,” he said.

The office is part of Bishop Michael Duca’s vision to promote and expand pastoral care and outreach. The office helps churches and volunteers create sacramental services and ministries for Catholics in nursing homes and assisted living facilities; palliative care facilities; and hospitals in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. He started by focusing on restoring Masses in nursing homes, Waguespack said.

“It’s a real blessing to be able to do that,” Waguespack said. “A lot of the places I went to didn’t have anyone to bring them communion because of COVID. So they really wanted to receive Christ in the Eucharist. They were very happy that we could come. … I think that outreach is just to provide support to people in our community, whether they are Catholic or not. And then if evangelism happens and people are drawn to the church, that’s an added blessing.”

Waguespack said his goal is to have mass at least once a month in all 100 retirement homes in the diocese.

The Life, Peace and Justice Office is also heavily involved in assisting chaplains and those involved in prison ministry. Waguespack is assisted in the office by Tim Messenger, who organizes prison ministries. Messenger also works with the mentorship program and helps paroled prisoners reintegrate into society.

The desk has been busy with other matters, Waguespack said.

“We have also been very active in building relationships with pregnancy centers and reaching out to challenging organizations in communities to see how we can get involved and work together to provide people with pastoral care in the community,” did he declare.

The office also advocates for anti-abortion legislation and the abolition of the death penalty, Waguespack said.

“We work with the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops to stay current on legislation that affects issues that are important to us as Catholics,” he said.

Waguespack likes to share with parishioners the joy of Jesus as our savior, referencing Hebrews 12.

“It touches me to realize how much Jesus loves us and endured all the suffering and became a righteous man so that we could be saved and have the opportunity to go to heaven,” he said.

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