University of Notre Dame

Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas 1796/01/08






1796 Jan. 8

Penalver y Cardenas, Luis Bishop
(New Orleans)

to Father Sebastien Flavian,
?Besancon, O.M.C.?
(St. Charles of les Allemands)
The Bishop states: 1) That he received Father Flavian's letter of last Dec. 29 as well as the census of the parish of St. Charles of the first coast of Les Allemands of its need and of other occurrences.
2) That with sorrow he read that out of 2,232 souls mentioned in the census only eight have fulfilled their obligations towards the Church during the year 1795. This could not be but for the pastor's indolence. He has to go after the sheep in the woods if they are so untamed.
3) That Father Flavian must preach every Sunday, holidays, and whenever it may be necessary. If the parishioners do not come to church to listen to God's teachings, he must go to their houses either with exhortation or reproaches, according to the circumstances. Not all will be so deaf as not to listen to him.
4) Accordingly, that Father Flavian must visit the parishioners and remind them of their obligations as Christians. He must do so with all the lower class people and exhort them to send their slaves to church.
5) That Father Flavian should act with gentleness and charity in order to make the parishioners docile and tractable when they understand that they do not have other aim than the salvation of their souls. However, the fact that Father Flavian contents himself with saying that only eight of his flock are obedient whereas 2,224 are rebellious, makes the Bishop consider him as useless servant.
6) That Father Flavian should preach to the parishioners not to give private Baptism unless in case of necessity. As soon as he learns of any birth he must go to the house within eight days and ask the parents to bring the child to church for the sacrament, according to instructions of the King.
7) That Father Flavian must make up the marriage records and warn the parties to confess four or eight days before the marriage. They who do not obey this order cannot be married. they will serve as example for the others.
8) That although the inhabitants want the slaves to be baptised without instruction, Father Flavian must not allow exhorting the masters to give them the necessary instructions.
9) That he must reproach those who make the slaves work on days of obligation; they have to dedicate the day to Our Lord. Moreover, Father Flavian should notify the commander, who has the necessary jurisdiction to make the law effective.
10) That he does not see any reason why the parishioners should notify the pastor before the burial or the Baptism of a slave, but that they could do so as they bring the corpse or the one to be baptised, attending however, to the details for the entry and clarity of the books.
11) That whenever the pastor is called to administer the sacraments he must be accompanied by an assistant. The same holds for the Mass on holy days.
12) Finally, that Father Flavian has to give account to God of 2,232 souls under his care and it is very bad administration to gain only eight out of this number, while the others remain astray. Father Flavian must work with this in mind so that nothing will be difficult to him, and his efforts will be agreeable.
13) That in regard to the rest of Father Flavian's letter about the local situation of the church and when he may come to New Orleans, he will talk with the Bishop who will then decide what is suitable.
Signed by the Bishop of Louisiana.

IV-5-f A.L.S. 3pp. 8vo. (Spanish)

<< back ======= next >>

= HELP =