Category Archives: Features

A “Slime” Sensation at St. Frederick High School

by Melissa Shepard

St. Frederick High School Junior, Giselle Fakhre, has become a social media sensation. The 16-year-old entrepreneur and member of Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish in Monroe, spends her time working as somewhat of a celebrity in the world of slime. The 16-year-old entrepreneur has 920,000 followers on her SlimeSlime101 Instagram account.

Giselle is a creator of slime, which for those who are unaware is a gooey, sticky substance that is all the rage with children today. Slime lovers enjoy the gooiness of the stuff which they say relieves stress. Followers also love all the different slime designs Giselle makes. Slime is becoming an art form for this generation of youngsters. Slime lovers manipulate the sticky substance and all the different things that are mixed into it to make it both fun and attractive. Giselle mixes a variety of items into her slime creations including plastic balls, colors, sparkles, balloons and anything else she can think of to include.

Giselle’s business has grown so much that she is now sought after by toy companies such as ORB Toys and Compound Kings from Wecool Toys. Additionally, she is on the PR list for big name companies such as Elmer’s and Karina Garcia. This month she and her mother will attend Slime Bash, a slime convention in Chicago, IL, where she will be a VIP guest and will sell her slime add-in kits, which are of course packaged and decorated.

Giselle is a life-long member of Jesus Good Shepherd Parish. She attributes the start of her love of art to her elementary school art classes at Jesus Good Shepherd School. At St. Frederick High School, her civics class studied economic systems which inspired her to expand her small business. Giselle’s faith sustains her on days when she is extremely busy with school work, cheerleading, yearbook, social media accounts and business commitments. Her favorite Bible verse is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

Giselle is the daughter of Dr. Saidi Sowma-Fakhre and Dr. Fakhre Fakhre who are both extremely proud of her initiative and success. Upon graduation from St. Frederick High School she would like to attend an out of state university where she can study business and draw upon her entrepreneurial experiences.

Humanitarian Award Presented to Sister Martinette

by Mary Ann Van Osdell

Sr. Martinette Rivers, OLS, 82, has dedicated her life to serving others around the world. On March 26, she received the first Humanitarian Award from the Sabine Hall of Fame at its 22nd annual banquet in Many.

Seventy years ago she left Zwolle to follow her dream of religious life. She has been a Sister of Our Lady of Sorrows for 66 years.

“I have done many things, but I suppose the highlights of my life’s work would be working in Bangladesh from 1988 to 2002 with Muslims, Hindus and Christians,” she said.

From the seminary, to the poorest villages, Sr. Martinette has lived her life helping the last, the least, the lost and the lowest of all peoples. Rather than see their children die of starvation, Sr. Martinette saw the people of Bangladesh give them up. This meant she brought six of those babies to the United States to be adopted by her friends. Those children have become well educated, adult citizens.

Sr. Martinette also opened a clinic and a school for the poor and begged for money to build them homes after the 1998 flood in Bangladesh. More than 200 homes were built for Muslims, Hindus and Christians from her efforts. In her honor, community members built a school, college and hospital, all which bear her name.

“Poor people don’t care where one studied or what degrees you have, but only how much you love them,” Sr. Martinette said. He motto is living the Gospel message of love and service, spreading His loving concern for others, and loving as Jesus did.

Sr. Martinette met Mother Teresa many times, as well as several popes. Slowing down is not in the picture for her as she continues to remain active in body and spirit. She has lived the seasons of her life very well. In her acceptance speech she said that she hopes to dazzle everyone she meets.

On August 29, 1936, Joan Martinette Rivers was born in Shreveport to Thomas Rivers, descendant of Richard Rivers, and Elizabeth Ebarb. She remembers growing up in Zwolle, riding a wagon to church and pretending to be a religious sister by wearing a towel on her head. She knew at an early age that she wanted to become a sister and go out to help the poor and disadvantaged.

In 1947, her teacher, Mr. Mulkey, told his class to think about how they could make a dent in society. After class, she hurried up to speak to the Sisters at St. Joseph School for information. She was known as a rascal, but they encouraged her to pursue her dream. Her dad left to study at Mississippi College and the family followed, but Sr. Martinette went to San Antonio, TX, to go to high school and later to pursue a vocation to become a Missionary Sister.

