Category Archives: Local News

New Shroud of Turin Podcast Series

The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans is launching a new podcast series to coincide with the beginning of Lent. The series will focus on the Shroud of Turin, a fascinating and compelling relic in the possession of the Church, which bears the image of a crucified man. The podcasts will feature Fr. Peter Mangum, Rector of the Cathedral, and Dr. Cheryl White, an associate professor of history at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Both Fr. Mangum and Dr. White are members of the American Confraternity of the Holy Shroud, the only affiliate group authorized by the official custodians of the Shroud, the Archconfraternity of Turin, established in 1592. The educational podcasts will be available weekly beginning Friday, February 16, and may be accessed through iTunes and other outlets, including the Cathedral webpage (www.sjbcathedral.org).

Faith Partners for Progress: Catholics Charities of North Louisiana and Society of St. Vincent de Paul

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by Bonnie Martinez

 The Western District Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been awarded a $5,000 systemic change grant by the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Inc. The grant entitled Faith Partners for Progress, is a collaborative venture with Catholic Charities of North Louisiana.St. Vincent de Paul has been referring individuals to Catholic Charities of North Louisiana’s (CCNLA) Financial Education Program, Money School, for many years because of the numerous benefits afforded to those in financial crisis. The Money School offers low-income individuals an opportunity to learn how to better manage their income. The three-hour class teaches participants how to create an individual budget, open and maintain a bank account, begin a savings account, decrease unnecessary spending and how to avoid predatory lenders.

Participants are then scheduled to attend a one-on-one session with one of the Money School case managers to receive individualized coaching based on the financial documentation provided by the individual requesting financial assistance. The individual is guided to self-determination of their financial status and is then assisted in preparing a personalized Goal Document that identifies the necessary action for the individual to improve their financial status and quality of life. However, the missing component has been follow-up and mentoring for the individual having completed this process.

Catholic Charities recognizes that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul conducts personal home visits with those they serve. So, the leadership of both local organizations, including guidance provided by St. Vincent de Paul’s National Director of Poverty Programs, began the discussion and planning for this joint venture.

A pilot program began in late 2016 that included one Western District St. Vincent de Paul Conference – Mary, Queen of Peace – and Catholic Charities’ Money School. The pilot program’s main objective was to define a long-term strategy that includes an 18-month follow-up mentoring by Vincentians for identified friends in need. Two paths of collaboration between St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Charities were identified and approved for serving friends/families in need: (1) First-time friend/family in need requesting financial assistance in excess of the amount either non-profit can spend on one person/family and (2) Repeat financial assistance requests from a friend/family in need.

CCNLA and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul jointly participated in mentor training in November 2017. The steps of the collaborative venture were outlined and the process for sharing documentation between the two organizations was defined. Vincentians conducting home visits will identify individuals as candidates for the Faith Partners for Progress process and refer them to Catholic Charities’ Money School. Upon successful completion of the Money School process, Vincentians will follow-up with the friend/family in need in a mentoring role to provide on-going support and guidance.

The grant proceeds of $5,000 will be used to affect the lives of approximately 25 people. Faith Partners for Progress is a project designed to “move people permanently out of poverty by empowering them to make life changes and improve their lives.”

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul and CCNLA continually strive to be good stewards of your generous donations and sincerely appreciate your support of our ministries to serve the poor, both financially and resourcefully.  •

Pro-Life Events Evolving in 2018: An Interview with Bishop Michael G. Duca

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by Jessica Rinaudo

As the Diocese of Shreveport continues to support and champion pro-life efforts in 2018, Bishop Duca is planning to keep awareness of the issue at the forefront but now plans to host two events: one in support of our local pro-life ministry and one to witness to the broader issues that challenge the dignity of the human person in the world today. Our first event this spring will be a reception in support of Mary’s House – the Diocese of Shreveport’s pregnancy center, which will be held on March 20th at the Bossier Civic Center.  Another parish-centered pro-life event will be held in October to highlight all the life ministries in the diocese.

I sat down with Bishop Duca to talk about the changes in pro-life events.

Q: The Annual Bishop’s Pro-Life Banquet has been a huge success in the community. Why are things changing this year?

At last year’s Pro-Life Banquet, I mentioned that I would likely begin to change the focus of our yearly gathering event in order to not only witness to our efforts to protect human life, our stance against abortion and our desire to make it illegal, but also I wanted to affirm the many other life ministries in the diocese that support the dignity of the human person. To accomplish this I decided we needed two events: the first will be the Mary’s House reception this March.

Q: What will this spring reception that will support Mary’s House be like?

It’s going to be held at the Bossier Civic Center. It will be a reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres – a ticketed event. We have a powerhouse speaker, Abby Johnson, who is the former clinic director of Planned Parenthood and who now famously speaks out against abortion. She will be there to inspire and update us on the issues surrounding life – particularly issues of the status of abortion and the status of the Church’s ministry to the unborn.

