Category Archives: Local News

Fr. Long Appointed Vocations Director


Fr. Matthew Long prepares to foster vocations in the parish and the home

Greetings brothers and sisters in the Lord,

As most of you are aware, I was appointed Director of Church Vocations for the Diocese of Shreveport effective July 9, 2012.  This is a great challenge but one I am sure that with the help and support of you, the Catholic Faithful, will be a great blessing to me. I know the good work Fr. David Richter has done in the Office of Vocations over the last four years is something I hope to build upon. As I have reflected upon this work I have undertaken, I quickly realized the work of encouraging and fostering vocations does not occur in the Vocations Office.

This important work of encouraging men and women to hear and answer God’s call is primarily carried out in the parish and in the domestic church, the home. The Call of God is recognized by most because of the good work they witness by their parish priest and the religious sisters they come into contact with on a daily basis. The most important place that the Call of God is fostered and encouraged is in the home.  Seeing the devotion and commitment and most importantly the generosity their parents and grandparents have towards Christ and His Church will do more to increase vocations in our diocese than anything else.

Therefore, it is with faith in God’s grace, the good work of our priests, the dedication of our religious sisters and, most importantly, the devotion of the faithful people of God that the harvest will be great for our diocese. I thank you in advance for your support and help in fostering a culture of vocations in the Diocese of Shreveport.

In Christ through Mary Immaculate,
Fr. Matthew Long

Field Advocates


Pictured: Sr. Marilyn training Field Advocates.

Lay leaders assist the tribunal, priests, deacons

The theological advances of Vatican II confirm the laity are not limited to the temporal sphere of life, but can assist in the mission of the Church traditionally found in the lives of the clergy and religious.

One of the ways laity have taken an active role in the mission of the Church in recent years is to provide assistance to tribunals as lay or field advocates. Their primary purpose is to assist individuals in the initial preparation and completion of case paperwork. These advocates are different from the degreed canonists assigned to Chanceries or Marriage Tribunals.

The Diocese of Shreveport has been developing a Field Advocate Program since 2001. Individuals throughout the diocese have participated in training sessions concerning the marriage laws of the Church, as well as the pastoral application of them in understanding the process of annulments in the Catholic Church.

This year, Bishop Duca has appointed 41 to serve as Field Advocates for the diocesan Marriage Tribunal. These appointments are for a year and renewed at the recommendation of  Fr. Peter Mangum, Judicial Vicar, and Sr. Marilyn Vassallo, Director of Canonical Services. While we gladly welcome the assistance of these Field Advocates, the bishop stresses this program serves to complement the priests and deacons already providing pastoral ministry for those individuals in need of annulments.

This past spring, the advocates were instructed on the five types of processes in nullity procedures in the Catholic Church.
We hope to assist priests and their parishioners throughout the diocese. Since this process differs from the traditional priest and parishioner, it will take time for all to get use to the role of the Field Advocate. The following is a short summary of the procedure that will be followed by those parishes utilizing Field Advocates.

After the initial meeting with a priest or deacon, the person in need of an annulment is to contact the Marriage Tribunal. The Moderator of the Tribunal, Ricole Williams, will assign a Field Advocate. The Field Advocate and person in need of an annulment will set up meeting times in which they will complete the paperwork associated with their specific type of annulment.

It is our hope Field Advocates will enable clergy to focus on the individual’s pastoral counseling while the Field Advocate acts as a bridge between clergy, tribunal and client. In communicating concerns, needs, financial responsibilities, etc., the Field Advocate can help the individual see this process as a means of reconciliation and hope, rather than just a legal requirement of Church law.

by Sr. Marilyn Vassallo, CSJ, Director of Canonical Services

Pro-Life Messengers

Sidewalk Counselor and Crossroads walkers visited Northwest Louisiana

Crossroads walkers visit local pro-life groups

July was an active month for the pro-life groups in Shreveport and Bossier City. On the weekend of July 6 the Cathedral’s One Life, St. Joseph’s VITA, and St. Jude’s Pro-Life Group sponsored a training program by Joanne Underwood, Director of Convert-to-Life/Sidewalk Counseling Ministry Catholic Pro-Life Committee from Dallas, TX. Joanne gave a very informative discussion of pro-life counseling techniques used in Dallas during a St. Jude’s dinner meeting.

The young adult Crossroads Walkers were also at the meeting. They stopped in Shreveport, which is about halfway on their long walk from California to Washington D.C., which ends on August 11. Each summer for the last 17 years (since 1995) groups of young college age adults participate in this pro-life awareness journey.

