Category Archives: Local News

From the Editor: Thank You, Bishop Duca

by Jessica Rinaudo, Editor, The Catholic Connection

There’s a certain rush, at least for me, that comes with good planning. Most issues of The Catholic Connection are planned well in advance, infused with ideas from our writers, editorial board, readers and myself. Riding the excitement of all the new ideas handed to me recently and some shiny new Catholic Press Awards, I was ready to tackle and plan the editorial calendar for the next 12 to 15 months of The Catholic Connection.

As I sat down at my computer Monday morning, June 25, I began laying the groundwork for our August issue – always an annual report on our Catholic schools – when our Communications Director, John Mark Willcox, walked into my office and closed the door. After a moment of staring down at the floor, he looked up and said, “They’re moving Bishop to Baton Rouge. There’s a press conference at 10:00 tomorrow morning down there.”

My heart stuttered. No. This couldn’t be happening. After John Mark reiterated that this news could in no way be shared until after the press conference, I sat at my computer, staring blankly into the white depths of the blank pages of the next issue of our magazine. I had a very short time to process the news before I had to move into action.

I found myself on the phone with my counterpart in Baton Rouge, both of us quietly panicking as we discussed who would cover what events, when stories could be released, how to stream our respective press conferences and what to post on our social media platforms. I wandered in and out of Bishop Duca’s office multiple times that day, ensuring that everyone was on the same page about when the news would be released and how it would be done. Tears flowed from the small group of us who were working together on this, but we tucked them away to uphold the Vatican’s embargo on the news.

I realized this would mean our August issue would change to a special edition of The Catholic Connection, honoring our bishop of the last 10 years. Bishop Duca has always been one of The Catholic Connection’s biggest cheerleaders – from looking over every issue before it goes to press, to committing to writing his reflection each and every month. He has personally reached out and congratulated our writers and me each time we have won Catholic Press Awards, and has even been awarded three himself.

So Bishop Duca, while this issue could have never been planned, especially months in advance, it has come together with the love and support of our publication’s writers, the editorial board, the chancery staff, the churches and faithful of the Diocese of Shreveport, and countless other dioceses across the United States. It is our farewell, our love letter to you, of a kind.

From all of us who work diligently on The Catholic Connection every month: thank you for your support, Bishop Duca. We hope all our readers will treasure this special issue as much as we do.

Despedimos a Nuestro Pastor

por Rosalba Quiroz

El buen pastor da su vida por las ovejas. Juan 10:11. El Obispo Michael G. Duca ha sido ese buen pastor y como tal, nos ha guiado por los últimos diez años. Desafortunadamente las ovejas estamos por todo el mundo y este mes despediremos a nuestro querido obispo, ya que el Papa Francisco lo ha nombrado Obispo de la Diócesis Baton Rouge Luisiana. Pareciera que nos quedamos como dice una vieja canción: “dicen que no se sienten las despedidas, dile al que te lo cuenta que esto es mentira… el que se queda se queda llorando y el que se va, se va suspirando… 

Después de diez años de tenerlo con nosotros, nos quedaremos tristes porque se va pero llevaremos en el corazón sus enseñanzas, y muestras de cariño. ¿Quién no estrechó su mano amigable en un convivio o celebración? o ¿Quién no vio como recorría las mesas en las fiestas preguntando a los niños que película o juego les había gustado últimamente? Todos en la diócesis, sin importar raza o lengua sentimos su cariño y nos favorecimos de su ministerio como obispo al servicio de Dios y de la Iglesia.

Aunque con el corazón afligido de verlo partir, nos alegramos por él, pues aunque este cambio trae consigo más responsabilidades, es también un desafío que por obediencia al Papa y a la Iglesia aceptó y está dispuesto a tomar el 24 de agosto.

Los invitamos a participar en las Misas y despedidas que se ofrecerán en su honor los siguientes días: el viernes 17 de agosto en la parroquia de San Jose en Zwolle, a las 6 p.m. El sábado 18 en la parroquia de Jesus el Buen pastor en Monroe a las 10a.m. y el domingo 19 en la Catedral a la 1:30p.m. Todas las Misas serán seguidas por una recepción a la que estamos todos invitados. Los exhortamos a que no falten y le muestren al obispo su cariño y agradecimiento por estos diez años que Dios nos permitió tenerlo como nuestro pastor.

