Category Archives: Columns

Vocations View: Where Will Our Future Priests Come From?

by Nicholas Duncan, Diocese of Shreveport Seminarian

Great News! The Diocese of Shreveport has more seminarians studying in a major seminary than it ever has. There are five of us enrolled at Notre Dame Seminary, which is bursting at the seams with 141 students – a number that has doubled over the last five years. This reflects a national trend of growth. Now for the Bad News: in the last 25 years we have rarely had more than one or two seminarians, with long gaps between priestly ordinations. So even though our numbers are up, we still need more men to serve the people in our diocese.

You might be wondering where the men are going to come from to answer the call. Most people assume the bulk of seminarians come from our Catholic schools and universities, but this is not where the recent bump has come from. Instead, young Catholic men have heard God’s call at secular, public universities like Georgia Tech, Texas A&M and even our own Louisiana Tech and ULM. But not all public universities are sending their graduates off to seminary, only the ones with active Catholic centers that promote vocational awareness.

Georgia Tech, for example, sends four to five men to seminary annually. How is it that a public university in downtown Atlanta, in the middle of the Bible Belt, turns out so many seminarians? These young men aren’t just showing up there already thinking about going to seminary. What if every university produced seminarians the way Georgia Tech does? We wouldn’t be talking about a priest shortage any more, the problem would be solved.
What secret do these schools have? What strategies have their dioceses implemented? How much did they cost? Which expert consultants have they brought in to develop a culture of vocations?  Well from my research, I have come to a rather simple conclusion: They just ask them! That’s it! In our pragmatic society, college students are constantly questioned about what their major is and their plans for after graduation. When they were children, they were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. They were told to be doctors, lawyers, engineers; but when a priest at their campus Catholic center asks them if they have ever thought about being a priest, they typically laugh and say, “Me? A priest?!”

In our culture young men are never confronted with the possibility of being a priest. It seems unrealistic, unattainable. But discernment (thinking about) one’s vocation in life to become a diocesan priest, a religious brother or sister (monk or nun), or living life under the sacrament of matrimony is of primary importance to who we are. Our vocational occupation (teacher, doctor, nurse, lawyer…) is of secondary importance, despite society’s attempts to place one’s success in their career above faith and family. When the process of discernment is taken seriously and students are encouraged to attend retreats and discernment groups about one’s vocation in life, the results are more men entering seminary, more women entering religious communities, and marriages that are fruitful and lasting.

So, we have to ask ourselves, “What are we doing in our own churches, schools and universities to foster vocations? What are we doing in our homes, which are the most important places of learning, the first place children hear the Gospel proclaimed by their parents?”

Vocations are not only to the priesthood, but also to often overlooked religious communities of monks and nuns, and the holy sacrament of marriage. Everyone is called to a vocation as a way of sanctifying our fallen natures, in order to be sanctified.

“For God has not called us to impurity, but to holiness.” (1 Thess 4:7.)

Second Collections: Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Collection Dates: November 18th & 19th    
Announcement Dates: November 5th & 12th

First, I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because your faith is heralded throughout the world.”  These words of Saint Paul in his Letter to the Romans express my feelings about you, the Christian faithful of the Diocese of Shreveport.  You have been moved with pity at the plight of so many people throughout the Caribbean, in Texas and southwest Louisiana, Florida, and Mexico, as our brothers and sisters in Christ have been so terribly affected by hurricanes, flooding, and earthquakes.  Your compassion was the catalyst that moved you to do something, by way of our emergency second collections.  You not only felt compassion, but you went where the Holy Spirit moves all people of good will: you showed compassion.  So I thank you for responding with both prayers and actions.

Thank you for contributing to the emergency collection for Hurricane Harvey, and then again for Hurricane Irma. The bishops of our country will see to it that your gift to the Lord and His people in need gets to them in the most effective way.  May our Good Lord greatly bless you for this tremendous outpouring of spiritual and corporal mercy.

