Category Archives: Events

Ouachita Parish to Host Bingo on the Delta 2019

Catholic Charities of North Louisiana (CCNLA)announces their 2nd Annual Bingo on the Delta fundraising event will be held at the West Monroe Convention Center on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. All proceeds will benefit CCNLA programs in Northeast Louisiana and the Eastern Deanery service areas.

As before, clergy from churches in North Louisiana will serve as bingo callers. Tickets will include dinner and two bingo cards. There will be raffle prizes and a cash bar. Dress is casual for the adults-only event and wearing your team colors is encouraged. Table sponsorships are available and begin at $750. If registered by January 11, sponsors will be recognized in all media and materials.

This year’s football theme will prepare fans for Super Bowl Sunday the night after our event, as we plan to spend an evening in food, fun and fellowship. Join us as we celebrate what Catholic Charities is doing to help the poor and vulnerable of Northeast Louisiana!

Please contact Tiffany Olah at 318-865-0200, ext. 109, or at development@ccnla.org for a sponsorship form or for more information.

LaCaze Lagniappe Gala: Celebrating the Life of Monsignor J. Carson LaCaze

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by Randy Tiller

Msgr. Carson LaCaze was a force of nature in the Diocese of Shreveport, but in sharp contrast to that dynamic personality, he was also well known to collect various kinds of rabbits  – ceramic rabbits, stuffed rabbits, large rabbits, small rabbits – to add to his vast collection, which continued to grow over the years. He also had an extensive collection of decanters of varying sizes, shapes and contents. This extensive collection of items has been donated by his family to the Diocese of Shreveport to help raise funds to directly benefit the retired priests of our diocese.

In order to make this collection available to as many people as possible, the Diocese of Shreveport and the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans are working together to sponsor a LaCaze Lagniappe Gala, a Mardi Gras themed memorial event, where the items will be auctioned off.

The benefits of participating is not in the receiving, but in giving to honor Msgr. LaCaze and, more importantly, to help provide funds for our retired and future retired priests. Everyone is needed and encouraged to participate to make this a success.

Letters asking for table sponsors have been mailed. Notices are appearing in church bulletins. Groups are being asked to sell tickets to the Gala after Masses in several parishes; particularly where Msgr. LaCaze offered his ministry through the years.

Table sponsors levels are: Gold ($5,000), Purple ($3,500), and Green ($1,000), in keeping with the Mardi Gras theme. Individual tickets will be available for purchase for $50 through the Office at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, or at the Catholic Center. Table sponsors will receive exclusive perks, VIP seating and special mementos reminiscent of Msgr. LaCaze, as well as a table hostess at the event. Single event tickets include entrance, food, a drink ticket and a special memento from Msgr. LaCaze. Valet parking will also be available.

The Gala will be held in the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans multi-room on Saturday, February 16, 2019. The auction area and bars will open at 5:30 p.m. with the dining area opening at 6:00 p.m. Drinks and food will be provided throughout the evening.

There will be both a silent and a live auction. In addition to the collections and other memorabilia from Msgr. LaCaze, there will be several items in the auction from Bishop Michael G. Duca and other priests of our diocese.

Many people who knew and loved Msgr. LaCaze are working together to make this event a success. Jan Pou and Fr. Peter Mangum will be the Masters of Ceremonies for the evening and will handle the live auction.

Mary Kay and John Townley, along with the Cathedral staff and the Catholic Center facilities staff, will be responsible for the set-up, tear down and clean up. Other volunteer committee chairpersons are Aaron Wilson, entertainment;  John Mark Willcox, video tribute;  Jessica Rinaudo, publicity and print materials; Connie Sims, auction items; Kim Long, food; Pam Shaughnessy, finances; Jean Cush, volunteers; and Peggy Green, decoration coordination.

Anyone interested in serving on one of these committees should contact Carol Gates at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, or Randy Tiller at the Catholic Center.

Get your tickets NOW! Seating is limited.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Save the Date: Gala to Honor Msgr. Carson LaCaze

by Randy Tiller

As many of you may know, Msgr. J. Carson LaCaze had an extensive collection of rabbits – yes, rabbits – and although they are not live rabbits, they still seemed to multiply over the years, as rabbits tend to do.

