Category Archives: Local News

3 Minute Lenten Reflections in Diocesan App

by Shelly Bole

Social Media has quickly become a venue for evangelization, catechesis and Bible study.  Two years ago the diocese moved into the app world with the CatholicConnections app.

Last year we launched three minute Lenten reflections featuring adults, lay and clergy from all over the diocese. The 3 Minute Reflections will begin on March 1, Ash Wednesday, with a message from Bishop Duca. Each week a new reflection, focusing on the Sunday readings, will be added.   In addition there will be weekly tips for encouraging families to experience Lent together.

Our app, also links you to the following:
• Diocesan calendar
• Catholic Connection magazine,
• Audio and/or text of daily readings
• Saint of the day
• The Divine Office
• Catholic News Service

If you have not yet explored CatholicConnections, it can be found in both the Google play and the Apple app stores by searching for “CatholicConnections.”  Encourage your friends and family to download the app and begin following the diocesan and universal life of the Church.

7 Reasons for Laypeople to Explore the UD Catholic Formation Program in Our Diocese

from the University of Dallas

A moment of silence can be a rare thing in this day and age — and a few minutes to catch your breath even rarer. Our days are full of buzzing phones, pinging social notifications, meetings and surprises — not to mention those hectic Sunday mornings tumbling into the pew just as the entrance chant begins. What if you had the opportunity to slow down? To take in that moment of silence while growing in faith, service and community?

Now, there’s a new way to do just that through a new Catholic formation program in the Diocese of Shreveport from University of Dallas for both laypeople and aspiring deacons. Here are seven reasons to explore the new program:

1) Journeying in faith with a community is always more transformational than we think. If you’re looking for a “boost” in your spiritual life, this program brings believers together to learn more about the Lord and His church. You will experience a unique level of communication among faculty and peers who support, challenge and illuminate one another at every turn.

2) You get to learn from the University of Dallas’ nationally recognized theology faculty. The professors have served on the “front lines” of ministry in leadership positions and bring their experience into their teaching, like Professor Jim McGill, an expert in applied ministry who also has 40-plus years’ experience directing adult religious education programs in parish settings.

3) If you haven’t yet undertaken a comprehensive study of your Catholic faith, now is the time. The four-year program covers a broad scope of topics, including Christian spirituality, sacred Scripture, the Catholic Church in America, the history of liturgy and bioethics.

4) Don’t worry if four years sounds like a big commitment. Aspiring deacons take all four years of formation in sequence, but laypeople can participate at their own pace. Take a course for a 10-week session and see how it goes; then, when you’re ready for more, go for it!

5) Courses are offered through an educational partnership with the University of Dallas, which brings its intellectual resources to the life of the local Church. The university consistently enjoys a spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the top 10 Catholic colleges in the West and is recommended by the Cardinal Newman Guide. The university also organizes the annual Dallas Ministry Conference, which draws nearly 5,000 attendees.

6) The more you grow in knowledge of the faith, the more you’ll grow in your life of service, both personally and professionally. As Pope Francis shared in one general audience, “You may know the whole Bible, you may know all the liturgical rubrics, you may know all theology, but from this knowledge love is not automatic: loving has another path, it requires intelligence, but also something more. … There is no true worship if it is not translated into service to neighbor.”

7) Earn a Certificate of Theological Studies upon completion of the program. This continuing education certificate from the University of Dallas recognizes that you’ve worked hard and grown intellectually, spiritually and professionally —  and you’re ready for mission. Now we go together to “make disciples for all the world” (Mt. 28:19).

Interested in learning more about the Diaconate Intellectual Formation Program? Contact Deacon Clary Nash, director of the Permanent Deacon Formation Program, at 318-219-7303, or cnash@dioshpt.org. The program is open to both lay ministers and aspiring deacons. Classes start fall 2017.

Ignatius of Loyola Movie Coming to Diocese of Shreveport

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by Randy Tiller

Ignatius Press announced the new theatrical release of Ignatius of Loyola, Solider, Sinner, Saint on December 1, 2016. Due to the past relationship our diocese has with Ignatius Press, the Diocese of Shreveport was one of the first to be offered the opportunity to book a showing for this film.

Not since the release of Mary of Nazareth and Restless Heart has there been such an epic Catholic film of this scope, quality and grandeur. The last full-length feature film on St. Ignatius of Loyola was produced over 70 years ago.

Filmed on location in Spain with an extremely talented cast of Spanish actors, the story of Ignatius, his tumultuous life, passions, sinfulness, conversion and ultimately virtuous life bursts onto the screen and into the minds and hearts of the viewers, illuminating the life of St. Ignatius like never before.

