Category Archives: Events

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.

Second Collection: Peter’s Pence

 Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General

Bulletin Announcement Dates:  June 16 & 17
Collection Dates:  June 23 & 24

The Peter’s Pence Collection is rooted in an ancient custom of enlisting the aid of the Christian faithful for spiritual needs. In the ninth century King Alfred the Great collected money – a “pence” – from landowners as financial support for the pope. Today, the Peter’s Pence Collection forms the financial foundation of the pope’s philanthropy by giving the Holy Father the appropriate and necessary resources to provide emergency assistance to those in need because of natural disaster, war, oppression and disease.

“Let us make sure that none of God’s children ever feels alone.”  In September of 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave this exhortation in a homily in which he explained that those who are baptized create one family of believers who are never alone. Blessed John Paul II constantly encouraged, exhorted and consoled us with the biblical exhortation, “Do not be afraid.”  Christ the Lord is with us.  We are present to one another through our union with him. The Holy Spirit makes us one in Christ. The Spirit is the bond of unity/solidarity among all believers. The Peter’s Pence Collection unites us in solidarity to the Holy See and its works of charity to those in need. Your generosity allows the pope to respond to our suffering brothers and sisters with promptness, love and compassion, so God’s people will not feel alone in their time of misfortune.

Our universal pastor, the pope, is asked by so many of God’s children around the world to help them. Leaders of nations turn to the universal pastor to assist them in attending to their citizens in times of national and regional calamity.  Our participation in the Peter’s Pence Collection makes it possible for us to help the Holy Father help others. The Church can always rejoice in its efforts to bring the comfort and presence of Christ to those in need. All that our Holy Father does, he does in the name of each and every member of the Church. It is marvelous and humbling that all the assistance he gives, we are giving because of our participation in the collection.

“The faithful’s offerings to the Holy Father are destined to Church needs, to humanitarian initiatives and social promotion projects, as well as to support of the Holy See.  The pope, being pastor of the whole Church, is attentive to the material needs of poor dioceses, religious institutes and of the faithful in grave difficulties (the poor, children, the elderly, those marginalized and the victims of war or natural disasters; concrete aid to bishops or dioceses in need, Catholic education, assistance to refugees and immigrants, etc.)” – www.vatican.va

The Peter’s Pence Collection has raised nearly $190 million to support our suffering brothers and sisters around the globe.  THANK YOU for standing in solidarity with the Holy See with your generosity.

Three Brothers of the Lyke Community to Profess Vows

by Fr. Francis Kamau, FMH

On Friday, June 1, Brothers Paul Mutisya, Moses Mabele and Geoffrey Muga will have their Solemn Profession of Vows as Franciscan Missionaries of Hope at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Shreveport at 5:00 p.m. The following day, Saturday, June 2, Brother Geoffrey Muga will be ordained a transitional deacon by Bishop Michael G. Duca at St. Mary of the Pines Church in Shreveport at 10:00 a.m.
The Lyke Community is a Catholic congregation of priests and brothers inspired by the Holy Spirit to live together and observe the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ following the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi in witnessing to the life of poverty, chastity and obedience while committing to the mission and ministry of hope to God’s people.

The Lyke Community began in Nairobi, Kenya in September 1993 by young men who had undergone their initial formation in the Order of Friars Minor: Fr. Francis Kamau (who currently serves as pastor of St. Mary of the Pines Church in Shreveport), Fr. John Basiimwa, Fr. Nicholas Onyach and Fr. Jogues Abenawe. Fr. Andre McGrath, OFM,  at that time the Rector of Tangaza College in Nairobi, played a major role in the community’s foundation and  is considered a co-founder and sponsor of the congregation. Fr. Andre now serves as pastor of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Shreveport.

Since their foundation, the religious brothers have called themselves “The Lyke Community” in honor of the the late Archbishop James Patterson Lyke, the Archbishop of Atlanta, because he had visited the brothers and encouraged them before their foundation.

Brother Moses Mabele is a native of Kenya and currently finishing his theological studies at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

Brother Paul Mutisya is a native of Kenya and in his second year of theology at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

Brother Geoffrey Muga is a native of Kenya and currently finishing his Masters of Divinity at Washington Theological Union in Washington D.C.

Please join these men on June 1 and 2 as they continue down the paths of their religious vocations.

Second Collection: Diocese of Shreveport Retired Priests Fund

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by Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General

Bulletin Announcement Dates:  May 6th & 13th
Collection Dates: May 19th & 20th

Perhaps you are familiar with the picture of the old man giving thanks over his meal. There is a similar picture of an old woman doing the same.  Sometimes those two images are brought together in one frame. Several things capture us in that painting: the hands and devotion of that woman and man certainly speak to our hearts. In their hands that have aged with time and duties, we see grace and a mysterious strength.  In their bowed heads and serene faces, we behold devotion, thankfulness, wisdom and trust.  Such are the hands and faces of the retired priests of our diocese. Whenever we are around them we are drawn to them and their aged hands and kindly faces. The grace and strength of many years of priestly ministry are manifested in their inspiring hands and their faces speak to our hearts.  Whether it’s at a special occasion Mass, a small intimate supper, or some other gathering, we are mesmerized by old, grace-filled hands and mysteriously calm faces. They have served the Lord and us well, and they continue to do so with the strength that only a long union with God can provide when the body is tired, the mind is not quite so focused, and limitation hampers their every intention.  Please give generously to the Diocese of Shreveport Retired Priests Fund.