Oremos por su futuro, por la Diócesis que lo recibe, así como también para que Nuestro Señor Dios y el Papa Francisco envíen pronto un nuevo Pastor a nuestra diócesis y continuar juntos construyendo su reino en esta área de Luisiana.

Oremos también por todas las necesidades de la iglesia, de todos los que sufren y de los que no conocen aún a Jesús, “El Salvador del Mundo” para que Dios envíe más pastores a guiarnos por el camino de la fe y la salvación.

Una de las enseñanzas que nos deja el obispo es algo que nos ha dicho y ahora le toca vivir: “Es difícil dejar algo cómodo y conocido o que necesitamos cambiar pero cuando lo hacemos, Dios llena ese espacio que abrimos con algo mejor y maravilloso porque Dios nunca deja de sorprendernos”. Que el vacío mutuo que se abre hoy, sea llenado de bendiciones abundantes como nos lo repitió nuestro obispo Michael G. Duca.

Well Wishes from Fr. Phil

by Fr. Phil Michiels

Bishop Duca has been a bright pastoral light in the administration of the diocese. I am very appreciative of his initiative in bringing Catholic Charities to the diocese, his respect for his clergy and his willingness to be present to parishioners in the diocese whenever possible.

Personally, I felt an instant rapport with Bishop Duca from the first time we met. I felt privileged to serve as a member of the College of Consultors, the Diocesan Clergy Personnel Board, the Priests Council and the Clergy Retirement Board. I value his acceptance of my voice and advice in the concerns of these important groups.

I value most of all his visitations to the parish for special occasions, which included the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation and his dining with parish staff members.

Again on a personal level, as well as pastoral, I valued his presiding for a special Mass celebrating my 40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood and the special Mass celebrating my “official retirement” after completing my 12th year as a very happy pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Shreveport.

I send my prayers and best wishes to Bishop Duca as he begins a new chapter in his episcopacy as Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

About the Diocese of Baton Rouge

Click to download a PDF of this file.

Lo que todos se preguntan ¿Que sigue para la Diócesis de Shreveport?

por Father Rothell Price, Moderator de la Curia

Todos se preguntan quién será nuestro próximo obispo. Pienso que la respuesta clara a esa pregunta la tiene Dios nuestro Señor y su Vicario en la tierra, el Papa Francisco. El Papa Francisco tiene la responsabilidad de nombrar obispos en la Iglesia Católica. La Congregación de Obispos asiste al Papa en esta tarea. Ellos reciben una cantidad de nombres de parte del Nuncio Papal de los Estados Unidos de América, Arzobispo Pierre Christophe, quien tiene su oficina en Washington, D.C. El Arzobispo Christophe recibe nombres de posibles candidatos de cada uno de los obispos en los Estados Unidos. Cada obispo es libre de presentar un nombre o nombres de sacerdotes que presentan requisitos y cualidades de obispo. Entonces, para contestar la pregunta de; ¿quién será el siguiente obispo de la Diócesis de Shreveport? La respuesta correcta es, ¡No sabemos! 

El día que nuestro obispo, Michael Gerard Duca, se instale como obispo de Baton Rouge, nuestra Diócesis pasa a ser “Sede Vacante”, como se conoce en Latín. Esto significa que la silla o cátedra, (silla del obispo en la catedral) está vacía.

Ocho días después que el Obispo Duca este instalado en Baton Rouge y tome posesión de esa diócesis, nuestro Colegio de Consultores se reunirá para elegir a un sacerdote que asuma la administración de la diócesis hasta que el Papa Francisco nombre a nuestro nuevo obispo. El obispo Duca se instalará el viernes, 24 de Agosto a las 2:00 pm. En el transcurso de esa hora dejará de ser nuestro obispo. El Colegio de Consultores no elegirá al nuevo obispo. Ellos no participan en elegir a un obispo. Solamente tienen la responsabilidad de nombrar al sacerdote que será administrador de nuestra diócesis hasta que recibamos al nuevo obispo enviado por el Papa Francisco.

