Category Archives: Local News

Meet Your 2012-13 Seminarians

Keep in Touch!

Our seminarians are studying to serve you, the people of the Diocese of Shreveport. Send them birthday cards and letters of encouragement.

Keith Garvin
939 Jordan St.
Shreveport, LA 71101

John Parker
75376 River Rd.
P.O. Box 464
St. Benedict, LA 70457

John Bosco Nyirenda
Jerry Daigle, Jr.
Duane Trombetta
2901 South
Carrollton Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118


The Year of Faith

Celebrating Evangelization, Catechesis & 50 Years of Vatican II

by Dianne Rachal

On October 17, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI issued an apostolic letter, Porta Fidei, announcing a Year of Faith for the Church.  “Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.”  Porta Fidei n. 2.  The Year of Faith will begin on October 11, 2012—the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and the twentieth anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Thus the catechetical focus for the Year of Faith will be the study of the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  The Year of Faith will conclude on November 24, 2013—the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King.  The last Year of Faith was 1967—the nineteenth century anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

The New Evangelization
The Church exists in order to evangelize.  Pope John Paul II recognized the “need for a great relaunching of evangelization in the present life of the Church, to proclaim Christ to all peoples.”  While the message remains the same: salvation offered to all through Jesus Christ, the New Evangelization calls for new ardor, new methods and new expression of that message adapted to the people of our day.

Evangelization is not just the responsibility of missionaries; all Christians, all dioceses, parishes, Church institutions and associations are charged with living out our belief in and our relationship with Jesus Christ. The context for the New Evangelization is the context of our Christian lives: in our family, our parish, our workplace, our social life, our charitable works and in the world.

The New Evangelization is not about bringing the good news to countries and continents that have never heard of Jesus Christ.  Today there is a profound crisis of faith within large swathes of cultures evangelized centuries ago.  People who have already received the Gospel message of Jesus are the object of the New Evangelization.  In his address at the 25th Anniversary of the diocese, Bishop Michael Duca emphasized that evangelization begins with each person—“We must first evangelize ourselves and have the courage and willingness to go out and proclaim the good news.  Then we evangelize our community, our parish and diocese . . . and the world today.”  Pope Benedict XVI echoes this sentiment:  “We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope.”  Porta Fidei.

Challenges in the World Today
The Church is facing social and cultural changes that profoundly affect a person’s perception of self and the world, and ultimately a person’s way of believing in God.  Several challenges are identified in the working document, Instrumentum Laboris, for the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.  These challenges include a weakening of faith of individual believers, a decline in the ability to bear witness to the Gospel, and a detachment, disorientation and distrust of things passed down. People today consider faith a private matter and so they separate their faith from life and culture. Many no longer feel the need to continue to grow in the faith, thus rejecting the principle that faith is a process of life-long conversion.  In reality we are a pilgrim people—we are always on the journey of faith.

Year of Faith
The Year of Faith is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.  We have an opportunity to know our Catholic faith better through study of the Catechism and the documents of Vatican II.  Knowledge of the faith enables us to articulate our faith experience to others—to be evangelizers.  Following Jesus through a personal relationship with him draws us into the fullness of God, the Trinity, and calls us to live for the Kingdom by becoming disciples for the New Evangelization.

In an effort to help the people of the Diocese of Shreveport better understand their Catholic faith, we will be running a series of articles over the next 11 months, including monthly columns on Vatican II documents, monthly Year of Faith saints and “Navigating the Faith,” which will focus on teaching matters of faith to adults of all ages.

The Diocese of Shreveport has several events planned for the celebration of the Year of Faith.  An inaugural Mass for the Year of Faith is scheduled for October 11 at 6:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport.  Throughout the year nationally recognized speakers will give presentations in our diocese:  September 29—Mr. Nick Wagner, March 16, 2013—Msgr. Richard Hilgartner, and November 9, 2013—
Dr. Richard Gaillardetz.

St. Pius Church Dedicated 10 Commandment Monunment

On August 19 Bishop Michael Duca dedicated a Ten Commandments Monument donated by the Knights of Columbus, Council 1108 of St. Pius X Catholic Church. The monument is two-sided with the Beatitudes on the reverse side. Pastor Fr. Joseph Kallookalam and Deacon Jeff Chapman assisted in the ceremony.


