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16 New Deacons

June 28: After four years of Formation, 16 men will be ordained to the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Shreveport by Mike Whitehead On Saturday, June 28, Bishop Michael Duca will More »

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New St. Jude Church Dedicated on April 26

“Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!”   It is a new house of the Lord for parishioners of St. Jude Catholic Church in north Bossier Parish. The breathtaking and More »

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St. Joseph Cemetery: Sold Out? A Myth!

It has long been a myth that St. Joseph Cemetery on Texas Street no longer has available plots to sell. I want to dispel that myth and the increased number of interested More »

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Support our Seminarians and Shop for a “Find”

On Saturday June 14, 2014, the Catholic Center and Office of Vocations is facilitating a Seminarian Rummage Sale.  No, our seminarians are not rummage and definitely not for sale,  however, the Catholic More »

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Catholic Summer Camps!

Summer is here!  The schools are standing silent and empty as the children who give them life enjoy a few months of freedom from their confining walls. Those first weeks of summer More »

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The Adventure of Fatherhood

Wild at Heart is in my top five favorite books. Written by John Eldredge for both male and female readers, Wild at Heart took me on an adventure through the soul of More »

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The Lord’s Day and Travel

This summer, the pews in many of our parishes will be a little emptier as our families undertake summer vacations. Traveling removes us from our ordinary routine, and thus embarking on even More »

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Some Thoughts for Our Graduating Seniors

by Bishop Michael Duca As I write this article I know that many of our Catholic young people are graduating from high school throughout the diocese and are looking forward to the More »

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Ordinations! May 31: Keith Garvin to be Ordained to the Priesthood & Jerry Daigle, Jr. to be Ordained to the Transitional Diaconate

by Sam Alzheimer After a dry spell of five years, our diocese will have three ordination liturgies in 2014. Sixteen men will be ordained permanent deacons on June 28.  Two Franciscan Missionaries More »

Msgr. Provenza Celebrated 50 Years as Priest

Congratulations to Msgr. Earl V. Provenza on celebrating his 50th anniversary to the priesthood at a special Mass at Holy Trinity Parish in downtown Shreveport.

Annual Migrant Workers Mass

The Annual Migrant Workers Mass was held in Delhi on June 21. Bishop Michael Duca and Fr. Mark Watson, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Oak Grove and St. Patrick Parish in Lake Providence, concelebrated the Mass. In addition to the Mass, needed toiletry items were supplied to the workers, as well as Walmart gift cards, a donation from the Catholic Center staff and the Office of Hispanic Ministries.

St. Paschal Had an Excellent Living the Eucharist Program!

St. Paschal Parish is excited about the “Living the Eucharist” program. Over 200 participants in 26 small groups and 14 families participated at home.  The parish based spiritual renewal is designed to foster a more profound experience of the Mass. Parish volunteers were trained to facilitate the unique sessions which included presenting materials for adults, teens and families.

Fr. Pat Celebrated 40 Years as a Priest

Fr. Patrick Madden celebrated his 40th anniversary to the priesthood at an event sponsored by St. Benedict Parish in Grambling and St. Lucy Parish in Hodge. Pictured are Fr. Pat and his mother.

Christ the King Confirmation

Christ the King Parish in Bossier City celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation with Bishop Michael Duca on May 20, 2014.

Celebrating 74 Years as Parishioner

Little Flower of Jesus Parish celebrated their longest continuous parishioner, Mrs. Martha Caston. She has been a member for 74 years.

16 New Deacons

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June 28: After four years of Formation, 16 men will be ordained to the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Shreveport

by Mike Whitehead

On Saturday, June 28, Bishop Michael Duca will ordain 16 men to the Sacred Order of Permanent Diaconate at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport. More than 1,000 clergy, religious, family, friends and parishioners are expected to gather for the 10 a.m. ordination ceremony.

The ordination represents the culmination of four years of spiritual, academic and pastoral preparation. For these 16 men, the ceremony will also mark the continuation of a calling to a life-long ministry of service.

“The ordination of 16 men to the permanent diaconate is a needed gift to the Church,” Bishop Duca said. “Practically, this ordination class will add more deacons to the eastern deanery of the diocese in both large and small parishes. Pastorally, these new deacons will be a big help to their pastors and their work in the parish will give a clear witness of Christ’s call to serve and not be served. We will all be blessed by the ministry of these new permanent deacons.”

The deacon candidates preparing for ordination in the Diocese of Shreveport are Orlando Batongbakal, Scott Brandle, Tom Deal, Chris Domingue, Bill Goss, Bill Kleinpeter, Steve Lehr, Danny LeMoine, Jack Lynch, David Nagem, Robert Ransom, Ricardo Rivera, Charles Thomas, Marc Vereen, Mike Whitehead and Mike Wise.

This ordination marks the third group of permanent deacons ordained in the Diocese of Shreveport. The first group of deacons was ordained in 1986. (Twelve men began the formation under the auspices of the Diocese of Alexandria/Shreveport, but the group was divided in two and they were ordained just two weeks after the diocese was split into the Diocese of Shreveport and the Diocese of Alexandria). The second group of deacons (18) was ordained in 2005.

Deacon Clary Nash, Director of the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Shreveport, is the thread that weaves all three diaconate ordinations into one cloth. He was ordained in that first diaconate group in 1986. In fact, June 28 will mark his 28th anniversary as a Permanent Deacon. He also was the formation director of the second group of deacons.
“Over the past four years, it’s been wonderful to watch the deacon candidates’ enthusiasm, participation and dedication to their [rigorous] academic schedule,” Deacon Nash said. “Their life of service will be like stones rippling in a pond –– the ripples resonate from the altar so they can become the face of Christ, the spirit of Christ to the community outside the walls of the church. Then, he will bring his life of service back to the altar as a sign of who he is and what he represents. Being a part of this formation has been a blessing for me, my family and my church family.”

Deacon Oscar Hannibal, who assisted in the current formation, echoed Deacon Clary’s thoughts. “These past four years always will be remembered as the high point of my serving as a deacon. My sincere prayer is for each deacon in this Diocese to do God’s will each day and be a very good example for all of God’s children.”

When you examine the Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, you see the mandate for the call to the diaconate. As we read in the document, “one of the great legacies of the Second Vatican Council was its renewal and encouragement of the order of deacons throughout the entire Catholic Church.”
We also read in the directory:

•The Sacred Order of Deacons is to be a driving force for the Church’s service or diakonia toward the local Christian communities, and as a sign or sacrament of the Lord Christ himself, who came not to be served but to serve. The deacon’s ministry of service is linked with the missionary dimension of the Church: the missionary efforts of the deacon will embrace the ministry of the word, the liturgy and works of charity which, in their turn, are carried into daily life.

• In his formal liturgical roles, the deacon brings the poor to the Church and the Church to the poor. Likewise, he articulates the Church’s concern for justice by being a driving force in addressing the injustices among God’s people. He thus symbolizes in his roles the grounding of the Church’s life in the Eucharist and the mission of the Church in her loving service of the needy.

Additionally, the deacon proclaims the Gospel, preaches, evangelizes and catechizes in the church, the community and the workplace. He baptizes, witnesses marriages, assists at Eucharist, leads prayer, brings Viaticum, administers the Church’s sacramentals and connects the Church’s worship with its mission of loving service to the poor and needy.
The journey to the June 28 ordination began formally in the fall of 2010 with the first semester of classes. The group quickly discovered the high standard set by the University of Dallas professors. From scripture study and Christology, to philosophy and the study of ministry, the University of Dallas staff set a tone that demanded serious time and effort if a deacon candidate wanted to excel in each class. In all, each deacon candidate spent more than 1,500 hours participating in class and studying outside of class.

“These guys went through a challenging and rigorous academic formation process on their way to ordination,” said Jim McGill, instructor in the School of Ministry of the University of Dallas. “They studied the Bible and the theological traditions of the Church, as well as received skillful training in preaching, catechesis and ministry. Their academic formation has prepared them well for serving the diocese as deacons. I am confident that these men will make a significant contribution as deacons to the parishes and communities throughout the Diocese of Shreveport.  They are dedicated to serve Christ and his Church in caring for the needs of their brothers and sisters.  May God bless them in their witness and their service to the Gospel.”

When Deacon Candidate Chris Domingue recalls his journey to ordination, he remembers the call in his heart to become a deacon in the Catholic Church.

“Classes were held two Saturdays per month and one Sunday per month for eight semesters in the fall and spring sessions,” he said. “Philosophy, theology, scripture, Vatican II history and documents, church history, liturgy, Christian initiation are but a few of the courses we took. Though challenging (sometimes very challenging) the beauty of what we were learning helped me to grow even more in love with God and my Catholic faith. At every class, each of us brought our own unique gifts and talents and ways of communicating the truths we have come to learn through our classes and through our individual faith journeys. The journey also allowed me to become part of a new community of men (and their wives and families) whose lives led them to the same calling of service as a deacon in the Church.”

Domingue viewed the classes like mini-ministries requiring preparation, prayer and community. They helped him grow in knowledge, but more importantly, like all the deacon candidates, the classes helped him grow spiritually. Through it all, he said, there is no way to over-emphasize the importance of prayer that the group received from families, friends, the parish community and pastors.