El Colegio de Consultores está compuesto por sacerdotes del Consejo Presbiteral de la Diócesis de Shreveport. El obispo puede nombrar a un mínimo de seis a doce sacerdotes máximo del Consejo Presbiteral a ser miembros del Colegio de Consultores. Es un requisito que los miembros del Colegio de Consultores sean seleccionados de entre los miembros del Consejo Presbiteral.

Para seleccionar al administrador diocesano, se requiere que el candidato sea sacerdote, haya cumplido 35 años de edad, y una doctrina y prudencia excepcional. Si tuviéramos un Cabildo Colegial (un consejo, el cual no tenemos) también se requiere que el candidato no debe haber sido ya elegido, nombrado, o presentado para esta diócesis.

El Colegio de Consultores es libre de seleccionar cualquier sacerdote a servir como administrador diocesano. Pueden elegir a un sacerdote dentro o fuera de la diócesis que sea diocesano o de orden religiosa. No obstante, que reúna los requisitos legales mencionados anteriormente.

El administrador diocesano disfruta del poder del Obispo diocesano, con la excepción de algunas cosas; por ejemplo, no puede ordenar a un obispo, sacerdote, o diácono porque no es obispo. Lo que puede hacer, es invitar a un obispo a hacerlo. Tampoco puede presidir en la Misa Crismal durante Semana Santa. De igual forma, tendría que recluir a un obispo de fuera que viniera a presidir en esta Misa

El administrador diocesano no tiene autoridad de hacer algo que esté en contra de los derechos de la diócesis o del nuevo obispo. Tiene prohibido eliminar o modificar documentos de la curia diocesana. Durante su administración nada debe ser alterado o modificado en la diócesis. Estas reglas se establecen para asegurar la estabilidad y tranquilidad en la diócesis hasta que el nuevo obispo llegue. El administrador diocesano está obligado a vivir en la diócesis y asegurarse de dar Misa a las personas de la diócesis. Sus responsabilidades terminan cuando el nuevo obispo tome posesión de la diócesis.

Por favor oren por el Colegio de Consultores y por el sacerdote que ellos elijan para administrar la diócesis hasta que nuestro nuevo pastor sea nombrado e instalado. El colegio y el administrador van a necesitar la sabiduría y orientación del Espíritu Santo. Que la siempre Virgen Maria, San José, San John Berchmans, y todos los Santos de Dios intercedan por nosotros. Y no se olviden de orar por el Obispo Duca en este tiempo de transición emocional en su vida. ¡Nuestra pérdida es la gran ganancia de la gente de la Diócesis de Baton Rouge! Deo gratias. •

 

The Question on Everyone’s Mind: What Comes Next for the Diocese of Shreveport?

by Father Rothell Price, Moderator of the Curia

 Everyone is wondering who our next bishop will be. I think the only truthful answer to that question is that only our good Lord and His vicar on earth, Pope Francis, knows.Pope Francis has the responsibility of naming bishops in the Catholic Church. He is assisted in this task by the Congregation for Bishops. They receive their pool of names from the Papal Nuncio to the United States of America, who is Archbishop Pierre Christophe. His office is in Washington, D.C. Archbishop Christophe receives potential names from each of the bishops of the United States. Every bishop is free to submit the name or names of priests who they feel possess the qualifications and qualities of a bishop. So, to answer the question as to who will be the next bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport? The only truthful answer is, we do not know!On the day that our current bishop, Michael Gerard Duca, is installed as the bishop of Baton Rouge, our diocese becomes vacant. The Latin phrase for this is “sede vacante.” Sede vacante is pronounced “say-day vay-khan-tay.” It means that the seat or cathedra (the bishop’s chair at the cathedral church) is empty. There is no bishop here to occupy it.

Within eight days after Bishop Duca is actually installed in Baton Rouge and takes possession of that diocese, our College of Consultors will convene to elect a priest to govern the diocese until Pope Francis names our new bishop. Bishop Duca will be installed on Friday, August 24, at
2:00 p.m. Somewhere within that hour he will no longer be our bishop. The College of Consultors will not elect the new bishop. They have no role to play in the choosing of a bishop. They have the responsibility of naming the priest who will be the administrator of our diocese until we receive a new bishop from Pope Francis.

