Monthly Archives: December 2013

St. Frederick High Football Team Heads to the Dome

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photo by Lana Abate Haire

One of the questions I am most often asked about being a priest is, “What do you like best about it?”  My answer is always the same, that I get to celebrate the Eucharist.  The second thing I like best about it is that Bishop Duca assigned me to be Chaplain of St. Frederick Catholic High School in Monroe.  From the first day I stepped foot on that campus I fell in love with the school and most particularly with the students.  They helped me to understand spiritual fatherhood and by being a part of the grand tradition I became dedicated to supporting them spiritually, academically and athletically.

In my first days there I began attending all their athletic events. The Jr. High football team was truly impressive as Coach Huey Parker formed them into a force to be reckoned with. I enjoyed their games and at times it was almost comical to see those scrawny boys wearing their helmets and shoulder pads that never seemed to fit.  I can still see them there sitting around the cafeteria table so earnest and proud of their success and I told them that if they stuck it out and continued to play together that by their senior year they would be playing in the “Dome”.

State Championship games are not unknown to St. Frederick.  One need only look in the trophy cases to see their athletic success on the tennis and basketball courts, but one has always seemed elusive, football. It seemed like no matter how well they were coached or how superior they were as athletes, after a couple of rounds in the playoffs our season would come to an abrupt end.  This season is different however; those scrawny boys have stuck it out and continued to play together. There is nothing comical about their appearance any longer. Their shoulder pads and helmets fit exactly right and I no longer look down at them with hope but look up at them with pride.

Their record under Coach Jeff Tannehill’s leadership has been amazing as they finished the regular season with six wins and four losses.  From each of those games, win or lose, they learned something valuable.  Just how valuable has shone clearly in the playoffs as they soundly defeated False River, Highland Baptist, Country Day and Southern Lab.  Now because of the wise decisions of the coaches, the hard work of the players and the untiring support of the Warrior faithful they are going to the “Dome” for the first time in the School’s history.  There they will meet Vermillion Catholic to determine who will be the next State Champion.

by  Fr. Matthew Long

Consistory for the Creation of Cardinals in February 2014

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., made the following declaration on October 31:

“On the occasion of the meeting of the ‘Council of Cardinals scheduled for early next October (October 1-3) and the subsequent meeting of the Synod Council (October 7-8), the Pope has informed the participants of his intention to convoke a Consistory for the creation of new cardinals on the occasion of the Feast of the Cathedral of St. Peter, February 22. Pope Francis has decided to communicate his decision to convoke Februarys Consistory in advance in order to facilitate the planning of other meetings involving the participation of cardinals from different parts of the world.

“Indeed, it is foreseen that the pope, like his predecessors on other occasions, intends for the Consistory to be preceded by a meeting of the College of Cardinals.

“Before this meeting – scheduled for the 17 and 18 February – there will take place the third meeting of the ‘Council of Cardinals (the so-called ‘Eight Cardinals), while after the Consistory, on 24 and 25 February, there will be the meeting of the Synod Council.”

“The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals for economic and organizational matters of the Holy See (the so-called ‘Council of Fifteen) is expected to be scheduled as in previous years for the month of February, probably during the preceding week.”

The Pope Prays for the Philippines and Renews Solidarity with the Jewish People on Kristallnacht

Vatican City – Following November 10s Angelus prayer, Pope Francis greeted those present in St. Peters Square. He spoke of the typhoon in the Philippines which has claimed many victims and caused enormous damage to the country during recent days, and assured his nearness and prayer for the population. He asked for a minutes silence and prayed a Hail Mary in unison with the faithful. He also mentioned Maria Theresia Bonzel, foundress of the Sisters St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, who was proclaimed blessed that afternoon in Paderborn, Germany.

“Today marks 75 years since the so-called ‘Kristallnacht, the pogrom during the night between 9 and 10 November 1938 against Jews, synagogues, homes and businesses, which represented a sad step towards the tragedy of the Shoah. We renew our closeness and solidarity with the Jewish people, our elder brothers. And we pray to God that the memory of the past, the memory of past sins, may help us always to be vigilant against any form of hate or intolerance.”

Pope Francis concluded by mentioning the Day of Thanksgiving celebrated that day in Italy: “I join with the bishops in expressing my closeness to the world of farming, and especially to the young people who have chosen to work on the land. I encourage all those in the sector to continue in their efforts to ensure that no one lacks healthy and adequate sustenance.”

Bishops Call for Pastoral Statement on Pornography

BALTIMORE—The U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the drafting of a formal statement on pornography to be issued from the entire body of bishops. Following a presentation by Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, NY, chair-elect of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, the bishops, who are gathered in Baltimore for their annual fall General Assembly, voted 226-5 to approve the drafting of the statement.