“I recall many a time written reports were due at the end of the week and I would think to myself that this is going to be impossible,” Domingue said. “The demands of my job, family events, activities and church ministries were all potential obstacles for the assignment not being able to be completed.  And yet, Saturday morning my assignments were done and I was ready for class.  The impossible was made possible through prayer.  God provided when there was no other way. Looking forward, I am humbled by the fact that God still wants me and can use me in the capacity as a deacon. I don’t know what all God will ask of me, but I trust that he will be there with me.

Deacon candidate Charles Thomas also is excited about the future. “We are called to do more evangelizing with the gospel, step outside the parish and into the community, the workplace, with friends, literally with everyone we meet in life. It’s what we are called to do. Evangelizing and spreading the gospel is definitely one of my goals.”

The ordination of the current group of deacons, Domingue said, is an end to the structural diaconate formation, but it is really the beginning of a life-long formation as a deacon in the church.

“I ask that everyone pray for each of the men (and their wives and families) who will be ordained in June,” he said. “Pray that each of us will serve the people of God and the church with love, true humility and steadfastness.”

Download the deacon sheet by clicking here!

Attending the Canonization of Two Popes

by Sr. Martinette Rivers, OLS

The Church doesn’t make saints, good people make saints. What the Church did on April 26, 2014 was to recognize that these two great popes, John Paul II and John XXIII, lived saintly lives and were saturated in God’s love. God had a special part for them to play in the human drama of life, so both new saints lived on the world stage, for their Church, the people in the Catholic realm and those outside it and they both lived their parts well. On April 26, they were both proclaimed Saints because of this.

There must have been two million people present, if not more. I think all of Italy was out for John XXIII and all of Poland for John Paul II, not to mention others who were there from different parts of the world. Everything was very much like the Beatification, beautifully decorated Piazza, throngs of people and great joy exuding out of the hearts of all. People arrived on foot, trains, buses and planes, some even on horses. The testimony of these two great men touched the depths of our hearts and brought tears of joy to our eyes. It was an indescribable event of a lifetime!

These men came from two different worlds: one who suffered greatly in Poland where communism ruled and the other born in Italy with freedom, but both lived saintly lives, totally immersed in God. They were two popes well known by many people around the world. Both chose the path of priesthood and the Church chose them as their leaders. What examples they are for us today! They took the risk and became SAINTS. How does one go about understanding the true spiritual essence of Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli of Bergamo and Karol Josef Wojtyla of Poland? If we may capture that essence, we will live our Christian lives with joy as they did. These were men who were not afraid to speak boldly, who helped to overcome the divisions between the Christians and the Jews; men who were visionaries with incredibly profound prayer lives.

We should be grateful for their call to “Be not afraid!” as we too proclaim the Gospel of Life. They were popes who broke records, John XXIII was the first Pope to hug children and allow people to touch him and broke centuries-old taboos, so many that it was hard to keep track of them. John Paul II broke a rule the first day of his election by speaking with the crowds in spite of being told only to bless them. He loved freedom and helped cause the Iron Curtain to fall. Speaking boldly he said, “Be not afraid! Open the doors to Christ!” He became the second lovable, touchable Pope who kissed all the children and hugged young people, moved about in the crowds. Wherever he went his gaze found yours immediately and saw your smile with affection. Looking into his smiling face and piercing blue eyes many times, I have held in my heart that mystical moment as so many others experienced. His warm handshake was different and left me emotionally touched to my very soul. I did not get to know St. John XXIII like I got to know and love St. John Paul II, but from my reading I learned a great deal about him.

The poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, describes himself as “All lost in wonder” in the presence of God. In the face of the beauty and the power of the people on the day of canonization, all were lost in wonder just as I was. Thousands had been up all night in prayer vigils, singing and sharing, so energized, so filled with admiration for both popes, faces all ‘aglo’ with the joy and presence of God in their midst. One could easily see the Catholic Church is alive. It was not only the same presence of God experienced by a poet, but the event of the year in 2014 experienced by millions of people all at the same time. Our wonderings were very profound as the crowds of onlookers moved steadily forward with no possible place to go so it seemed, with so many people present. Wonder was certainly within our reach, but the aim of everyone was to get closer to the Piazza to see one of the big TV screens set up for them. As they moved slowly, they prayed, sang, danced and smiled at everyone. The new saints were called “superstars” by the crowds and Pope Francis called them, “The Pope of Openness to the Spirit,” namely St. John XXIII, and St. John Paul II, “The Pope of the Family.”

The testimony of these two new saints not only touched Catholic hearts, but the hearts of the whole world. Hearts were united at the very seat of Christendom on the streets in Rome, where all stood awaiting the big moment.

I thought to myself that these two great popes held two very different keys during their pontificates and not only opened doors to let more “fresh air” in as did John XXIII with Vatican II, but Divine Mercy was the key held by John Paul II, who came from a distant land to Italy and abandoned himself into the hands of Divine Mercy.

Could I possibly forget the day I received Communion from the hands of St. John Paul II, or the beautiful garland he placed around my neck and then pinched my cheeks, wishing me well as I was leaving for Bangladesh? Can you imagine a saint bestowing such things on a Louisiana girl?

Both men became popes at a difficult time in the history of the Church, John XIII in 1958 and John Paul II in 1978. Yet, both men accepted their responsibility with faith, hope and trust in Divine Providence. Fortunate for the Church that these men said yes, like Mary said yes; that the Apostles said yes; like we too say yes, to our calling in life. They are now our Messengers of Hope and like them we need to ..“put out into the deep” (Luke 5:4) in order to fulfill our calling to service with all God’s people. They taught us that the Church is God’s family and that common belief identifies members of God’s family.

How incredible it is that I would be assigned to Italy during the lifetime of Pope John Paul II and live across the street from the Vatican? I’m so happy that I was able to see him in action, speak to him many times, participate in his Masses and, above all, I am so happy I was able to attend his canonization and can truthfully say, “I met a real saint.” What an honor this is for me! May Saints John XXIII and John Paul II bless each of us in the ways they know we need to be blessed.

Boyd Wins Catholic Leadership Award

The Catholic Youth Leadership Award (CYLA) is conducted by the Knights of Columbus. The award dates back to 1960 and each year since then, they have recognized a male and female state winner. The award offers an opportunity to the youth of Louisiana to be recognized as one of the best Catholic students in their school and in the state. The recognition encourages students to hold true to their Catholic values and accept the leadership roles that they will be asked to fill in the future as Catholic leaders. The CYLA is awarded to a Catholic student who is well rounded while keeping his or her Catholic faith a priority. The award looks at a student’s spiritual activity, scholastic achievement, involvement in the community, athletic activity and social activity.

Charlton is very involved with his church, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, being a Bishop Altar Server and an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion for Loyola College Prep Masses. Charlton was also a member of the Flyers for Life Club at Loyola and volunteered at Bishop Duca’s Pro Life Banquet. He is also an Eagle Scout who has accumulated over 750 service hours in the last four years.  Despite this involvement, Charlton has maintained good grades and has excelled on the tennis court by winning the 2011 3A State Doubles Championship, with his brother Carter Boyd as his partner, and the 2013 3A Singles State Championship.

In addition to submitting a resume for the award, two interviews that lasted 10 minutes each were conducted by two panels. Charlton had to give a personal background which was followed by two questions from the panel that he had to answer. After answering the questions, Charlton was able to speak on a topic of choice and he spoke about how recent health care changes have infringed upon religious freedom and our Catholic faith. After all 20 interviews were concluded, the judges deliberated and considered the resumes and interviews to decide the winner. Charlton was named the state winner.

“I am honored to be the CYLA winner for Louisiana because my spiritual faith as a Catholic is the most important part of my life,” said Charlton.

Charlton’s brother Carter also won the CYLA in 2012.

by Charlton Boyd

Catholic Charities Boosted by Give for Good

Sometimes a good idea becomes a great idea and one that has a lasting impact for good. That’s exactly what happened when the Community Foundation of North Louisiana began planning for one big day of philanthropy for north Louisiana non-profit organizations.

This trend has taken hold around the country. Widely known as Giving Tuesday, results have been amazing. So the Community Foundation launched “Give for Good,” a 24-hour online giving event. Catholic Charities of Shreveport was happy to be among the 77 non-profit organizations who participated.

It’s easy to understand the choice for online giving when you consider the statistics. From the Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report:  Overall charitable giving grew 4.9% in 2013, while online giving grew 13.5%. Online giving accounted for 6.4% of all charitable giving in 2013. Large organizations had the greatest increase in overall charitable giving, while small nonprofits grew their online giving the most.

As we watched the leaderboard throughout the day on May 6, the excitement grew along with our total donations. The Community Foundation made it even more fun with their lagniappe fund that awarded special prizes throughout the giving period. We were awarded a $500 prize in addition to our total in donations.  We are proud to report that we ended with over $15,000 in donations from 102 generous givers. With so many worthy organizations to choose from, it’s even more meaningful that so many selected Catholic Charities.

We’ve known for a long time that the people of this community are concerned for others, want to support programs that lift people up and help them become whole and they believe in the work we are doing at Catholic Charities. Having just added our newest program, “Healthy Eating on a Budget,” we now have six programs available to help the poorest and most vulnerable in our area with immediate needs and, more importantly, with life skills that are taught in classes designed to complement each program.

Our holistic approach as we work with those in need combines specific programs that will best relieve and restore daily life for a more manageable and hopeful situation for our clients. Funding for them is critical, and because of that we are always looking for new ideas. Give for Good was the perfect idea at the perfect time with great results!  We are grateful to our community and to those at a distance who made Give for Good such a great success for Catholic Charities.

by Theresa Mormino, Catholic Charities of Shreveport