“Working on the Margins” is the theme for this year’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection.  Jesus told the parable of those servants sent out into the highways and byways to invite people into the wedding feast. Now in our own day, the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis, summons us to those same peripheries.  You very recently went to those highways and byways, those peripheries by your contributions to two emergency collections.
So I am again pleased to present to you our second collection for the month of November, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Through this “campaign” the Bishops of the United States work to permanently change the lives of people for the better.  This particular campaign is not emergency relief to a crisis movement. This is the bishops’ of the United States long-term goal to eradicate poverty and its root causes here at home in our country.  Through this campaign our chief shepherds fund grants that allow work to be done locally to bring about lasting and systemic change where it counts the most. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is our unified effort to end poverty right here at home.  Your contribution to the campaign is a way out, not a hand out.

We remember this month in our liturgical cycle the many Saints of God along with our Faithful Departed. At the time of their funeral, we often make a commitment to be faithful to the legacy of our dearly departed loved ones. Sustain their legacy of compassion in action by contribute to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development collection, so that we can work in union with Pope Francis and our bishops. Following their example we are Working on the Margins where our Savior also worked.

Again, I thank you in advance for your generous participation in the second collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Your donation is essential to breaking the cycle of poverty.  Give from your heart to the CCHD collection.  Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Illustrating the Faith: Crucifixes in the Diocese of Shreveport

by Linda Webster

This is the first article in a new series that will explore works of faithful art on display in churches across the Diocese of Shreveport.

Giunta crucifix in St. Michael the Archangel Chapel at the Cathedral

The crucifix defines a Catholic Church visually. We expect to see some representation of Christ crucified near the altar because it is an artistic element illustrating that fundamental part of our faith rooted in sacrifice. But there are as many ways to represent this sacrifice as there are artists. There is a full spectrum of artistic examples across the Diocese of Shreveport.

A 13th century Giunta crucifix is on display in St. Michael the Archangel Chapel at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans. According to Fr. Peter Magnum and Carol Gates, the cross was stolen from a church during the 16th century Greco-Turkish wars. It was discovered in Istanbul early in the 20th century and sold at auction in New York to Mr. and Mrs. George Haddad of Shreveport after a failed attempt to return it to the original church.
“It hung at the back of the choir loft from 1928 until the chapel was completed in 1995,” explained Fr. Magnum. “It was really too small for the space and difficult to see until it was moved.”

This is one of only four Giunta crucifixes in the world and the only one in the United States. The artist, Giunta Pisano who was thought to be active from around 1200-1250, is known for depicting Christ in agony on these crucifixes which was an artistic departure from the earlier, more serene Byzantine representations of his death. Blood gushes from the wound in his side, from his hands, and from his feet while his head is slumped to the side and his mouth hangs open in a style described by some as barbarous.By contrast, the cross itself is decorated with elaborate gilded plaster fretwork. Symbols of Saints John, Mark, Luke and Matthew adorn the four corners of the cross providing a startling contrast between Christs’ agony and the glorious gift of salvation endowed through that suffering.

Paul Chambers describes how the faithful process images to get at the truth or theological elements behind the artistry in his article “The Power of Passion Imagery.” “There is the danger that Christianity’s discomforting and ‘distasteful’ elements be falsely prettified for an era characterized by a lack of depth,” he notes in reference to contemporary art. He explains that the earliest depictions of Christ’s passion, which showed stark images of venal human expression in contrast to Christ’s holy visage, seemed to arise in the thirteenth century, inspired by Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Francis of Assisi. This would encompass the era in which Giunta would have been creating his religious art.

Catholics who grew up in the pre-Vatican II church would recognize the crucifix hanging behind the altar at St. Clement in Vivian. The near-life-sized Christ figure dominates with fingers extending beyond the crosstree and the body composed in a posture suggesting death. While the wounds at the hands, the feet, and the side are set off with crimson, the posture and the otherwise unblemished body radiate a certain tranquility.

Crucifix at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Shreveport

The crucifix was stored for some years when a pastor decided that a smaller icon would be preferable. According to Patricia Whitecotton, church secretary and parish historian, it was stored in the confessional at the back of the sanctuary. “One of our parishioners showed up for confession at the scheduled time, opened the door, and got quite a fright. There she was, face-to-face with Jesus!”

Rosie Spearman, now deceased, had not been told that the crucifix was angled into the space with the corpus facing outward.  Eventually, it was returned to the wall behind the concrete altar where it remains today.