The story of St. Ignatius is as relevant today as it was more than 500 years ago. And now, our diocese is able to offer an opportunity to view this powerful story in the Holoubek Theatre at the Catholic Center, located at 3500 Fairfield Avenue in Shreveport.

This outstanding Catholic film is being brought to our diocese for the purpose of evangelization and entertainment.

The diocese is offering this film on three different days and times so that everyone will have an opportunity to view it. Although there is no admission charge, donations are accepted. Your generosity makes it possible to continue bringing such events to our theatre.

Showings will be as follows:
• Wednesday March 22, at 2:00 p.m.
• Thursday, March 23, at 6:00 p.m.
• Friday, March 24, at 8:30 a.m. for middle and high school students. (The producers advise the film is not suited for under 13 years of age).

Souvenir bookmarks will be handed out at each showing as a memento of the screening. Patrons will also have the opportunity to purchase DVDs for sale at the theatre after the screening. They will only be available at the theatre, not online or at other locations until its general release after April 2017.
Some interesting facts:

In 1521, Ignatius was struck by a cannonball in the legs. One leg was merely broken, but the other was badly mangled. After suffering for a month, his doctors warned him to prepare for death. Ignatius began to improve and part of one leg was amputated. During his healing, Ignatius began to read De Vita Christi (The Life of Christ). The book would inspire Ignatius’ own spiritual exercises.

Other men joined his exercises and became followers of Ignatius. The group began to refer to themselves as “Friends in the Lord.” Pope Paul III received the group and approved them as an official religious order in 1540. They called themselves the Society of Jesus. Some people who did not appreciate their efforts dubbed them “Jesuits” in an attempt to disparage them.  Before Ignatius died in 1556, his order established 35 schools and boasted 1,000 members.
For more information about the movie, contact Randy Tiller, 318-868-4441, or rtiller@dioshpt.org.

Shreveport Mom and Daughter March for Life with Love in D.C.

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by Katie Aranda

Who would have imagined that my daughter and I would be at the March for Life in Washington D.C. this year?  Not me!

My best friend from college, who lives four hours from D.C., wrote on her Facebook page the week of the march that she was organizing a group to go to the march.  I jokingly wrote on her post that I wanted to go.  Then she called and I briefly entertained the idea before thinking of all the reasons I couldn’t go.  My husband teasingly said I could go… if I took all four of our kids.  As we discussed it further, we decided that it was important for our family to support those who cannot speak for themselves in the largest pro-life march in the country, especially at a time when our country is focused on marches. He had already been to a D.C. March for Life, so he graciously gave his blessing for our six-year-old daughter, Genevieve, and me to go.  After quickly arranging childcare and booking flights for a three day trip, we were off on an adventure!

It was an adventure of love…love for your neighbor, the unborn, family, stranger, young and old.  Even as we exited the plane in D.C., people immediately wanted to become friends.  Genevieve had announced on the plane to anyone who would listen that we were going to the “March for Life.” At the airport one lady from Montana gave me her number just because we would both be at the march. Groups of young people were praying in the stairwells as we walked to our hotel room the night before the march. Despite the gravity of abortion, people at the march were joyful, friendly, and peaceful.  The message for life enveloped everyone.

Energizing the crowd, speakers spoke of a “movement of love, not anger.  A movement of compassion, not confrontation.”

Vice President Pence emphasized that “life is winning in America” and gave hope to marchers.  Genevieve (who thought we were actually going to march like in a band) and I walked with my best friend Lisa, her husband, and their four children.  It was frigid, but people smiled and didn’t complain. Genevieve, my Louisiana girl, whispered as we were walking, “Mommy, I don’t want to move to D.C.  It’s too far from the equator.” Nonetheless, she marched on.

Strangers handed out snacks to help families with little ones. Songs were sung. Rosaries were prayed. There was no hatred on the streets. I saw people hugging women who held signs proclaiming, “I regret my abortion.”  I saw older people, young adults, people with disabilities, Catholics, non-Catholics, large families, small families marching for a worthy cause. There was an atmosphere of love and hope.

Genevieve and I soaked in the experience. We saw signs reminding us of the sacredness of life. Signs speaking of the beauty of adoption reminded me of our own adopted children. We thank God for courageous birthmothers and birthfathers who bless families with an incredible gift. We saw signs reminding us that everyone has value and God loves us all.  I was reminded of the girls from Heart of Hope (our local maternity home for young women) who struggle and defy all odds, and of children and adults with disabilities who are loved and love beyond measure. I was reminded of all the orphans who thirst for love. We marched not just for the unborn that day, but for all life. When I asked Genevieve “Why do we march”?  Her answer was simple, but true.  “Mommy, we march for life.”

