Category Archives: Local News

Catholic Youth Day Coming March 11!


by Nicky Prevou

Middle school and high school youth and their adult leaders are eagerly looking forward to Saturday, March 11. Catholic Youth Day (CYD) 2017 will be held at St. Paschal Parish, located at 711 North 7th Street in West Monroe.

The schedule will include opportunities for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Reconciliation, dynamic praise and worship experiences, interactive workshops, fellowship and a Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Duca. Hundreds of Catholic youth from  across the diocese are planning to attend the event.

Selah Storm and Nikki Tinnerello, who serve as volunteer youth ministry leaders at St. Paschal Parish, said that they are “thrilled” that their parish will be hosting this year’s fun-filled event.

“We at St. Paschal’s often get together with several of the small area parishes for retreats and other events, so we’re especially excited to have other parishes from other parts of the diocese join us for Catholic Youth Day. We are so happy that we are able to invite everyone to share in the strong foundation of faith that we offer to our Catholic youth,” said Selah.

“It’s always valuable for our young people to gather and share their Catholic faith, to enjoy the camaraderie, the prayerfulness and the excitement of the day,” added Nikki.

Both the youth leaders and their own teenage sons are especially looking forward to hearing this year’s keynote presenter, the internationally recognized Catholic liturgical musician and speaker Jesse Manibusan, whom they have previously seen in concert.

“Jesse will most definitely bring so much to our diocese,” Selah reflected. “He is very high-energy and engaging, but he is also so soulful, tender, and multi-faceted in his ability to share his faith with people of all ages.”

Kevin Prevou, Diocesan Director of  Youth and Young Adult Ministry, said all youth, grades six through 12, and their adult leaders are encouraged to register for the all-day event.

“Our team has been prayerfully preparing for March 11, and we have several hoped-for outcomes, based on the theme for the day, ‘iBelieve’,” said Kevin. “We want our young people to grow in their own sense of Catholic identity and belonging to their Catholic parish and diocesan family. We want them to connect their call to discipleship with the challenge to truly live out their faith, and we are offering an opportunity to grow in their sense of excitement and energy around their relationship with Christ.”

Christian recording artist Dave Fitzgerald will lead participants in praise and worship, and ministry leaders will offer break-out sessions on topics such as “Using Social Networks to Evangelize Others: Do’s and Dont’s”; “Catholic Teachings Every Teen Needs to Know by Heart”; and “Diving Into the Catholic Catechism: Be Not Afraid!”

Other sessions will offer opportunities to make rosaries and to create “Blessing Bags.” Dianne Rachal, diocesan Director of Worship, will lead a session on youth leadership in parishes as lectors, greeters, ushers and altar servers.

Kevin noted that members of the Diocesan Youth Council have helped to prepare the plans for the day, which will include “Interactive Faith Games,” the “My Catholic Faith Contest” and “Stump the Bishop!”

Jean Rains, who serves as the Director of Religious Education for St. John the Baptist Parish in Many, said that participation in CYD is “very important” to the youth of her parish.

“We live in an area that is predominantly non-Catholic,” Jean explained. “Our children find themselves in the position of trying to defend their faith, and that can be uncomfortable. I like for them to see that they are not alone, that they can enjoy learning with other youth of their own faith and develop friendships with kids from other parishes.”

Early registration for CYD 2017 is $30 a person through February 24. Regular registration is $35 per person February 25-March 7, and all registrations after March 7, including at-the-door, are $40. Registration includes entry into all CYD events, breakfast, snacks, lunch and a commemorative t-shirt. For more information or to register, go to and click on the Catholic Youth Day icon, or contact Kevin Prevou at 318-219-7258, or, or Gabby Willis at 318-219-7257, or

God is Calling – Diocese in Search of New Deacon Class


by Deacon Mike Whitehead

It has been a little over 11 years since the first Permanent Diaconate formation for the Diocese of Shreveport ordained 18 men in 2005, and three years since 16 more men joined them in 2014. Currently, there are 33 active deacons serving God and the people of this diocese in this ministry.

“Feedback on their service has been very positive and Bishop Duca is asking for more,” said Deacon Clary Nash, Deacon Formation Director.
A third formation for the Permanent Diaconate is scheduled to begin in September and the Diocese of Shreveport is again seeking men who are being called to a life of service. The application and selection process is now under way. If you feel God is calling you to this ministry, now is a great time to formally begin the discernment process, open a dialogue and have your questions and concerns answered.