Q: What would you say to others who attended the pro-life banquet in the past but are unsure about this new Reception?

I support this event and I will be present because our spring pro-life dinner has always been a source of support for our pro-life ministries, and in particular, for the past few years, for Mary’s House. This event is something that I support and I hope you will too. Mary’s House is presently our premier ministry to the unborn and to pregnant mothers considering abortion in the diocese. Mary’s House has always been a beneficiary of our banquet, but now we’re going to highlight the importance of their ministry in a more focused way. Mary’s House needs our support for their ongoing ministry to pregnant women and the unborn. They are expanding their ministries as well. In addition to their work with counseling pregnant women and encouraging them to have their babies, they now have a program called Embrace Grace which provides pregnant mothers with community support from our churches, with baby showers and ongoing support after the baby is born. And as they expand, of course, they need more support to keep that ministry going.

Q: So if there is a reception with food in the spring, what can we expect in the fall?

We’ll have another event that will be a celebration of the dignity of human person. It will likely be held in a parish setting with prayer, a speaker and possibly include a youth component, as well. This event in the fall will allow us to explore and witness all our diocesan ministries that work to protect the dignity of the human person from the womb to death. This will be a free event. We will highlight our family life ministries as well. These two events are still components of the original, but they are being separated so that we can focus on two aspects of the need in our diocese for pro-life ministry and assist in realizing our desire to be a witness to all aspects of the pro-life ministry of the Church.

Diocese of Shreveport 2017 Annual Financial Report

Click to download and view the Diocese of Shreveport 2017 Annual Financial Report.

Deacon Class Postponed

A vocation to the permanent diaconate is a serious commitment and undertaking and interested men often need considerable time for prayer and discernment before enrolling in the program. Because the Diocese of Shreveport deeply desires to have a full class of men who are called to this ministry, Bishop Michael Duca and program director, Deacon Clary Nash have decided to temporarily postpone the program. This will allow for more discernment time, a chance for questions to be addressed, and time for applicants to complete all the necessary paperwork and enrollment procedures.

We are excited by the interest in the next deacon class expressed by church members and the clergy. We encourage men who feel God might be calling them to be a deacon to complete the application process. God needs you to assist His people.

For questions and application information, please contact Deacon Clary Nash at 318-532-0280, or email him at cnash@dioshpt.org.

Rite of Candidacy Mass for Mues

Seminarian Kevin Mues with Bishop Michael Duca at his Rite of Candidacy Mass at Jesus the GoodShepherd Parish in Monroe. This is one of the final steps Kevin will take before being ordained a
transitional deacon and then a priest for the Diocese of Shreveport. (photo by Gary Guinigundo)

Epiphany Tradition in Monroe

A beautiful Epiphany tradition took place within the homes of the Parish School of Religion students of St. Matthew Parish in Monroe. The students learned the custom of chalking their doors and how special it is to invite Jesus to be a daily guest in their homes and lives.

College Students Spread Cheer

College students of the Association of Catholic Tech Students (ACTS) headed to Ruston Rehab before the break to spread some holiday cheer to the residents there. Even Santa and one of his elves were in town to help lend a hand! Thanks to the ACTS-ME (ACTS’ Ministry to the Elderly) committee for organizing this festive holiday mission!

Children’s Homily in Stonewall

Fr. Jim Moran presented the children’s homily during the Christmas Mass at St. Ann Church in Stonewall.

Loyola Students Keep Cross at Center of Lent

This time last year, the members of Faith on Fire, the student-led Christian club at Loyola, wanted to give students a focal point for Lent—something that would cause them to pause in the middle of a busy school day and consider the true meaning of the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection. They decided on a cross that stands over six feet tall in the center of the main hall. Michelle Brown, senior theology teacher and Faith on Fire sponsor said of the project, “It was entirely done by the students; no adults were involved with this project at all. Students donated their time and resources to hold bake sales and other fundraisers to purchase the supplies they needed.”

Ben Hyde, class of 2017, donated his afternoons and weekends to build the cross. “This was a true labor of love,” said Brown.

This year the cross will again be the focal point of Lent. Students and faculty gather around the cross every Friday to pray, and each day, there is a question for meditation at the foot of the cross. For example, one day a student may read, “Have you stopped today to thank your Savior for his suffering on your behalf?”

Students are particularly drawn to the cross and appreciate its prominent position in the school. Catholic and non-Catholic students alike value the opportunity to be reminded of Lent and its special significance in the lives of Christians.

“Seeing that cross reminds us that we are to give up things, but we can never give what Jesus gave for us,” said senior Alex Smith. “It shows that God gave His life, which is so much more than giving up candy or diet coke. Even those of us who are not Catholic are reminded of true sacrifice.”  •