Irish Heritage Brought to Life with St. Brigid Feast at St. Mary of the Pines

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by Kelly Phelan Powell

Kim Long, Director of Religious Education (DRE) at St. Mary of the Pines Parish in Shreveport, is one of those rare and wonderful souls who dream big, then roll up their sleeves and get to work. “I was the rabble rouser,” she laughed, describing the beginnings of the annual celebration of the Feast of St. Brigid of Kildare, now in its third year, that has become one of the parish’s most anticipated events. She and a committed group of women volunteers have carved out a fun, meaningful new tradition for people of Catholic faith and Irish ancestry.

As DRE, Long took part in planning the parish’s multicultural festival. As St. Mary of the Pines has a well-established Hispanic population, Latin and Hispanic traditions are a big part of the celebration. And while everyone enjoyed the festival, parishioners whose families were less recent immigrants of European origin felt that they had little to contribute. Long said it was parishioner Anne Eid who gave her the idea while they were discussing a St. Joseph’s altar. “When are we going to do something for the Irish? My maiden name is Kennedy!” Eid said, and the beginnings of the Feast of St. Brigid took root.

With permission from Fr. Francis Kamau, Long and a group of volunteers, including Mary Cadwell, Rachel Cobb, Jennifer Lee, Cindy McGowan and Mary Alice Owen, among others, formed a committee and began not only planning a celebration, but also learning more about their Irish heritage, language, folk songs and recipes. They referred to themselves as “Daughters of Brigid” and met regularly to practice céilí, traditional dances in which dancers arrange themselves in formations of two to 16 people.

The historical details of Brigid’s life are notoriously difficult to establish, but according to Hugh de Blacam’s essay in “The Saints of Ireland,” she was born around 450 A.D. The illegitimate child of a pagan chieftain named Dubthach and his Christian slave, Broicsech, Brigid was probably baptized and reared in the Catholic faith by her mother. At around age 10, her father removed her from her mother’s slave quarters and raised her in his own household.

Brigid took Dubthach’s riches and gave generously to the poor. Enraged, her father threatened to sell her to the King of Leinster. But the king, a Christian, understood her charity and convinced Dubthach to free his daughter. Once free, she was expected to marry, but instead, she marred her own face to make herself less desirable to would-be husbands. Brigid and her companions organized communal consecrated religious life for women in Ireland. Her community eventually settled in what we know today as Kildare, or “Church of the Oak,” after the monastery she founded there.

Long and the other Daughters of Brigid have incorporated many traditions into the feast celebration. For instance, during the Mass processional, the women parishioners of Irish ancestry form the “Court of Brigid,” with adult women wearing sashes bearing their family’s county of origin and little girls donning blue crushed velvet capes after Brigid’s own legendary “cape of blue.” The children also carry bouquets of flowers to place around the icon of St. Brigid.

The Mass for the Feast of St. Brigid includes several other uniquely Brigidine components. Included in the processional is a Brigid’s Cross, traditionally woven from rushes. Long and parishioner Roishene Johnson recited the Mass readings in both English and Gaeilge (the Irish language, often referred to as “Irish Gaelic”). The sanctuary was adorned in green, with an oak leaf, an acorn and a flame representing Kildare, the seed of knowledge and the love of Christ, respectively.

At the céilí following Mass, Long and a number of others performed the legend of Irish pirate queen Grace O’Malley as “mummers,” performers who tell a story through song, dance and rhyme. Tim Glennon and Ceara Johnson played and sang Irish songs, and the Daughters of Brigid danced a céilí as well. No Catholic celebration is complete without delicious food, and Irish favorites like Limerick ham, brown bread, cabbage, potatoes and sausage were a huge hit with children and adults.

“Brigid is very much a saint for our time,” Long said, emphasizing St. Brigid’s traditions of hospitality, environmentalism and the pursuit of knowledge, all of which are particularly important in the tumultuous present.

Anyone interested in joining the Daughters of Brigid and/or volunteering for the Feast of St. Brigid in January 2018 can reach Long at celticdre1@bellsouth.net, or (318) 687-5121.

Schools “Change” Lives for Catholic Charities’ Clients

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by Lucy Medvec

Spare change may not seem like a lot of money at first, but when over 1,000 Shreveport Catholic school students work together, their coins can truly “change” lives in the community.