After finishing Little Flower High School in 1952, Sr. Martinette entered the convent and continued her education at Incarnate Word University and St. Mary’s University before traveling to Mexico City as an exchange student to study art and architecture. As a young sister, she learned eight languages and ended up at the university in Monterrey, Mexico, studying advanced Spanish and prose and poetry. She later studied at the Gregorian University in Rome, returning to the U.S. to teach for eight years before heading back to Rome to study Bangla and missionary spirituality to prepare for going to Asia. Before she departed, she was garlanded by Saint Pope John Paul II.

In Asia she taught theology at the National Major Seminary in Bangladesh, where she remained for many years. There she helped young women discern their call to sisterhood.

In 2002, Sr. Martinette returned to America from Asia and decided to go back to school at the age of 66, studying gerontology in St. Louis, MO. She finished her studies in 2005 and began working as a gerontologist and geriatric counselor at Azalea Estates Assisted Living, teaching their seniors how to age gracefully with happy hearts.

She is part of a facility where she is loved and respected. She sings, plays the piano, loves to dance, teaches, tells jokes, paints, cooks, does music and grief therapy, or whatever the needs there are at the moment, keeping the residents on their toes and happy. She is teaching one older man to speak Italian and  has arranged violin lessons for another resident.

Sr. Martinette is very involved with the interfaith groups in Shreveport-Bossier. The world religion group is her favorite. She writes for The Catholic Connection, is a religious adviser for Catholic women, a diocesan spiritual director, retreat director, and hopes to finish her own book on “The Delights of Aging” one day. She is a speaker on aging spirituality. “No matter how old one becomes, one can still learn,” she says.  •

The Catholic Cemetery Tradition & Revitalizing St. Joseph Cemetery

from The Catholic Parish Cemetery & Randy Tiller

Catholic cemeteries trace their roots back to the Jewish practice of providing separate burial grounds for community members. The early Christians continued this practice, both because it was a familiar tradition, and also because it was a statement of faith about the dignity of the human body in death and the reality of Jesus’ resurrection.

At death we focus on Baptism and the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, nourished at the Eucharistic table. Rooted in that recognition, we remember our beloved and give thanks for the life we shared. When we visit the burial sites of our loved ones, we experience the same Eucharistic dynamic. Oftentimes we recognize the need for reconciliation with our beloved dead and prayer

at the cemetery is an effective approach toward healing.

Catholic cemeteries manifest the “now/not yet” status of the Kingdom of God. We are now a people of history, a people redeemed but still in pain and sorrow. This is why we pray as Jesus did, “Thy Kingdom come … ”

We are a people who visit our cemeteries to be reminded of our history, our Catholic beliefs and practices, and our parish community/ family. We, as a community, profess our beliefs and value system … even in the silence of the grave.

In the Catholic parish cemetery, our deceased relatives and friends are laid to rest among members of the same faith community who preceded them into eternal life, and professed the same sure conviction that one day the body will be reunited with the soul in glory to be with the Risen Lord. Then the kingdom of God will be fully realized.

Painful as it might be, family and friends are encouraged to return to the burial places to find there, in the presence of those mortal remains, people joined with the Communion of Saints. The church invites you to unite in prayer for their eternal rest. In the stillness of the cemetery, may you connect with that great prayer of the early Church, “Marana tha!”

“Lord Jesus, come!” •

Article originally published in The Catholic Parish Cemetery,
Vol. 1, Issue 3. Reprinted with permission.

 

Revitalizing St. Joseph Cemetery

by Randy Tiller

Having celebrated Lent and the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I cannot help but reflect on my life and turn my thoughts to my death, salvation and resurrection. Burials and cemeteries are an inherent part of our passing through this life. Thus we are all called upon to not only consider our days in the tomb, but those loved ones, those faithful and those communion of saints who have gone before us.

