Josephites elect new leader

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Father Michael L. Thompson has been elected to a four-year term as superior general of the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, better known as the Josephites.
A native of Port Arthur, Texas, the 57-year-old priest had been serving as vicar general since 2011. He is the 14th superior general of the religious community, founded 144 years ago to minister to African-Americans.
Josephite priests and brothers elected Father Thompson during their general conference in mid-June at St. Joseph Seminary in Washington. “It’s a great honor to have your brothers choose you to be their leader. I now have a deeper responsibility to care for the men and to guide them in their ministry,” Father Thompson said in a statement.
“We Josephites are still here fighting for justice, peace and dignity in our black Catholic communities,” he said, noting that he would be establishing a justice and peace committee in the near future.
Ordained in 2004, Father Thompson was parochial vicar at Corpus Christi/Epiphany Church in New Orleans. Following Hurricane Katrina, Father Thompson assisted at the post-Katrina recovery office, which the Josephites had set up in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.
“I am really excited about the dedication of the Josephites who serve in ministry now and the men who are coming to join us,” Father Thompson said. “The excitement they have about continuing the mission of the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart gets me rejuvenated.”
The Josephite religious community, founded after the Civil War to minister to newly freed slaves, serves in parishes and special ministries, spanning seven states, including Mississippi, and the District of Columbia.