The College of Consultors is made of up priests from the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Shreveport. The bishop can name from a minimum of six to a maximum of 12 of the priests from the Presbyteral Council to be members of the College of Consultors. It is a requirement that the members of the College of Consultors be chosen from among the members of the Presbyteral Council.

In order to be chosen as the diocesan administrator, it is required that the candidate be a priest, have completed his 35th year of age, and be outstanding in doctrine and prudence. If we had a Cathedral Chapter (which we do not), it would also be required the candidate not have already been elected, appointed, or presented for this diocese.

The College of Consultors is free to choose any priest to serve as the diocesan administrator. They can choose a priest from within or outside the diocese. It can be a diocesan priest or a religious order priest. However, he must meet the legal requirements above.

The diocesan administrator enjoys the power of the diocesan bishop, with the exception of a few things; for example, he cannot ordain a bishop, priest, or deacon because he is not bishop. He can, however, invite a bishop to come to the diocese to preside over an ordination. Likewise, he cannot preside at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week. Again, he would have to recruit a bishop from outside our diocese to come preside at that Mass.

The diocesan administrator is forbidden to do anything against the rights of the diocese or those of the in-coming bishop. He is prohibited from removing or changing documents of the diocesan curia. During his administration nothing is to be altered or changed in the diocese. These rules are in place to ensure stability and tranquility in the diocese until the new bishop arrives. The diocesan administrator is obliged to live in the diocese and ensure Mass for the people of the diocese. His responsibilities end when the new bishop takes possession of the diocese.

Please pray for our College of Consultors, and pray for the priest they choose to administer the diocese until our new shepherd is named and installed. The College and the administrator will need the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. May the Ever-Virgin Blessed Mary, St. Joseph, St. John Berchmans, and all the saints of God intercede for us. And do not fail to pray for Bishop Duca in this highly emotional transitional time in his life. Our great loss is a great gain for the people of the Diocese of Baton Rouge! Deo gratias.

Bishop Michael Duca Announced as Bishop-designate of Baton Rouge

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by Bonny Van, The Catholic Commentator

The sixth bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge was greeted with applause, smiles and hugs as he approached the podium for his introduction to the people of the capital city on June 26, just hours after the Vatican announced the appointment by Pope Francis.

Bishop-designate Michael G. Duca replaces Bishop Robert W. Muench, who is retiring after 16 years. The two bishops arrived together, with Bishop Muench handling much of the introductions for the press event, which contained a variety of emotions from both men, who had clearly formed a special camaraderie.

“I was completely surprised by this appointment and while I am sad to leave the good people of the Diocese of Shreveport, I immediately accepted the appointment without reservation as I see this as the will of God in my life and, I guess by extension, the will of God in the life of the Diocese of Shreveport and Baton Rouge,” said Bishop-designate Duca to the dozens of priests, deacons, diocesan employees and members of the media packed into the Westerfield Center on the campus of the Catholic Life Center.

Bishop-designate Duca has been bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport for the past 10 years, his first bishop assignment. A native of Dallas, Texas, Bishop-designate Duca was ordained a priest in 1978 for the Diocese of Dallas. After serving in several parishes in that diocese, he served as rector of Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving, Texas from 1996 to 2008.

In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport, with a Catholic population of 40,000. In contrast, the Diocese of Baton Rouge has a Catholic population of 227,052.

“I have to tell you I’m not clear about the ‘why me’ part,” said the bishop-designate. “I have to admit I have been surprised or puzzled by most of the pastoral assignments I have received over my life. But, no matter how quick I had to move, or how unprepared I felt or overwhelmed or humbled, in every case, when I embraced the assignment, without reservation, I found the joy and blessings I know now that God intended.”

Bishop-designate Duca then broke down in tears in recalling the special bond he had developed with the people in Shreveport, saying, “I fell in love with those I served, and I also found that in every case, I discovered the goodness in the people of God.”

