Category Archives: Events

Catholic Youth Day Coming March 11!


by Nicky Prevou

Middle school and high school youth and their adult leaders are eagerly looking forward to Saturday, March 11. Catholic Youth Day (CYD) 2017 will be held at St. Paschal Parish, located at 711 North 7th Street in West Monroe.

The schedule will include opportunities for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Reconciliation, dynamic praise and worship experiences, interactive workshops, fellowship and a Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Duca. Hundreds of Catholic youth from  across the diocese are planning to attend the event.

Selah Storm and Nikki Tinnerello, who serve as volunteer youth ministry leaders at St. Paschal Parish, said that they are “thrilled” that their parish will be hosting this year’s fun-filled event.

“We at St. Paschal’s often get together with several of the small area parishes for retreats and other events, so we’re especially excited to have other parishes from other parts of the diocese join us for Catholic Youth Day. We are so happy that we are able to invite everyone to share in the strong foundation of faith that we offer to our Catholic youth,” said Selah.

“It’s always valuable for our young people to gather and share their Catholic faith, to enjoy the camaraderie, the prayerfulness and the excitement of the day,” added Nikki.

Both the youth leaders and their own teenage sons are especially looking forward to hearing this year’s keynote presenter, the internationally recognized Catholic liturgical musician and speaker Jesse Manibusan, whom they have previously seen in concert.

“Jesse will most definitely bring so much to our diocese,” Selah reflected. “He is very high-energy and engaging, but he is also so soulful, tender, and multi-faceted in his ability to share his faith with people of all ages.”

Kevin Prevou, Diocesan Director of  Youth and Young Adult Ministry, said all youth, grades six through 12, and their adult leaders are encouraged to register for the all-day event.

“Our team has been prayerfully preparing for March 11, and we have several hoped-for outcomes, based on the theme for the day, ‘iBelieve’,” said Kevin. “We want our young people to grow in their own sense of Catholic identity and belonging to their Catholic parish and diocesan family. We want them to connect their call to discipleship with the challenge to truly live out their faith, and we are offering an opportunity to grow in their sense of excitement and energy around their relationship with Christ.”

Christian recording artist Dave Fitzgerald will lead participants in praise and worship, and ministry leaders will offer break-out sessions on topics such as “Using Social Networks to Evangelize Others: Do’s and Dont’s”; “Catholic Teachings Every Teen Needs to Know by Heart”; and “Diving Into the Catholic Catechism: Be Not Afraid!”

Other sessions will offer opportunities to make rosaries and to create “Blessing Bags.” Dianne Rachal, diocesan Director of Worship, will lead a session on youth leadership in parishes as lectors, greeters, ushers and altar servers.

Kevin noted that members of the Diocesan Youth Council have helped to prepare the plans for the day, which will include “Interactive Faith Games,” the “My Catholic Faith Contest” and “Stump the Bishop!”

Jean Rains, who serves as the Director of Religious Education for St. John the Baptist Parish in Many, said that participation in CYD is “very important” to the youth of her parish.

“We live in an area that is predominantly non-Catholic,” Jean explained. “Our children find themselves in the position of trying to defend their faith, and that can be uncomfortable. I like for them to see that they are not alone, that they can enjoy learning with other youth of their own faith and develop friendships with kids from other parishes.”

Early registration for CYD 2017 is $30 a person through February 24. Regular registration is $35 per person February 25-March 7, and all registrations after March 7, including at-the-door, are $40. Registration includes entry into all CYD events, breakfast, snacks, lunch and a commemorative t-shirt. For more information or to register, go to and click on the Catholic Youth Day icon, or contact Kevin Prevou at 318-219-7258, or, or Gabby Willis at 318-219-7257, or

Calling Catholics Home

During the 2017 Lenten season, parishes throughout the diocese are taking the opportunity to welcome back those who were “once Catholic” through the program “Calling Catholics Home.” If you are a Catholic who has been away from the Church for a while, this invitation is for you. Our faith community misses you and is incomplete without you. No matter how long you have been away, and for whatever reason, we invite you to consider renewing your relationship with the Catholic Church.