Deacons can reach out to the Church community in many different ways. They are called to live the Gospel in every way, every day. The function of a deacon is to serve the Church by using their gifts and talents already given them by God for the purpose of service to God in serving God’s people.

Formation is designed to enhance those gifts and prepare these men for a lifetime of service, thereby adding a quality of life for them, our Church and surrounding communities. One of the roles of a deacon is to increase the involvement of the laity by support and guidance.

St. Pope John Paul II said, “The deacon’s tasks include that of promoting and sustaining the apostolic activities of the laity. To the extent he is more present and more involved than the priest in secular environments and structures, in common service to the kingdom of God.”

The deacons of Shreveport have answered the call to service. They help make Christ more relevant, human and understood in the world. They give witness to Christian values in the marketplace as ordained ministers. Deacons are called to leadership, to find ways to promote justice and charity and support Christian values in the world, in the name of the Catholic Church.

“As a deacon for over 30 years for the Diocese of Shreveport, God has blessed me abundantly in every day of my service,” Deacon Nash said. “It has been my honor to be the director of their formations.”

Since the institution of diaconate formation in the Diocese of Shreveport, the people of God have experienced a surge of energy, evangelization, inspiration and outreach to those in need.

“One of my cherished memories is of Deacon Sonny Daigle, who with terminal cancer, had a special ministry and love to those incarcerated,” Deacon Nash said. “His frequent visits included scripture study, personal examples, encouragement and his sincere concern and love for God and all God’s people. As a result, several men had life-changing experiences, converted and were confirmed into the Catholic Church. Their new-found faith upholds, sustains and now inspires others during this period of their life. With Deacon Sonny gone now, who will take his place?  God is calling.”

To learn more about the role of a deacon in your parish, please contact Deacon Clary Nash at 318-868-4441, or by email at The deadline for inquiries into the diaconate program is Monday, April 3, 2017.   •

Community Volunteers Give Back to Catholic Charities


by Lucy Medvec

As with any non-profit agency, the work and support from volunteers are important to the success of the organization. This is no different with Catholic Charities of North Louisiana. Since its inception in 2010, CCNLA has been blessed with a core of volunteers that assist with many of the organization’s programs on a daily basis.

Gabriel’s Closet opened in June 2012 as a volunteer-run “boutique” where low-income new parents could get new and gently-used items needed to care for their infants. Working with these families, our volunteers quickly began identifying other issues that needed to be addressed such as parenting skills and nutrition.  They began including a child’s book with each distribution and encouraging the parents to read out loud to their children. Today, CCNLA offers parenting classes taught by volunteer OB-GYN nurses twice each week. Class topics include well-baby care, infant CPR and first aid, nutrition, dental care and parenting skills. In addition to working one-on-one with parents, Gabriel’s Closet also has volunteers from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church that come once a week to sort the many items that are donated from the community.  Our Gabriel’s Closet volunteers worked extra hard this past fall when their storage space underwent a major renovation and items had to be packed up, stored and then moved back into the former sanctuary.

The community garden is part of CCNLA’s Healthy Eating on a Budget Initiative in order to provide food and gardening experience to our clients. The garden has been tended to periodically by community volunteers, including those from United Way’s annual “Day of Caring.”  Employees from Edge Office Products weeded the garden last March in order to prepare it for spring planting, but a very rainy season eventually turned the garden into an overgrown jungle.  One day last fall, Earl O’Kee contacted CCNLA looking for an opportunity to give back to his community.  After many weeks of hard work, Mr. O’Kee reclaimed the community garden and planted vegetables to be harvested in the coming months.  His hard work and love of the outdoors revitalized the garden plots and he looks forward to planting even more vegetables and herbs this spring.

In September 2016, CCNLA entered into a partnership with the LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine and their FACTTS (Fourth-year Academic Clinical Training and Teaching Selective) program. Every month during the school year, medical students select a community organization in which they will serve eight volunteer hours.  CCNLA is one of the selected organizations and has provided volunteer opportunities in each of its programs to fourth-year students before they move on to residency programs.  This Service Learning Activity program gives students the opportunity to learn more about social agencies in our community and how they are helping the underserved.

Catholic Charities is always looking for volunteers. Hours and opportunities are flexible and there are many ways to get involved.  Other areas include teaching one of our many classes (financial education, nutrition, parenting or English as a Second Language) or providing basic office assistance.  For more information about becoming a volunteer, please contact Lucy Medvec at or (318) 865-0200 ext. 101.

