Category Archives: Events

April 28th: Divine Mercy Sunday

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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.

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

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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

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is now reaching its 17th birthday. It has been amended over time with references to include the protection of vulnerable adults, and the issue of child pornography, but there are more changes to come. The USCCB is currently addressing opportunities to include issues of transparency with diocesan records, the handling of sex abuse in relation to bishops and other issues the charter needs to address. Even with all the sexual abuse reports in the media that have been transpiring over the last 12 months, there still shows a decreasing trend of abuse within the Church today. The Diocese of Shreveport and all dioceses throughout the country continue to be diligent with their safe environment programs which include training and background checks. The power of this program lies in the hands of the faithful. This educational program provides the faithful with the information they need to recognize and act if there is an issue of abuse. More than 8,000 adults have been trained in the Diocese of Shreveport, and we continue to train more adults throughout the year. Please continue to pray for the Church in these difficult times and also pray in thanksgiving for the strides made in keeping children and youth safe.

Shreveport-Bossier Pro-Life Oratory Contest

The National Right to Life is sponsoring its annual Pro-Life Oratory Contest. The competition is open to all high school juniors and seniors, who will address the issues of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, or embryonic stem cell research in five to seven minute oral presentations.

The Shreveport-Bossier contest, now in its 31st year, is sponsored locally by the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport and will be held on Thursday, April 25, at 6:00 p.m. at the Catholic Center, 3500 Fairfield Ave., Shreveport. The contest is open to the public at no charge. The local first place prize is $500. The winner will represent Shreveport at the state contest.

The state contest will be held in Baton Rouge this year, on May 4 at the Louisiana Knights of Columbus Convention. The state winner will receive $500 cash, plus expenses paid (up to $1,000) to go to Nationals.
All high school juniors and seniors are eligible, there may be more than one student entered from each school.

For additional information and entry blanks, please contact Anthony Fabio, 1908 Carol Street, Bossier City, LA 71112, awfabio2@hotmail.com, or 318-402-6663.
Or visit:  www.facebook.com/SBProLifeOratoryCommittee/

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.