This is a message no bishop ever wants to write. It was released today by Bishop Michael Duca of Baton Rouge:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
As your Bishop, it is with a heavy heart that I share with you news of Reverend Danny Roussel’s death on August 30th. Fr. Danny was a deeply devoted priest who was beloved by his family, his parishioners, and his brother clergy. He shared a commitment to the faith that was clear and unwavering. I greatly appreciated Danny’s generous and open-hearted service to our diocese.
I inform you with profound sorrow that Fr. Danny took his own life at the age of 49. We are aware that Danny recently struggled with anxiety and depression. For many people, the difficulties of the modern world can be an unbearable challenge. For some, these feelings can be overwhelming. I would ask you to pray for Father Danny, his mother, stepfather, brother, and family. Please also remember his Church families at Our Lady of Peace in Vacherie, St. Mary of False River in New Roads, St. Aloysius in Baton Rouge, and the larger diocesan Church family.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Brothers and sisters, news like this is troubling. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not struggle alone.
We must take care of one another, and we must also take care of our own mental health. If you are struggling to cope, do not hesitate to reach out to family and friends who love you, a pastor, or a licensed professional – someone to listen to you. You are not alone. Remember that our greatest source of strength and comfort is the mercy and love of God. Let us never waiver in these assurances of faith.
Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or locally dial 211 for assistance.
Hope in the Lord,
Most Reverend Michael Duca
Bishop of Baton Rouge
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him …