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St. Joseph’s Home: Catholic History in North Louisiana

by C. Brandon Brantley with Lori Mainiero Undoubtedly, anyone who has traveled Highway 165 in Monroe has taken note of the large, stately, red brick building with the imposing bell tower.  What More »

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Bishop’s Reflection: Join with Our Suffering Brothers and Sisters with a Loving Heart

by Bishop Michael G. Duca It is getting late tonight as I write this reflection.  I want to go to bed but the article is due tomorrow.  I just cannot come up More »

Reflection: Mourning Miscarriage

On our very first date, my husband Blake and I discussed children. “I love kids,” my dyed-in-the-wool Southern Baptist boyfriend declared. “I think I’d like to have two. How many do you More »

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51st Fuller Center Home Sponored by Diocese

Fuller Center for Housing NWLA, in partnership with Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Smith, Jr., the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport, Downtown Shreveport Rotary Club and other community partners, dedicated its 51st home at More »

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Holy Angels Residents Receive Confirmation and Eucharist

On July 13 the angels were singing at Holy Angels Residential Facility Chapel. One resident was baptized and nine others received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. While I had the More »

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Father Keith Garvin: My New Life as a Priest

by Fr. Keith Garvin, Parochial Vicar, Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish I have been asked to write about my first 30 days in a parish as a newly ordained priest.  My first More »

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Waters Leaves Behind Teaching Legacy

Norma Broussard Waters left behind a legendary teaching career to be with the Lord on July 24, 2014.  With her passing, a 33-year campaign of educating countless students at the Cathedral grade More »

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Navigating the Faith: Forgiveness

by Fr. Phil Michiels, Pastor, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish From the Middle Ages comes this legend about a nun who claimed that she had had a vision of Christ.  The bishop More »

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Catholic Schools: Stepping Into a New School Year

by Sister Carl Shively, OSU, Superintendent As we step into a new school year, I would like to introduce  the profile of a Catholic school teacher/minister.  Many times we forget that these More »

Meet Your 2014-2015 Seminarians

Click on the image below to download and print the PDF!

St. Joseph’s Home: Catholic History in North Louisiana

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by C. Brandon Brantley
with Lori Mainiero

Undoubtedly, anyone who has traveled Highway 165 in Monroe has taken note of the large, stately, red brick building with the imposing bell tower.  What many do not realize is the significant history of the structure or the amount of love and care that flows through its hallways and rooms.

This story of love started in 1940 when Fr. Henry Frieburg, OFM, wrote to Mother Magdalene Wiedlocher, OSF, Provincial Superior of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, regarding sponsorship of a charity hospital in West Monroe. Although declined due to WWII and a shortage of sisters, the seed for a mission in the South had been sown.

On December 17, 1944, St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged & Infirmed was opened at the corner of Hart and Calypso Streets in Monroe. The new temporary home was a modest, white wood framed, four-room structure able to accommodate eight to 10 guests.  The home’s purpose was “To provide shelter and skilled care in a homelike atmosphere for residents in the twilight years of life.” Even as the temporary home was just opening, the sisters were making plans for a larger, permanent facility.

The beginning of the fulfillment of this dream of the Franciscan Sisters came when Mrs. William J. Rimes donated a 20-acre site for the new facility just north of the Monroe city limits.  The new $500,000 facility was designed by architect Henry H. Slaby of Milwaukee.  In discussing the new fireproof facility Mr. Slaby stated, “A basically Colonial type of architecture would give a homey, southern touch to the institution. The exterior would be of red-faced brick with Indiana Limestone trim. The main entrance portico would have a traditional colonnade but of stone rather than wood.  The portico would be flanked by two bays which will add dignity to the structure.”
Eight months after the ground breaking ceremony, Bishop Charles P. Greco of the Alexandria diocese officially laid and blessed the cornerstone on November 21, 1947.  On November 10, 1948, the long awaited moving day arrived and the 11 guests moved into the new facility. On November 14, 1948, St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged and Infirmed was formally blessed and dedicated to the service of humanity by Bishop Greco.