Msgr. LaCaze’s family has donated the collection and several other choice items to the Diocese of Shreveport. The Cathedral of
St. John Berchmans and Catholic Center have joined together and formed committees to plan a “Monsignor LaCaze Memorial Gala.” Who better to kick off the Mardi Gras season than that quintessential Mardi Gras Monsignor?

His love of people, infectious smile, great stories and an all-round friend to all (if he liked you, he kidded you!) makes him the perfect “poster boy” to make this gala both a memorable event, as well as a great source of funding for the Diocesan Priest’s Retirement Fund. As discussed with Msgr. LaCaze’s family, all the proceeds from this event will go to this fund in his honor.

The items have been inventoried and catalogued by the committee. A few of the more special items will be held for a live auction, while the other items will be set up for a silent auction. This will all take place in the Multi-Room at St. John Berchmans Catholic School.

Saturday, February 16, 2019, has been reserved for the event. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Sponsorship tables are encouraged. Individual tickets will be sold in advance at $50 per person. This will include several drink tickets and a very lavish buffet with many of Msgr. LaCaze’s favorite food and spirits.

As we move closer to the date, more information will be posted on websites, bulletins, and The Catholic Connection magazine.

Please mark your calendars and join us in celebrating the life of Msgr. J. Carson LaCaze.

Tickets will be available at the Catholic Center and the Cathedral Office.

Committee Chairs:
Carol Gates and Randy Tiller

Mike’s Meditations: Stop, Be Still and Breathe

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by Mike Van Vranken

In my June article, I explained the difference between reactions and responses. I had no idea how much I would depend on my own words just a couple of months later. Seething with the news of abuse, cover-ups, demands for heads to roll and the like, I became furious that, as a Church, we were not reaching out to victims; asking them to come tell us their stories so we could listen and minister to them. Yes, we began praying for them, and I hope we have communal prayers for them for many years to come. But they are hurting and alone and we were not begging them to come to us so we can say we are sorry; that God loves them; and so do we. We seem to be, like Pilate, washing our hands of any responsibilities here. My training finally kicked in and I took my very deep feelings and emotions to God, rather than to the public. There is a reason why Matthew 11:28 is never translated: “Come to Facebook, all of you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The Pharisees asked Jesus about Moses’ law requiring a woman caught in adultery to be stoned to death. Instead of answering, he bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger (John 8:6). I’m confident he stopped, got quiet, and took his feelings and emotions to his Father in heaven. These people were trying to trick him. He was probably mad, offended and even self-righteous. But, he didn’t defend himself or even the woman right away. He stopped, got quiet, and took it all to God. Only when he heard from his Father could he respond. And, not with a “yes” or a “no.” He replied with words that made them examine themselves.

Another time, in a life or death situation, “the high priest rose and addressed him, ‘Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?’ But he was silent” (Matthew 26:62-63). He could have explained himself, but he waited. He would let his humiliating death and glorious resurrection be his explanation. Again, I’m certain he went to his Father, as he often did, and quietly discussed what was going on within him, and who his Father wanted him to be in this situation. To be a good leader, to be Christ-like, I knew this is also what I needed to do before responding to any of this.

As I took my pain, hurts and brokenness to God, I explained to Him how the Church needed to change so we could minister to the direct victims of this abuse. See, I once knew a priest who victimized young boys; around 25 of them. I am very close to people who were shattered when it was all made public. And their pain is passed on to friends, family, children, grandchildren and more. While I was letting God know what needs to be done, He gently and lovingly spoke to my heart in very specific words: “If you want to change the Church, remember two things: 1) you are the Church, and 2) the only person you can change, with my help, is yourself.” Ouch! This is not what I wanted to hear. But with His patience, and the grace of openness, my blindness was removed to see that it is true. If I want the Church to change, it begins with me.

We wonder how a change in one person can change the entire Church. He reminded me of the time when a whole lot of people were hungry, he took two fish and some bread and fed thousands (Luke 9:10-17). One other time He taught that if we plant good seed in good ground, the seeds would grow into fruit that was as much as 30, 60 and 100 fold (Mark 4:1-20).

A lot of energy has been used pointing fingers and lashing out. May I suggest that we take a very deep breath, be quiet, sit still and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10). Like Jesus did, like St. Ignatius Loyola taught, let’s spend time each and every day taking our feelings, hurts, shame, outrage and all we are experiencing to God. Ask Him where these movements within you are coming from. Are they coming from the enemy who wants us to hurt the Church and our relationship with God? Are they coming from our own inner self who loves to focus on others’ deeds rather than our own. Or, finally, are they coming from God who wants to reverently and lovingly help us change into new men and women in Christ; to be born again each day so we can continue to evolve into the saints He made us to be?