“As pastors, we’re aware that many people are consuming or are exploited by pornography, and many also are struggling with pornography addiction,” Bishop Malone said in his report. “The number of men, women and children who have been harmed by pornography use is not negligible, and we have an opportunity to offer healing and hope to those who have been wounded.”

The statement will be pastoral in nature and will emphasize the effects of pornography on marriages and families, while attending to all those harmed by pornography use and addiction. The Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth will lead the drafting process, and the statement will come before the body of bishops for approval. The tentative timeline is to have a finalized statement by the end of 2015.

Archbishop Kurtz Elected President of U.S. Bishops, Cardinal DiNardo Elected Vice President

Archbishop Kurtz

Cardinal DiNardo

BALTIMORE—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, KY, was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during the bishops’ annual fall General Assembly, November 12, in Baltimore. Archbishop Kurtz has served as vice president of the USCCB since 2010. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was elected USCCB vice president.
Archbishop Kurtz and Cardinal DiNardo are elected to three-year terms and succeed Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Archbishop Kurtz, respectively. The new president and vice president’s terms began at the conclusion of the General Assembly, November 14.

Archbishop Kurtz was elected president on the first ballot with 125 votes. Cardinal DiNardo was elected vice president on the third ballot by 147-87 in a runoff vote against Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia.

The president and vice president are elected by a simple majority from a slate of 10 nominees. If no president or vice president is chosen after the second round of voting, a third ballot is taken between only the top two vote getters on the second ballot.

Archbishop Kurtz was born August 18, 1946, and ordained a priest of Allentown, PA on March 18, 1972. He previously served as bishop of Knoxville, TN from 1999-2007 before being appointed to Louisville. Cardinal DiNardo was born May 23, 1949, and ordained a priest of Pittsburgh on June 16, 1977. He previously served as bishop of Sioux City, IA, from 1998-2004 before being appointed to coadjutor bishop, then archbishop, of Galveston-Houston. Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal in 2007, making him the first cardinal from Texas.

The bishops also elected Archbishop George J. Lucus of Omaha chairman of the Committee of Catholic Education in a 141-93 vote over George V. Murry, SJ, of Youngstown, OH. Archbishop Lucas, who has served as interim chair of the committee since the May 2013 death of Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, began his term at the conclusion of this week’s bishops’ meeting.

The bishops chose chairmen-elect of five other USCCB committees. The chairmen-elect will begin their three-year terms in one year, at the conclusion of the bishops’ fall 2014 General Assembly. These were:

• Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of Newark, NJ, to the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance in a 167-70 vote over Bishop Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago.
• Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore, to the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in a 130-105 vote over Bishop Arthur L. Kennedy, auxiliary bishop of Boston.
• Archbishop-designate Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, CT, to the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis in a 135-98 vote over Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, PA.
•  Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, NM, to the Committee on International Justice and Peace in a 126-110 vote over Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, IL.
•  Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, AK, to the Committee on Child and Youth Protection in a 118-114 vote over Bishop Robert J. Cunningham of Syracuse, NY.

In November 2012, Cardinal DiNardo was elected to chair the Committee on Divine Worship for a term beginning the week of November 11. Since his election as USCCB vice president prevents him from assuming leadership of the committee, the bishops elected Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, NJ to chair the committee in place of Cardinal DiNardo, which began November 14.

by  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

‘Special Message’ on HHS Mandate from the Bishops of the U.S.

The bishops of this country have just concluded their traditional fall meeting in Baltimore and have spent time on issues important to them and their people: help to those suffering from Typhoon Haiyan; an update on the situation in Haiti; matters of worship and teaching; service to the poor; and comprehensive immigration reform. Among those priorities is the protection of religious freedom, especially as threatened by the HHS mandate.

Pope Francis has reminded us that “In the context of society, there is only one thing which the Church quite clearly demands: the freedom to proclaim the Gospel in its entirety, even when it runs counter to the world, even when it goes against the tide.”

We stand together as pastors charged with proclaiming the Gospel in its entirety. That Gospel calls us to feed the poor, heal the sick, and educate the young, and in so doing witness to our faith in its fullness. Our great ministries of service and our clergy, religious sisters and brothers, and lay faithful, especially those involved in Church apostolates, strive to answer this call every day, and the Constitution and the law protect our freedom to do so.

