It will be the ordination of Deacon Kendal Faulk into the Sacred Order of Priests.
Son of Raywood and Nolia Faulk, Kendal has been a cornerstone in the Kaplan community serving as high school band teacher for 17 years and as deacon for the past ten.
The soon-to-be priest is a 1975 graduate of Kaplan High.
In 1982, he obtained a Bachelor’s in Music Education (BME) from what is now ULL.
Our Lady of Wisdom, the university chapel, was the place where Kendal first met his wife Jackie. The couple married in July of 1980. Jackie was also attending the college majoring in music, but soon dropped out to care for her ailing mother and younger siblings.
Before meeting his wife, Kendal had considered becoming a priest. Throughout their marriage, Jackie would always reiterate that her husband would make a wonderful priest; and if anything were to happen to her, he should reconsider that option.
It was also his late wife who encouraged Kendal to expand his role in the church and take on the position of deacon.
The process took a total of five years beginning in 1995 and ending with Kendal’s ordination into the permanent diaconate on February 12, 2000.
After obtaining his degree in music education in the early 1980’s, Kendal taught two years at the E. Broussard elementary and high schools.
He then spent the following two years at Erath High, before transferring to Kaplan High School, where he remained for 17 years. The last four of his 25 years of teaching occurred at Abbeville High.
He fondly recalls, “I love teaching and I miss it. I loved the high school kids and I felt I got to know them more than the other teachers did. While an English teacher might have a class with group of students once or twice throughout high school, I saw them day in and day out for four years.”
In December of 2006, tragedy struck when Kendal’s wife of over 26 years suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. The community mourned the loss Jackie, who was very active in the church and in the Chamber of Commerce. None grieved more than husband Kendal, and their son Kip.
Kendal laments, “I was miserable. It was lonely coming home from work without her being here.”
The following year, Kendal decided to retire from teaching. It was then that he made the life altering choice to attend Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hals Corners, Wisconsin and earn a Master’s of Divinity. It was Jackie’s encouraging words throughout the years that spurred the decision, along with his love of teaching and interacting with people made the leap into priesthood a logical one.
“I can’t wait to work with people again. Being a priest is like being a teacher; you are teaching from the pulpit every week.”
When the deacon approached his parents with the news, they were not surprised. “They knew me and they knew I wanted to be a priest before I met Jackie. My parents have been so supportive of me.”
Sacred Heart specializes in second career vocations, which means that most men in the program were widows or came from annulled marriages. Everyone was over 30, the oldest of which was 74 years old. Previous careers of the students included doctors, lawyers, and even a former dean of Notre Dame.
While spending three years studying at the school, located in a suburb of Milwaukee, he lived in a 9’x12’ room where he was confined for most of the extreme northern winter months. While there, he came to know everyone and formed life-long friendships with his 17 classmates.
While the education was superb, the theology was well-founded, the only complaint was the food.
He candidly remarks, “The food was awful! I became so sick of potatoes. One dish they would serve was basically rice with parsley floating in water. It was all carbs!”
Overall, he describes his school atmosphere as ‘unique’ and was blessed to be surrounded by older men who also had children of their own. It gave the classmates common ground and made the experience all the more personal.
While there, he was honored to have the same spiritual director as Mother Theresa. Father Michael Van Der Peet was an inspiration and even showed him some of the letters written by Mother Theresa.
Graduating and leaving Sacred Heart was a bitter sweet moment. He was sad to leave behind his acquaintances, but thrilled to return home to Louisiana and his growing family. Son Kip, and daughter-in-law Ashley, now have two children of their own, and Kendal is enjoying his role as grandfather to Lily and Addyson.
On Saturday, June 5, Bishop C. Michael Jarrell will welcome the deacon into the Sacred Order of Priests at a 10 a.m. ordination held at Lafayette’s Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
The next day, a 10 a.m. Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Kaplan. Although he is nervous about the event, he is grateful to have the help of Fathers Blanda, Broussard, and Trahan. The public is invited to attend his first mass on Sunday, as he would appreciate the support.
In his words, “Priests need love and acceptance from the community.”
As he anxiously awaits the news of his assignment which will be made available two days prior to his ordination, he will remain within the Lafayette Diocese.
In remembrance of his late wife, Kendal comments, “She’s the reason I made it this far. She was there with her hand on my shoulder when I was ordained deacon, and I know she will be there when I am ordained priest.”