Please join us for informal sessions and an update of the Catholic faith. The sessions are conducted in a support-group format with speakers including local lay people, priests, deacons and Bishop Michael Duca. Everyone is welcome.

Please keep this program in mind while visiting with friends and family who might be fallen away Catholics.

This six week program will take place at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans Parish Hall, located at 939 Jordan Street in Shreveport, on Tuesdays, beginning February 21, 2017, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. For more information, contact Kathy Snelling at 318-423-0112, or go to  •

The Heart of Saint John Berchmans Comes to the Cathedral


Unique Relic Comes to Shreveport in Honor of Saint’s 150th Anniversary of Miracle in Louisiana
by Jessica Rinaudo

On December 8, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans will host a unique and exciting historical and spiritual event when a rare Catholic relic – the literal heart of Saint John Berchmans – makes its way from Belgium to Shreveport. This special event coincides with the 150th anniversary of the apparition and miracle of St. John Berchmans that occurred in Louisiana.

The presence of this relic in our diocese is uniquely special because this is the first time the heart has ever traveled outside of its homeland, modern day Belgium. Accompanied by the pastor of the church where Saint John Berchmans was baptized, the heart will make its way to the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport, the only cathedral in the world named for this saint.

Once it arrives, it will stay at the Cathedral from December 8 – 18, except for one day, December 14, when it will travel to Grand Coteau, Louisiana, the site of the apparition and miracle. During the heart’s stay at the Cathedral, there are scheduled times for veneration and for Mass, as well as a series of events and talks related to the saint and relics that are free and open to the public.

Who was Saint John Berchmans?

John Berchmans was born in 1599 in Diest, which is modern day Belgium.  In 1615, at age 16, John enrolled in a newly opened Jesuit college. There he felt called to join the Society of Jesus despite his father’s wishes to the contrary. In 1616, he entered the Jesuit novitiate.

John was known for his kindness and endearing personality and he wished to become an army chaplain after being ordained and in hopes of being martyred on the battlefield.  He was known for valuing little, ordinary things and for his special devotion to Mary. All those who knew him, and even those who only glimpsed him, called him “the Angel” for his purity and ability to chase away sadness.

After making his first vows in Antwerp, he was sent to Rome to study philosophy. He penned the Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception, which is still prayed today.

In 1621, he succumbed to “Roman fever,” and on August 13, 1621, at the age of 22, he died.

Many stories of miracles have arisen since his death, but the one that led to his canonization took place in Grand Coteau, Louisiana.  At the convent of the Sacred Heart, novice Mary Wilson had fallen gravely ill. She and a group of sisters prayed a novena for healing through the intercession of the recently beatified Blessed John Berchmans. On the ninth and final day of the novena, he appeared to her in her sickness and she was immediately and completely healed.

The Heart of Saint John Berchmans

Relics are an integral part of our rich faith tradition. “The veneration of relics is a communion with the heroes of our Christian faith, asking for their powerful intercession,” said Fr. Peter Mangum, Rector of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans. “Many people have reported outstanding blessings and conversions through this ministry, and many have reported healings.”

“The earliest of churches were built over cemeteries because that’s where the body was,” he continued. “These are the people without whom the faith would not be passed down to the next generation. Even to this day, a little tiny relic is placed into each altar where we place the Body and Blood of Christ. We no longer build churches over cemeteries, so in a sense we bring the cemetery, or we bring part of the relic to the church,” he added.

“Relics are important,” Fr. Mangum continued, “and the relics we normally see are just little fragments of clothing, a habit or something of the saint, even a part of the body. And for us in the United States, we may see a fragment of the bone, almost the size of a splinter. In other areas of the world, especially if a saint is from there, you’ll see perhaps an entire bone intact.”

Why his heart was saved after his death is a subject of curiosity for some, but something that is easily explained. Before Berchmans died, he was already well known for his spirituality and sanctity. Fr. Mangum likened him to modern day Mother Teresa. People knew they were seeing a living, walking saint. People would go to Mass to see him serve.