Yet with its coercive HHS mandate, the government is refusing to uphold its obligation to respect the rights of religious believers. Beginning in March 2012, in United for Religious Freedom, we identified three basic problems with the HHS mandate: it establishes a false architecture of religious liberty that excludes our ministries and so reduces freedom of religion to freedom of worship; it compels our ministries to participate in providing employees with abortifacient drugs and devices, sterilization and contraception, which violates our deeply-held beliefs; and it compels our faithful people in business to act against our teachings, failing to provide them any exemption at all.

Despite our repeated efforts to work and dialogue toward a solution, those problems remain. Not only does the mandate undermine our ministries’ ability to witness to our faith, which is their core mission, but the penalties it imposes also lay a great burden on those ministries, threatening their very ability to survive and to serve the many who rely on their care.

The current impasse is all the more frustrating because the Catholic Church has long been a leading provider of, and advocate for, accessible, life-affirming health care. We would have preferred to spend these recent past years working toward this shared goal instead of resisting this intrusion into our religious liberty. We have been forced to devote time and resources to a conflict we did not start nor seek.
As the government’s implementation of the mandate against us approaches, we bishops stand united in our resolve to resist this heavy burden and protect our religious freedom. Even as each bishop struggles to address the mandate, together we are striving to develop alternate avenues of response to this difficult situation. We seek to answer the Gospel call to serve our neighbors, meet our obligation to provide our people with just health insurance, protect our religious freedom and not be coerced to violate our consciences. We remain grateful for the unity we share in this endeavor with Americans of all other faiths, and even with those of no faith at all. It is our hope that our ministries and lay faithful will be able to continue providing insurance in a manner consistent with the faith of our Church. We will continue our efforts in Congress and especially with the promising initiatives in the courts to protect the religious freedom that ensures our ability to fulfill the Gospel by serving the common good.

This resolve is particularly providential on this feast of the patroness of immigrants, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. She was a brave woman who brought the full vigor of her deep religious faith to the service of the sick, the poor, children, the elderly and the immigrant. We count on her intercession, as united we obey the command of Jesus to serve the least of our brothers and sisters.

from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Diocese Hosted Facilities Management Seminar

The Diocese of Shreveport, with a grant from the Catholic Conference of Facility Managers and the Catholic Church Extension Society, hosted a Facilities Management Seminar on October 2. The intent of the program was to enlighten and educate those responsible for the operation of diocesan facilities, their staff and those working in parish facilities environments. Those attending were pastors, business managers, parish finance and pastoral council members, community council members, planning and building committee chairs, maintenance, buildings and grounds personnel, plant and facility managers, school principals and administrators.

A continental breakfast to welcome guests and speakers was served to open the days event. Mr. Peter Silva from the Archdiocese of Boston and Mr. Louis Baird from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, both highly regarded in Catholic Facility Management circles, conducted the presentations. The speakers focused on everything from maintenance problems to contracts and protecting our facilities. This also included strategic planning, evaluating “needs versus wants,” and records and historical data.  Local vendors were in attendance with display booths showing off their products and services available to the parishes.  Dixie Paper Co., Industrial Roofing LLC, Payne Mechanical, Gallagher Bassett Ins. and Sunbelt Distribution Systems were represented at the seminar.

Those in attendance went away with a wealth of information on how to keep parish facilities up and running in a safe, efficient and sustainable manner.  One positive outcome of the event that will involve all of the Diocese of Shreveport parishes is that, “Associated Crafts,” out of Gilbert Arizona is being scheduled to conduct a full inventory, inspection and appraisal of all stained glass windows within the diocese. This is being done for the preservation of the historic stained glass in each of our churches.

The seminar was attended by 80 individuals involved in the operations of the Diocese of Shreveport facilities.

Each pastor is extended an invitation to participate in the stained glass evaluations.  Please contact Ed Hydro or the Catholic Center Facilities department if your location has stained glass and if you want to be included when we schedule this group to come to Shreveport.

by Edward Hydro, Facilities Manager, Diocese of Shreveport

Diocese to Host Married Couples Conference

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At the end of the summer, the Vatican announced that an Extraordinary Synod will be held in October of 2014 on “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family.”  Only two Synods of this rare type have been facilitated by the Church with the last one occurring in 1985.  With this announcement comes the revelation that it is Pope Francis’ “express will” to see the Church focus anew on the role of marriage and family in the lives of Catholics.  Since its inception in 1986, the Diocese of Shreveport has been seeking to host a series of conferences dedicated to the ministries of Marriage and Family Life. That dream will finally come true on Saturday, January 25, 2014, when the first ever Married Couples Conference will take place at the Catholic Center from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Cost for the day is only $10 per couple and a delicious gumbo lunch will be included.

