The Rev. Howard Henry Hotard, who served as pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Slidell for 32 years until his retirement in 2001, died Friday in Covington. He was 87.
Hotard was a native of Gretna who served in the U. S. Army during World War II. He studied at the St. Joseph and Notre Dame Seminaries before being ordained to the priesthood in 1955.
He served in Archdiocese of New Orleans as an assistant pastor at numerous churches, including St. Catherine of Siena in Metairie, St. Charles Borromeo in Destrehan and St. Matthias in New Orleans. He was administrator at Sacred Heart Church in Lacombe from 1963 to 1965, then pastor there until he was appointed to Our Lady of Lourdes in 1969.
Hotard remained active during retirement as a volunteer at St. Joseph’s Abbey near Covington. The Rev. Justin Brown, abbot of the seminary, said he would answer the phones daily in the porter’s office while the monks attended Mass, and later have lunch with the monastic community in the refectory. Hotard also was in charge of the burial plots at the abbey, which allowed him to minister to families in need.
“He was beloved for his ministry of meeting with those grieving the loss of a loved one,” the abbot said. Brown said Hotard had built a home near the abbey, which is also located close to his siblings.
Henry P. Calamari, a Eucharistic Minister at Our Lady of Lourdes, remembers Hotard as “very holy and reverent. Perhaps it was because he was a World War II veteran in addition to the priesthood, but the community respected him.”
David Hursey, of Slidell, was one of Hotard’s cadre of altar servers. It was not unusual for there to be a procession of 30 or more servers in cassocks with white gloves and polished black shoes at Easter and Christmas services, he said. “We were all selected by father and he trained us. He was like a father figure to us and he did all that in a humble way.”
Visitation is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, and 7 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph Abbey Church.
A funeral vigil will be held at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday and a funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday. Internment will be at the Abbey Cemetery, immediately following the Mass.