Published on March 23, 2016
Very Reverend Rodney P. Bourg, V.F., is the pastor at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Covington and the Dean of the West St. Tammany-Washington Deanery, which includes seven churches and three missions. He is also the sole Northshore representation on the Catholic Charities Board of Directors. As such, he brings an important perspective to the Board which allows Catholic Charities to have a deeper understanding of the needs of those on the Northshore and to better serve those communities.
In 2009, Father Bourg and Craig Marinello, the Northshore’s Regional Director, began tapping into an existing network of Northshore movers and shakers who were working with various organizations on a number of philanthropic endeavors. From this initial outreach, the Northshore Advisory Board, which is responsible for such initiatives as the Covington Food Bank, was born. Father Bourg continues to utilize this networking approach in his work as both pastor and dean. He uses a two-tier approach, involving both Catholic Charities and the Catholic Foundation, to access resources on the Northshore that will help pastors better serve their communities. The Northshore region currently assists the people of 17 Catholic Church parishes with health care, food services, mentoring, case management, and many other pressing needs.
Additionally, Father Bourg has been able to help the Northshore Pastoral Center blossom as a central location for organizations and social concerns groups without a meeting space of their own. The Center serves as a satellite location for a number of recovery groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and My House Men’s Group. St. Vincent de Paul also hosts many of their meetings and events at the Pastoral Center. The Northshore Pastoral Center hosts counseling sessions, both group and individual, for which Father Bourg says there is always a great need on the Northshore. The center hosts bi-weekly job connections meetings, which has been essential in helping those residents who were greatly affected by the 2008 recession. Computers are available to use for job searches, among other things.
According to Father Bourg, the Northshore’s greatest concern is the amount of homelessness they’ve discovered in recent years, especially among teenagers. He believes this issue previously went virtually unnoticed and consequently underserved because the Northshore’s homeless weren’t on the streets or in the public’s sight. They were hopping from couch to couch and sleeping when and where they could, but were homeless nonetheless. The Northshore’s teens are also experiencing a growing drug problem. In the future, Father Bourg is confident that he and Mr. Marinello can continue utilizing their ever-expanding network of connections to combat homelessness and drug-related issues and bring much-needed additional services to the people of Washington Parish.
As Holy Trinity and Father Bourg get ready to move to a new location, he hopes to be able to now regularly participate in a multi-parish program called Family Promise, through which Northshore parishes with the proper facilities house a family in need for a night. From Father Bourg’s perspective, there are big things to come on the Northshore.