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Lafayette's Fr Jason Mouton passes away

A Black priest in Southwest Louisiana has died at the age of 56, leaving behind a legacy of initiative, scholarship, and faith.

Fr Thomas Jacenh “Jason” Mouton of the Diocese of Lafayette has passed away at the age of 56.

The news came Tuesday morning in a social media post from the diocese, which said he was surrounded by family and clergy at the time of his transition on Monday.

The cause of death has not been released.

Next month would have marked the 29th anniversary of Mouton’s priesthood, in which he has served at various churches in the Acadiana region, including Holy Rosary-Cabrini in Kaplan, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Lafayette, his childhood parish of St Anne’s in Youngsville, and St Martin de Tours in St. Martinville (where he served at the time of his death).

At St Anne’s, he spearheaded a campaign to build a new edifice, a process which was on track as of last summer under the current pastor.

Mouton graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1985 with a degree in Chemistry, and would later earn an MA in Systematic/Dogmatic Theology from Mount St Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1992.

In the early to mid-2000s, his bishop twice declined invitations from universities for Mouton to serve on their faculties, first for his alma mater St Mary’s and later for the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.

In 2006, the year after the second invitation, Mouton received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from OLQP, his parish at the time, for his long history of service and dedication.

Mouton also formerly served as director of Black ministry for the diocese, and counted among his mentors the late Black bishop Leonard Olivier, SVD (who passed in 2014).

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for noon CST on Friday at the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist in Lafayette. This will be preceded by visitation beginning at 9am, and a recitation of the Rosary for 10am.

The interment will follow the Mass at St. Anne Cemetery in Youngsville.

Tributes can be left on the obituary webpage here.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, in priesthood formation with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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