Category Archives: Features

Diocese of Shreveport Welcomes New Director of Catechesis

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by Jessica Rinaudo, Editor

The Diocese of Shreveport is proud to announce the hire of Shelly Bole as the new Director of Catechesis.
Bole is well educated in matters of the Church. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry from Newman University in Wichita in 1989, and just recently completed her Master’s degree in Theological Studies from the same university this past August.

Her Bachelor’s degree focused on youth ministry, so Bole spent much of her early career working with youth ministry on the parish level and serving as a campus minister to a Catholic high school. She later felt called to minister in adult education.

Bole comes to us from the Diocese of Wichita in Kansas where she served as the Program Coordinator of Religious Education. During her time there she trained catechists and took on a number of projects including writing a confirmation curriculum specific to the Diocese of Wichita over a five year period and managing a resource library for the diocese that served all Catholics, especially catechists.

Shelly will begin work as the Diocese of Shreveport’s Director of Catechesis on June 1, 2012. She is excited about beginning work in north Louisiana, “The thing that struck me about my interview was the profound faith in this sense of place. I was very impressed with that.”

She is also very happy with the Diocese of Shreveport’s vision of lifelong catechesis.

When Bole begins her new position, she’s ready to hit the ground running. “One of my first priorities is to spend time with Bishop to understand his vision,” said Bole.

She added that she wants to meet the clergy and the Directors of Religious Education to garner an understanding of where they’re at now, what’s working for them and what can be improved.

Bole added, “The first goal of catechesis is to foster intimacy with Christ. How can I help [people] do that in their parishes? ”
Shelly is anxious to meet the people of our diocese. Please give her a warm welcome when you see her out in the parishes!

Walking Across the U.S. for Pro-Life

Matt Sciba during his Crossroads walk in 2003.

by Matt Sciba

In the summer of 2002, I attended a pro-life youth conference in New Orleans.  A group of young adults with “pro-life” printed on their t-shirts attended and spoke about their walk across the United States.  I pledged that I would spend the next summer walking with the Crossroads Pro-Life Walk Across America (http://crossroadswalk.org/).

In May 2003, I bought a one way ticket on a Greyhound bus for a 30 hour trip from Dallas to Arlington, VA. After two days of orientation, our group of walkers drove an RV from Virginia to San Francisco to begin the greatest adventure of our young lives.

The purpose of the Crossroads walk is to offer every step as prayer and mortification for the protection of dignity and sanctity of all human life, from the moment of conception to natural death. Crossroads also seeks to educate and encourage people to become more actively pro-life.

During my trip, I encountered thousands of people, most of whom were pro-life. We spoke at churches, visited youth groups, recruited young adults along the way, prayed at abortion centers, saved a few babies (that we know of), and formed lifelong friendships.

The biggest hurdle to overcome is that everything happens in God’s time. Various things broke, walkers got sick or injured, and many times we ran out of money and didn’t know from where our next meal would come.  Many times we didn’t know where we would lay our heads.  Every single time it appeared as though we would go without, God sent help at the last minute.

This year, Crossroads will begin their cross-country pilgrimages on May 19 in Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles, with all walks concluding in Washington, D.C. on August 11th.  The three month trek will test the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual endurance of 50 or so young adults.

As a walker, my faith soared higher than ever before.  Life was no longer according to my will, but wholly according to God’s.  Living with 20 other people in tight quarters with only a backpack of personal belongings and no ability to set one’s own schedule tested my limits. Oddly enough, I had a difficult two months adjusting to life after Crossroads. My faith was at its peak and my will was aligned with God’s.  Fast-forward to today, and a great many people with whom I walked have become or are in the process of becoming priests or nuns, or are leaders in their communities.

The interesting thing about Crossroads is that it not only invigorates the walkers, but many communities are transformed as well.  I remember staying with a couple who were infertile, and the husband had been very bitter and angry at God because of it. We stayed nearly a week at their home, and by the end, the husband’s anger and bitterness had melted. The day we said goodbye, he gave a tearful speech explaining that our witness of God’s love had relieved him of 25 years of scorn.