There are four United States walks this year beginning in Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles and all ending in Washington D.C.  There is also a Canadian walk from Vancouver to Ottawa and walks in Ireland and Spain. The southern group who visited the dinner/program was accompanied by Fr. Dan Pettee, T.O.R., of Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Roxie Tabor is the diocesan coordinator for pro-life activities and VITA Pro-Life ministries.

Second Collections: Diocese of Shreveport Hispanic Ministry

In the month of August, we take up a collection to help our Spanish speaking brothers and sisters. Summer, fall, winter and spring, the mission of the Church moves towards completion in Christ.  In every season the Spirit guides us on our pilgrimage and impels us to attend to the lost sheep and other souls we encounter along the way. These second collections of the Church keep us mindful of our fellow pilgrims and those who are especially in need of the concern and compassion of the Church. As our Lord has said, “The harvest is abundant, laborers are few.  Beg the Master of the harvest to send forth laborers for the harvest.”  Our participation in the collection for the Diocese of Shreveport Hispanic Ministry is the Master’s response to our prayer and our participation in the Master’s compassion.

These “second” or “special” collections of the Church have their roots in the Bible. The Scriptures exhort us to “have a concern for all.” The “Year of Faith,” announced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will begin in October of this year. Pope Benedict XVI wants the Year of Faith to help the Church focus its attention on “Jesus Christ and the beauty of having faith in him.” This month’s special collection for the Diocese of Shreveport Hispanic Ministry has several wonderful connections to the Year of Faith. “The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” the “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” and the “Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity” are three documents of the Second Vatican Council which connect us with the Catholic faith and migration of our Spanish speaking brothers and sisters in a powerful bond of Christian charity born of the Spirit.

The Sacred Scriptures have consistently called us to a profound concern for the alien and sojourner among us. The Old and New Testaments call us to God’s standard of compassion and hospitality for the least of His people. Please be generous to the second collection for the Diocese of Shreveport Hispanic Ministry. Your participation makes it possible for the clergy and laity of our diocese to offer the Church’s care to the Hispanic Catholics of our diocese. Those whom we serve through this special collection bless us with their vibrant Catholic faith, strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, and their strong love for the Church.

Fr. Rothell Price is the Vicar General for the Diocese of Shreveport.

Vocations Office Sponsored Mission Possible Camp for Boys


The Diocese of Shreveport Church Vocations department sponsored Mission Possible, a boys’ adventure weekend for high school students in Dubach, LA June 1-3. The weekend themed “Play Hard. Pray Hard.” included all the adventure of a maze, zipline, ropes course, hiking, earthball and terrific food, alongside events to bring the young men closer to Christ such as Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Confession and guidance by camp leader Fr. Joe Hirsch. Fr. David Richter and Bishop Michael Duca were also on hand for Mass.

St. Thomas Youth Attended Camp Covecrest

The Catholic senior high youth from ST. THOMAS AQUINAS CATHOLIC CHURCH IN RUSTON traveled to Hiawassee, Georgia for Camp Covecrest where they shared “Radiant Joy” through the Sacraments and exploring the mountains, waterfalls, river and White Water Six Flags in Atlanta.

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament VBS

The youth of OUR LADY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT CHURCH celebrated, “Being Catholic and Proud of It,” in song and dance during the week of Vacation Bible School. During the week the participants discussed some of the ways we are different from other religions. Vacation Bible School was held the week of June 11-15.

Little Flower Church Honors Volunteer

Adrian Fischer, OFM, pastor of LITTLE FLOWER OF JESUS CHURCH IN MONROE presented a plaque of appreciation to Mr. Floyd Green for his beautification of the community around the church.

Cathedral Participated in “One Million Rosaries”

The CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN BERCHMANS joined Fr. Shenan Boquet, President of Human Life International, and thousands of Catholics around the nation to pray the rosary and Litany for Liberty during his campaign, “One Million Rosaries,” for 14 days to ensure conscience rights and religious freedom for our country. Pictured: Fr. Peter Mangum and Maria Berg prayed during the Fortnight for Freedom at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel.

Sacred Heart Had Novena to the Holy Spirit

Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Shreveport held their first nine day “Novena to the Holy Spirit”, May 18 through May 26, 2012. Celebrants Fr. Francis Kamau, Fr. Michael Thang’wa, Fr. Thomas John, Fr. Andre McGrath, Msgr. Carson LaCaze and Bishop Michael Duca gave inspirational homilies on the Novena and the Holy Spirit. The novena choir, under the direction of Charles Stewart, was composed of parishioners from St. Jude, St. Mary of the Pines, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and Sacred Heart churches. The singers were uplifting as they sang in praise to the Holy Spirit.  Pictured: “Sacred Heart’s Prayer Wall” set up for prayer requests to the Holy Spirit during the Novena.