CHICAGO, Il. (KLFY) – Three Louisiana residents are finalists for the Lumen Christi Award, which is Catholic Extension’s highest honor given to people who radiate and reveal the light of Christ present in the communities they serve.

Very Rev. Simon Peter Engurait and Karen David, of Houma-Thibodeaux, La., and Francis Leblanc, of Lafayette, La., are finalists for the Lumen Christi Award. This award is granted to people who the Catholic Church believes sets an example of spreading the “light of Christ” throughout their communities.

Diocese from across the U.S. submitted nominations for the 45th annual Lumen Christi Award. Seven nominees are considered finalists, three of which are from Louisiana. The seven finalists will receive $10,000 to support and enhance their ministries.

The award recipient will receive a $25,000 grant, along with an additional $25,000 grant for the nominating diocese, which will be announced in September.

Down below is an excerpt about the finalists from Louisiana from the release:

  • Very Rev. Simon Peter Engurait and Karen David (Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, LA) – This dynamic duo has led spiritual and humanitarian relief efforts for thousands of vulnerable families impacted by Hurricane Ida’s devastation in 2021. In the hurricane’s aftermath, Engurait and David spent all their energy and efforts responding to the needs of the underserved, poor and most vulnerable.  Their outreach focused on sharing hope and leading with faith. They truly exemplify how the Church always rises to the occasion, especially in times of difficulty.
  • Francis Leblanc (Diocese of Lafayette, LA) – For decades, Francis Leblanc’s music ministry has enriched the lives of thousands.  As music minister for a variety of parishes, his gifts are present at people’s brightest and darkest moments. He is a leading fixture at the diocese’s annual African American Youth Congress. This event, which is supported by Catholic Extension, invites young Black Catholics from across the state to celebrate and affirm their faith and culture and the gifts they bring to the Catholic Church. “His vocal talents provide an unforgettable and uplifting spiritual experience that transpires through all generations,” said Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel.