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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 »

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

New St. Jude Church Dedicated on April 26

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“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 awe-inspiring design of the church provides an inspirational atmosphere for worship. While St. Jude has been holding Mass in their new church for several weeks, the Solemn Mass of Dedication was held April 26, the two year anniversary of the building project’s ground breaking ceremony.

The dedication began with a procession of Bishop Michael Duca, dozens of priests and deacons from throughout the diocese and the Knights of Columbus. Retired Bishop of the Shreveport Diocese, William Friend, who originally set the vision for this building project, was also present. The procession began at the facility’s Miciotto Family Life Center and moved to the front doors of the new church where the project’s architect, Mark Prevot, General Building Contractor, Hank Boggs, as well as members of the Pastoral and Finance Councils and other key representatives of the project handed the church key over to Bishop Duca. The Bishop then gave the keys to St. Jude Pastor Fr. Pike Thomas. The church was filled with parishioners and guests who experienced a beautiful ceremony and a once-in-a- lifetime event for many Catholics.

One rare experience came after the Litany of Saints when a relic of St. John Neumann was placed under the altar. St. Neumann was the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia; the first American Bishop and the only male citizen of the United States to be canonized. Artisan Justine Sheppard laid under the altar and, after drilling a small hole in the stone, placed the relic inside. The Mass also included a blessing and sprinkling of the congregation with holy qater.  Then Bishop Duca and Fr. Pike used Sacred Chrism to anoint the altar and walls of the church.

Many members of the St. Jude community expressed how touched they were to be able witness the Rite of Dedication and participate in the Mass.

Dr. John and Rose Miciotto, who donated the land for the building project, presented the gifts during Mass. During his homily Bishop Duca praised St. Jude parishioners for their hard work and sacrifice to make this dedication of the new church possible. Bishop Duca said he was proud of their accomplishment and looks forward to many future years of successful ministry by St. Jude to the faithful of north Bossier Parish.

“The people of St. Jude joined with Fr. Pike in truly working together and sacrificing to make this new sanctuary for St. Jude possible and I salute their dedication to their dream of a new worship home,” said Bishop Duca.

It was an emotional day for St. Jude parishioners, many of them shed tears of joy during the ceremony especially when Fr. Pike spoke at the end of the dedication and Mass thanking and acknowledging his church community for all their blood, sweat and tears to make this day happen.

Fr. Pike said, “I was always convinced this new worship resource for Catholics in Northwest Louisiana would be a beautiful and sacred structure, but the completion of the project has revealed a complex even more holy than I would have hoped.”

Some of the eye catching features of the new church include the Resurrection stained glass windows, the Texas Limestone Baptismal Font at the front of the church entry and the bronze Tabernacle sculpture of Jesus coming out of his tomb and surrounded by six saints intimately associated to the Christian faith including St. Jude. There are also nine-foot statues of Jesus Prince of Peace and a partnering sculpture of Mary our Mother, both uniquely placed high above the pews on each side of the church as though they are watching over and protecting the congregation.

“The monumental bronze sculptures of Mary Our Mother and Jesus Prince of Peace are perhaps my own favorite treasures in the complex,” said Fr. Pike. The sculptures are by Shelley Kolman Smith of Dallas, TX.

St. Jude invited members of the community and of all denominations to visit their new site during two open houses on Saturdays May 17 and 24.  They were a great way to reintroduce St. Jude to the community and share the spiritual beauty of their new home church.

by Stephanie Boswell

St. Joseph Cemetery: Sold Out? A Myth!

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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 people contacting the Catholic Center to purchase or verify that plots are available will also dispel that myth.

This cemetery, any cemetery, is a tribute to our dead and can be an indication of how we wish to be cared for in death when it is our turn to go to God.  For that reason, the Facilities/Cemetery staff of the Diocese of Shreveport work diligently to maintain the respect and beauty of the cemetery.

Over the past several years improvement projects have included engraving the marble doors in the Chapel Mausoleum, installing a new irrigation system to maintain a water management program, erecting new perimeter fencing, professionally cleaning numerous statues and monuments, and inviting families and friends of the saints buried at St. Joseph to spend time in prayer and reflection and help to maintain family monuments and surrounding grounds.
Future projects may include: updating and replacing the maintenance building, air conditioning the chapel, adding street signage, erecting a sign with a map and ground layout, electronic programmable operators for the gates, additional walkways, and several other beautifying projects.

In an effort to determine the future building of additional mausoleum and/or columbarium structures, a survey of six questions was mailed to over 5,000 households in Bossier and Shreveport requesting interest in future structures, future expansions and additional beautification projects.  To date over 300 surveys have been returned.  Another mailing to the next radius of households including Benton, Haughton and Princeton will be going out shortly and we anxiously await those returns also.

Of course a cemetery demands a lot of care, a lot of time, a lot of sweat and tears. The Diocese of Shreveport tries to support the funding of those demands. The price of plots is nominal and any fees associated with burials, opening and closing graves and interments of remains are all based on the costs and the amount of manpower needed.  Many people also make donations to the cemetery throughout the year that help fund some of our projects.

Organizations and family groups have taken a real interest in helping us to maintain the cemetery. They are interested in holding family visitations and family prayer services in addition to the annual Blessing of the Graves on All Souls Day.  We ask that if you are interested in planning an event that you contact the Catholic Center (318-868-4441) to verify there is not a funeral scheduled, grounds maintenance or other activities that would preclude you from having access to the cemetery.

Perhaps a visit to St. Joseph Cemetery will give you an opportunity to reflect on past generations buried there. The following is a prayer you may want to say when visiting at a cemetery.

Almighty God, through the death of your Son on the cross you destroyed our death; through his rest in the tomb you hallowed the graves of all who believe in you; and through his rising again you restored us to eternal life.

God of the living and the dead, accept our prayers for those who have died in Christ and are buried with him in the hope of rising again. Since they were true to your name on earth, let them praise you forever in the joy of heaven.

(Excerpt from the English translation of the Order of Christian Funerals © 1985, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. (ICEL) All rights reserved)

by Randy Tiller, Director of Mission Effectiveness

A Reflection on the Diaconate

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by Deacon Bill Roche

I was one of 18 men who were ordained to the permanent diaconate on May 7, 2005, by Bishop William Friend for the Diocese of Shreveport.  Our ordination followed four years of formation which included a year of aspirancy and three years of candidacy. During formation we were instructed in sacred scripture, pastoral ministry, theology, Church history, spirituality, canon law, homiletics, and other specific topics which were intended to prepare us for ministry in the Church as permanent deacons.  Everything we learned was relevant. Our preparation, however, paled in comparison to the actual practice of ministry.

All of the men with whom I was ordained were willing and anxious to serve the people of God and the Bishop of Shreveport but we had no real idea of what to expect. For most of us there had been no practical experience at our home parishes of a functioning deacon. We had no one’s example to follow, except the deacons to which we were exposed during formation. The people of our parishes had no particular expectation of what it was the deacons were going to do. It was new territory all around.

Even though I didn’t know what to expect, I was still surprised!  At St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport my brother deacon and I were received with open arms and the support of the parish. The gracious welcome wasn’t what was so surprising, but rather that the people were so open to the possibility that having deacons in our parish was going to be a good and positive thing.  I think the people had more confidence in our ministry than we ourselves had at that time. This reception was replicated throughout the diocese in the parishes to which the new deacons were assigned.

The first months of diaconal ministry were a gradual exposure to the workings of the parish and inclusion in the ministerial life of the parish. Summer vacations, a change of pastors and getting acquainted with a parish ministerial team stretched the process of orientation for me, but it all started to take shape. Those of us who had been active in our parishes were now able to be more involved. For some of us it was our first active involvement.  My experience was similar to the other men of my class: we assisted the priest at Mass, we were assigned to preach occasionally, we were beginning to perform some of the baptisms in our parishes, some of us officiated at those weddings which did not include Mass and we presided at some funerals.  As a group of newly ordained deacons, in addition to the ministries we had already been doing, we found ourselves engaged in ministries that we may not have anticipated, or to an extent greater than we had anticipated, whether it was prison ministry, campus ministry, hospital ministry, RCIA, or even in some cases, parish administration.

When I look back on the preparation for ministry during our formation there is one area of preparation which has served me better than others. During every year at least one of the courses we took was on Sacred Scripture.  We studied the Old and New Testaments and each of the four Gospels. We studied the Letters of Paul and the others.  We learned that everything we do as Church is based on the foundation of Scripture.  Everything we do as deacons is in service to the Church, which is the people of God. When we studied homiletics, which is how to form and deliver a homily that made sense, we were being prepared to express what we had learned when we studied the Bible.

During the Rite of Ordination there are several things that stand out spiritually and emotionally. One, of course, is lying prostrate on the floor of the church as a litany is sung.  Another is when the bishop lays hands on the head of each candidate for ordination.  Another is when the candidate is vested in stole and dalmatic by his wife and by a brother deacon. Of all that is said and that occurs during the Rite, the one part that has meant the most to me is when the bishop handed each one of us the Book of Gospels and said the words, “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you now are: believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”  Those words resonate with me, and through the grace of God and the influence of the Holy Spirit I hope that each of my brother deacons and I have been able to measure up in some small way to the charge of Bishop Friend that day.

It is a time of great joy for the local Church as we prepare to receive the active ministry of 16 men who are being ordained to the Order of Deacon. I am confident that they are well prepared and will be welcomed with love by the People of God. We all need to pray for these men and their families, as they are thrust into a new and exciting role in their lives and the life of the Church.

Support our Seminarians and Shop for a “Find”

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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 Center has accumulated several pieces of  “rummage” that they have offered to the seminarians to use as a fundraiser this summer.

Our garages on the lower level of Fairview House will be open for business at 9:00 a.m. and close at approximately 2:30 p.m. unless of course sales are still brisk, then our seminarians will remain open for business. Service groups are being asked to provide water and soft drinks, burgers and hot dogs for lunch.  All proceeds will go to the seminarians.

There should be a number of furniture items, some household furnishings, lamps, mattresses, books, bookcases, and tables of smaller miscellaneous items. There are some great items for kids going off to college, fishing camps and treehouses.  More importantly, however, is an opportunity to enjoy spending time with our seminarians in a very casual, low key setting, and have a good time, enjoy great food and financially support the seminarians.

If you have something with some useful life left in it and it will fetch a couple of bucks, call the Catholic Center (318-868-4441) and arrange for it to be dropped off.  We will not accept broken or non-useful items or clothing. Donations of items for the rummage sale will not be acknowledged for tax purposes. All items unsold will be donated to Catholic Charities, Christian Services, Providence House and other charitable organizations.

Please come support our seminarians. Happy shopping!

by Randy G. Tiller, Director of Mission Effectiveness.

Catholic Summer Camps!

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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 are the best as those free days stretch endlessly ahead.  As the weeks of summer pass, after the initial joy of being lazy, after a trip to the beach or the lake, suddenly you look around and wonder what to do next?

Luckily the Office of Church Vocations has a plan in place.  This year as summer begins to draw to a close and tedium and boredom set in, the Diocese of Shreveport has something exciting to offer to young men and women. On the weekend of July 11 to 13, the first Beloved Retreat for high school age girls (those completing 8th grade to those completing 12th grade) will be held just outside of Ruston. This camp is being offered by the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows in conjunction with the Office of Church Vocations. It will be a time of growing in faith, growing in fellowship and growing in fun. The day will be interspersed with prayer, inspiring speakers and some really fun activities. We invite all those interested to go to BelovedRetreat.com to learn more.

On the weekend of July 25 to 27 the third annual Mission Possible for high school age boys (those completing 8th grade to those completing 12th grade) will be held in a new location just outside of Monroe. We will continue to Pray Hard and have come up with some new activities so that we can continue to Play Hard as well. Our hope is that the camp will continue to grow as it did the first two years from 14 to 32 participants after one year. Our goal is 64 participants for this year.  We invite all those interested to go to shreveportvocations.com to learn more.

This is a great opportunity for the young people of our diocese to grow in their relationship with God, strengthen their commitment to Christ and His Church and to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they traverse the difficult years of high school.  It is our prayer that through these retreats they will begin to seek God’s plan for their life and be given the tools to follow it. Please prayerfully consider allowing your sons and daughters this great chance to grow in faith, fellowship and fun in a safe environment. We know that they are your greatest joy and know that we consider them the greatest treasure of the Church in North Louisiana.

by Fr. Matthew Long, Director of Vocations.

Moveable Feast: Keeping the Faith

by Kim Long

Tis the season of First Communions: white dresses, veils, dark pants, starched shirts and beaming parents as they watch their children gliding down the aisle of their home parishes literally stepping forward into the faith of their families. It is a sight I have beheld as a mother, as a DRE and as a godparent.

Being a godmother is one of the most beloved relationships in my life. Being a godparent is an honor, a privilege and a joy. I take it seriously, but I also like to have fun with it which is exactly what I did this past weekend when my eldest goddaughter received Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for the very first time. Last Saturday I guided her down the aisle of the same church in which she received her baptism. Along with two priests and 36 of her classmates, we stepped forward in space, time and faith. I looked at her, bright and shiny not only in her white dress and veil, but with so much of the innocence childhood and faith can offer. As our row rose and we moved forward I felt so privileged to be a part of the handing on of our faith; the faith into which she was born, the faith I embraced years ago. Later on the ride home I rolled my window down a little and she asked if she could roll hers down. “No,” I said, “Your veil will fly out of the window.” That brought giggles and then the serious conversations only seven-year-old girls can begin. We discussed her veil and how she can hand that down to her daughter when she becomes a mother.

How does your family celebrate big events? In our family there is food: the honoree chooses the menu and there is always cake.

When CJ was baptized we gathered at the font to see her brought into the Church; she was tiny and her dress, a traditional christening gown, seemed larger than she was. Later we gathered at my house for dinner, relaxation and, of course, cake.

On Sunday as I enjoyed an afternoon of quiet I thought back over all of the communions, confirmations and baptisms which have shaped and marked our years as a family. I was truly amazed and not a little humbled to realize that while our lives aren’t perfect or trouble free by any means, they have been flavored with these sweet celebrations of the intersecting of our time and God’s time, the sacred and the profane, baptisms and baseball games, communions and cheer practice, confirmations and lacrosse games. In other words, it’s a nicely woven blanket to mind me all of my life, as John O’Donohue said in his poem “Beannacht.” And these memories of past sacraments and celebrations, these memories of how much our faith has figured into the daily fabric of life was as sweet as the few remaining slices of cake from yesterday’s supper party. I am filled with gratitude for the gift of faith, the joy of being a parent and the special relationship of a godmother to her godchildren. May you continue to recognize the sweetness God offers all the days of your life!

CJ’s Baptism Cake

Ingredients:
• 2 batches of French Vanilla cake mix  (or  your favorite cake batter)
• Raspberry jam
• Apricot jam
• 1 quart of heavy whipping cream, whipped with a little powdered sugar

Directions:
1) Prepare the cake batter and bake in three round layers. 2) After each layer has cooled, split with a serrated knife. Try to do this evenly. 3) Choose a sturdy cake plate or cake stand. Begin with bottom layer and spread a generous amount of raspberry jam and whipped cream. Top with next layer and repeat the process using the apricot jam. Continue this process until the final layer. Brush any crumbs away. 4) Now frost the cake with the whipping cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Before bringing to table, top with a large rose.