“I intend to do no less here in Baton Rouge,” he continued. “And, I will give myself to you as your bishop and the work before us to build the kingdom of God, here in this portion of south Louisiana.”

Though the geographical area of the Diocese of Baton Rouge pales in comparison with that of Shreveport  5,513 square miles versus 11,129 square miles the bishop-designate inherits a much denser population concentration that includes 64 church parishes, one university, 31 schools, 51 diocesan priests, 56 active permanent deacons and more than 100 combined religious brothers and sisters. In his first public address, the bishop-designate said he is committed to supporting those who serve in the church.

“I look forward to meeting the priests and deacons of the diocese and also the diocesan staff,” said Bishop-designate Duca. “But, at the end, the priests, deacons and lay leaders of the parishes and institutions are those that I want most to be seen as in solidarity with. They are the ones we, the Catholic staff, are here to support because they are the ones, the outreach, that touch the people of God.”

Bishop-designate Duca, a self-described foodie, said he anticipates “hitting the ground walking” as opposed to “running” when he officially takes possession of the diocese because “there is a good organization, a good structure, a good spirit in the church” in the Baton Rouge diocese. He also mentioned an acquaintance in Shreveport, whose brother is a priest in Baton Rouge and stated that the Baton Rouge diocese has “the best group of priests in Louisiana.”

“That was very encouraging and Bishop Muench has given me the same kind of encouragement and so I come with a great enthusiasm and excitement,” he said. “And, I’m anxious to meet all of you over the next years of my life as a bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.”

In a nod to his Texas roots and the large Spanish-speaking population in his home state, the bishop-designate made a statement in Spanish, “especially now when things are so uncertain for so many people.”

“Basically, what I said was that I want them to know that they are part of our family, we are one church and I can say that openly because I know that this is a city of much diversity,” he added. “When I moved to Louisiana, I thought that I would have shrimp and seafood in my freezer, more than I could eat. I moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, and ended up with meat pies and tamales, which have been a great gift. But, I first experienced in Shreveport, the diversity of culture and influence throughout this whole Louisiana state.

“It’s a wonderful diversity, and I know we have Vietnamese, African-American; we have other cultures that are here all around, and I just want to say, we all have to consider that we are one family and when one part of the family suffers, we all suffer and we need to have that kind of unity together.”

Bishop-designate Duca then referenced a speech made at the recent U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting “about the importance of being close to one another” and getting to know each other and each other’s struggles.

“We need to get close to (the poor) to understand their lives because in the end, we all want the same thing,” he said. “So to our brothers and sisters who don’t speak English, I want them to know that they are part of our family. If I could say this in Vietnamese, I would, but that’s way beyond me and I’m not going to try to say it in south Louisiana because I would mess that up, too.”

In follow-up questions, the bishop-designate acknowledged that the transition from “the north to the south” will not be an easy one, saying, “I’m in way over my head here.”

“I don’t even know enough to know how much I don’t know about south Louisiana to be worried about how much I don’t know,” he added. “Culturally, I know that I’m in a different place so I have to learn the culture and the way people interact.

“I know that there’s north Louisiana, there’s south Louisiana and there’s New Orleans.”

But he also emphasized the universality of the church, saying “even though there may be a great difference in culture, there is one church language, you might say, the language of the Mass, the language of the sacraments, the language of prayer. So we start off together with that.”

Bishop-designate Duca is scheduled to be installed on August 24, at 2:00 p.m. at Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge. •

Mary’s House: Helping Mothers, Saving Lives

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by L’Anne Sciba, Executive Director and Founder, Mary’s House 

“I hope they… [people of the Shreveport Diocese] felt respected, I hope they feel they had a voice when they spoke with me, that I listened to them.”

Bishop Michael G. Duca to The Shreveport Times, June 27, 2018

In October 2013, I had the idea of opening a pregnancy care center (PCC) and realized before I went any further, I should ask Bishop Duca if this was an acceptable idea. I made an appointment with him.

A few months later I met some people from another part of the country, mentioned how I met with the bishop, and they burst out laughing. They couldn’t believe that I could get an appointment at all! That is when I realized that Bishop Duca’s heart was truly open to meeting and knowing the people in his diocese.