Please, spend 20 minutes a day taking all of this to God asking Him who he wants you to become. If you want to change the Church, remember two things: 1) you are the Church, and 2) the only person you can change, with God’s help, is yourself.

Are People Seeking Your Help?

by Mike Van Vranken

Has anyone asked for your opinion or advice about his or her prayer life? Do people approach you to talk about their relationship with God? Have others sought you to help them with a major decision? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these, God may be calling you to the ministry of spiritual direction. All across our diocese, people are hungry for someone to discuss these matters with. Are you one of those who people seek out? The Archdiocese of New Orleans provides an Internship to help people discern if spiritual direction is a ministry they are being called by God to pursue.

From the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center’s brochure: In spiritual direction, a trained and certified “director walks with the directee in order to deepen awareness of God’s Presence. This desire for intimacy with the Lord creates the situation of spiritual direction. The Internship prepares the Intern to assist the directee discern the presence and movement of God in the life of the directee.

The ASC Internship incorporates a broad reflection on the ministry of spiritual direction within the context of today’s Church. Following the theology and methodology of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Internship prepares the Intern to guide others in on-going spiritual direction and directed retreats.

The honing of skills is part of the formation of a spiritual director; essential formation comes from God’s gifts, the Church’s formation, and the spiritual hunger of the Intern. When God has gifted a person with faith and discernment a training program can help that person recognize, strengthen and purify their gift of discernment.

The two-year Internship closes with a process of individual and group discernment that assists the participants to discern if they are called to the ministry of spiritual direction or to another form of faith ministry. This discernment also considers the areas of Spiritual Direction to which each intern feels called.”

Spiritual Direction Informational Meetings:

Informational meetings with more information about this Internship in Spiritual Direction will be held in our diocese on the following days and times:

Thursday, September 27, 10:00 a.m. & 6:30 p.m.

The Catholic Center • 3500 Fairfield Ave, Shreveport
Thursday, October 11, 6:30 p.m.

St. Paschal Church • 711 North 7th Street, West Monroe
For more information, call or email Mike Van Vranken

318-423-4617, or mikevanvranken@comcast.net

Sock Collection for Prison Ministry

by Mary Morgan

Seeds of caring were planted last year and we all became real life gardeners as we harvested over 1,600 pairs of socks.

In the store of life, Jesus wants people to find the seeds that best suit them so they might live and make the Kingdom grow. His seeds might go wild and even get trampled, but He knows they can open hearts and make hands become loving and helpful toward others.

When the sock drive of 2017 ended, the small gift of a pair of socks had grown into a beautiful surprise for about 1,600 inmates in the Bossier and DeSoto parish facilities, a Christmas gift from the people of the Diocese of Shreveport. The great green thumb of Jesus is planning the Christmas of 2018 event, the 2nd Annual Sock Drive. The seeds are flying already and falling everywhere. If any of them land near your heart’s garden, plant them and let them grow.

All that is needed before December 2018 are men’s white socks (note: women are included and will receive the men’s socks). Help make this collection happen and we will again warm the feet and hearts of those in prison.

For more information contact Mary Morgan at 318-742-3774.

Sock Collection Detail:

Must be men’s white socks, crew or up the calf type only. Please keep them in the original packages. No used socks please.

Delivery will be two weeks before Christmas.

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat: Post-Abortive Healing

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by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship

Rachel mourns for her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more. Thus says the LORD: Cease your cries of mourning, wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward. . . there is hope for your future. (Jeremiah 31:15-17)

The Diocese of Shreveport is glad to announce the reintroduction of Rachel’s Vineyard retreat ministry. Janice Gonzales and her dedicated team of ministers conducted Rachel’s Vineyard retreats in the diocese from 2006 to 2008. Team members today acknowledge that they carry this ministry forward upon the firm, yet grace-filled foundation laid by their predecessors.

Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreats help women and men to heal in the painful aftermath of abortion. Exercises, scripture and ritual, combined with opportunities to share and listen, allow participants to work through emotions of anger, shame, guilt and grief on their journey to finding forgiveness and reconciliation and hope.