During Catholic Schools Week in January, students from Loyola College Prep, St. John Berchmans School, and St. Joseph School collected over $2,660 for Catholic Charities of North Louisiana through their “Coins for Change” drives that were held at each school.  Classes within each school competed against each other to collect the most change with Loyola’s sophomores, St. John’s 4th graders, and two Pre-K4 classes at St. Joseph School, emerging as coin champions. All funds raised from the coin drives will go towards CCNLA’s Emergency Assistance Program which assists families with the payment of their rent or utility bills in order to avoid eviction or shut-off of utilities.

While Loyola and St. John students participated in straightforward coin collections, St. Joseph School took it up a notch by participating in a school-wide “Penny War.”  The premise was that pennies were worth positive points, while silver coins and paper money were negative points.  The class with the most positive points would be the winner, so students would donate their negative points (money) to the other classes in order to diminish their totals.  According to Greg Beauclair, Development and Marketing Director for St. Joseph School, the Penny War brought out the competitive side of SJS students.

“We had collected a total of $600 through Thursday,” said Beauclair, “but on Friday, the students had doubled that total with their donations. Everyone was waiting until the end to see who would win.”

The Pre-K4 classes at St. Joseph School donated over 7200 pennies alone, with well over 20,000 pennies collected from all three schools during the week.
Lucy Medvec, Director of Development and Communications for Catholic Charities likes the idea of student coin drives because “it shows students that if everyone gives some amount of money, no matter how much, it all goes together to create a greater impact.”

Medvec hopes to make the “Coins for Change” drive an annual part of Catholic Schools Week and to include students from schools throughout the diocese. Local restaurants Raising Cane’s and Rotolo’s Pizzeria donated prizes for the winning classes, but overall the winners of the coin drive will be the clients who benefit from the students’ generosity.

Students of the Year Named at Catholic Schools

The Students of the Year Awards Program is designed to recognize outstanding elementary, middle and high school students. This program, patterned after the Teacher of the Year Awards Program, is an excellent opportunity to recognize from each school system those students who have demonstrated excellent academic achievement, leadership ability and citizenship. The Students of the Year Awards Program is sponsored by the Louisiana State Superintendent through the State Department of Education and the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Congratulations to the following district winners:

5th Grade:  Garret Taylor
Jesus the Good Shepherd School

8th Grade:  Sarah Briery
First Baptist Church School

12th Grade: Carrigan English
Loyola College Prep

Congratulations to our Diocesan Student of the Year winners 2016-2017:

Catholic Schools Week

Catholic Schools Week took place January 29 – February 4. During that week our six Catholic schools participated in special events to highlight the benefits of a Catholic education, which included communities of faith, knowledge and service.

Photos from left to right: Fr. Lijo and Jesus the Good Shepherd School principal Lisa Patrick at the school’s annual Basketball Shootout. St. John Berchmans student participates in their annual Cardinal Krewe Games. St. Joseph School eighth graders publicly display their Catholic school pride. Eastern deanery students join together in an All Schools Mass with Bishop Michael Duca. St. Frederick High School students take part in a living rosary.

SJB Hosted Religion Scholars Bowl

St. John Berchmans School hosted its 8th annual Religion Scholars Bowl on February 2 as part of Catholic Schools Week. Students in grades third through eighth from each school competed in teams during the day-long event featuring questions, activities and skits about the Catholic faith. The students were from Jesus the Good Shepherd School  (Monroe), Our Lady of Fatima School (Monroe), St. Frederick High School, 7th and 8th (Monroe), St. Joseph School (Shreveport) and St. John Berchmans School (Shreveport). Bishop Michael Duca and principal Jo Cazes awarded the first place medals to the seventh grade team. St. John Berchmans looks forward to hosting this annual event as it has become a great way for Catholic school students from North Louisiana to meet and enjoy fun competition with one another and to bring about a sense of community.

Pippin Wins Pro-Life Oratory Contest

The Pro-Life Oratory Contest was held February 7 at the Catholic Center.  The oratory contest is an annual event that offers an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to speak on a topic related to pro-life. This year’s contest winner is Alexis Pippin, who represented the youth group from the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans. Alexis will present her speech on March 8 at the Bishop’s Pro-Life Banquet at which time Bishop Duca will award her a $500 check for her accomplishment. It was a great event with a lot of enthusiasm shown by all participants. The diocese is grateful to Katherine Jaynes, who served as event coordinator and facilitator, and to Mary’s House for organizing this year’s contest.