Our Staff


Very Rev. José I. Lavastida, S.T.D.
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The Very Reverend Jose I. Lavastida is the Executive Director of Christian Formation and a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.  Fr. José was born in Cuba and raised in Santurce, Puerto Rico, was ordained on May 16, 1987, and received a doctorate in Moral Theology in 1998 from the Alfonsian Academy, an Institute of the Lateran University in Rome.  Fr. José has served in several parishes, was Academic Dean and Rector of Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, where he ministered for 15 years, and is also a Commander of the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps.

Jesse A. Watley

Deacon Jesse A. Watley was ordained for the Archdiocese of New Orleans on May 11. 1996.  In the 17+ years since his ordination he has been assigned to several parishes including St. Louis Cathedral, and the former parish of St. Simon Peter.  He is currently assigned to Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Parish in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. For a time he served as the temporary Parish Administrator of St. Augustine Parish in the Treme.

After working 30 years at BellSouth, Deacon Watley retired and took a job working full time as the Executive Director of Pastoral Services for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.  He has served in that capacity since 2007. He has also worked as an Assistant Director of the Permanent Diaconate Office and serves as a Liturgical MC.

He has been married for 33 years to Alicia Wiltz Watley.  They are the parents of 3 adult sons, Aaron, Andrew and Anthony .


Mrs. Arthine V. Powers
Religious Education and Deaf Ministry
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Parish Catechetical Leader for the Parish and Coordinator of Deaf Ministry. Arthine has been journeying with the Deaf since 1981, and is  Director of the Deaf Apostolate, Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Involved in Pastoral Ministry for 30+ years.  She has served on various local and national commissions that focus on the rights of persons with disabilities. Including Chairperson of the LA State Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities, Chairperson of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Committee on Disabilities, Board Member of the Advocacy Center of New Orleans.  Currently, Board Member of the National Catholic Office of the Deaf representing the Southern Region of the U.S..  Has served in the capacity of Pastoral Minister, Pastoral Associate, Coordinator of Music Ministry including Children’s Choir and Director of the National Knights of Peter Claver Bishop Perry Choir. She served in the Marine Corps for 12 years.

Currently also an Instructor at Delgado Community College for the past 14 years in the Interpreter Training Program (American Sign Language).

She and Walter were married in 2006.

Maria Loyola
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María A. Loyola was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and has lived in New Orleans since last year. He graduated from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Accounting. She worked all the time as Assistant Administration in different Health Offices and she started working for our church since October 2016. She has a daughter and a son whom she very proudly calls her treasures. She is a Reader in our Parish.

Mrs. Marina Romero
Finance Manager
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Marina Romero was born in San Salvador, El Salvador in Central America and has lived in the United States since 1981. She studied to be an accountant and a secretary in El Salvador and has worked for many years in the accounting field. She worked briefly at Blessed Seelos from 2005-2006 and returned to work part time in August of 2014. She has been a parishioner of Blessed Seelos since 1998. She has two children who live in Florida and Baton Rouge. She enjoys reading and is involved with many church activities including the teaching ministry of the charismatic renewal and the Immaculate Conception Church choir.


Mr. Carlos A. Vargas
Grounds Manager

Carlos A. Vargas was born in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and he is married to Josefa Cajina.  He has two daughters, and he did his studies in INEP, Nicaragua and graduated as accountant from the Centro Cultural Mercantil in Matagalpa.  He arrived in The U.S. in 1985 and he has worked in different businesses, but especially for Fiesta Shell in Miami, Florida.  He is a member of the ELI Community and considers his work for the Church as a daily blessing.



Parish Office Hours:

Monday - Friday     9:30am - 4:30pm