This powerhouse of a day will feature well-known Catholic presenters George and Judy Clark from the Diocese of Dallas.  Following the Clark’s keynote address, there will be a series of morning and evening breakout sessions including programs targeting second marriages, fighting fair, natural family planning and navigating the first seven years of marriage.  A Spanish-speaking session will take place in the morning and explore the riches of marriage with “Riquezas en el Matrimonio.”

“With the emphasis Pope Francis is now placing on the important roles of marriage and family, there is no better time than now to begin to re-examine these critical aspects of our lives as Catholics,” commented Bishop Michael Duca.  “I know the Clarks and feel sure their message will be well-received and I am excited about our other presenters and the breakout sessions.”

Diocesan Chancellor Christine Rivers has spent the past several months working in union with Dotye Sue Stanford and Carol Gates to coordinate the event.  “I hope to see plenty of married couples taking advantage of this special conference because we have tried to offer a nice variety of programs and topics.  We are truly hoping for strong attendance and our hope is to follow this conference up with another focusing on family in the next year.”

by John Mark Willcox

Gifts to Catholic Charities Have Helped More than 4,000 in Need

What have you faced that caused you worry and anxiety?  It’s likely that all of us, at one time or another, have had to face a very hard situation and perhaps we wondered how we would survive it. It could have been loss: loss of a loved one, a job, a home, one’s health. It could have been a decision that would affect your life longterm.

For the more than 4,000 poor and needy who have sought help from Catholic Charities of Shreveport this past year, those are the ordinary circumstances of daily living. The constant struggle to pay the bills, keep food in the pantry, send children to school properly clothed, meet medical emergency and health care needs is overwhelming and often the individual or family facing these crises give up.  They lose the drive to keep on fighting and any hope for a better future.
You who have so generously supported our programs throughout this year are making a life-altering difference for people like Clara. She was the sole provider and caregiver for her sister who was gravely ill with cancer, for her own children and her sister’s two. Clara was already working two jobs and trying to get the children to school and look after her sister when all those expenses overwhelmed her and she got behind on her rent. The day the eviction notice was placed on her door, she also received a shut off notice from the electric company.  Imagine how desperate she was when she came to our door asking for assistance.
Doesn’t it change your life knowing that your gifts to Catholic Charities, especially at this time of year, are giving people like Clara, her sister and the five children in her care hope?  You make that possible!  Your attention to Christ’s message to us as we clearly understand it in Matthew 25 allowed Clara to stay in her home, to keep the electricity on and to receive help for the youngest children with items from our shop for low-income moms and their little ones, Gabriel’s Closet.

If you could be here to hear the stories day after day from the single mothers, the grandmothers, the immigrants, the pregnant young women and new moms, you would understand even more why we must house them, feed them, clothe them and work to teach them that life can change and become safer and happier for them and their families.

And speaking of Matthew 25, did you know that Catholic Charities can offer an uncomplicated way for you to donate monthly and become a sustaining member?  Our Matthew 25 Partnership is an easy way to do that!  You can make that choice at our website, www.ccshpt.org,  or call us and we will help you set up your monthly donation.

Just as we wish it for each and every one of our clients, we wish for you a Christmas full of blessings, the love of Christ spread to all and a season of peace. From everyone at Catholic Charities of Shreveport, Merry Christmas!

by Theresa Mormino, Catholic Charities of Shreveport

Renzi Center Teaches At-Risk Youth

The Renzi Education and Art Center, which gives free after school academic and art classes to at-risk kids in the Shreveport-Bossier area during the school year, has had a lot going on since the After School Program started up again on September 3.

Our students have been creating wonderful things this year in their 50-minute art classes in Renzis Art House – small quilts, paintings, pottery, cartoons and sculptures to name a few – under the guidance of our talented, skilled and caring artists. In their two 25-minute academic classes, Renzi students have been getting their homework done and receiving educational enrichment, such as extra grammar and math exercises in their language arts and math classes. Other special moments this school year have been Renzi kids learning about and holding live exotic reptiles, a visit by the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and some Halloween fun.

The Renzi Center, founded by the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows in 1997, continues to reach out to at-risk youth living in the Shreveport-Bossier area and provide high-quality afterschool academic and art classes that they would otherwise not be able to attend because of prohibitive fees. About one-third of children growing up in poverty will drop out of high school and most will lag behind their higher-class peers.  We at the Renzi Center know that when impoverished children receive educational enrichment and help with their homework and find creative outlets for their hidden talents, their chances of doing well in school and graduating from high school increase.

If anyone is interested in donating to the Renzi Center or volunteering, please call us at 318-222-1414.

by  Jennifer Hill