Over 60 million abortions have occurred since Roe v. Wade in 1973. Many people have been impacted by abortion, not just the mother and father of the aborted child, but their parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends, even clinic staff. Rachel’s Vineyard retreats give everyone a starting point to begin their healing journey.

The next Rachel’s Vineyard retreat will be October 26-28, 2018. Please call 318 588-1064 for information, or visit the website at www.rachelsvineyard.org.

Absolute confidentiality is maintained by team members and participants prior to, during and following a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. A Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in Spanish will be scheduled in the near future.

St. John Paul II: “I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision… If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. … You can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life.” – Evangelium Vitae, 1999.

World Youth Day and Mission Trip

by Jamie Jett 

I would like to invite you to join a once in a lifetime mission trip sponsored by St. Jude Parish. The mission team will be going to Boquete, Panama to do mission work and Panama City to attend World Youth Day. The team will travel by air to Costa Rica, then by private bus to Boquete, Panama. This is where the team will stay for four days to do mission work. Two days will be spent at a rural orphanage with children ages infant to 18-years-old, painting, playing with the children, cooking and praying. After that, the team will spend two days on the Comarca, where the indigenous Ngobe Indians live and are the poorest people in Panama. The Comarca is two hours away from Boquete, on a beautiful mountain that in contrast has thatched houses. Here the team will paint two small cinderblock buildings, hang shower curtains and provide linens for sleeping areas. These small buildings house 32 to 40 children for the week because they have to walk four hours one way to school, many months in very heavy rain.

During time in Boquete, the team will stay in comfortable accommodations and meals will be provided. Boquete is a beautiful, quaint, small town where many Americans retire. It is a wonderful place to stay while doing mission work. It is quite a contrast to where the team will work. After the mission work is done in Boquete, the team will travel to Panama City for World Youth Day and stay in a hotel close to World Youth Day activities. During these three days, the team will go to the Youth Day Festival, Stations of the Cross, Walking Pilgrimage and Mass with the pope. On return to Costa Rica, the team will attend Mass at a historical Catholic Cathedral and visit the central market.

This mission trip is for high school students age 15 and older and adults. Team size is limited to 16, please make your $500 non-refundable deposit as soon as possible to reserve your spot. Cost for the trip is $2500. If you would like a flyer, please e-mail Brenda Lites at blites@suddenlinkmail.com, or Jamie Jett at jamiejett@pickitforward.com. •

Summer Camps for Teens

Click to download the flyer!

Behind the Scenes of the 2018 Pro-Life Reception

by L’Anne Sciba

March 20, the day of the 2018 Pro-Life Reception benefiting Mary’s House, dawned as a perfect first day of Spring! Decorating the Bossier Civic Center was complete, only Vivian and I were still there when Trisha, Mary’s House Clinic Director, called me to say Abby Johnson was in the Emergency Room in Austin, Texas, and might not make it to Shreveport. I thought Trisha was joking. She was not joking.

I asked Vivian to sit down with me and we prayed remembering that this was an opportunity to trust God.
In the end, Abby was determined to make it to our reception. She was released from the ER and she and her traveling companion, rented a car, drove five-and-a-half hours, making it to the event only 10 minutes late for her presentation.

When I compare what I would have done, it looks like this: Worn out from the stress of passing out in the airport, being transported by ambulance to the ER, going through three hours of medical tests and waiting at the hospital. I would have gone home and said I’m sorry this happened, I can not make it to the event.
Abby did not do that. That action alone, made me think about how I handle difficulty.

What happened in Shreveport was this:
The Reception team made alternative plans in case Abby didn’t make it in time, keeping trust in God, His peace and patience in the forefront of their minds. That evening, some things did not go according to our plans, we made changes as it seemed best.

Abby Johnson showed up. She gave an amazing, inspiring presentation that each one of us can “do something” to end abortion in Shreveport.

What I learned AGAIN was never give up or give in. Always try to do God’s will and trust in Him.
Mary’s House continues to spread that confidence to every young woman who comes to us. Volunteers, donors, the prayer team, churches, doctors and hospital staff who work with us all have the goal of helping young women in unplanned pregnancies.

The 2018 Pro-Life Reception was another way God showed me that He is God and His grace is always with us.

I love this quote from Pierre de Caussade: “Sanctity (holiness) is fulfilling faithfully and accepting lovingly whatever this paternal providence ordains we should do or suffer.”

What an adventure!