In a Mass steeped in tradition and great joy, Fr. Philippe Arnal, CSV, was ordained May 9 at the Cathedral of Rodez,  He is the first Viatorian priest ordained in France since 2008.

P. Philippe Arnal, CSV

The Mass drew a capacity crowd, including many diocesan priests and Viatorians, including Fr. Andre Crozier, CSV, Secretary General, and Fr. Pierre Demierre, CSV, Provincial of France. Bishop François Fonlupt presided.

Fr. Arnal brings a rich background to his priestly ministry. He is a scholar of Medieval and modern history, who served three parishes as a transitional deacon while teaching Latin and French literature at the Viatorian high school in Rodez.

All this, and he is a member of the Viatorian Proinvicial Council in France, serving as Assistant Provincial.

Fr. Arnal is a native of Rodez, who professed his first vows as a Viatorian in 2012 and his perpetual vows in 2016. Bishop Fonlupt ordained him as a transitional deacon in 2020, in the same Cathedral of Rodez.

In an interview for the Diocese of Rodez, Fr. Arnal reflected on some of the people who had played a role in his religious calling: from his grandmother, who attended daily Mass; to his parish priest growing up, and Fr. Bernard Molinier, CSV, who worked in youth ministry in schools and parishes in the Rodez area. Coincidentally, Fr. Molinier was the last Viatorian priest to be ordained before Fr. Arnal.

“The important thing is the life of grace in the brothers and sisters we meet,” Fr. Arnal said. “Being a Christian necessarily changed my life.

“The role, the Christian vocation of today consists in being a sign of hope for a world that needs it so much,” he added. “The priestly vocation then becomes a help for the circulation of this life of grace in the whole ecclesial body.”