The new facility featured many innovative architectural elements, as well as elements indicative of its Catholic heritage and sponsorship.  The crest of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis of The Third Order is prominently displayed in a stone frieze above the front entrance.  A beautiful six-foot multicolored marble and alabaster statue of St. Joseph and the Christ child adorns the main lobby, surrounded by walls and floors of imported Italian marble.   The property has numerous statues and religious objects placed throughout. One of the most noticeable is a Grotto to Our Lady of Fatima in the Northeastern corner of the property. In the spring of 2014, having the desire to re-infuse the facility with period spiritual art, numerous pieces were purchased and installed throughout the home. The new art was met with numerous compliments by residents and visitors.

The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis of The Third Order maintained ownership and religious sponsorship of the facility until October 15, 1974, when the last of the sisters returned to the motherhouse in Springfield, IL.  Following the withdrawal of the sisters, the facility was purchased by the Catholic Diocese of Alexandria.  During the years the facility was owned by the diocese, it was partially staffed by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Help from St. Louis. These sisters served as registered nurses and patient representatives.

St. Joseph’s Home was owned and operated by the Diocese of Alexandria-Shreveport until 1986, when it was purchased by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Health Care System (SCH). During the years in which it was owned by the SCH, the facility was governed by a board of Incarnate Word Sisters and outstanding citizens from the local community. Because few improvements had been made since the building’s original construction, St. Joseph’s Home was completely remodeled in 1988. The Ecumenical Chapel was later constructed with limited funds in 1990.

On November 4, 1991, the first two Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word were assigned to St. Joseph’s Home. Sr. Canice Murphy and Sr. M. Lambert O’Mara were met with a lively reception of residents and staff. In 1993 a 4,000 square foot dining room was built using matching exterior brick and limestone. The interior of the dining room affords peaceful views of the property through multiple windows. A brick gazebo and park were constructed the following year and furnished with a fitness trail, chairs, benches and a cement walk leading to Bayou DeSiard. A fishing area was also erected so residents could safely enjoy bayou-side living.

St. Joseph Home celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1995 commemorating the facility as “A Haven of Love, Peace and Caring.” St. Joseph’s Assisted Living Center was officially dedicated and opened on November 12, 1988, offering 60 apartments and an array of services.

With the formation of CHRISTUS Healthcare in 1999 the facility officially became CHRISTUS St. Joseph’s Home. In 2010 the west wing of the first floor was renovated and converted to private Medicare rooms intended for short term residents who wished to receive therapy and return home. The therapy room was enlarged and renovated in 2011 to better meet the needs of the residents.

Combining a generous donation from Tony Danna with Sr. Elizabeth Cahill’s desire to make the chapel a true Catholic place of worship, an extensive renovation of the Ecumenical Chapel began in 2011. Two years later the chapel was transformed, fitted with antique altars and statuary and given a gorgeous center-focus tabernacle by Barbara Patrick. The chapel’s remaining stained glass panels were completed by various families and friends of the facility as tributes to loved ones.  On September 13, 2013, Bishop Michael Duca served as principle celebrant at a Holy Mass of Rededication and Blessing of the CHRISTUS St. Joseph Home Chapel.
Sr. Elizabeth coordinates Mass to be celebrated in the chapel by local priests five days a week. The public is always welcome to attend and experience the presence of Christ surrounded by our loving residents and staff. All Sacraments are offered on an as-needed basis.

In February 2014, under the Interim Administration of Mrs. Tracy Hauver and the design auspices of C. Brandon Brantley, the dining room received an extensive remodel. Other areas of the facility are presently being renovated to reflect the ever-changing needs of those served. From its inception through today, CHRISTUS St. Joseph’s Home has been the only religiously sponsored, not-for-profit, senior care facility in North Louisiana and the only facility in Monroe to offer both assisted living and Medicare/Medicaid services. Members of all faiths are invited to stop by for a tour or information if the need for the services provided arises in your life or the life of a loved one.