At that initial meeting in 2013, he listened to my idea, looked at my “charts,” asked some questions, and then he offered what he had: an empty room at the Catholic Center. Even though, as he said later, “it wouldn’t cost me anything,” and we never did use the room, his encouragement gave me and others the message that a new pregnancy care center was welcome in the diocese.

But, I had to keep working my day job.

Bishop Michael Duca and L'Anne Sciba sign papers to move Mary's House into their current home on Margaret Place in Shreveport.

In early 2014, one of Bishop Duca’s Pro-Life Banquet team members called to invite me to speak about Mary’s House Pregnancy Care Center at the Pro-Life Banquet – I had a five minute limit! Considering Mary’s House had no donors, no money, and was only a vision to help young women find alternatives to abortion. How could five minutes do anything? Yet Bishop Duca’s idea seemed to be to let this idea of Mary’s House “run” and see where it would go.

At that Banquet, $80,000 was donated to Mary’s House by the attendees.

Later that year, Schumpert Hospital closed, and the diocese acquired a vacant yellow house in which the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word had lived. In December 2014, at our semi-annual meeting about the Mary’s House idea, the Bishop offered the vacant yellow house for Mary’s House to use. It turned out to be perfect! On November 20, 2015, Mary’s House Pregnancy Care Center opened at the Margaret Place location.

As of June 2018, over 500 young women have come to Mary’s House for pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, for someone to talk to, to gain access into the healthcare system and for information about other resources.

Bishop Duca, you are a true shepherd, pastoring and letting God work through you and the people in the Diocese of Shreveport. Thank you, Bishop Duca, from all the young moms, their babies, the volunteers and donors of Mary’s House!

Catholic Charities of North Louisiana: A Bishop’s Legacy

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by Lucy Medvec, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana 

When Bishop Michael G. Duca arrived in 2008 as the second bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport, he was surprised to see that there was not a Catholic Charities agency in North Louisiana. Up until that time, outreach in the community had taken place through Christian Service and at the parish level through the works of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Bishop Duca envisioned the formation of Catholic Charities as the Diocese of Shreveport’s response to helping those in need and being an agent of positive change in the lives of those being served.

Jean Dresley, Catholic Charities’ first executive director, remembers seeing the position advertised in her parish bulletin. After several weeks of contemplation, she applied for the position and went through the interview process. In her second interview, she met with Bishop Duca and was offered the job at the end of the interview. She recalls feeling “scared to death” at the time, but also believed that “God was pulling me to this moment to use whatever small gifts I had to serve Him.” With a new executive director in place, Catholic Charities of Shreveport (CCS) opened its doors in August 2010.

In the early days of the organization, Dresley received guidance and mentoring from both Bishop Duca and Sr. Pat Cairns. Sr. Cairns had supervised two other Catholic Charities agencies and understood the challenges of a young organization. Dresley credits Cairns’ experience and presence during this time as making a huge difference in the success of Catholic Charities.

Some of the initial challenges CCS faced included forming a board of directors, finding a place to start serving clients, and most important, securing funding for the organization. Dresley began seeing clients immediately and it soon became apparent that CCS would need its own location. The organization moved into the rectory and sanctuary of the former St. Catherine of Siena Church, located in the Cedar Grove neighborhood, one of Shreveport’s poorest areas.

As the organization grew, so did its service area, expanding across the Diocese of Shreveport’s 16 civil parishes. Catholic Charities of Shreveport changed its name to Catholic Charities of North Louisiana in 2014, with satellite offices opening in Lake Providence and Monroe. Under the guidance of its current executive director, Meg Goorley, CCNLA has expanded its staff to nine full-time and six part-time employees, and provided services to over 3,500 people in 2017.

Bishop Michael Duca at Bingo on the Bayou - a special fundraising event for Catholic Charities of North Louisiana.

“Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to see how to fix a problem,” explained Goorley. “Ten years ago when Bishop Duca arrived, he could immediately see that the Diocese of Shreveport was in the middle of one of the poorest sections of Louisiana and he was committed to doing something about it. Because he knew that Catholic Charities in Ft. Worth and Dallas were effectively helping the poor and vulnerable, Bishop Duca laid the groundwork for Catholic Charities of Shreveport by hiring Jean Dresley to create an organization worthy of its name.”