Let’s lovingly recall those old hands and faces, shall we?  Bishop William Friend, Msgr. Murray Clayton, Msgr. Franz Graef, Fr. Walter Ebarb, Fr. John Kennedy, Fr. Roger McMullen, Msgr. Edmund Moore, Fr. Joseph Puthuppally, Fr. Patrick Scully and Fr. Kenneth Williams. These are the lives, hands and faces behind your generosity to this collection. These men are the human incarnations in our midst of the gratitude you show to God through your heartfelt giving. And let’s not forget those other old grace-filled hands of priests who are past retirement age but who continue to spend themselves for the Lord and his people: Msgr. Carson LaCaze, Fr. Richard Lombard, Fr. Larry Niehoff and Msgr. Earl Provenza.  For their strength, comfort and tranquility in their old age, please give generously to the Diocese of Shreveport Retired Priests Collection.  Your kindness will brighten their days and carry them the whole year through.

I hope you have turned in your Operation Rice Bowls which further the work of Catholic Relief Services, and I thank you for participating in that great Lenten devotion. Thank you also for your participation in the Pontifical Good Friday Holy Land Collection, the Diocese of Shreveport Church Vocations Collection and the Home Mission Appeal Collection.  May the peace of the Risen Christ make you glad, alleluia!

Second Collections for April

Seminarians Keith Garvin and John Bosco are supported through the Diocese of Shreveport Church Vocations Collection.

by Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General

Good Friday Holy Land Collection
(Announcement: March 25 & April 1. Collection: April 6)
Each year Catholics are invited to support Christians in the Holy Land by participating in the pontifical Good Friday Collection. This collection offers us a direct opportunity to connect with and support Christians in the Holy Land, be witnesses of peace and to help preserve the Holy Places.

Franciscans and others in the Holy Land are housing and feeding the poor, providing information and education, maintaining shrines and parishes and conducting pastoral ministry, just as Jesus did. Support Christianity in the Holy Land. Please give generously to the pontifical Good Friday, Holy Land Collection as urged by the Holy Father.

Diocese of Shreveport Church Vocations Collection
(Announcement: March 25 & April 1. Collection: April 7 & 8)
God the Father started with two; now there are billions of human beings created in His image and likeness. Jesus chose 12; now there are millions of followers of Christ. The twelve laid hands on some; now there are tens of thousands of bishops, priests and deacons. The successors of the twelve accepted the vows of some; and now there are some tens of thousands of consecrated sisters, brothers, deacons and priests. The Lord has a proven track record of doing a lot with so little.

This is our collection. This is our moment to shine and support vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life for the Diocese of Shreveport. With your gift, we educate and spiritually form men for priestly and diaconal ministry in the Church and women and men for consecrated life.

Please join your sacrificial generosity to the dedicated and persistent efforts of Fr. David Richter, Director of Church Vocations for our diocese. Your financial support is a significant part of his nurturing vocations that are watered, fertilized and brought to harvest. Please view the vocations poster in your parish and see the faces of our men in formation to become priests of God. Know there are many faces not on the poster who are being courted and cultivated for ordained ministry and consecrated life.

Home Mission Appeal
(Announcement: April 15 & 22 Collection: April 28 & 29)
The Catholic Home Missions Appeal strengthens the Catholic Church in the U.S. and its territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific where resources are thin and priests are few. This collection reaches out to those Catholics and un-churched souls in impoverished zones of our nation, especially rural locations. Your generous sacrifice makes it possible to bring the light of Christ, the Catholic faith, to those who do not have easy access to it. Through this collection, you and I are Christ who went to all the neighboring towns and villages to announce the Good News.

The further away from town one gets, the fewer the resources and limited availability of priests. Through your participation in this collection, assistance is given to 87 dioceses. The Home Mission Appeal funds a wide range of pastoral services, including evangelization, religious education, mission parishes, training of seminarians and lay ministers, and ministry with ethnic groups.
Our mission diocese is one of the recipients of a large grant from the Home Mission Appeal. Please give generously and know that your generosity will be returned to us in a very tangible and sizeable manner so that we can continue to do the work of Christ and build the city of God.

Diocesan Wide Youth Rally Coming to Ruston in April

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by John Vining, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry

The Diocese of Shreveport is gearing up for its annual Youth Rally. This year the rally is headed back east and will take place at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. This year’s event is chocked full of great speakers, breakout sessions and music. Here are the basics:

Who is coming?  Steve Angrisano!
Our diocese is extremely privileged to have a talent sof Steve’s caliber to minister to us this April. Passionate about youth, passionate about the message of Christ, passionate about ministry, Steve will bring inspiring messages to North Louisiana.

What will we learn and discuss?
Priests, religious men and women and the lay faithful will present topics on beliefs and practices, the faith community, scripture, pro-life and emotions from a Catholic perspective.

Where is this taking place? Louisiana Tech University
The Student center offers a large meeting space. Registrations take place at Tolliver Hall across from it, but I encourage you to pre-register with the diocese and purchase your t-shirt today! The cost is only $10 a person.

When? Saturday April 14 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Breakfast will be provided during registration from 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Java City will be open if students and adults would like to purchase coffee.

What is the food like? Excellent!
During lunch the student center will open up Burger Studio, Montague’s Deli, and even Chick Fil-A. Prices are very reasonable.

Why go?
Your diocese has a passion for every person in North Louisiana and beyond. We earnestly endeavor to share the love of Christ with everyone we meet because we know Christ changes people! He heals, he provides, he nurtures people’s lives. Not only do we have a spectacular group of breakout session leaders, we also have a group of adults expressing their love for you as they devote their time. You will be encouraged, uplifted, prayed for and have your Catholic faith strengthened.

Please join our speakers, priests and a host of faith-filled youth coming together in Christ’s name the Saturday after Easter in Ruston. We have something wonderful to share: the Love of Christ!