Bishop Friend’s Book Collection in Slattery Library


by Jessica Rinaudo

The Catholic Center’s Slattery Library has recently had a huge boost to its book collection. Upon his passing, Bishop William B. Friend bequeathed his vast collection of literature to the diocesan library.

Sue Vernia, who served as Bishop Friend’s first secretary, is now the librarian of Slattery Library. She had the task of sorting through and organizing his vast collection of over 1,800 books, which included identifying and labeling their Dewey Decimal numbers with bright green tags so that they are easily identifiable on the shelves of the library.

“I look out into the library, and I can see those green tags. His books are on every row,” said Sue.

Patrons to the library can browse through Bishop Friend’s collection and quickly see that his reading was broad and varied. “It’s amazing his wide scope of interests. There’s a shelf out there that’s almost full of books on leadership and things on the future society. It’s not just religious tracks. He was into a lot of things,” said Sue. “He was curious.”

“We have some that are just reference books and stay in the library, but most of them can be checked out for two weeks,” said Sue.
Lucky library patrons may even stumble upon one of Bishop Friend’s books that he read heavily. Those volumes are laced with his own notations, underlines and scrawled notes. Most of those heavily read and examined books are from a time before he became bishop, when he had more time to read and study.

It’s these hand written notations that remind Sue of her work with Bishop Friend in 1986. The cyclical nature of working as Bishop Friend’s first secretary, and then on his book collection after his death is not lost on her. With joy and nostalgia she said, “Working on his books, seeing his curiosity and interests, has brought him more into my life.”

A special display is up in the Slattery Library highlighting some of the books in Bishop Friend’s collection.

Stop by, talk to Sue and browse through the bright green tabs and see what Bishop Friend wanted to share with the Catholics of the Diocese of Shreveport.

The checkout process is easy. Any patron to the library can browse, select the books they like, fill out a form and borrow them for two weeks.
The Slattery Library is located in the Catholic Center, located at 3500 Fairfield Avenue. It will re-open, after being closed for construction for several months, on February 1. It will be open from Monday – Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Diocese of Shreveport 2016 Annual Report

Click to download a PDF of the Diocese of Shreveport’s 2016 Annual Report

St. Thomas Parish Celebrated 75 Year Anniversary

Bishop Michael Duca visited Ruston to celebrate Mass for St. Thomas Aquinas Parish’s 75th anniversary on December 10. Bishop Duca is pictured at the reception following the Mass, talking to a group from the Association of Catholic Tech Students, who are an integral part of the parish’s life.

Hospital Held New Year Prayer Service

St. Francis Medical Center held a special prayer service for the New Year on January 13 in its hospital chapel. The service was led by Fr. James Dominic.

ULM Catholic Campus Ministry Gives Thanks

Fr. Job Edathinatt Scaria opened the doors to the University of Louisiana’s Catholic Campus Ministry on Thanksgiving Day to students, faculty and staff who were not able to go home for the holidays.

The event started off with a Mass giving thanks to all God has given us. Fr. Joseph Puthuppally assisted in the celebration. Afterwards, a full traditional Thanksgiving meal was served complete with ham, turkey and all the fixings. To many of the international students, this was their first time celebrating the American tradition. Many volunteers helped Fr. Job make the event a successful one.

Catholic Tech Students Spread Christmas Joy

Members of the Association of Catholic Tech Students (ACTS) brought Christmas joy to the elderly this Christmas season by caroling at The Arbor and Terrace of Ruston and “partying” with St. Thomas resident parishioner, Anna Bleich.

It was in Anna’s home that the first Catholic Campus Ministry meeting of  St. Thomas Church was held 75 years ago!  This year, some of the college students decorated Anna’s home while making cookies and singing carols.

Other activities of ACTS this year included collecting food and supplies for five local families and filling up shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, an international organization that provides gifts for needy children around the world.

The Association of Catholic Tech Students prides itself on being a volunteer organization that is “Christ-Centered and Student-Led.”  ACTS relies on the goodness and generosity of its donors. Thank you and God bless to all who support our Catholic campus ministry program!
If you would like to support the faith formation of our college students at Louisiana Tech, please send your donation to the E. Donn Piatt Catholic Student Center, 600 Thornton St., Ruston, LA 71270.

New Many Altar Servers

New St. John the Baptist Altar servers were commissioned during weekend Masses. This ministry has grown considerably in the parish in recent months.