At the time of John’s death, there was a postmortem examination and his heart was noted to be in good condition.

“He died in the city of Rome in 1621. They couldn’t take his body and cross the Alps, and go all the way back to his home in now modern day northern Belgium,” said Fr. Mangum.  “One of the Flemish Jesuit priests was returning to his homeland and that’s when the decision was made to take his heart. And as he went home – a two and a half months’ journey – the priest stayed at Jesuit houses along the way and the other Jesuits venerated Berchmans’ heart, on bended knee.”

Since that time the heart, under attentive and proper care, has remained relatively incorrupt and now resides in a beautiful reliquary that has remained in Belgium.

The Saint’s Heart in Shreveport
This extraordinary event is garnering a lot of excitement and anticipation. The Cathedral has been contacted by Jesuit groups across the south, and has already scheduled groups to see the planned exhibit on Saint John Berchmans, which will be displayed in the parish hall, as well as have the opportunity to venerate the heart.

The exhibit will include documents from the original canonization process. They haven’t been opened since the late 1800’s, but will be brought to the Diocese of Shreveport by the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ chief archivist, Emilie Leumas.

There will also be extra parish Masses in the evenings and on Saturday morning in addition to their regularly scheduled ones, during which the heart will be present and parishioners and pilgrims alike will have the opportunity to come forward, as individuals or as a family, to venerate the heart and honor the saint, praising the holiness of God.

Of particular note, Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, an American who lives at the Vatican, will be on hand for a public talk and Mass. Fr. Carlos Martins, of Treasures of the Church, will bring relics of many other saints and will speak of the importance of relics. Comic strip artist Andrew Thomas, who has drawn the life story of St. John Berchmans, will offer a public talk and will also speak with the nearly 700 students of Loyola and St. John Berchmans Cathedral School.

“Thomas will evangelize the youth by means of art,” said Fr. Mangum. “They’re looking at this scene, they’re hearing about his life.  He’s going to teach and encourage the people to follow the example and the virtues of this young saint.”

St. John Berchmans was once a well-known and beloved saint – one of only 21 that Pope Leo XIII canonized during his long papacy. But with time and the canonization of more saints, the knowledge of John and his sanctity has faded. Fr. Mangum hopes that bringing this relic to the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans will shine light on him once again.

“My hope is that people will come to know, yet again, about him … appreciate him, his life, his times and have a greater personal devotion and want to follow his example of obedience, chastity, his love of Mary and the Blessed Sacrament, doing all things, even the smallest of things, very, very well. If you’re asked to do something, then do it and put your whole heart into it,” said Fr. Mangum.

The schedule of events, including Masses, speakers and veneration times, is available at Individuals are welcome to all events, but groups should call the Cathedral’s office at 318-221-5296 before coming.


Calendar of Events:

The heart will be present at all scheduled parish Masses, as
well as additional evening and weekend Masses. For a full
schedule of Masses, Chaplets of the Immaculate Conception, veneration times and speaking events, visit

Thursday, December 8
Immaculate Conception

  • Heart Arrives
  • Parish Masses with Heart present at 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (with Bishop Duca).

Sunday, December 11
Gaudete Sunday

  • Dr. Cheryl White, “Theology of Relics,” 9:15 a.m. & 6:30 p.m.
  • Procession with Heart after 11:00 a.m. Mass
  • Traditional Latin Mass, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 14
150th Anniversary of Apparition and Miracle

  • Heart in Grand Coteau, LA

Thursday, December 15

  • Heart Returns to Shreveport
  • Mass with Bishop Duca, 5:00 p.m.
  • Andrew Thomas, “New Evangelization Using Comics to Spread the Gospel Messages to Our Youth,” 6:30 p.m.