Event for young adults to gather and learn more about the Catholic faith

Calling all young adults in the Diocese of Shreveport! A new season of Theology on Tap is quickly approaching. We have a fantastic lineup of speakers that will enlighten and enrich our faith as young adults. Christ says, “Where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst.” For those who are not familiar with Theology on Tap, it is a program that revolves around spiritual development and enrichment of young adults, all while interacting in a social environment. Our gatherings take place at local restaurants during the evening hours. Below is our kick off event. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 13, 7:00 pm (El Chico – Madison Park): Topic: “Bible Light: More Fulfilling, Tastes Great!” Speaker: Brock Restovich. Brock is a parishioner at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans and is blessed with the gift of spreading the Gospel and scriptural values to those around him.

Other Theology on Tap events will be held on September 21, October 11 and October 25. Watch for more details and speaker announcements in your church’s bulletin.

by Kevin Nolten

Summer Camp Keeps Education Fun

St. Catherine Summer Camp children enjoying an afternoon at Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport with Kechia Carter, Innervisions Summer Camp teacher, who is a Caddo Parish Schools Masters Level Teacher.

St. Catherine Community Center Summer Camp 2012 was a huge success. Such a success that more than half of the participants requested Summer Camp be extended for another week, which was granted.

During our Summer Camp children grades Pre K-4 through  8th spent half of the day concentrating on skill building to retain what they gained in academic skills during the school year while preparing for their next grade level for the upcoming school year.

Summer Camp participants also enjoyed Physical Education classes led by Bossier High School basket ball coach LeAndre Gipson. Additionally, children also participated in a dance class taught by Southern University Shreveport dance instructor Roshonda Spears.

Children also went on field trips, including a visit to two local museums: the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum and Norton Art Gallery.

Summer Camp children, staff and parents conducted and participated in a 4th of July celebration and parade around the Cedar grove Community led by the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Calvary.

On the final day of Summer Camp, teachers and students showcased their various talents in the “End of Summer Camp Program” with a dance program, music performance by the Pre-K through second grade choir conducted by Brenda Richardson, retired educator and a Shreveport church musician. Last but not least, 3rd graders through 8th graders gave poetry readings, jump rope performances, violin performance, and a drum and piano performance.  This led to a barbecue cook out and fun water day on slippery slides, portable swimming pools, water balloons and squirt guns.

by William Livigne, St. Catherine Community Center Coordinator

Year of Faith Speaker Series

Workshops for RCIA and Catechists on September 29

Everyone is invited to the first presentation for the Diocese of Shreveport’s  “Year of Faith Speaker Series” on Sept. 29 at 9:00 a.m.

In the morning there will be a presentation by Nick Wagner on The Catechism of the Catholic Church and how it forms Catholics in the faith and prepares them in ministry.

Nick Wagner is the director and founder of He has more than 25 years experience as a leader and trainer in liturgical and catechetical ministries. He is an active team member with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.

Following the morning presentation, there will be lunch, included with the $10 registration fee.
Beginning at 1 pm, there will be two afternoon sessions. The first is an RCIA workshop presented by Nick Wagner. This workshop is for RCIA team members.

The second workshop is a Catechist Workshop for all Directors of Religious Education and Catechists. This workshop will be on the YouCat, the youth catechism of the Catholic Church, and presented by Shelly Bole, Director of the Office of Catechesis for the Diocese of Shreveport. Participants in this workshop should pre-order a copy of the YouCat.

Please use the form below to register for lunch and your afternoon session. Or, you can contact the Office of Worship to register at 318-868-4441 or

Seminarians Meet Up

Pictured: Seminarians John Parker, Duane Trombetta, Jerry Daigle, Jr. and Keith Garvin stand with Fr. Matthew Long outside the Catholic Center.

Building the bonds of brotherhood

The beginning of the academic year for 2012-2013 has been an exciting one for the Vocations Office because we are sending new seminarians to both Notre Dame and St. Joseph Seminaries. In preparation for this year of formation our returning and new seminarians gathered at Fairview House to attend their First Seminarian Convocation. The Convocation was scheduled for August 12 and 13. The purpose of the convocation was to build the bonds of brotherhood between our seminarians and to assist them in forming a stronger connection with the diocese.  In order to accomplish these goals we gathered in the Holy Family Chapel, located at the Catholic Center, for the celebration of the Holy Mass and to pray the Divine Office numerous times. We also invited Randy Tiller, Director of Mission Effectiveness, to give a conference on the History of the Diocese of Shreveport. Tiller’s goal was to show the seminarians that although we are only 25 years old as a diocese, the Catholic Church in our area has a rich tradition dating back to the earliest days of European discovery.  Bishop Duca and Fr. Price also joined the seminarians for meals and prayer when their schedules permitted them to do so.  There was time for the seminarians to get to know each other in less formal settings.  This was accomplished through a game night when the bishop, priests and seminarians matched wits.

