Father Michael John Barras 

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2024

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for the Rev. Michael John Barras, a priest of the Diocese of Lake Charles, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, July 12, at 2 p.m. Father Barras died peacefully at the age of 76 on Sunday, July 7, 2024.

The Most Rev. Glen John Provost, Bishop of Lake Charles, will be the celebrant with priests of the Diocese concelebrating the liturgy. The Rev. Whitney Miller will be the homilist. Burial will follow the Mass at Highland Memory Gardens under the direction of Johnson Funeral Home.

Visitation will be Friday, July 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a Rosary recited at 1 p.m. at Johnson Funeral Home of Lake Charles.

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Father Barras was born on Oct. 20, 1947 in Lake Charles, La. to Emile Mitchell Barras Sr. and Therese Pellerin Barras. He attended Immaculate Conception School and Landry Memorial. He began his priestly studies at the age of 13 at Immaculata Seminary in Lafayette, then St. Meinrad in Indiana and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

Father Barras was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Lafayette by The Most Rev. Maurice Schexnayder, Bishop of Lafayette, on May 19, 1973. His initial pastoral assignments were at St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church in St. Martinville, Church of the Assumption in Franklin, and St. Ann Catholic Church in Mamou where he served as associate pastor.

In 1980, upon the establishment of the Diocese of Lake Charles, Father Barras was incardinated as a priest of the diocese. He was then named Pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church in Elton where he served for 12 years. He went on to serve for several years at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He was then named Pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary (1990-2001), and then he went on to serve as Pastor of St. Joan of Arc in Oberlin (2001-2009). His final assignment began in 2009 at St. John Bosco in Westlake where he remained until his last days. He was a devoted member of the ACTS community where he served as Spiritual Director on numerous retreats. He also served as Chaplain at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital.

Father Barras is survived by his sister, Rita Barras Gayle; nephews, Michael McClosky and Byron Gayle, and nieces, Jennifer Watson and Amanda Caraway. He was also a “great” uncle to Kerstin McClosky, Jack and Anna Watson, and Abby, Elizabeth, Joseph, Luke, Andrew and Ella Caraway. 

Father Barras’ family also extended to the many people in his church family who he encountered throughout his ministry.  In every parish he served, he was always welcomed and loved by wonderful families creating special bonds and cherished memories that added so much joy to his life. 

He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Emile Mitchell Barras Jr.

Father Barras was a gentle, kind, and humble man. He lived a life of service as a vessel of Christ for 51 years.

The family would like to extend their gratitude to all who cared for Father Barras in his last days, Father Janesh Joseph, Deacon Fred Reed, and the staff at St. John Bosco, Christus St. Patrick Hospital, the caregivers and staff at Villa Maria, and Heart of Hospice.