Bishop’s Reflection: Join with Our Suffering Brothers and Sisters with a Loving Heart

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by Bishop Michael G. Duca

It is getting late tonight as I write this reflection.  I want to go to bed but the article is due tomorrow.  I just cannot come up with an idea, a topic.  No, it is not that I cannot come up with a topic, it is that the event that fills my mind and heart is the persecution of Christians throughout the world, especially our brothers and sisters in Iraq. I find it difficult to write because the horror is too big to address, too hard to explain, and maybe more to the point, too hard to bear.

One description from the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Eastern Catholic Church to which the majority of Iraq’s Christians belong, reported on August 7th:

 “The ISIS militants attacked with mortars most of the villages of the plain of Nineveh, during the night of 6th-7th of August and now they are controlling the area. The Christians, about 100,000, horrified and panicked, fled their villages and houses [with] nothing but the clothes on their backs,” said Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako. “An exodus, a real via crucis, Christians are walking on foot in Iraq’s searing summer heat towards the Kurdish cities of Erbil, Duhok and Soulaymiyia, the sick, the elderly, infants and pregnant women among them. They are facing a human catastrophe and risk a real genocide. They need water, food, shelter.”

We have also heard of terrible acts of violence and the martyrdom of Christians.  I say martyrdom because the Chaldean Christians, our brothers and sisters, are being killed because they refuse to deny their faith in Christ.
This persecution is hard to carry in our hearts.  We may also feel somewhat overwhelmed because the problem seems so big, so far away.  What can we do?

In moments like this we are apt to give up and try to put this tragedy out of our minds.  If I can’t solve the problem, then there is nothing for me to do. This, of course, is wrong thinking. The more we distance ourselves from the realities of the world, the more we are tempted to live our lives superficially and selfishly. We are not expected to solve the whole problem, but we are called by our faith in Jesus Christ to join with our suffering brothers and sisters with a loving heart. So how do we do that when they are so far away?

First, we pray – not a casual prayer but a time of prayer long enough for us to call to mind the suffering of others and to open our hearts to feel some of their pain. In moments of prayer like this, we choose to open our hearts to carry the cross of Jesus and join with the suffering of others. This prayer is not about words but about how when we allow our hearts to be pierced by the suffering of others, in that moment, we find the presence of God and we are changed. Our hearts are warmed to the concerns of others and less on some of our petty concerns. We are also more apt to hear the needs of those around us and help those we can.

Out of our prayer comes our response.  There are ways to help. Catholic Relief Services (crs.org) is giving direct aid to those in need in Iraq and other tragic areas of need throughout the world.  Support this work.  It is the hand of the Church, our family, reaching out to the neediest.  Giving money, time and goods makes the connection with the suffering Church more real to us and it allows us to put our lives into a more spiritual and loving perspective, revealing many of our needs and desires as superficial and selfish.  We cannot hold the suffering need of another person in our hearts who needs water to live without reflecting on the way we use and misuse the gift of clean water and spend money selfishly on special bottled water.

It is not easy to bear the suffering of others but it is what Jesus did and he invites us to pick up our cross.
Do not be overwhelmed when facing the suffering of the world that seems so close today through the media. Do not be afraid to allow some of the suffering of the world into your hearts. In that prayer you will feel the suffering of others who may be far away, but your prayer will reach them and your heart will be changed.  Jesus took on himself the sins of the world and gave us new life.  Can we do any less for our suffering brothers and sisters?  Let us take up our cross and follow Him.

Archbishop Kurtz to President Obama: Plight of Religious Minorities in Iraq Requires Increased Support

by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, KY, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged President Obama to answer the call of Pope Francis for the international community “to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities” in Iraq. Archbishop Kurtz made the appeal in an August 13 letter, in which he assured President Obama of the prayers and support of the U.S. bishops in these efforts.

“We know too well that attacks on religious and ethnic minorities are attacks on the health of an entire society,” Archbishop Kurtz wrote. “Violence may begin against minorities, but it does not end there. The rights of all Iraqis are at risk from the current situation.”

Archbishop Kurtz thanked President Obama for the humanitarian assistance and protection the United States has provided to Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution. He noted that more must be done, that the U.S. bishops set aside Sunday, August 17, for prayer for peace in the Middle East and Iraq, and that the bishops urged U.S. Catholics to appeal to their elected representatives on behalf of persecuted minorities in countries such as Iraq and Syria.

Full text of the letter follows:

Dear Mr. President:

May God bless you in these challenging times!

I write with a heavy heart regarding a matter of utmost urgency: the desperate plight of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq. Pope Francis recently wrote to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. In his letter the Holy Father decried how “Christians and other religious minorities have been forced to flee from their homes and witness the destruction of their places of worship and religious patrimony.” Pope Francis placed before the Secretary General “the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq.” The Catholic bishops and people of the United States share these tears, sufferings and heartfelt cries.

We are grateful for the humanitarian assistance and protection that our nation has provided to those fleeing, often with only the clothes on their backs, and for the way the United States has worked with Iraqi officials to encourage the formation of an inclusive government in Iraq that respects human rights and religious freedom for all.

More must be done. Pope Francis called upon “the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities.” I urge the United States to answer this call in concert with the international community.

We know too well that attacks on religious and ethnic minorities are attacks on the health of an entire society. Violence may begin against minorities, but it does not end there. The rights of all Iraqis are at risk from the current situation.

Please be assured of our support and prayers. Our Conference of Bishops has set aside Sunday, August 17, for the intentions for peace in the Middle East and Iraq. We are urging our people to let their elected representatives know of their concern for Christians and other religious minorities who suffer untold persecution in Iraq, Syria, and other countries. May God grant our nation and the international community the wisdom and courage needed to help restore peace and bind up the wounds in Iraq.

Sincerely yours,
Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.
Archbishop of Louisville
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Reflection: Mourning Miscarriage

On our very first date, my husband Blake and I discussed children. “I love kids,” my dyed-in-the-wool Southern Baptist boyfriend declared. “I think I’d like to have two. How many do you want?” he asked.

I think he realized for the first time just how very Catholic his Catholic girlfriend was when I shrugged and answered, “Five or six.”

From our engagement until today, as I write this, every decision we’ve made as a couple has been with the idea in mind that we would have a larger-than-average family. I could’ve kept driving my Honda Fit a while longer after we had our daughter, but there was no way it would fit more than one rear-facing car seat; we chose our house in part because the upstairs bedroom is large enough to bunk at least three kids. Even my career path has been informed by our conviction to have as many children as possible – my freelance writing career, my first love, has been shoved to the back burner as I’ve developed my photography business, since that’s easier to do in the evenings and on weekends when my husband is home.

When we suffered a miscarriage in January of 2013, we were understandably heartbroken but still confident that there were many more children to come. Anyway, I knew the statistics – up to 25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage (American Pregnancy Association). So we were sad, but not at all shocked.

Our second miscarriage in a row occurred in July of this year, and it shook both Blake and me to our emotional and spiritual cores. As I wrote in a blog post the following day, “I’m not just crying out to God, I’m howling in sorrow and despair.” I couldn’t imagine why this was happening. Questions raced back and forth through my brain like cars on an overheated track: Did God make this happen? Did Satan make this happen? Did I make this happen? Is this God trying to tell me that I’m not supposed to have any more children? Does this mean I’m a bad mother? Did I make a mistake by telling our daughter too soon that we were expecting another baby? Did I “jinx” this pregnancy by letting family and close friends in on our secret?

As I read back over these thoughts, I realize now how completely illogical some of them are. But in those shell-shocked first few days, my grieving mind just couldn’t get a grip on the fact that this was happening to us again.
Part of the grieving process was complicated because part of me didn’t feel I should be grieving at all. I didn’t even realize I felt that way until my husband pointed it out. I wasn’t sure I should publish a blog post on the subject at all, so I let him read it first. The first thing he said after he finished gave voice to an idea, a resentment that had been clanging around in my head ever since my OB gave us the terrible news.

“One of the biggest injustices,” he said, “is how women are expected to grieve miscarriages alone, quickly and in secret.”

A girlfriend pointed out that this attitude toward miscarriages – that they don’t represent a “real” loss – may actually contribute to the abortion culture. “Think about it,” she said. “If you’re not supposed to grieve the loss of this baby, one that you wanted, just because it was very tiny and hadn’t been born yet, then why should we grieve the loss of a baby who’s been aborted?”

She’s absolutely right – a life is a life, after all, even if we weren’t aware of this particular life for very long. Our baby, small though it may have been, is a member of our family and deserves for its parents and sister to grieve the loss of its earthly life. We know we will meet our babies again someday, and on that day, we’ll sing and dance and rejoice. But the knowledge of their heavenly lives doesn’t lessen the sting of their earthly deaths for us…at least, not yet.

It was my husband who insisted that I meet with our pastor, Fr. Peter Mangum of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, to talk about our loss. Blake went with me, and neither of us could scarcely have imagined the comfort and wisdom Fr. Peter would impart to us. It should have come as no surprise to us that Mother Church would have a blessing and ritual specifically for parents who have suffered a miscarriage. (Find the full text of the blessing here under the category of Blessings: www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers). If you or a Catholic couple you know has suffered in this way, I cannot urge you strongly enough to seek the counsel of your pastor.

As for Blake and me, we are sure once more that God wants us to increase our family and thus His kingdom. The only question, really, is how our children will get to us – will we give birth to them? Will we adopt them? Will we foster them? At this point, we have no earthly idea. The only thing we know for sure is that God will show us the way.

by Kelly Phelan Powell

Diocese Obtained Keystone from St. Theresa School

St. Theresa Catholic School in Shreveport was closed in 1988 and both it and St. Theresa Church (which merged into the Cathedral parish in 1989) later were sold to Willis-Knighton Health System.  At the time no one focused on the historic value of the school building’s keystone until a local pastor was contacted recently by a former St. Theresa teacher who mentioned that the stone was still in place. According to a past principal, artifacts had been placed inside when the school was built in 1954.

Conversations took place with Willis-Knighton, and the diocese was allowed to retrieve the stone. On April 11, 2014 Willis-Knighton representatives, a stonemason, the diocesan chancellor and diocesan Director of Communications met on Bessie Street in Shreveport for the process of removing the grant marker. The process took about an hour.

All present were disappointed when it was discovered that the granite box had been covered with a metal lid and the artifacts, which appeared to have been paper documents, had been placed in a metal box.  Over the 60 years since its placement, the metal had sustained substantial water damage, and most of the contents were destroyed.  A few newspaper articles were recovered in very poor condition.  Only one of the surviving newspaper clippings was dated—September 9, 1954.  The keystone itself has been moved to the Catholic Center for safekeeping.

by Christine Rivers, Chancellor

Catechetical Sunday: Teaching About God’s Gift of Forgiveness

On Sunday September 21 parishes across the nation will be honoring those who share in the evangelizing and teaching mission of the Church – which is essentially everyone!  But specifically parishes will be recognizing catechists for all ages, Catholic school teachers, youth ministry leaders, RCIA teams and parents.

This catechetical year is focused on Teaching about God’s Gift of Forgiveness, a theme that touches all of us regardless of age.  Before we even begin to talk about forgiveness, we must first talk about our personal relationship with God.

Let me share a personal story. Recently I was on retreat and throughout one particular day, the birds’ songs were so loud that all I could do is sing, “then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou Art.” Later that day I went for a bike ride and I started singing the old gospel hymn, “In the Garden” – “and He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His Own.”  (These are the gospel songs that my grandpa use to sing). That night, as I stood before the Blessed Sacrament, I sang “I Can Only Imagine,” “I can only imagine when all I will do is forever worship you.”  The next day I told my director about these moments, and she said “God is showing off for you.” With all the crazy issues in the world, and all the people who are hurting, God wanted to show off for ME.  Or as another friend said, “God is very fond of you.”

This is the beginning for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It is about a relationship with God, and because we are created in His image and thus capable of profound love, we are in relationship with others.  In the safety of this relationship where God confesses His love for us, we are able to look Him eye to eye and confess the ways we have been unable to love as He loves.

So often the Sacrament becomes more about confessing a checklist and less about reconciliation.  The reality is that the Sacrament is both. God confesses His profound Love for us and thus we feel safe in confessing our sins, which in turn reconciles us both to the Father and to our community.

At this moment in time our world is in desperate need of reconciliation.  Imagine what would happen if the Muslims and Christians in the Middle East stopped for a moment and said, “I am sorry for all the wrong I have done to you and your people.”  Imagine what would happen if the partisan groups of our government would stop and say, “I am sorry for the slander I have said against you.”  Imagine what would happen if the mother said to the father, “I am sorry for… ” or the Father said to the children, “I am sorry for…” or the children said to their parents…

It is when we understand who we are (children of God) and whose we are (God’s beloved) that it becomes clear the role relationships, or lack thereof, have on how we care for and respond to others.

Understanding and practicing forgiveness is not just for the children in schools or PSR, it is for all of us.  God loves each of us so fiercely. Allow yourself to surrender to that fierce love.

by Shelly Bole, Director of Catechesis

Catholic Charities: The Immigrant Children Crisis

One of the most pressing questions we as Christians face is how we respond to the crisis surrounding immigrant children from Central America flowing by the thousands across our border.  Rather than debate the problems associated with their migration, let’s consider what Pope Francis has to say: *“This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected. These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin.”

In more than half the cases documented, the children are eligible for asylum because of abuse or threats against their lives and those of family members. They are fleeing drug cartels and gang violence out of very real fear and for their lives.

** “More than three-quarters of the children are from mostly poor and violent towns in three countries: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Children from Mexico, once the largest group, now make up less than a quarter of the total. Since January of this year, 4,280 unaccompanied minors have crossed the border into Texas and 1,071 into Louisiana. In all of these countries, the violence, crime and poverty rates are very high. In fact, Honduras has the ugly distinction of having the highest murder rate in the hemisphere.

***In a recent National Public Radio story, reporter Eileen Pace went to San Antonio and interviewed workers and several of the children. During that interview, Jennifer Podkul responded with this horrific account: “I spoke to a girl who said she opened her front door one day and there were pieces of a body, you know, thrown in a plastic bag on her doorstep as a warning from the gangs that they have to comply with all of the, you know, requirements that the gangs are asking.” What the gangs are asking is that children come with them to sell and deliver drugs. They are recruited from their schools and homes without regard to age or gender.  One teacher tells of cartel members coming into her classroom demanding children. When she responded that they could not take the children, a gun was held to her head as they removed them from the class.

There are no easy solutions, but thankfully there are many who care and are working hard to help these desperate children, including people at Catholic Charities USA and many parishes throughout the US.  Let us continue to learn all we can about this crisis and to pray for the children, their families and all who work to make them welcome and safe.

*From The Huffington Post – 7/15/2014 online edition
**http://www.nytimes.com/interactive
***NPR.org – Texas Air Base Houses Minors Crossing Solo Into U.S.

by Theresa Mormino, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana

51st Fuller Center Home Sponored by Diocese

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Fuller Center for Housing NWLA, in partnership with Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Smith, Jr., the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport, Downtown Shreveport Rotary Club and other community partners, dedicated its 51st home at noon, at 323 E. 72nd Street, across the street from St. Catherine of Sienna Church, on Saturday, July 26.

Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Well were the recipients of the second Fuller Center home in the Cedar Grove community. In addition to Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Smith, the Diocese of Shreveport and the Shreveport Rotary Club made monetary donations to support this build.

“The Diocese of Shreveport would like to congratulate the Fuller Center for the completion of their fifty-first home in Shreveport adjacent to the former Church Parish of St. Catherine of Siena in Cedar Grove,” said Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General for the Diocese of Shreveport. “Our diocese was honored to work with the Fuller Center through our donation of the property and financial contributions made to complete construction.  I can think of no better way to help re-establish a sense of hope and civic pride to the people of Cedar Grove than through the successful and proven methods of the Fuller Foundation and our diocese is grateful to be a part of this wonderful achievement.”

“Building a stronger community through service to others is at the heart of Rotary Club of Shreveport’s mission,” said Francesca Moreland, President of Rotary Club of Shreveport. “Partnering with the Fuller Center to provide an affordable home to a deserving local family is gratifying and such a fitting way to do just that.”

Bishop Michael Duca attended the dedication of the home and took part in the ceremony, blessing the home for its new inhabitants. During his blessing, Bishop Duca asked that the home be “filled with the love that binds a family together. Make it a place of refuge where those who are here may find security and peace and from that find a richness in their lives that is never found when we are unsure of where we will live.”

The Fuller Center helps families in need of affordable housing and helps rejuvenate areas in the community. Contact Lee A. Jeter, Sr. at 318-230-5678 for more information regarding the Fuller Center home builds and how to become a volunteer.

by Lee Jeter and Jessica Rinaudo

Holy Angels Residents Receive Confirmation and Eucharist

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On July 13 the angels were singing at Holy Angels Residential Facility Chapel. One resident was baptized and nine others received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. While I had the pleasure of being present on this glorious day, this journey began back in May.  Chris Horne, Director of Finance at Holy Angels, contacted me asking how they would go about initiating several of their residents. They had a specific date in mind, July 13, because it was the last weekend Sisters Gemma Forlani, OLS and Concetta Scipione, OLS would be present at Holy Angels. Sr. Gemma was being reassigned and Sr. Concetta was retiring.  Both sisters have been with Holy Angels for over 50 years.

Finding resources for the residents that were developmentally appropriate, while at the same time respectful of their adulthood, was quite challenging. Loyola Press is the first publisher to focus on developmental disabilities, and we ordered their Adaptive Kits for the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation. The residents met for one hour a week for four weeks with Chris and Jackie Carter, Qualified Mental Retardation Specialists.

And then came that glorious day!  The chapel was standing room only, packed with family and friends. The candidates were dressed in red robes with white stoles and the air was electric with anticipation.  Fr. Rothell Price has regularly celebrated Mass at Holy Angels and he was a natural choice to be the celebrant. The homily was interactive and the residents responded with great enthusiasm.

After Cynthia Cook was baptized, her classmates clapped and said, “You did good!” Then it was time for the Sacrament of Confirmation.   It would seem that standing before a crowd would cause anxiety, but as each participant received the Sacrament there was reverent silence. When it came time for Amy Huckabay to be confirmed, she sat up a little straighter in her chair and, after Fr. Price wished her peace, she responded with a joyous and uninhibited laugh! As I watched all of this, my eyes filled with tears and my skin was covered in goosebumps. During reception of Holy Communion, Paul Walker was so excited his fingers were wiggling with anticipation and Fr. Price had to gently hold his hands so that he could receive and afterwards his whole body wiggled like an excited puppy.  Oh if only we all could maintain that level of joy when receiving Jesus!
Holy Angels plans on presenting the class each spring and inviting other parishes with individuals with developmental disabilities to participate.

by Shelly Bole, Director of Catechesis