One of the reasons that I decided to hold the convocation is because when you look at our record of attracting men to answer the Call of God, it is evident that we are accomplishing the goal. Over the years, however, many of the men we have sent to seminary to be formed have not been ordained. It is my hope that building community and strengthening the bonds our seminarians have with the diocese will help to lower our attrition rate. The way you can help is by sending cards and letters of support to our seminarians.  You can invite them to partake in your parish’s activities and a gift of any kind is always greatly appreciated by them. The journey to priesthood is not an easy one and it is filled with pitfalls because the enemy desires fewer priests, but when you know that you have the support, prayers and love of the people you hope to serve then it is a much easier journey to make. Please join me in assisting the next generation of priests to fulfill their vocation in life.

by Fr. Matthew Long, Director of Church Vocations

Catholic Charities: Home Cooling and Financial Education

Summer can be brutal and this one is no exception. Out of our concern for low-income families who struggle to pay seasonally high bills, we hosted a Home Cooling Shower where donors can give money to help people stay cool. The mail-in shower is getting great response from donors who understand the need to assist the less fortunate and keep families, especially those with small children and the elderly, as cool as possible during the fierce summer heat. We’re so grateful for the response as we continue to receive donations for this important project.

Our desire to facilitate long-term and permanent changes in the lives of low-income individuals, their families and their communities is the impetus for our newest program, The Money School.

This financial education program is our effort to break the cycle of generational poverty. It is a supportive and preventive program to assist people in recovering from financial crises enabling them to return to financial stability.

Those who come to us for Emergency Assistance will be required to take the classes before we will assist them financially a second time. These classes will provide services based on the premise that all people have the right to basic needs without having to compromise their physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual wellbeing. The Money School program provides information and skills that enable our clients to manage their financial resources wisely.

When clients complete the courses, financial education volunteer coaches will be available as advocates and advisors to help insure clients complete their work and stay on a path toward financial stability. When families achieve these important goals, it is life changing not just for the family, but has an important and long-lasting effect on the community as a whole. If you’d like information about becoming a financial coach please call us at 318-865-0200 and ask for Carl.

We are excited about two events in September!  On September 13 we will host “Miracles in Medicine,” a reception for our local medical community, at East Ridge Country Club in Shreveport at 6:30 p.m.  We’re also planning an“Evening in Rome with Bishop Duca,” a fundraising dinner at Ristorante Giuseppe on September 21 at 6:30 p.m.  There will be excellent food and the Shreveport Opera Xpress will entertain. Table or individual reservations are available. Contact Theresa at Catholic Charities at 318-865-0200.

by Theresa Mormino, Catholic Charities of Shreveport

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Pictured: Vincentians at the St. Joseph Church Food pantry in Shreveport.

Continually Serving the Poor in the Diocese of Shreveport

by Kelly Phelan Powell

In 1833, French physician, lawyer, author and professor Frédéric Ozanam was moved to establish an organization to help the destitute people living in the slums of Paris. This group of seven men, which Ozanam specified “should neither be a political party, nor a school, nor a brotherhood…but profoundly Catholic at the same time as being secular” aimed to serve the poor in the tradition of St. Vincent de Paul, whom they took as their patron. To Ozanam, it was of the utmost importance that this charity should be carried out with humility, discretion, tact and respect for a person’s dignity, for to him faith without charity had no meaning.

One hundred and seventy-nine years later, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul totals some 900,000 in 131 countries on five continents. In the U.S. alone, membership numbers more than 60,000. In 2010, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the U.S. performed more than 648,000 visits to people in their homes; served more than 14 million people in need; and provided more than $595 million in tangible and in-kind services.

Many of these extraordinary efforts are taking place right here in the Diocese of Shreveport, and that’s one reason Bishop Michael Duca has declared September the Month of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. In addition to recognizing the hard work and commitment of Society members (also called “Vincentians”), the month’s activities will raise awareness of the needs of the poor and educate the faithful about the history of the Society as well as its current mission and role in the Church as a lay vocation.

“It’s part of a national effort to raise awareness of what we do…and the needs of the poor right here in our diocese,” said Brian Burgess, president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for the Diocese of Shreveport. Burgess has been involved with the Society for about 12 years now, and this year, in addition to his duties as president, he’s in charge of organizing the Friends of the Poor Walk at 9 a.m. on Sept. 29 on Arthur Ray Teague Parkway in Bossier City.

The Friends of the Poor Walk began nationally in 2008 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The money raised by the walk funds a number of different aspects of the Society’s work, such as housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries and dining halls, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the elderly and medicine. All of the proceeds stay within the conference where the money is raised – in this case, the Diocese of Shreveport. Burgess said 50 to 70 walkers from about six different conferences participated in last year’s walk, which raised approximately $5,000. Those interested in walking can contact Burgess at or 318-780-7755.

The St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy provides free prescriptions for those in need.

Dotye Sue Stanford, the outgoing diocesan president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, said the faithful in this diocese are particularly committed to the Vincentian order. With 23 conferences out of 39 churches, “we have the most conferences, percentage-wise, of any diocese in the United States,” she said. And all the conferences share resources so that collectively, they can make the biggest possible impact.

But having so many conferences within a single diocese means that in this area, the needs of the poor are immense. Every person, no matter what his or her financial circumstances may be, is able to contribute. Asked what the Society’s greatest needs are at this time, Burgess answered, “We need prayers, first of all. We need members and funds. This is a ministry that’s challenging, but it’s very rewarding.”

Burgess said the Society of St. Vincent de Paul focuses on its members’ spiritual growth, and one of the ways they accomplish that is through person-to-person visits with those in need. St. Vincent de Paul himself said, “It is our vocation…to set people’s hearts ablaze, to do what the Son of God did, to set it aflame with his love. It is not enough for me to love God if my neighbor does not love him. I must love my neighbor as the image of God and the object of his love…I must act in such a way that people love their Creator and each other in mutual charity for the love of God who loved them so much that he delivered up his own Son to death for them.”
However, home visits are not the only way to serve in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Burgess said. They need people to answer the hotline and work in the food pantries, as well as other duties. And the activities associated with the Month of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul need volunteers as well.

At 3 p.m. on Sept. 9 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Ruston, Msgr. Earl Provenza will celebrate a special Mass on the Feast Day of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam.

At 6 p.m. on Sept. 20 at Jesus the Good Shepherd Church in Monroe, there will be a Poor Man’s Supper benefitting the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy, the only free pharmacy north of Alexandria and east of Shreveport. It serves about 3600 patients in 22 parishes. For more information contact JoAnn Crone at 318-381-9670.

At 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 27, St. Joseph Church in Shreveport will celebrate the Feast Day of St. Vincent de Paul with a Mass and a potluck supper afterward in the Family Life Center.

The Friends of the Poor Walk raises money for local SVdp Counsels.

From 9 to 11 a.m. on Sept. 29 on Arthur Ray Teague Parkway in Bossier City, the Friends of the Poor Walk will take place. The walk will begin at the main pavilion next to the boat launch, just south of the Shreveport-Barksdale Bridge. For more information about donations, pledges and individual and corporate sponsorships, visit

Sept. 30 will be Society of St. Vincent de Paul Sunday at all parishes in the Diocese of Shreveport. Members will be on hand to accept donations, and all the money received will remain in the conference in which it is collected (if a parish does not have a conference, the money will go to the diocesan council).

While the tireless efforts of the Vincentians have achieved a great deal, the poor in our region still need so much. Together, we, the faithful can meet their needs if we continue to contribute generously of our prayers, our time and our resources.

Our Lady of Fatima Church Celebrated 60 Years!

Our Lady of Fatima Church in Monroe celebrated their 60th anniversary as a church on Sunday, June 24 at 10:30 am at a special Mass. Bishop Micheal Duca, Fr. Sebasatian Kallarackal, Fr. Adrian Fischer, OFM, Fr. Job Scaria, CMI, Msgr. Edmund Moore and Fr. Dominic Thekkemury celebrated Mass. Parishioners joined together and celebrated with a special procession, banner and music. Longtime parishioners were also recognized for their years of service to the church. (Photos by Guinigundo and Meyers).