Nine years later, Crossroads is still going strong, and has expanded to at least four walks per summer.  This summer, as they do every summer, the walkers will stop in Shreveport for a weekend. My wife and I will play host, listen to their stories, and share our own stories from the walks we completed.

The paths for four Crossroads walks this summer. The walkers will be in Shreveport beginning July 4.

Wherever you live, keep the Crossroads walkers in your prayers. They rely solely on divine providence for everything (food, water, shelter, clothing).  If you live near one of the routes, please consider meeting them as they pass by, and offering even something as small as a word of encouragement.  Not only will you lift the spirits of the walkers, but you too may be enriched by their love for God.

The Crossroads walkers will walk through Shreveport (most likely on Hwy 80) on or around July 4th, and will stay in Shreveport/Bossier on the weekend of July 6-8. A reception will be held for the walkers on July 6. More details will be available in the near future at our website http://truthandcharity.net.

EDIT: For an update on the Crossroads walkers in Shreveport, check out this post at truthandcharity.net.

St. Frederick’s Girls Tennis Wins State

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It’s official: St. Frederick High School girls’ tennis team won the LA State Championship in Monroe, LA, on May 3, making this a second consecutive state title for St. Frederick High School tennis. The eight girls contributing to St. Frederick’s outstanding play are Ashely Johnson (not pictured), Abigail Johnson, Emory Miller, Elaine Simon, Blair Breard, Analise Kelly, Regan LaPietra and Lily Ryan. These Lady Warriors finished the year with not only the state title, but also with many individual wins. Geaux Lady Warriors! We are so proud of you!

Church Profile: Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Shreveport

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by Linda Webster, PhD

During the 25th anniversary year of the Diocese of Shreveport we are profiling small churches around the diocese.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus church is a bit tricky to locate.

“We need a bigger sign so that people know we’re here,” insists Joetta Waterman, a long-time parishioner who came to Sacred Heart when St. Teresa closed in 1989. “No one knows we’re back here.”

Sacred Heart is located on Lyba Street, on the north side of I-20 near the airport. There is a sign out on Monkhouse Drive directing worshipers onto Lyba and a second sign where the street twists a bit, but Waterman is right.  You’d never guess that there was a vibrant, engaged and very large Catholic community located right off of the interstate unless you knew to look for the signs.

“I’ve been to numerous churches in South Louisiana, Houston, Fort Worth and Atlanta,” said Mary Chauvin, Director of Religious Education, “and I was bowled over by Sacred Heart when I was looking for a church here in Shreveport.”
She recounts how Sr. Humberta Gallatin, a Sister of Divine Providence and the DRE, snagged her as she came through the door of the church.

“She said, ‘Bet you’re catechist,’ and she was right,” said Chauvin.  “I’ve been teaching here for nineteen years.”
The parish was established in 1966 by Bishop Greco and the first Mass was celebrated at the Holiday Inn West on August 21.  The parish grew from 90 to 127 families between that first Mass and January of 1968, so the congregation moved to the Howard Johnson Motel at I-120.  Meanwhile, construction was under way at the four acre Lyba Street site, allowing the congregation to move into the current structure in July of 1969.

“We are a busy church,” said Waterman who is active with the Catholic Women’s League, the Pastoral Council and the Ladies Guild which she serves as corresponding secretary.  “We have a Healing Mass once a month and a First Friday Holy Hour that is very well-attended.”

Parishioners gather at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church for Mass.

The most visible ministry on the church grounds is the St. Vincent de Paul building which distributes food pantry items and all sorts of household goods and clothing to a large and grateful local clientele.