Throughout its existence, Bishop Duca has been unwavering for his support of Catholic Charities of North Louisiana. Whether it is giving much-needed financial support, donating his time and culinary skills as auction items, calling bingo numbers at our annual fundraisers, or just lending words of advice, he has been the organization’s number one cheerleader.

Because of his vision and actions, thousands of people throughout North Louisiana have received education and assistance through Catholic Charities’ many programs, including Money School financial literacy, emergency assistance, Gabriel’s Closet parenting program, healthy eating classes, disaster relief and immigration legal services. The Diocese of Shreveport and all of North Louisiana have benefited from his presence, guidance and leadership. Catholic Charities of North Louisiana is honored to be a part of his legacy.

Thoughts from CCNLA staff members: 

“In my interview with Bishop Duca after he offered me the job, he told me to let him know if I ever needed help. He gave me his cell phone number and told me call him if I needed something. I never needed to use that cell phone number, but it speaks to his commitment to CCNLA and to me personally. I am still humbled that he offered me the job.” – Jean Dresley, Executive Director, 2010-2016

Jean Dresley, former Executive Director of Catholic Charities, and Bishop Michael Duca, at the opening of CCNLA's Monroe office.

“What I will remember most about Bishop Duca is how intelligent he truly is and how carefully he makes decisions by taking into consideration everyone and everything involved. I will always appreciate him giving me the opportunity two years ago to lead this organization which is so close to his heart (and now mine), and I pray that I can continue to uphold his admirable legacy.” – Meg Goorley, Executive Director

“Bishop Duca is an admirable, kind, generous, thoughtful, funny man. In the past four years, I have witnessed him advocate wholeheartedly on behalf of CCNLA, rallying support and infusing hope. His dynamic presence has touched many lives and will leave a significant void in his wake.” – Kelly Vaden, Director of Finance and Human Resources

“I am thankful to Bishop Duca for his mission to help those in need, show Christ’s love and start Catholic Charities of North Louisiana. With his continual support of our organization, we have grown from assisting less than 100 the first year to well over 3,000 this past year in three locations.” – Allison Kulbeth, Intake Coordinator

“Because of Bishop Duca’s vision of CCNLA, we have been able to help so many mothers through our Gabriel’s Closet program. What started out as a small program helping just a few mothers, has now blossomed into a bigger program that has helped hundreds of mothers in the past few years. Whenever meeting with Bishop Duca, his kind, caring, and humorous characteristics always shine through. We will definitely miss him and wish him nothing but the best in his next journey!” – Suhad Salamah, Benefits Manager and Gabriel’s Closet Coordinator

“Bishop Duca’s immeasurable support of Catholic Charities has allowed us to help thousands of individuals and their families throughout North Louisiana. His enthusiasm and love of people has helped make our annual bingo fundraisers fun and successful events for our organization. His homilies and speeches are always memorable and teach valuable lessons. We were blessed to have him lead our diocese for the past 10 years.” – Lucy Medvec, Director of Development and Communications

“Bishop Duca was the first, and has continued to be one of the most ardent and dedicated supporters of the Immigration Legal Services Program of Catholic Charities of North Louisiana. Words cannot express how grateful we are and how much he will be missed.” – Briana Bianca, Immigration Attorney

“Bishop Duca has been a champion for the poor, the underprivileged and the immigrants in our community. He has been our leader and the backbone of support for Catholic Charities of North Louisiana. Simply put, he is just a wonderful human being and will be greatly missed by our social services community and by those of us who have had the pleasure of getting to know him personally.” – Carl Piehl, Director of Financial Stability

“As a Catholic woman living in the Diocese of Shreveport, I have a great deal of admiration for Bishop Duca. For me, his final words in the promotional video for CCNLA in 2014 ‘…when the doorbell rings [at Catholic Charities], I’ll make sure there is somebody there to answer that door, every time,’ is a moment of blessing. I am also very grateful to him for being so clear in his stand on the side of immigrants and for showing Christian love towards them.”
– Gilda Rada-Garcia, Immigration Advocate