A similar crucifix is mounted high above the altar centered on a dramatic, soaring white wall at Sacred Heart Church of Jesus Church in Shreveport. However, the corpus is conscious and the gaze is upward. As a result, there is no gash in Jesus’ side and only his hands and feet show wounds.

Jeffrey Smith, a historian of Jesuit art in the early Reformation, explains that art is tied to Christian formation.  We connect emotionally with an image that should stimulate thought and increase faith as we meditate on the scriptural and traditional elements represented. None of this is accidental nor is it new. Smith writes that the theory behind engaging the senses and promoting spiritual reflection through imagery is documented as far back as the early sixteenth century. It is, however, up to the individual to make the connection and actively meditate on the meaning behind that sensual reaction.
A more contemporary rendering of the crucifix at Christ the King Parish in Bossier City shows Christ crowned and vested. “Msgr. LaCaze travelled the state to choose the type of church we would build in the 1970s,” said a life-long parishioner.  “Then he wanted a crucifix of the risen Christ. Stan Gall in Crowley, LA, had a catalog and Msgr. LaCaze chose this one.”

The figure is hand-carved lindenwood from the Art Studio Demetz in Italy, according to Mary Gall Fontenot of Louisiana Church Interiors in Crowley. The carved figure is serene and almost relaxed in the crucifixion posture. The gaze is directly ahead, the head and neck are upright, and there is tension in the arms and legs suggesting full consciousness.  The Christ figure has conquered the cross and stands erect in victory. There is very little ornamentation other than stylized, Byzantine-influenced extensions to the four points of the cross.   This is a relatively small icon but it hangs suspended high above the altar in front of a high white wall lit by a skylight overhead.

Modern crucifix at St. Theresa Church, Delhi.

“Properly lit, the crucifix should project the images of God and of a dove on the back wall so that the trinity is represented,” explained the parishioner.
Probably the most contemporary rendering of a crucifix in the diocese hangs in St. Theresa Church in Delhi. As part of a massive renovation in 1996, a stylized Christ figure was etched into a large glass cross suspended above the altar.

“That’s my favorite part of this church,” said Fr. Philip Pazhayakari, CMI in 2011 during an interview.  “When I walked into the church for the first time and saw the three-fold crucifix up on that wall, I was mesmerized.  It’s so beautiful.” •

Domestic Church: St. Elizabeth’s Devotion of Love

by Katie Sciba

This month I’ve focused my thoughts on my favorite feast, and I’m not talking Thanksgiving. Consider this my personal invitation to celebrate, at least prayerfully, November 17th – the Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Most know St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a queen made widow, as a benefactress who shared the food and resources of her palace with the poor in her kingdom. The Lord also called her to a devotion to the sick, and she worked closely with lepers and others with disease. While her compassion and work were certainly saintly and worth emulating, what I find captivating about St. Elizabeth is her lesser-known devotion to her husband, King Ludwig of Thuringia. Friends from childhood, the two were practically raised together from their early betrothal, and were eventually married. Elizabeth made it clear she was lovestruck. The young majesty dressed in her best and brightest when her husband was home, but clad herself in black mourning attire when he was away. She often lay awake at night, praying for the grace to withstand her love for her husband. She loved Ludwig so much that she almost couldn’t handle it.

I first “met” St. Elizabeth when I was newly-engaged, and it’s still her active devotion to Ludwig that shoots enthusiasm for my own husband in my heart. Her example is a sort of examination of conscience and it gives me pause – do I hold anything back from him? Am I squeezing every drop of loving effort out for Andrew and our kids? Elizabeth wore her finest dresses for Ludwig; how do I wear my devotion?

It reminds me of Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages – acts of service, gift giving, quality time, words of affirmation and physical touch – and how we’re each inclined to one or two of them as the main ways we give and receive love. Before he took an extended trip, Andrew got his will in order (just in case) and placed it on my dresser next to a new tube of my favorite Chapstick. I gave his will a glance, but delighted at the sight of a new, tiny gift. We still laugh knowing it points to my gift giving love language.