“The ministry started out as a closet in my office,” said Chauvin. “We started serving so many needs that we got a portable classroom, then we had to get another.  We’re located in a neighborhood where there is such a need for this ministry.”
The St. Vincent de Paul buildings are open on Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Chauvin said that people begin lining up hours before opening, the line sometimes stretching down the driveway to the sidewalk. The ministry is run entirely by volunteers and the outreach is not limited to just the Wednesday food distribution.

“We help those who’ve been burned out of their homes, assist with utilities when needed, and just do whatever we can to help our neighbors.”

Chauvin has a busy campus to manage. There are two classroom buildings behind the church hall with handicapped ramps and deep porches that accommodate some of the students. Others attend class in the hall.

“We just started PRE for the three and four year olds this year and we’re trying to get the children more involved in volunteer work.  One thing I’ve noticed that changed in the twelve years I’ve been a DRE is that our children are much more willing to tell people that they are Catholic.”

The church property makes use of most of the four acres.  In addition to the St. Vincent de Paul buildings, the large church hall and the classroom buildings, there is a rectory on site and a large off-street parking lot that wraps around the church and extends to the back of the property.  Sacred Heart is a quasi-parish of St. Mary of the Pines, but there are three weekend Masses and daily Masses Tuesday through Friday which is unusual for a “mission” church.

Currently, Fr. Francis Kamau serves as pastor and the resident priest is Fr. Thomas John Vadakemuriyil, CMI.
“This church is so much like a family,” said Chauvin. “Many of us don’t have any other family here in the area and we care about each other.”

Even the community activities have the flavor of a family project.  For example, Sacred Heart parishioners cleaned out a local park to make it more inviting to neighborhood children.  Other ministries include quilt making, a bell choir and a neighborhood carnival, according to the parish website.

“We celebrate birthdays each month, we take food to the sick, we have a Christmas party, and we help with St. Vincent de Paul,” recounted Joetta Waterman of the work done by the Ladies Guild.

Fr. Francis calls forward anyone celebrating a birthday or an anniversary to be blessed by the congregation at the first Sunday Mass of each month, making that celebration a parish-wide event.

“We also raise money to help the Kenyan community where Fr. Francis comes from,” she added.  “And having the seminarians from Notre Dame has been such a blessing.  They come three months at a time and they are so devout.  Many are from India and John Paul Christian calls me ‘grandmother’.”

Waterman is looking forward to his ordination next year with eagerness.

Deacon Clary Nash and Fr. Francis Kamau, FMH, stand with the choir during the opening hymn.

Sacred Heart ministers to a larger community as well by providing a live webcast from the cry room at the back of the church for any event in progress.

“We had relatives ‘attend’ a wedding from Hawaii,” said Deacon Cary Nash.  “They couldn’t get to Shreveport but they saw the wedding on the web.  The same thing with a baptism where family members can’t get here.”

The webcast includes shut-ins more effectively than an audio recording and is broadcast in real time.

“Our motto says it all,” said Waterman.  “We’re the little church with the big heart.”

Fortnight for Freedom and Religious Liberty

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The 14 days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, Sts. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty.  On Sunday July 1, 2012, all the parishes of our diocese will turn their prayers and attention to the freedom to practice our faith in this country and pray that it be protected for generations to come. In doing this we will be a part of the our Church’s national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

From the USCCB:

In 1634, a mix of Catholic and Protestant settlers arrived in Southern Maryland from England aboard the Ark and the Dove. They had come at the invitation of the Catholic Lord Baltimore, who had been granted the land by the Protestant King Charles I of England. While Catholics and Protestants were killing each other in Europe, Lord Baltimore imagined Maryland as a society where people of different faiths could live together peacefully. This vision was soon codified in Maryland’s 1649 Act Concerning Religion (also called the “Toleration Act”), which was the first law in our nation’s history to protect an individual’s right to freedom of conscience.

Maryland’s early history teaches us that, like any freedom, religious liberty requires constant vigilance and protection, or it will disappear. Maryland’s experiment in religious toleration ended within a few decades. The colony was placed under royal control and the Church of England became the established religion. Discriminatory laws, including the loss of political rights, were enacted against those who refused to conform. Catholic chapels were closed and Catholics were restricted to practicing their faith in their homes. The Catholic community lived under this coercion until the American Revolution.
By the end of the 18th century our nation’s founders embraced freedom of religion as an essential condition of a free and democratic society. So when the Bill of Rights was ratified, religious freedom had the distinction of being the First Amendment. Religious liberty is indeed the first liberty.

This is our American heritage, our most cherished freedom. If we are not free in our conscience and our practice of religion, all other freedoms are fragile. If our obligations and duties to God are impeded, or even worse, contradicted by the government, then we can no longer claim to be a land of the free.

Is our most cherished freedom truly under threat? Among many current challenges, consider the recent Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring almost all private health plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. For the first time in our history, the federal government will force religious institutions to facilitate drugs and procedures contrary to our moral teaching, and purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit an exemption. This is not a matter of whether contraception may be prohibited by the government. It is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government. It is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception and sterilization, even when it violates our religious beliefs.

 

 

New Programs and New Homes in Cedar Grove

New home being built in the Cedar Grove area.

by Theresa Mormino, Catholic Charities

If you were watching KSLA on the morning of May 7, you may have seen Catholic Charities workers Jean Dresley, Executive Director, and Theresa Mormino, Director of Development, interviewed on “Your Hometown Show.” We discussed our work at Catholic Charities and talked about our newest programs, Gabriel’s Closet and The Money School.  Both of these programs are progressing and will be formally announced on our website and Facebook as they near completion and are ready to offer assistance.

The Money School program, a four unit financial education course, will become a required component for those who seek financial aid from Catholic Charities.  Our desire is to help those who come to us break the cycle of generational poverty. We believe the often used quote “knowledge is power” especially applies here. It’s impossible to make changes when you don’t have the tools.

The course work will cover subjects like how to open and maintain a bank account, develop a budget, save money and plan for the future, avoid predatory lending and will also include coaches for those who would like to have long-term help.  These volunteer coaches will work one-on-one with our clients for six months to a year in an effort to help them to apply the knowledge they have gained from The Money School.  This kind of life-changing work impacts the individual, their family and the community. As more people learn to manage their income and begin a better life path, we will see the kind of changes we aim for: more people able to thrive and pass down these skills to their children. We are looking for people with financial experience to volunteer as coaches. Please call us at 318-865-0200 if you would like to make a difference in the life of someone else.

Another exciting event happening in our neighborhood is the building of a new home by The Fuller Center for Housing. On April 30 an 18-wheeler pulled up alongside the St. Catherine campus and began unloading the structural supplies to build the new house in Cedar Grove. The house is one of several the Fuller Center will build in the neighborhood.  The Diocese of Shreveport donated two plots of land for this project and is a major supporter of the center’s work. Families who wish to apply for one of the homes must go through a rigorous application process and evaluation.  They will also be required to complete classes in money management and home maintenance.

Bishop’s Reflection (June)

Knights of Columbus stand outside the Capitol in Olympia, WA to protest a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. (CNS photo/Robert Sorbo, Reuters)

by Bishop Michael G. Duca

This past month President Obama became the first President of the United States to confirm he is in favor of gay marriage.  I agree with Cardinal Dolan of New York that this was a sad day, but not surprising given the President’s policies in this regard.  The heart of the matter was more clearly revealed in an interview I heard where the expert simply stated, “It was the fair thing to do.”

The public debate about marriage in our country has been successfully promoted as an issue of a person’s “right” to marry and about fairness.  But this approach should ring shallow and incomplete to the minds and hearts of Catholics.  We always seek to discover the truth of something and then conform our lives to the truth.  So the approach of every Catholic should be to answer the question, “What is marriage?” as the first and most important question of this discussion.

We of course look to the nature of man and woman and the revelations of Jesus Christ found in the scriptures and the tradition of teachings of the Church to answer this question.  We can look to the words of St. Paul who says, in describing marriage, “This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5: 32).  Marriage is, for us, a Sacrament and in this Sacrament the love of husband and wife become a real sign of God’s presence among us. So if marriage is to refer to Christ and the Church and to be a sign of God’s presence, then the love of husband and wife should reflect the essential elements of God’s love for us.

Marriage is to be a love that is indissoluble, unbreakable, because God’s love for us is eternal and does not end.  Marriage is to be a love that is procreative because God’s love is life giving and He selflessly shares His life with us.  Marriage is faithful because God’s love is faithful.  The nature of marriage is not created by man, but draws its essential definition from God who is love.  Marriage is a relationship that can only be fully reflected between a man and a woman because together only they can create new life and form a true foundation for our country and the Church.

Yes, it is true that some married couples are unable to have children and adopt as a same sex couple might, but the overall idea that motivates a couple in marriage is to create a life in light of the full sacramental understanding of marriage.  When same sex relationships are called marriage, then the procreative aspect of marriage becomes optional and the very definition of marriage changes.  Civil marriage then becomes disconnected from sacramental marriage and creates its definition by human laws that reflect a different intent and source of truth. As long as our public discussion is centered only on fairness and personal rights we will never discuss what new model is envisioned by these new laws.  What is certain is that this new civil creation reflects less the understanding of love revealed in Jesus Christ.  From a faith perspective, the definition of civil marriage will become more and more just a civil union as it separates itself from the definition of marriage rooted in the revealed love of God.

This is the source of the sadness that Cardinal Dolan spoke of, the proposed redefinition of marriage that will separate the meaning of civil marriage from our Catholic understanding.  In spite of this, we continue to proclaim the beauty of a sacramental marriage rooted in the spiritual richness of a love that reflects the faithful, unbreakable and procreative love of God. We profess our belief that true sacramental marriage is the hope for our Church and the future strength of our country.

I know marriage is often difficult.  Many married members of our Church experience daily pressures that threaten married life, but it is precisely our understanding that marriage is connected to the love of God that gives every married person a deep well of grace and hope that God is with them in the living of this sacrament. We should support married couples in all stages of their lives and teach our children about the goodness of sacramental marriage in the Church. I hope soon to have a workshop for parish family life directors and volunteers to continue to develop our outreach as a diocese to support family life. As a resource you can also check out the USCCB website on marriage at: foryourmarriage.org.

Let us together proclaim our hopeful and sacramental understanding of marriage and work to maintain its integrity within our country.

St. Frederick High School Hires New Principal

Guy Farber

Bishop Michael G. Duca is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Guy Farber as the new Principal for St. Frederick Catholic High School in Monroe.  Farber has been an educator for 25 years serving all of that time at his alma mater, St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie.

Farber is a life-long resident of the New Orleans area but he and his family are very much looking forward to moving to Monroe.   “I am extremely impressed with the family atmosphere of the Monroe community as a whole but especially the St. Frederick community.  My family and I are looking forward to becoming an active part of the SFHS family.”

A graduate of Louisiana State University with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, Farber also holds a Master’s degree in the Science of Teaching and a second Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of New Orleans.  He will bring a wealth of knowledge in the area of highly effective educational practices as well as an enthusiasm for his new vocation.  “I think of myself as a coach meeting my new team.  It’s very exciting and I am looking forward to getting to know everyone involved with St. Frederick.  My goal is to do a great deal of learning about the needs and desires of the school as a whole and then help them get where they need to be.”

Farber is known for his exceptional leadership qualities, always being grounded in his efforts to improve the learning experience for his students.  Lisa Patrick, principal of Jesus the Good Shepherd School, stated, “I am very excited to have Mr. Farber and his family join our Catholic School family. He is energetic, knowledgeable and it is my belief that he will be a wonderful principal.  He has all of the characteristics of a great leader and I have been impressed with his dedication to providing a meaningful school experience for each of his students.”