Friday, December 16

  • Fr. Carlos Martins, “Exposition of Sacred Relics,” 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 17

  • Fr. Carlos Martins, “Exposition of Sacred Relics,” 9:00 a.m.
  • Emilie Leumas, “Presentation and Exhibition of Archival Material from SJB Canonization Proceedings,” 10:00 a.m.
  • Fr. Peter Mangum, “The Heart of St. John Berchmans,” 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, December 18
Fourth Sunday of Advent

  • Heart’s Last Day at Cathedral Mass, 8:00 a.m.
  • Mass with Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, 11:00 a.m.
  • Final Veneration until 2:30 p.m.

Fidel Mondragón to be Ordained to Transitional Diaconate


On December 10, 2016, seminarian Fidel Mondragón will be ordained to the transitional diaconate, one of the final steps a seminarian takes before being ordained a priest. After this ordination, he will serve as a deacon until his priestly ordination in 2017.

A native of Mexico, Fidel has been a welcome addition to our seminarian pool, especially as the Diocese of Shreveport experiences a rise in our number of Hispanic Catholics. Meeting their needs is key to helping them sustain their Catholic faith.

Raised the son of a farming family in Mexico, Fidel’s parents put great stock in their family’s Catholic faith, saying the Rosary together every night. Just making it to Mass was difficult for the family who owned no car, so together they would make the one hour trek to the nearest church, either on horse or on foot. Fidel would sit on the floor of the church, directly in front of the priest with the other children.

“Since I was a little child, I felt I wanted to be a priest, since I was 11 or 12 years old, before I finished my elementary school,” said Fidel. “When I went to Mass with my mom, I saw the priest celebrating the Mass and I said, ‘When I grow up and get older, I want to be a priest.’”

Fidel’s path to the priesthood has been a long and winding one. When he first approached the seminary at age 17, he realized he wasn’t prepared to leave home or his father’s farm yet. A year later he moved to the United States with his brother, where he worked in the Dallas area for nine years. At one point, Fidel thought his vocation might be to marriage and family, but after a retreat with the Piarist Fathers, he applied to pursue priesthood through their religious order and was accepted. Over the next two years, Fidel attended seminary in Miami, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
The Piarist Fathers primarily worked in the classrooms teaching, a worthy vocation, but not one that spoke to Fidel. “When I was in the classrooms, I wanted to be a diocesan seminarian. I talked to my spiritual director… I said, Father, it is very good the work that you do, that you all do, but I want to be a diocesan priest.”

Despite wanting to return to his home diocese in Mexico, a priest from the Diocese of Dallas convinced Fidel that priests were needed in the United States to assist the growing Catholic Mexican population.

“Don’t be in the place that you want to be,” the priest told him, “You be in the place that the people need you.” The Diocese of Dallas supported Fidel for four years while he attended seminary in Mexico. After completing his fourth year, Dallas made many changes in their vocational program and decided to no longer support seminarians in other countries.

With the help of the seminary rector in Mexico, Fidel began to seek another diocese to join. They looked at several dioceses, but Fidel knew Fr. Rogelio Alcantara who teaches at the seminary and often visits the Diocese of Shreveport. Fr. Rogelio made introductions for Fidel with the Diocese of Shreveport. Vocations Director Fr. Matthew Long traveled to visit the seminary in Mexico to meet Fidel. Together, and with permission from Bishop Duca, they agreed that Fidel would become a seminarian for the Diocese of Shreveport.

by Jessica Rinaudo

Relic from St. John Berchmans Coming to Cathedral

We invite you to celebrate a holy and monumental occasion, the 150th Anniversary of the Apparition and Miracle of St. John Berchmans.

On December 7, the holy heart of St. John Berchmans will make its journey from Belgium to Shreveport, Louisiana. In the 12 days that follow, we will celebrate with pilgrims from all over the world the life of this pure and holy saint.

To commemorate this event, join us December 8 – 18 for liturgies, guest speakers, opportunities for veneration, exhibit of relics and memorabilia and much more!