“Bishop Duca has impressed me greatly over the years with his humility, approachability and wisdom. While his preaching and conversation are extremely practical and relatable, his insights into the person of Jesus Christ and his confident proclamation of the gospel consistently inspire me to greater zeal and love for God. I am grateful for his constant support of Catholic Charities, as well as his ecumenical work and other endeavors around the diocese, but especially for his witness as a man of God, a man of faith, and a servant of the people.” – Joe Bulger, Case Manager •

Michael G. Duca, Son, Brother, Priest, Bishop

Some of the Catholic Center staff with Bishop Michael Duca at the Bishop Lynch Awards banquet. Front row: Randy Tiller, Dianne Rachal, Deacon Michael Straub. Back row: Patricia Pillors, Elaine Gallion, Bishop Michael Duca and Rosalba Quiroz.

by Randy Tiller, Chancellor

Bishop Mike, “the bish,” is our Bishop Michael G. Duca, the second bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport.

Over 10 years ago, a press conference was held at the Catholic Center announcing his upcoming episcopal ordination and installation. It doesn’t feel like 10 years ago. Meeting Bishop Duca, his parents, Louis and Aline Duca, his sisters Rosanne and Irene, his brother James, and of course their spouses and his nieces and nephews, was a wonderful and a long remembered event. Thus began the intense period of preparing for THE DAY, May 19, 2008 when the Diocese of Shreveport would ordain our second bishop!

After he was ordained, Bishop Duca sat with me a few minutes asking me exactly what it was the Director of Mission Effectiveness did. He admitted he was very interested in the position and I believe I said something stupid like, “I was very interested in his positon.” Needless to say, I remained the Director of Mission Effectiveness and he remained the bishop.

For a short while that neither Bishop nor I could understand, people would mistake me for bishop. I have had people try to genuflect and reverence my ring. I have had them make comments that I would answer with, “I am not the bishop. He has the black shirt and white collar. At one point I heard Bishop tell someone, “No, Randy is Lebanese!”

From the beginning we established a rapport that I am pleased to say has grown over the years. Very soon after Bishop moved to Shreveport, I learned he had been introduced to Lebanese food when he had been in a parish with a Lebanese priest from Tyler, Texas. I asked him to dinner one Sunday afternoon for a very traditional Lebanese meal. My son, Garrett, and my mom, Madeline, were with us. I gave Bishop Duca a seat at the table (whether it was the head or the foot is still up for discussion). By the end of the meal, my mom had gathered up some of the dishes. I was standing at the sink in the kitchen, and as Bishop walked by mother, she said, “Here take these dishes to Randy.” When he got to the sink, while I was kind of mortified, he said, “I am only the bishop.”

Since that time he has joined family, friends and me at many dinners, lunches and family gatherings through the years. I invited him to go with my sisters and me to a cousin’s house on the Mardi Gras parade route. I had so much stuff to carry from the two blocks away I had to park, that I took a baby stroller to put it all in. Bishop announced he was walking on the other side of the street away from the stroller.

Another time, Fr. Price and I accompanied Bishop Duca to the Texas State Fair to look at the new automobile offers, have “the corndog,” and fill up on all the other variety of fair food and see the new “Big Tex.” At one point Fr. Price and I looked at a ride that went up, down and all around, and decided to buy tickets to ride it. Bishop told us, NO, that we would have to ride one at a time. (I did not admit it then, but I was so relieved, I am not a “rider”).

We have laughed, we have had great times, tense times, times that one of us walked away upset and disenchanted; but we always came back together in the interest of the diocese and continued moving forward. There has been good news and bad news passed between us, but always with a sense of compassion, understanding, sincerity, fairness and something extra that I believe existed between the Bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport and the Director of Mission Effectiveness.

Effective April 1, 2018, he appointed me the Chancellor of the diocese. On June 26, he announced he was leaving for Baton Rouge. I think he got the last laugh. Congratulations Bishop Duca, you leave behind a diocese with a heavy but a joyful heart as you embark on new challenges. Hip hip hooray, Bish!  •