St. Frederick High School’s FBLA Qualify for National Competition

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by Dr. Laurie Babin

Pictured: The top 10 finishers front row:  James Babin, Kaleb Williamson, Jonara Mercado, Elaine Simon, Julie Farrar, Mattie Kincannon Back row: Dr. Laurie Babin, Alec Shell, Jon Kelley, Brandon Breard, Jefferson Manning, Ashton Fench, Drew Johnson.

St. Frederick Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members competed in the 2012 Louisiana FBLA State Leadership Conference held at the Lafayette Cajondome and Convention Center, March 25-27, 2012.  Our chapter project, “The Catholic Connection 2012 Blue Pages” directory of businesses owned by our school and parishioner families and other supporters of Catholic institutions, won first place in the Partnership with Business Project. The chapter qualified for national competition in seven events. The FBLA National Leadership Conference is June 27-July 3 in San Antonio, TX.

Dr. Laurie Babin, Professor of Marketing at the University of Louisiana Monroe, started and has been the adviser for the St. Frederick FBLA chapter for the past five years.  This is the second year the chapter will be competing at nationals.

2012 Louisiana FBLA State Leadership Conference Results:

Events Qualifying for National Competition:
• Partnership with Business Project – Brandon Breard, Julie Farrar and Jon Kelley (1st place)
• Business Communication – Randi Domingue (1st place)
• Public Speaking I – Jeff Manning (2nd place)
• Marketing (team event) – James Babin, Brandon Breard, and Julie Farrar (3rd place)
• Economics – Randi Domingue (4th place)
• Banking and Financial Systems (team event) – Elaine Simon, Jon Kelley and Jonara Mercado (4th place)
• Entrepreneurship (team event) – Drew Johnson, Jeff Manning, and Kaleb Williamson (4th place)

Events Finishing in the Top Ten:
• Mr. Future Business Leader – Brandon Breard (6th place)
• Ms. Future Business Leader – Julie Farrar (7th place)
• Emerging Business Issues (team event) – Alec Shell, Ashton Fench and Mattie Kincannon (8th place)
• Business Calculations – Jon Kelley (9th place)

Even though the St. Frederick FBLA team qualified for the national competition in seven events, they will only compete in four of them, including: Partnership with Business Project, Marketing, Business Communication and Public Speaking.

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Monroe Hires New Principal

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Rev. Sebastian Kallarackal, CMI, Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Church, and Sr. Carol Shively, OSU, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Shreveport, are pleased to announce the appointment of Michelle Palowsky as the new principal for Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Monroe.  Palowsky has been an educator for 22 years, serving most recently as a kindergarten teacher at Swartz Lower Elementary in Ouachita Parish.

Palowsky is a life-long resident of Monroe and earned her Bachelor’s degree of Education from the University of Monroe (then, Northeast Louisiana University) as well as a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and a second Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision along with her Plus 30 from ULM.

She will bring a wealth of knowledge in the area of early childhood and elementary educational practices.
“As a child of an educator, I can remember “teaching” my stuffed animals just like my dad taught his students.  I have always been a teacher and I love teaching.  I am most excited about bringing some new programs and innovations to O.L.F.  I have received some of the best experience and professional development through my employment with Ouachita Parish and want my love for education to be contagious within the O.L.F. faculty.”

Palowsky is known for her exceptional leadership qualities and always being grounded in her efforts to improve the school experience for her students.  Lisa Patrick, principal of Jesus the Good Shepherd School, stated, “I am very excited to have her join our Catholic School family. It is my belief that Mrs. Palowsky will be an exceptional leader and a wonderful principal. She is highly effective, is kind to everyone she comes across and has all of the characteristics of a great leader.”

Sr. Carol Shively, OSU, stated, “It is my belief that Mrs. Palowsky will be an exceptional educational leader in our Catholic schools.  I wholeheartedly welcome her to our community.”