Look for more on this glorious event in our next issue, and visit:

Blessing of the Graves in the Diocese of Shreveport

The Church seeks to help the faithful departed, especially those souls in purgatory, by earnest prayer to God.  We collectively remember our faithful departed on All Souls Day and throughout the month of November.  In the communion of Christ’s members with one another, the Church obtains spiritual help for those who have preceded us in faith.  This spiritual communion brings the consolation of hope to those of us who pray for our dearly departed with gratitude, love and devotion. Our belief in Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the reason we commemorate our faithful departed on All Souls Day and bless their graves.  We entrust them to the purifying, merciful love of the One Eternal God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Our priests and deacons will offer prayers at our local cemeteries on the weekends closest to All Souls Day on the following dates:

Saturday, October 29, 2016
Forest Park Cemetery West
Shreveport    1:00 pm
Rev. Joseph Kallookalam, Deacon Jeff Chapman, Deacon Daniel Lemoine, Deacon Homer Tucker

Lincoln Park Cemetery
Shreveport    1:00 pm
Rev. John Paul Crispin, Deacon Clary Nash, Deacon Bill Roche

Round Grove Cemetery
Shreveport    1:00 pm
Rev. Jean Bosco Uwamungu, Deacon Charles Thomas

Sunday, October 30, 2016
Rose-Neath Cemetery
Bossier City    2:00 pm
Rev. Jerry Daigle, Jr., Deacon Freeman Ligon, Deacon Larry Mills

Forest Park Cemetery East
Shreveport    2:00 pm
Rev. Charles Glorioso, Deacon Steve Lehr, Deacon Mike Wise, Deacon Daniel Lemoine

Mansfield Cemetery, Highland Cemetery, Allen Cemetery
Mansfield    after 11:00 a.m. Mass
Rev. Matthew Long

Monday, October 31, 2016
St. Mary Cemetery
Rambin        after 6:00 p.m. Mass
Rev. Matthew Long

Thursday, November 1, 2016
Catholic Cemetery at St. Lucy
Hodge           after 6:00 p.m. Mass
Rev. Pat Madden

St. Ann Cemetery
Stonewall        5:15 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
Rev. Matthew Long
Thursday, November 2, 2016
St. Paschal Cemetery
West Monroe       8:45 a.m.
Rev. Frank Coens

St. Catherine Cemetery
Noble          9:00 a.m.
Rev. Tim Hurd, Rev. Richard Norsworthy

St. Ann Cemetery
Ebarb         10:00 a.m.
Rev. Tim Hurd, Rev. Richard Norsworthy

San Miguel Cemetery
Zwolle          11:00 a.m.
Rev. Tim Hurd, Rev. Richard Norsworthy

Saturday, November 5, 2016
Hillcrest Cemetery
Haughton    1:00 pm
Rev. Karl Daigle, Deacon Larry Mills, Deacon Ricardo Rivera, Deacon Michael Straub

Centuries Memorial Cemetery
Shreveport    1:00 pm
Rev. Francis Kamau, FMH, Deacon Mike Whitehead

Sunday, November 6, 2016
St. Joseph Cemetery
Shreveport    2:00 pm
Msgr. Earl Provenza, Deacon John Basco, Deacon Jorge Martinez

Carver Cemetery
Shreveport    2:00 pm
Rev. John Paul Crispin, FMH, Deacon Jack Lynch

Veteran Cemetery of Northwest LA
Keithville    2:00 pm
Deacon Bruce Pistorius

Growing Confident Catholics

by Shelly Bole

Are you a parent who is constantly trying to keep up with the family schedule?  Is it hard for you to find time to pray, let alone as a family?  Do you want your family to become a little more holy?

The Church knows the struggles that families face and they know the crazy questions like: “Were there dinosaurs on the ark?” and “Does God take naps?” And then there are those questions from teenagers and adults, “Why does the Church/Bible say sex should be saved for marriage?” “Why do I have to honor my father and mother?”

In response to requests received during the Into the Deep parish visits, the Office of Catechesis is sponsoring a series of seminars for catechists, parents and other inquiring adults.  In Growing Confident Catholics, we will help parents, grandparents and catechists find these answers.