Like St. Elizabeth, we all take on ways of showing our spouses we love them. The most prized way Andrew and I take care of each other is by making coffee. The action itself is barely worth mentioning, but the message is loud and clear when stress peaks and we’re wiped out. We team up as parents, one of us often carrying the whole family through bedtime. We learn over and over that we have to support each other, with a willingness to abandon our own wills, for our marriage to thrive and for peace to reign.

History notes that King Ludwig totally backed his queen’s attention to the poor and other religious endeavors, encouraging her to be who she was made to be; and I’m willing to bet this fanned the flame of Elizabeth’s love for him.

Such a marriage is possible. Let’s make a point to study the hearts of our sweethearts with the intention of loving them with everything we have, and supporting the Lord’s call for their lives.

Faithful Food: Keeping Our Memories Alive

by Kim Long

John O’Donohue has a quote that is priceless, “memory is to the individual what tradition is to the community.”

That seems to fit right in during the month of November which is heavily laden with both memory and tradition. From All Saints and All Souls to Thanksgiving to Christ the King, we revel in, bask in and absorb lots of memory and tradition in many ways, especially through prayer, ritual and food!

When my oldest son was a youngster, he did not like turkey and dressing, instead begging me to fix his “favorite” chicken and dumplings. So of course, I did. Now that his palate has grown up, preparing that dish is not a part of the tradition I keep – although the story continues to circulate at our family Thanksgiving table, always tweaked a little to emphasize our love for one another and the care and concern I pray that is always with us as we go through our days and nights.

My birthstone is a pearl and long ago my aunt told me if you keep pearls locked away in a vault then they crumble because they need the oil from our skin to stay alive, beautiful and relevant. Our memories are precious, but like a pearl the stories should be passed down, the recipes cooked, the knowledge shared, and all passed to the next generation so that they are truly a living thing.

But back to the kitchen and all the leftover food Thanksgiving generates.Even after I have sent food home with everyone and taken a plate to my neighbor, there is still turkey. There may be 12 days of Christmas, but Thanksgiving leftovers never end!

All those years ago when I made dumplings, I cheated by using flour tortillas because I knew they would not fail. These days I am braver in my cooking endeavors and decided one afternoon to make noodles. With only two or three ingredients I got right down to business. I have a manual pasta roller and it reminds me of the play dough fun factory my brother had as a child. I place a “blob” of dough on the roller, turn the handle a few times and then, presto! – a long sheet of dough appears, I then cut it into strips and hung them on plastic hangers to dry.

I whisked butter and flour together and had cream and milk nearby to make a white sauce, to which I added turkey and peas and carrots and a pinch of poultry seasoning for that dusty autumnal taste only thyme imparts. I like my noodles thick, so when they are cooked they are really dumplings.

If you have leftover turkey this is one possibility! As for memories here is a scripture verse which sums things up quite nicely, “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” Thessalonians 5:21

Turkey and Dumplings

Ingredients for Soup:
• Leftover Turkey from Thanksgiving, chopped or shredded (as much as you have or like, but at least 1½ cups)
• Frozen peas and carrots, about ⅓ package
• ½ tsp. poultry seasoning
• 1 oz. butter
• 1 oz. flour
• 1 pint milk or heavy cream
• 2 large eggs
• ½ tsp. salt
• 1 bag of egg noodles (or make your own noodles).

1)  Melt butter and whisk in 1 oz. flour, cook for 2 minutes.

2) Add a pint of milk slowly whisking all the time. Once blended turn flame/burner on low heat.

3) Add to this mixture poultry seasoning and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

4) Add frozen peas or peas and carrots and the chopped turkey. Let everything cook for a few moments and add more milk if too thick.

5) Stir in cooked and drained egg noodles (if you are using store bought), or if you are making your own drop uncooked noodles into the pot and adjust liquids by adding water and/or milk until noodles are covered.

6) Put a lid on pot and let cook, checking moisture level frequently.

In Review: Finding True Happiness

reviewed by Mary Wimberly-Simpson

Finding True Happiness
by Archbishop Fulton Sheen

“Are you perfectly happy?” This is the first line of Finding True Happiness by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. This one question sets the tone for a whole book on happiness.

