Category Archives: Features

Lifelong Desire to Learn

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Pictured: Fr. Rothell Price leads a discussion with his brother priests during the Good Leaders, Good Shepherds program.

Supporting continuing education for clergy

Many of us may believe that when a man is ordained to the diaconate or priesthood that his days of the formal learning process are over. Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth. Because of your Annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal, our priests and deacons have access to a variety of programs and retreats that help them continue their education and see to their healthy appetite for spiritual renewal.

Over the past quarter of a century, Appeal donations have helped sponsor speakers, presentations, retreats and most recently, the “Good Leaders, Good Shepherds” program specifically designed to help our clergy meet the challenges of the diminishing number of priests and the complex circumstances of pastoral ministry in today’s world.

“The Good Leaders, Good Shepherds program not only provided us with helpful education and insight,” commented Rev. Pike Thomas, Chair of the Continuing Education for Clergy Program maintained by the diocese, “but it also gave us valuable friendship opportunities as priests and deacons working together for the diocese and it enabled us to spend meaningful time with Bishop Duca who was newly arrived as our second bishop.”

Look for this important allocation of Appeal funding to continue as the need for deacons and pastors to stay abreast of today’s issues and tomorrow’s challenges remains. “A priest cannot be at his best as a pastoral minister unless he stays abreast of many things,” reminds Fr. Pike, “including the most current ways of expressing our theology, methods of catechesis, organization of parishes, and most of all, the elements of a healthy spirituality for both himself and those he serves.”

In honor of the exceptional stewardship shown by the people of our diocese, look for a monthly Appeal Ministry highlight in each issue of the Catholic Connection during this wonderful “Year of Faith.” May God bless our faithful donors who each year provide so much generosity which benefits so many throughout our diocese.

John Mark Willcox is the diocesan Director of Stewardship and Development. To give to the annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal that supports ministries like these, visit www.dioshpt.org/stewardship/stewardship.html.

Bishop’s Reflection August 2012

Southwest United States Mountain scene in northern New Mexico. (sxc.hu/frayidaho)

Photo: Southwest United States Mountain scene in northern New Mexico. (sxc.hu/frayidaho)

SILENCE IS ESSENTIAL TO COMMUNICATION

by Bishop Michael Duca

I write this month’s message from the peace of my summer vacation retreat in Red River, New Mexico where the air is clear and cool. I keep coming back here, not only for the cool temperatures, but also for the peace and the quiet. The idea is that “quiet” is easy, relaxed and without stress, but, in fact, quiet can be hard.

Why is it hard? Well, think about it. When we find some time in our busy life to be silent, as soon as we sit down a flood of projects and needs we have put off crowd into our minds and now seem to be urgent. Even when we overcome this distraction we are left with ourselves and discover that we may not know what to do with silence, or the feelings that begin to emerge are not relaxing at all, in fact they may be disturbing. Yet even though silence can be hard, our Holy Father recently reminded us that it is essential to our lives even though we can all admit it is hard to find silence in our noisy world.

Our Holy Father reminds us:
“Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves.”

In our busy world we must make a real effort to find time to be quiet so we can discover the wisdom that is only found in silence. It is silence that makes real communication possible.  When we are quiet and listen to another, we have the opportunity to really understand what the other person is trying to communicate.  In silence we have the time to gather our thoughts and consider our choices from the deepest values of our lives and not be swayed by the loud shouting voices that want to force us to act against our deepest values. Silence is where we allow the voice of God to draw us deeper into the mystery of God’s love.  Silence is the space of prayer. One of the deepest wisdoms of the Church and the teachings of the saints is that we should meditate on the Word of God. Meditating is making time to be quiet and in silence allowing the full meaning of the scripture to emerge.  This deeper understanding is only possible in quiet, and in the silence we find time to put into words the surprising feeling a scripture has evoked in our hearts.

Sometimes we judge a Mass by whether the homily was good, but if we foster a silent listening heart during the Mass, God can touch our hearts through the prayers, the readings, the grace of receiving Holy Communion and in other surprising ways.  A silent heart can be fostered even in the middle of the congregation at Mass.

Summer often offers us opportunities for silence that gives us the time to consider the state of our spiritual lives. We should not be afraid of the silence and make time to consider how God is calling us to change our lives, reconsider our choices, and discover the wisdom of meditating on the Word of God.

This silent reflection does not leave us with only new personal insight, but it is also where we hear the needs of the poor and suffering and hear God’s call to mission. As our Holy Father recently said:
“In speaking of God’s grandeur, our language will always prove inadequate and must make space for silent contemplation. Out of such contemplation springs forth, with all its inner power, the urgent sense of mission.… Silent contemplation immerses us in the source of that Love who directs us towards our neighbors so that we may feel their suffering and offer them the light of Christ, his message of life and his saving gift of the fullness of love.”

Let us seek out the wisdom that can only be found in silence. The quiet is often not easy to endure but “do not be afraid,” for the wisdom we discover in the silence of our listening heart is the saving words of our savior inviting us deeper into the mystery of His love.

Vocations Office Sponsored Mission Possible Camp for Boys

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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.