The second part of this series is the Forming Families of Faith webinars.  In this two part webinar, parents, grandparents and catechists will discover the beauty of the Domestic Church along with concrete applicable tools for helping families know Jesus and grow in holiness.

Please join us Tuesdays, October 18 and 25 at 8:30 p.m. for the Forming Families of Faith online webinars.  Special guests include Pat and Lisha Harrington and Roxanne and Matthew Chumley.
Please register online at or call 318-219-7266.  •

Catholic Charities Presents “Bingo on the Bayou”

by Lucy Medvec

Get ready to yell “Bingo!” in support of Catholic Charities of North Louisiana!  “Bingo on the Bayou” will be held on Saturday, October 29, at 601 Spring Street in downtown Shreveport.  This inaugural fundraising event will feature delicious catering from Silver Star Smokehouse, complimentary beer sampling from Great Raft Brewing and Eagle Distributing of Shreveport, and a limited silent auction featuring Louisiana-themed items.

Local priests will serve as bingo callers for the event with prizes of gift certificates to upscale local restaurants.  The bingo callers are: Bishop Michael G. Duca, Msgr. Carson LaCaze (Cathedral of St. John Berchmans), Fr. Matthew Long (St. Joseph, Mansfield/St. Ann), Fr. Rothell Price (Vicar General), Msgr. Earl Provenza (Holy Trinity), Fr. Mike Thang’wa (St. John the Baptist/St. Terence) and Fr. Pike Thomas (St. Jude).

All proceeds from “Bingo on the Bayou” will benefit the programs of Catholic Charities of North Louisiana, including financial education, emergency assistance, healthy eating classes, parenting programs and assistance for low-income mothers and immigration services.

Individual tickets are $50 each with table sponsor levels of $750, $1000, and $1500.  Dress is casual and the event is open to guests 21 years and older.

Auction items include: Four New Orleans Saints tickets (December 4th vs. Detroit Lions), LSU tickets, a Louisiana state flag flown over the state capitol, artwork from local Louisiana artists, autographed books from George Rodrigue and much more!

Faustina Live Production Coming to Catholic Center

Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy, the moving, live production performed by actress Maria Vargo and directed by Leonardo Defilippis of Saint Luke Productions, will be presented at the Catholic Center Holoubek Theater in Shreveport on Wednesday, October 26th at 7:00 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Diocese of Shreveport.

Experience firsthand the life and message of St. Faustina whose personal encounters with Jesus have inspired a world-wide devotion to Christ’s Divine Mercy. This drama also brings audiences a riveting modern story that makes Divine Mercy remarkably relevant and urgent for our world today.

The program is filled with all the elements of professional theater, runs 90 minutes and is suitable for ages 13 and up. Admission is $5.

Information at-a-Glance:

Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 – 7:00 p.m.

Catholic Center – Holoubek Theater
3500 Fairfield Ave, Shreveport, LA 71104

Admission: $5.00 (purchase tickets in advance) – Suitable for Ages 13 & Up

Tickets & Information:
Contact the Diocese of Shreveport
(318) 868-4441 or email

Sponsored by: The Diocese of Shreveport

St. Vincent de Paul’s Friends of the Poor Walk

• The FOP® Walk/Run began in 2008 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, one of the oldest and most effective charitable organizations in the world.

• Funds raised are applied to a wide range of assistance for the needy and those living in poverty, including: housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the elderly and medicine.

• Each community’s Walk is organized and run by its own SVdP Conference or Council.

• Last year, our local Shreveport-Bossier Walk raised over $2,300 which was used to help those in need in Shreveport/Bossier City. Since the Walk began in 2008, more than $14 million has been raised.

• Walkers are encouraged to make a personal monetary donation and collect pledges from supporters.

• The website ( offers more details, including all of the participating Walk locations that are currently registered across the United States.

Date: September 24, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Walk Location: Arthur Ray Teague Parkway (Bossier City) – Main pavilion right next to the boat launch, just south of the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge.

Contact Brian Burgess
Phone: 318-746-1299
Mobile: 318-780-7755