And who doesn’t want to be happy? There are so many books written on the topic. Some take a long and drawn out approach. Some recommend fulfillment in activities or other avenues. Archbishop Sheen figured out the answer to this question long ago. In his book, he provides a simple guide on happiness through our relationship with God. It tackles how to be happy in a short, easily readable form, providing the reader with a guide to follow and refer to as needed. I have started to think of this book as my handbook on happiness.

While Archbishop Sheen is best remembered for his television show, The Catholic Hour, he also authored many books during his life. In fact, Finding True Happiness, published 35 years after his death, is a compilation of four of his works. And while he died in 1979, his guide to happiness is applicable to all generations. Perhaps this is why many of Archbishop Sheen’s books remain in print today and his television shows and various recordings are still available.

A brief background on Archbishop Sheen gave me an even better appreciation of this book. He was born in 1895 in Illinois and suffered from tuberculosis as an infant. He went on to become a  priest and earn an “agrege en philosophie,” later becoming an Archbishop. After all of  his accomplishments, he still practiced humility. He often wrote of not taking oneself too seriously.

The four books used to compile this amazing guide are, Way to Happiness, Way to Inner Peace, Walk With God, and You. At the end of each chapter is a reference from the book in which the segment was originally written. As the reader, you have the option to pursue the topic further through the book referenced.

The 16 chapters each tackle a different topic, which can be treated as an individual lesson, or which can be read straight through. Archbishop Sheen’s writing is straightforward and accessible.

I was truly amazed at the timeliness of the topics in this book. We live in a fast-paced, always-connected world. Cell phones were not around during the time he wrote his books, nor was the immense onslaught of information, yet chapter three focuses on “silence.” Archbishop Sheen used the term “wise passivity” in which he states, “…the ear is more important than the tongue.”

Throughout the book, Sheen takes on the obstacles of happiness such as: self-inflation, egotism, desire and loneliness, and guides the reader through ways of overcoming them.  Other topics of truth, patience, contentment and joy direct the reader on defining and utilizing these principles through life.
While Archbishop Fulton Sheen left this earth many years ago, it seems his words endure and stand true in the current world. I pondered, as I read the book, if he would have changed any of his words if he lived today – but I think not, because truth endures no matter the time period. The overarching message of Finding True Happiness is that true happiness will not come in things, but from our loving relationship with God.

Mike’s Meditations: Let Scripture Guide Your Life

by Mike Van Vranken

Someone was telling me recently that using scripture passages to help them pray has been a real breakthrough in their relationship with God. They realized the Bible is God’s written expression of His own love story between Him and His creation. He communicates that love to us in our own language to help us better understand who He is and how much He cares for us. God has divulged Himself in His written word, just as He has in Jesus, His Word made flesh. Using scriptures to help us pray is a sure and holy way to converse with God.

On November 18, we will celebrate the 52nd anniversary of a Church document that specifically encourages us to read and study the Bible. The Latin name of the document is Dei Verbum, which means “The Word of God.” The official name for this Church teaching is: “The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation.” Divine Revelation! That’s what the Bible is. And this teaching goes on to say that we are to frequently read and study the Bible so that God and man may talk together. In doing so, some are called to preach the Word, while others are called to reveal Christ by the way they live and interact in the world.

This teaching, of course, is for you and me. Many thousands have responded over the last half-century as members of Bible study groups around the world. Through these groups, we intimately know God in new and deeper ways which inspire us to return God’s perfect love back to Him by sharing it in our own everyday lives. In other words, as good and holy as Bible study is, if it doesn’t transform us into missionary disciples who are spreading Christ into the world around us, we aren’t fulfilling the calling that the Divine Revelation is always giving us.

How do I know what being a missionary disciple is for me? That’s where praying with scripture can help. I suggest starting with the Gospel stories. They are mostly familiar to us and usually have a meaning we can at least partially understand. An easy way to begin is with the daily gospel reading at Mass. It’s easy to go online and search for daily Mass readings. When you find the Gospel reading for that day, read it from your Bible rather than your computer or phone. Sit in your favorite prayer chair and read the passage. Read it a few times and pay attention to any word, phrase or idea that catches your attention.

Now, think about these words or phrases and pay attention to how they make you feel. Do they give you inspiration, or hope? Do they make you uncomfortable or confused? Are you feeling joy or freedom or love or happiness?  Whatever the feelings are, take those feelings to God. Tell Him exactly how you are responding to these words or phrases.

