I am the last born of a family of seven, two girls and five boys. I was born on August 23, 1964, in Siaya County within the Archdiocese of Kisumu, Kenya in East Africa. Being born in Africa, one hardly dreams of leaving outside the continent. As my friend Fr. John says, “you are born in the banana field, your daily food is bananas, you drink beer made from bananas, and when you die you will be buried within the banana plantations”. God forbid if one does not go bananas.
My teachers in my primary school days were so mean. They could flog us for no good reason. Being the youngest child, I could run to my mom crying and she encouraged me to switch schools. I began in Hafumbre primary school, and continued my education in Got Odima, Lifunga, Busia Township and finally graduated at Sega boys in 1980. I became a seminarian at the age of fourteen, the priest in charge of vocations asked me what kind of a priest I wished to become, I said a missionary priest without really understanding the implication. I then joined Kiserian Minor Seminary. I would later learn that one ministered outside his familiar territory. After the minor seminary I worked for a year with a road construction company then joined the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor. As a student I was sent to the country of Zambia in central Africa. My first delicacy was a bunch of caterpillars and mice. Don’t you worry both tasted like chicken.
After My Philosophy at St. Bonaventure College in Zambia, and theology at Tangaza College in Nairobi, the Lord blessed us with a new Community, The Franciscan Missionaries of Hope, was officially approved in 1999. I came to Shreveport in 1999, ordained to the deaconate March 19, 2000, by the late Bishop William Friend. On August 12, 2000 I was ordained to the priesthood. My life after ordination to the priesthood changed drastically. From a village boy running after goats, sheep, and cattle, to a missionary priest away from home and stationed in Shreveport, Louisiana. My first dinner was shrimp and noodles. These looked the same like caterpillars only they were white. The following day during lunch, we had hot dogs and I almost screamed we don’t eat dogs in Africa.
After four years in Louisiana, I returned to Africa for six years, and then returned to the USA, this time to Long Island, New York. It was during winter. The sun was shining and the sight of snow was so beautiful. I went out in my short sleeves to enjoy vitamin D from the sun as we do in Kenya. It was freezing cold and I soon I was bundled up like everyone else. The English spoken in NY isn’t close to what I was used to, in Kenya and Louisiana.
One striking thing in Louisiana and in New York is that people appreciated my efforts to learn and to adapt. They would thank me for my services and my vocation to the priesthood. They wanted to know how they could be of help to our people in Africa. These people that I call Friends to the Gospel of Hearts and Hands have indeed transformed many lives in Kenya and have made me proud as an African Franciscan Missionary priest.
It has been my pleasure to minister to the patients, family members, and staff at St. Francis Hospital, in Roslyn, New York, as well as the faithful mass attendees at the hospital chapel. I thank Bishop John Barres for the opportunity to serve the faithful people of Long Island. I am most grateful to Bishop Michael Duca for welcoming me back to the Diocese of Shreveport and entrusting me to serve the parishioners of Mary, Queen of Peace and St. George Catholic Churches. I come among you with great humility, fully aware that God is Good all the time, and all the time, God is Good. Let us take a day at a time and discover His goodness in our midst, for our well being and for the greater Glory of His Name.
I started attending Mary, Queen of Peace in the late ‘70’s. After graduating from Parkway High School (Go Panthers!) I received an associate degree in General Business from BPCC, and a bachelor degree in accounting from LSU-S. Then I married Pam my sweetheart with whom we have two wonderful boys, Josh 11 and Matthew 6. I then acquired a masters degree in information technology which I also received from LSU-S. In 2001 I received a calling to the permanent deaconate and four years later was ordained. After working for a life insurance company for 16 years as the human resource director I received a call from the diocese wanting me to be their new HR director and I accepted. I enjoy serving as a deacon at MQP where I truly feel we are one big family and nowhere else that I feel so at home!
Jeannette Petty's bio is forthcoming.
Director of Religious Education (D.R.E.)
God leads and she gladly follows.
Jacquie and her husband David have four young children. By profession, she is a secondary English teacher. Shortly before having their first child, she took a hiatus from the school system to stay at home, fulfilling a dream. That summer a door opened within the church parish for the position of Director of Religious Education. Teaching in the public school system greatly prepared her for the scope of religious education.
Serving the church gives her abundant joy. She loves working with young people and sharing her faith in Christ and love for Him with the youth. Learning and teaching are her passions.There is so much knowledge about her faith that she has gained through her endeavors as director. There is even more knowledge to be gained as the DRE. Jacquie loves what she does!
It is her desire to continually enrich our Parish School of Religion (PSR) program to meet the needs of our young people and our parish families. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[a]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; Romans 12:6, 7 It is with great joy that Jacquie serves and teaches in the capacity of religious education, thus, fulfilling a dream.