Marriage & Family Life Ministry

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by Kelly Phelan Powell

In decades past, the word “family,” especially within the context of the Church, referred almost exclusively to the traditional nuclear family: mom, dad and a larger-than-average number of children. These days, however, there are many different iterations of “family” in parish life. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has recently launched an initiative in support of traditional Christian marriage, and the Diocese of Shreveport has followed suit with a renewed focus on Marriage and Family Life Ministries. And thankfully, some of these programs address aspects of the family that have been largely overlooked until now.

In a culture in which the significance of marriage is continuously and insidiously eroded, the USCCB holds fast in its insistence that marriage is and has always been “the ‘cradle’ of life and of every vocation.” The bishops go on to say, “We are well aware that the family founded on marriage is the natural environment in which to bear and raise children and thereby guarantee the future of all humanity. However, we also know that marriage is going through a deep crisis and today must face numerous challenges. It is consequently necessary to defend, help, safeguard and value it in its unrepeatable uniqueness. If this commitment is in the first place the duty of spouses, it is also a priority duty of the Church and of every public institution to support the family by means of pastoral and political initiatives that take into account the real needs of married couples, of the elderly and of the new generations.” (Angelus Talk, February 4, 2007)

But while marriage is inarguably the foundation of the family, the reality of life in the 21st Century is that not every family includes a marriage. Dotye Sue Stanford, Director of Family Life Ministries at St. Joseph Church in Shreveport, said this fact is due to our God-given freedom of choice. “God asks very little of us,” she said. “He asks us to love one another and to help each other get to heaven…but because He gave us free will, we have divorce, we have singleness and we have death.” She further emphasized that even in these states, the family still exists, even if that family includes only one person. “You’re still a part of God’s family and the Church’s family,” she said.

Programs throughout the diocese address the specific needs of different kinds of families – single life as a vocation, marriage as a vocation, family life and children, empty nesters, widows and widowers and divorce and annulment. You may be aware of some of these programs in your home parish, but others are less well known. The Marriage and Family Life Ministries page on the diocese’s website has contact information for each of these programs. Go to www.dioshpt.org and click on “Marriage and Family Life” under “Ministries.”

This past spring, the parishes of the diocese sponsored a six-session Divorce Recovery Program at the Catholic Center. Utilizing tools such as group discussion as well as a video series, the course helped people come to terms with their divorces and begin to heal their emotional wounds. The program was successful, so new dates will be announced soon.

Coming up in June is a two-day marriage intensive, with topics including “The Fight-Free Marriage” and “Contraception: What’s the Big Deal?” Presented by Timothy and Kristin Putnam of the Tulsa Diocese, this free event will be held June 10 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. and June 11 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in the St. Michael the Archangel Chapel. For more information, visit www.sjbcathedral.org.

Aside from addressing the needs of the faithful, these programs help bring non-practicing Catholics back to the Church. “People who may have felt shunned or like they didn’t belong since they weren’t married or didn’t have children feel important and included,” Stanford said. “There’s a place for everyone in the Church.” They also make the parish feel more like a home and encourage people to get involved at both a parish and a diocesan level.

As a director of Family Life Ministries, Stanford said this work is, for her, a calling. “I feel like this is what God wants me to do in Family Life, is go out and get these programs started at all the other parishes,” she said. She also pointed out that although their work may not have the “Family Life” title, all those involved with baptism, faith formation, engaged couples, weddings, divorce survival groups and grief processing are all part of family life. “There are so many doing the same thing,” she said. “Cathy Cobb [at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church]…Carol Gates [at the Cathedral]…I want them to see, ‘You’re doing family life, too. This is the divorce part of family life, this is the singles part of family life, these are the elderly, these are the empty-nesters.’”

Stanford urges all those within the diocese who are involved in some way with formation of the family to join the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (www.nacflm.org). It’s a great resource for education, mutual support, networking and advocacy.

In fact, she’s trying to get as many as possible of the 18 couples who are involved in marriage ministry to attend the 2012 international conference of the NACFLM, “Strengthening Marriages and Families in Today’s Culture,” held this year in Dallas July 25 through 28. There are a number of “tracts” available for attendees, depending on the individual needs of their parishes, including a Hispanic/Latino tract and an after-divorce tract. Stanford is seeking sponsors to help offset the cost of the conference; if you know of a business or individual who might like to contribute, please contact her at (318) 865-3581, extension 23, or dstanford@stjosephchurch.net.

The best ways to strengthen the family in all its forms, Stanford feels, are often the simplest. A good example she gave is the “Get Back to the Table” movement, where families make a concerted effort to sit down at the dinner table and eat at least one meal together each day without television, computers, homework or other distractions. Another way is to keep the Sabbath sacred and uphold the Sunday Mass obligation by removing activities that may come before or detract from God and the Church.

The diocese recognizes not only the importance of family, but the many forms that a Catholic Christian family can take. Family in all its configurations is a treasured part of parish life. Every parish has ways to offer ministry, fellowship and resources to help every family grow in faith. To take part in any of these valuable programs or to learn how you can help, visit your parish’s website or www.dioshpt.org.

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.