There is a commitment to revitalizing St. Joseph Cemetery and we need your help. Whether or not you one day will be laid to rest there, whether you have laid to rest family members, or friends; or whether you are just one of those people that find peace and consolation at the cemetery as I do, it is our responsibility to care for the dead, to respect the dead and to pray for the repose of their souls.

Please help us continue the work with your prayers, your talents and your treasure.

Msgr. Earl V. Provenza will be offering Mass at St. Joseph Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 27, 2019, at 10:30 am. If there is inclement weather, we will have Mass in the chapel Mausoleum. We look forward to celebrating with you.  •

Domestic Church: The Take-Aways

by Katie Sciba

How do you begin a conclusion? When I started writing for The Catholic Connection over eight years ago, I had a two-year-old marriage and a one-year old son. My lofty theories on how the domestic church – the family – should function had yet to be tested in the School of Experience, but I was eager. Sitting here in Nebraska, hundreds of miles away from where I penned my first column, my babies aged 9 down to 2 sleep while their youngest sibling waits for us in Heaven. Andrew, my husband of nearly 11 years, and I have had our share of storms both together and even against one another. We’ve been blessed by friendships with other married couples living their lives for Christ. I’ve been humbled and honored to win six Catholic Press Awards in as many years, and my writing became a springboard for my work as a national speaker. I’m so incredibly grateful, but, my friends, the Lord is calling me away from The Catholic Connection, so I’m writing this last time to bid farewell and offer my prayers for your families.

To wrap up, here are the take-aways – the hopes I have for our families and some lessons I’ve learned in my time as a wife, mother and writer. I pray they will bring our hearts closer to Jesus, so we can see with more clarity that He is actually with us and calling us to eternal life.

1. Go to Mass – The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith; there is no greater way to pray than to participate in the Mass, to receive the God of the universe in the form of a simple host, and to reflect Jesus’ love to others.

2. Be real with Jesus - Once I told Bishop Duca that, in the wake of my father’s passing, I was too angry to pray. “Why don’t you tell God?” Bishop asked me, “He can take it. He’s big enough.” In showing Jesus just how angry I was, I consequently opened my heart and let him in. Following Bishop Duca’s advice saved my faith.

3.  Keeping in touch with God is ESSENTIAL – We are made in the image of God, which means that we’re called to imitate Him. Have you ever tried to imitate someone you hardly know? It doesn’t work out too well. When we are in touch with the Lord through prayer – Mass, Confession, reading scripture, etc, the more spot-on our imitation will be.

4.  Mom and Dad are a kid’s first teachers - Our kids do what we do, say what we say (sometimes to our horror and humiliation), and they will consider Jesus and their Catholic faith as important as we do. Whether we like it or not, kids are the ultimate copycats. So parents, take hold of your faith, pray with each other and keep Catholic families among your friends.

5.  Pornography destroys family - I wrote a column series on pornography’s effect in 2017. Pornography consumption easily leads to addiction in a short period of time, causing anxiety, depression, isolation and shame for the consumer. Spouses of pornography users often develop a deep sense of rejection, as well as Betrayal Trauma or PTSD. The average age of exposure to pornography is 8-years-old, and because children don’t have the cognitive ability to process it, pornography effects unusual behaviors in children, including isolation and depression. For help, go to addorecovery.com and bloomforcatholicwomen.com.

6.  Minimalism is a way to imitate Christ - The idea of minimalism involves cutting distractions in favor of what deserves our full attention. It’s clearing physical clutter to reveal hidden beauty; it’s freeing a calendar of activities not conducive to the life God desires for us, the life we hope to have. It’s finally seeing possessions as just things and recognizing people as more deserving of our time and attention. Giving our best to Jesus and others becomes easier and more joyful.

7.  There’s more than one way to be a faithful Catholic - I know good, holy parents who pray the Rosary with their kids every night and I know good, holy parents who haul their rambunctious kids to Mass only to leave early because of a temper tantrum. The Lord asks for our love and our best; offer Him that and give others the benefit of the doubt.

8.  We have an audience of One – The point of all of the above? To please God; to become fully aware that He is with us and encouraging us to Heaven.

Thank you Jessica Rinaudo, my dear friend and editor, for your confidence in me; and thank you to you, dear readers, for your support and encouragement over my time here at the Domestic Church column. Please pray that I do what the Holy Spirit wills, and know that your families are in my prayers. God bless you. •

Ministry of Presence: St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Feeds Students at Louisiana Tech

by Jessica Rinaudo

The words “Ruston” and “Louisiana Tech” go hand in hand. And with only one Catholic Church in the city, St. Thomas Aquinas parishioners have taken up the task of bridging a relationship between the church and university.

In the early 90s, Father Paul Gallagher, OFM, began a “dollar lunch” program to feed any student who dropped by their student center every Wednesday. What began as a small group of 10 to 15 students has evolved into a weekly program that regularly feeds more than 100 students and faculty members.

Spearheaded by a group of volunteer parishioners including Coordinator, Pat Crawford, long time member Sandi Adams, and Brother Mike Ward, OFM, each week the parish offers a safe space, fellowship and a warm meal to students.

As the students walk through the doors of the St. Thomas Aquinas student center, their faces light up as the smell of homecooked shepherd’s pie wafts through the room. The meal and the volunteers are blessed, then students quickly seek out friends, grab a meal and a seat and enjoy fellowship with one another. Faculty members also stop by, visiting with one another and students. Other regular fixtures at the weekly meal are Louisiana Tech Campus Minister Brother Mike Ward, OFM, and St. Thomas Aquinas pastor, Fr. Tony Posadas, OFM.

“My favorite part of this program is that the students have a place to come where they can be with each other. And we provide that and provide a meal for them,” said coordinator Pat Crawford. “But we get as much out of it as they do, all of us. Most everybody has been involved with this for many years: our groups of people who cook. It’s kind of a scary thing to cook for this many people and stay within a budget. We are serving more now than ever. This year, we’ve offered 2,111 meals since September.”

Students echo Crawford’s sentiments, “We come every week that they have “Wednesday lunch.” I like the people and the community. It’s a way that the parish connects with the students, where the parishioners cook the meal and serve it and the students get to come in and get to enjoy a good home cooked meal away from home. I like interacting with the parishioners as well,” said student and Association of Catholic Tech Students member André Aguillard.

“I love being able to sit down at any table and have a great conversation and then enjoy the food and know you’re with like minded people with similar values,” added student Abby Morgan.
To make all of this happen every week takes a village both on and offsite. Pat Crawford manages the complete meal schedule for the year, calendaring meal assignments for different St. Thomas Aquinas ministry groups. Some people volunteer to bring desserts each week; some cook, but can’t serve; others show up on site to serve the students; still others are needed to take donations and keep track of how many students come through.

The result of all of this is a full meal for students including a protein, vegetable, side item, dessert and a drink – all for a minimal donation of $1. It takes a combination of budgeting, discounts and donations to make it work, but the results are undeniable.

“It’s a good witness. A good number of people who come to “Wednesday lunch” are not Catholic. So it kind of de-mystifies some of the thoughts other people have about Catholics,” said Fr. Tony Posadas, OFM, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

“It’s a safe place to eat. It helps students feel at home, especially when they are feeling lonely. We’ve been here since the beginning, and this is the best I’ve seen it,” said cooking volunteer, Sandi Adams. She added, “The students are so appreciative. They’ll come by, some of them, and thank us.”  Adams also said that students regularly volunteer to help with setup and clean up.
The “Wednesday lunch” program has quickly become St. Thomas’ largest outreach ministry, and one that parishioners and students alike take great pride in. No one is ever denied a meal for not having money, and often people will come through and pay for others.

“My hope is always that the students see other people doing something for them, so that when they graduate, marry, whatever they do out in the world in their jobs and communities, they’re more likely to volunteer their time,” said Crawford.

Theirs is truly a mission of presence and kindness, following the command of Jesus to love thy neighbor.

Updating St. Joseph Cemetery

by Randy Tiller

In 2023 we will be commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Shreveport Yellow Fever epidemic of 1873. This is not only significant for our diocese, but of importance to St. Joseph Cemetery. Never during the epidemic was Shreveport left without a priest to administer the sacraments and the last rites to approximately 25% of the population that was wiped out by the fever. Before a priest fell ill and succumbed to the fever, another priest was there to care for the people.

Since November, The Catholic Connection has been printing articles and a comic strip story about these five priests who ministered to those who succumbed to Yellow Fever in Shreveport (see page 17 in this issue). Additionally, our own Diocesan Administrator, Fr. Peter Mangum, recently traveled to France to conduct more research on these five men and has continued to share their stories.

You may not know though, that some of these priests were originally buried in the basement of Holy Trinity Church in downtown Shreveport. Fr. Isidore Quemerais, Fr. Jean Pierre and Fr. Francois LeVezouet were originally buried at Holy Trinity Church and moved in 1884 to St. Joseph Cemetery. Fr. Jean Marie Biler was originally buried in the Daughters of the Cross cemetery on Fairfield Ave., and exhumed and moved to Forest Park in the 1960s. Fr. Louis Gergaud was buried at St. Matthew’s Cemetery in Monroe.

With the approaching 150th anniversary, it affords us a fantastic opportunity to reconsider and restate the corporal work of mercy to bury and care for the dead. St. Joseph Cemetery is the only Catholic cemetery in the Shreveport/Bossier area. In conjunction with this anniversary, we will also complete necessary updating, uplifting, renovating, landscaping and beautification.
Some of our updates will include new registers for the tops of the graves of the three priests who died in the Yellow Fever epidemic, as well as pouring a concrete form around the crypts to seal them and keep water from seeping in. The calvary monument will also be restored. This includes cleaning and correcting the plaque, as well as reworking the steps and the landings. We will also be installing a new flag pole in front of the mausoleums, continuing the task of cleaning and straightening various monuments, replacing the fence at the back of the cemetery, widening streets, investigating stained glass windows in the chapel mausoleum, landscaping and adding statuary. Adding restrooms to the grounds is also a possibility.

All of these updates and changes will prepare the cemetery for visitors who will travel there from across the globe in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Shreveport Yellow Fever epidemic. In order to do this important work, we will happily accept donations to the Cemetery Fund. If your family has monuments and tombstones that need renovation or crypts that need to be painted and cleaned, we have professionals available to handle those repairs and renovations for the family. We can facilitate having the work done if families notify us and are willing to pay for the renovations. If you know of families with historical ties to the cemetery, please share this with them. There are still plots available for purchase.

Keep looking for more updates as we continue refurbishing the cemetery. We will also be establishing a Cemetery Board to look into long range plans to build an additional mausoleum and columbarium.

Our Immediate Projects:

New granite tops on the crypts of the three priests who gave their lives in the Yellow Fever epidemic
$5,000 each installed

Wrapping the crypt walls with wire mesh and a concrete formto stop water seepage
$7,500

Repairing the steps and landings of the Calvary monument
$ 5,000

Re-fencing the back of the cemetery with 6’ black vinyl fencing
$12,000

Landscaping
$15,000

Future projects include stained glass in the chapel mausoleum, extending the irrigation system and establishing a priests’ section at the cemetery to encourage our diocesan priests to be interred in our historic Catholic cemetery.

Other projects will include building an additional mausoleum with 200+ crypts and adding several small columbarium around the cemetery. We are also looking into securing additional contiguous property. Donations can be made to Diocese of Shreveport St. Joseph Cemetery Fund and are tax deductible.

April 28th: Divine Mercy Sunday

by Julia Doolin

The second Sunday of Easter is the Feast of Divine Mercy. This year, the feast falls on April 28. For the last 15 years, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans and St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport have alternated hosting a Divine Mercy Sunday Holy Hour. Those who are involved with this event have been inspired by the manner in which the devotion has grown in our diocese. This year, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans will host the holy hour with Very Reverend Peter B. Mangum, Diocesan Administrator, presiding. The holy hour will begin promptly at 2:30 p.m. and will include the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, as well as veneration of the Divine Mercy image. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered immediately following the holy hour.

The Divine Mercy devotion began spreading throughout the world in the 1930’s and is based upon private revelations to a young Polish nun whom we now know as St. Faustina. The message is not a new one, but is instead, a reminder of what the Church has always taught through Scripture and tradition: God is merciful and forgiving and we, too, must show mercy and forgiveness. But the message of the Divine Mercy devotion calls people to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone – especially the greatest sinners.

In a decree dated May 23, 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that “throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come.” Taking the declaration of the feast day a step further, the Apostolic Penitentiary announced on August 3, 2002, that in order “to ensure that the faithful would observe Divine Mercy Sunday with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence…so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit.”

With regard to the plenary indulgence associated with Divine Mercy Sunday, the usual conditions apply: sacramental confession (typically eight days before or after the indulgenced act), Eucharistic communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. The faithful are asked to gather in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!)

We are grateful to have the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event. Please join us at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans (939 Jordan Street in Shreveport) on Sunday, April 28, at 2:30 p.m. for a wonderful opportunity to experience God’s unfathomable mercy.

Bossier Church Helps Provide Beds to Children

by Mary Ann Van Osdell

Don Harper is seeing to it that “no kid sleeps on the floor in our town” and Mary, Queen of Peace Parish is helping him achieve that goal.

Harper oversees Sleep In Heavenly Peace, a non-profit that partners with organizations, churches and businesses to hold “Build Days” during which beds are built from scratch. But the cost for a bed, $175, must be in hand first.

Harper spoke to the Mary, Queen of Peace Ladies Guild at the request of member Donna Grimaldi about their organization. As a result, pastor Fr. Nicholas Onyach, FMH, allowed for Ash Wednesday and March 10 collections to benefit this project. More than $1,200 was donated, enough for seven beds. Additionally, the church collected more than 20 sets of new sheets to go with the new beds. One hundred percent of donations go toward Sleep in Heavenly Peace. This organization works with Lowe’s, who gives them a discount on supplies, and Johnson’s Furniture who works with them on mattress prices.

So who can help with beds? Anyone! No woodworking experience is needed. At one build, Harper said he had volunteers from age 10 all the way to age 70. Volunteers are supervised and tools are supplied.

Twenty beds can be built in about three hours, he said. They may be single twin or bunk. Bunk beds have scripture under the top bed for the child on the bottom to read.

The beds are delivered assembled to an appreciative home, complete with a mattress, bedding and pillow.

“Kids will be ready to be tucked in,” Harper said. Some of the deliveries have come with bibles provided by Lifeway Christian Store.

To qualify to receive a bed, a family must be sleeping in one bed with parents or siblings, on the floor, a couch, futon or between two chairs. Applicants for a new bed may apply online at www.SHPbeds.org.

Once an application is received, a selection committee will review it. Selecting a recipient isn’t done on a first-come, first served basis, but based on which children need beds the most, Harper said.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace makes and delivers beds as supplies and donations allow. When they’re out of beds or bedding, they file unselected applications away until they can make more.
Founded in Idaho in 2012, Sleep In Heavenly Peace is the only charity providing handmade bunk beds to children who don’t have their own. There are 140 chapters in 40 states, Bossier’s being the 86th (it serves Caddo Parish, also). The only other one in Louisiana is in Cutoff.

Harper was watching Mike Rowe’s Returning the Favor, a reality web television series in which he searches for people giving back, when it featured Sleep in Heavenly Peace. While he was watching the show, he said his “eyes starting leaking a little bit” and he told his wife he wanted to do this project.
In a year, Harper’s chapter has made 52 beds and delivered 38. The remaining beds are waiting to be delivered once mattresses and linens can be secured. There are currently 78 people on a waiting list. •

Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Good Friday Way of the Cross & Walk for Justice

by Jim Beadles, President, Shreveport Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul

For more than 20 years, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has sponsored the Good Friday Way of the Cross and Walk for Justice in downtown Shreveport. The purpose of the event is to not only follow Christ in his Passion on the Way of the Cross, but also to recognize the efforts of multiple local agencies that put the Passion into practice by serving those in need.

The event continues to grow, and last year, more than 150 people participated. It is truly a community and ecumenical event. We are honored that our friends at First United Methodist Church graciously offer their property as the gathering place for both the beginning and end of the event. Along the way, we are privileged to have music from the New Dimension Youth Chorale.

In addition to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and First United Methodist Church, we also are joined by the following agencies: Mary’s House, The Fuller Center, Christian Services, MLK Health Center, The Mercy Center, Hope House, Holy Cross Episcopal, The Providence House, The Hub Ministries, Louisiana Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana and VOA Lighthouse.

The event covers approximately 1.4 miles. It is a service of 14 prayers at 14 sites/stations. Representatives from the agencies will lead each station prayer. Another reason to participate is to learn more about each of the agencies and their ministries. We are all called to be more than observers. We are all called to discipleship. Perhaps you will find a calling to mission and ministry of one of these agencies as they serve those in need in our community.

There is plenty of parking behind First United Methodist Church at the head of Texas Street, downtown. We will begin the walk at 9:00 a.m., and it should be completed no later than 11:00 a.m. If it rains, the event will be moved to Holy Trinity Catholic Church located at 315 Marshall Street, also in downtown Shreveport.

This is a perfect way to move toward Easter. All who attend find it to be a meaningful experience. Please plan to join us at this year’s St. Vincent de Paul Walk For Justice. We hope to see you there.

When: Good Friday, April 19, 2019
Where: Behind First United Methodist Church,
head of Texas Street, downtown Shreveport
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Rain Venue: Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Vocations View: Reflection – Final Year of Seminary

by Deacon Kevin Mues, Seminarian

Time flies when you’re having fun!” This statement seems particularly accurate to me at this moment in my life. As I approach the end of my final semester of seminary formation, I feel struck by how quickly this period of my life has come and gone. In 2013, I entered seminary formation. When I began, I thought that six years of learning philosophy and then theology would never end, but it has gone by in a flash. I am amazed by how much I have learned and humbled by how much I still have to learn. In the past year, this has been especially clear to me. Three recent experiences have given me greater insight into what it means to be a priest and what my life as a priest may look like after I am ordained in May.

When I was ordained to the diaconate in June, I was given the opportunity to minister at St. Jude Parish in Benton. There, I had the chance to really enter into the life of a Catholic parish. I was able to participate in the daily activities of the church and get to know the families that served and were served by the parish. Through Bible studies, family dinners, summer camps, hospital ministry, choir, and my participation in Mass as a deacon, I was able to experience a foretaste of the life of a priest. I had the opportunity to learn from Fr. Karl Daigle what it means to be a pastor–that real love of the people I am called to serve.

Deacon Kevin Mues at the Garden of Gethsemane.

In January, my classmates and I went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There, I had the opportunity to stand in the places that Jesus stood. I was at the Church of the Nativity, at the Sea of Galilee, on the bank of the River Jordan. I walked the way of the Cross. Being in the Holy Land was an amazing experience. The Church of the Annunciation was an amazing point of my journey. There, we had the chance to pray the Angelus with the Franciscans that serve the parish. When we pray the Angelus, we say, “Verbo caro factus est,” or “The Word was made flesh.” When they pray the Angelus, they say, “Verbo caro hic factus est” or, “Here, the Word was made flesh.” My experience in the Holy Land did that for me. It gave flesh to the faith that I believe in. By standing in the places that Jesus stood and seeing the locations from the Bible, I was able to understand more fully the ministry of Jesus and the apostles.

The thing that most inspired me this year was the funeral of Fr. Richard Lombard. It was amazing to see a priest who had given his entire life, 65 years of ministry, to the Diocese of Shreveport. I was able to see in his funeral, the only real encounter I had with his life and his ministry, the true goal of a priest: to live a life that is totally devoted to spreading the Gospel and serving the people of God. As I move toward my own ordination, I look forward to the opportunity to give my life to this diocese. I hope to follow that example and give everything to the people of God in our local Church.

Over the next two months, I will complete the formal education that will bring me to the Cathedral for my ordination. I look forward to the even greater lessons that I will learn from the people of God when I become a priest for them.