Father Danny Roussel of Baton Rouge Remembered as a ‘Devoted Priest’

I would ask you to pray for Father Danny, his mother, stepfather, brother, and family,” Bishop Duca wrote.

Cross of the Martyrs.
Cross of the Martyrs. (photo: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Flickr)

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Bishop of Baton Rouge has issued a statement remembering the life of Father Danny Roussel, a devoted and beloved priest who died by suicide on Monday. The statement encouraged prayers for the priest and for his family.

“Father Danny was a deeply devoted priest who was beloved by his family, his parishioners, and his brother clergy. He shared a commitment to the faith that was clear and unwavering. I greatly appreciated Danny’s generous and open-hearted service to our diocese,” Bishop Michael Duca wrote Aug. 31.

Father Roussel, who was 49, took his own life Aug. 30, the bishop said.

“We are aware that Danny recently struggled with anxiety and depression. For many people, the difficulties of the modern world can be an unbearable challenge. For some, these feelings can be overwhelming. I would ask you to pray for Father Danny, his mother, stepfather, brother, and family,” Bishop Duca wrote.

“Please also remember his Church families at Our Lady of Peace in Vacherie, St. Mary of False River in New Roads, St. Aloysius in Baton Rouge, and the larger diocesan Church family.”

The bishop encouraged those feeling overwhelmed not to “struggle alone,” adding, “We must take care of one another, and we must also take care of our own mental health. If you are struggling to cope, do not hesitate to reach out to family and friends who love you, a pastor, or a licensed professional – someone to listen to you. You are not alone. Remember that our greatest source of strength and comfort is the mercy and love of God. Let us never waiver in these assurances of faith.”

Father Roussel was ordained a priest May 22. 

He was a native of Vacherie, about 50 miles southeast of Baton Rouge, and worked nearly 20 years at a soft drink bottling plant before entering seminary in 2014. At least some of his formation was done at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

Father Roussel was serving as parochial vicar at St. Aloysius parish in Baton Rouge, and as a chaplain to St. Joseph's Academy.

Oscar Wergeland, “Service in a German Village Church,” ca. 1880

This Sunday, I’ll Be Going to Church. Will You Join Me?

“The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.” [CCC 2181]