Next comes the hard part: be still and know that God is listening. Maybe He will speak back to you through images or thoughts. Many times He won’t,  but you’ll find that just resting with Him in silence can bring peace over you.

Whether He is silent or not, your attention is focused solely on God. Allow that focus to help you be close and present with Him. Doing this on a daily basis will allow us to better know and understand how much God loves us and what He may be calling us to do as missionary disciples. You’ll probably find that transformation in you will take place over a period of time and your desire to spread His word, His Divine Revelation, is overwhelming. Before you know it, missionary discipleship will be your way of life.

You don’t have to use the daily Gospel reading – any scripture will do. If you make praying with scripture your daily practice, you will eventually use the entire Bible.

Use November as a month to have conversations with God by using the Bible. It may seem awkward at first, but keep practicing. Anything new takes time to master. And of course, if you need help, just ask God for that too. He’s always with you and He’s always listening. Finally be prepared for it to make a difference in your relationship with Him, because using the scripture to pray is nothing less than allowing his Divine Revelation to get the conversation started.

Kids Connection: Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

Click to download and print this month’s Kids Connection on St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

October Kids’ Connection: Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos

Click to download and print this month’s Kids’ Connection on Blessed Fancis Xavier Seelos.

Vocations View: Experiencing Priestly Life Over the Summer


by Kelby Tingle, Seminarian for the Diocese of Shreveport

As I begin my third year of seminary formation, it is a great blessing to have had a summer assignment that allowed me to come to a greater understanding of the priesthood and the Diocese of Shreveport. While the majority of my year is spent at the seminary studying philosophy, the summer is a great opportunity for me to experience the liveliness of a church parish. This past summer I was assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Mansfield and St. Anne Church in Stonewall for the month of June before moving to St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport with Fr. Matthew Long in July. While these two months went by very fast, the memories and knowledge taken from them will be lasting.

This summer was one of my first experiences living at a church and it allowed me to see the daily life of a priest within a parish. In the morning, I got to do what I have loved doing for years: altar serving. It was great to serve at Mass every day and partake in the liturgy, as well as serve at baptisms and funerals. It was also a great privilege to serve at Fr. Fidel’s and Deacon Duane’s ordinations. Seeing Fr. Fidel at St. Joseph as a newly ordained priest gave me a great sense of happiness and excitement for the future. In each of these moments, I saw the priest as a spiritual father.

During the week, I spent some time working in the church office at St. Joseph in Shreveport, and this reminded me of how much happens behind the scenes. In addition to many meetings, there were many tasks to do such as preparing the Sunday bulletin, mailing invitations to  events, updating the Sacramental records, updating Virtus accounts and organizing Mass intentions.

Throughout the summer, I observed how the Church continuously welcomes the faithful to encounter and learn more about their faith through all stages of their lives. I participated in Vacation Bible School at three different churches and witnessed the catechesis of our youth in the diocese.

In July we had our annual diocesan vocations camp, Mission Possible, that provided an opportunity for teenagers to learn more about vocations and how to develop their spiritual lives. On Wednesday nights at St. Joseph in Shreveport, I attended the Young Adult Group and enjoyed hearing their discussions and thoughts on religious topics. Seeing the ways in which the Church welcomes its people to learn more about their faith reminded me of what a blessing it is for a priest to be so involved with the people of his parish throughout their lives.

I also had the opportunity to visit many different churches in the Diocese of Shreveport over the summer. In particular, I visited the Eastern Deanery and all of the churches in Monroe. I was amazed at the beauty of many of these churches. In addition, I had the privilege of seeing most of the churches in the Southern Deanery and many of the Western deanery, as well. This opportunity inspired me because it not only allowed me to see the beautiful churches that we are blessed with in the Diocese of Shreveport, but it also gave me a chance to meet some of the people that I will hopefully serve as a priest one day.

My experiences this summer were very fruitful and inspiring. It is with great joy and zeal that I return to the seminary to begin another year of discerning the priesthood at St. Ben’s in south Louisiana.

I ask that you continue to pray for the current seminarians of the Diocese of Shreveport and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood.