Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Pope Appoints 19 New Cardinals

by Vatican Information Services

Vatican City – Following January 12’s Angelus prayer, Pope Francis announced that on 22 February, feast of the Chair of St. Peter, a consistory will be held during which 19 new cardinals will be appointed. They will comprise 16 electors and 3 archbishops emeritus, from 12 different countries from all over the world, and “represent the deep ecclesial relationship between the Church of Rome and the other Churches throughout the world.” The day after the consistory, the Holy Father will preside at a solemn concelebration with the new Cardinals, while on February 20 and 21 he will hold a consistory with all the cardinals to reflect on the theme of the family.

The new cardinals will be:
- Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State.
- Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops
- Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, emeritus of Regensburg, Germany, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
– Archbishop Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
– Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, Great Britain.
– Archbishop Leopoldo Jose Brenes Solorzano of Managua, Nicaragua.
– Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec, Canada.
– Archbishop Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
– Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta, O. Cist. of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
– Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve, Italia.
– Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
– Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo jung of Seoul, Korea.
– Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, S.D.B. of Santiago del Chile, Chile.
– Archbishop Philippe Nakellentuba Ouedraogo of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
– Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I. of Cotabato, Philippines.
– Archbishop Chibly Langlois of Les Cayes, Haiti.
The three archbishops emeritus are:
– Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla, ex prelate of the Shrine of Loreto and ex personal secretary of Blessed John XXIII.
– Archbishop Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, C.M.F. emeritus of Pamplona, Spain.
– Archbishop Kelvin Edward Felix, emeritus of Castries, Saint Lucia.

Pope Francis composed the following letter which he sent to the new cardinals:

“Dear brother,
“On the day that your designation as part of the College of Cardinals is made public, I wish to send you a cordial greeting along with the guarantee of my closeness and prayer. It is my hope that, joined with the Church of Rome and “clothed in the virtues and sentiments of the Lord Jesus”, you may help me with fraternal efficacy in my service to the Universal Church.

“The cardinalship does not imply promotion; it is neither an honour nor a decoration; it is simply a service that requires you to broaden your gaze and open your hearts. And, although this may appear paradoxical, the ability to look further and to love more universally with greater intensity may be acquired only by following the same path of the Lord: the path of self-effacement and humility, taking on the role of a servant. Therefore I ask you, please, to receive this designation with a simple and humble heart. And, while you must do so with pleasure and joy, ensure that this sentiment is far from any expression of worldliness or from any form of celebration contrary to the evangelical spirit of austerity, sobriety and poverty.

“Until we meet, then, on February 20, when our two days of reflection on the family commence. I remain at your disposal and ask you, please, to pray for me and to ask for prayers on my behalf.

May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin protect you.”

Operation Love: 7th Grader Led Fellow Students to Cook for Homeless at Christmas

“Go in peace, glorifying The Lord by your life.” We hear these words spoken to us at the end of every Mass. To most 12-year-olds, these words translate to, “Wahoo, this show’s almost over! Where are we eating?” However, Lucas LeBlanc, a 7th grader at St. Joseph School, is not your ordinary 12 year old.  He took this final commission, echoed by Pope Francis’ challenge to “Take the church to the streets,” and used it as the driving force behind “Operation: LOVE” – a project conceptualized by Lucas and executed by him and 18 of his middle school friends, their parents, teachers, and school administrators.

The idea behind Operation: LOVE began when Lucas and his mother, Colleen, like many of us, were wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. Lucas pointed out that in a short amount of time they had spent more money than some people will spend for their entire Christmas. That led into a conversation about the true meaning of Christmas and concluded with Lucas offering to cook a real Christmas meal for the homeless. Lucas said, “Mom, this is what God would want us to do.”

Lucas accepted the challenge and formed a committee to handle the logistics of putting together a meal to feed the homeless. Lucas contacted Christian Services about working with their staff to aid in their Christmas meal. Though the empowering leadership of Alvin Moore, executive director of Christian Services, they launched a full-fledged project of providing, cooking for and serving a Christmas meal to the homeless and less fortunate in our community.
Lucas and his team solicited the help of the St. Joseph School student body and the students in the PSR program to help provide food items, toys and personal hygiene products for the love bags.During the middle school Advent party students assembled and wrote personal Christmas notes for 200+ Love Bags, finished the placemats drawn by the elementary school students and prepared song books for the Christmas carols that were sung at the meal. Over 300 men, women and children were fed a bountiful meal, loved by our families, entertained by Christmas carols and blessed with a special visit from Santa Claus.

One’s happiest memory of the holidays encompasses not the materialistic items received, rather the love shared with family, friends and even perfect strangers. It is the sharing of love that embraces the “why” behind Christmas and Operation: LOVE.

by Kevin Nolten, St. Joseph School

Into That Good Charity

The Angelic Doctor, Thomas Aquinas, once wrote “He who possesses more charity will see God more perfectly.” This charity can take many forms and be exercised in many ways, as God puts no restrictions on good works. In Ruston, LA, LaTech student-parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, known as members of ACTS (Association of Catholic Tech Students), chose the form of Operation Help to exercise charity.

Operation Help began in a social justice meeting with the ACTS group. Four members, Abbey Simoneaux, Derek Warden, Sam Tatro and David Chatelain, set out to develop ideas to reach out to the parish and local community.  What was born in this meeting became Operation Help: a combination scavenger hunt, food drive and student social event. A list of needy families and needed foods and items was generated by a member of the parish council, Solidad Broyles, who then gave it to the chair of the Social Justice Committee at ACTS. A list of clues and activities was then created and teams of ACTS members searched the city to collect these items from stores and perform the specific tasks assigned by the coordinator (such as playing a flute or clucking like a chicken). The first team back to the E. Donn Piatt Catholic Center won a prize. Resident-parishioners donated any items they wished after the scavenger hunt. The items collected were separated, boxed and distributed to families in the Ruston area.

It has been over three years since that first Social Justice Meeting with ACTS, and Operation Help continues. This year, student-parishioners and resident-parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas Church collected food for 12 families. Student-parishioners are still leading the mission, Mrs. Broyles continues to generate the list and resident-parishioners continue to donate items and funds to the cause. And though three of the founding members have graduated from LaTech and left Ruston, they feel a great sense of joy that the program continues on even after they’re gone.  Operation Help is now a student-led tradition of the Campus Ministry Program at St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

The dozens of ACTS members and resident-parishioners that participate in the event every year can attest that Saint Thomas Aquinas was right: they do see God more perfectly.  They see Him in their actions, in every box of food delivered, in each other and in themselves.

by Derek Warden

Pope Urges Respect, Honest Dialogue In Social Media Networks With Communications Day

WASHINGTON—In his message for the 47th World Communications Day, Pope Benedict XVI continues a theme of offering encouragement for Catholics to engage in new media. Written to highlight the Catholic Church’s 2013 World Communications Day, which will be celebrated on May 12 in the United States, the message is titled “Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization.”

Social networks are the “new ‘agora,’” the pope writes, “an open public square” where “new relationships and forms of community can come into being.” As such, they offer new ways for Christians to introduce the faith to others, as long as they are savvy to the medium.

“The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young,” said Pope Benedict. “Social networks are the result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is therefore the prerequisite for a significant presence there.”

He encourages members of social media networks to consider using more than words in their interaction on the networks. “Effective communication, as in the parables of Jesus, must involve the imagination and the affectivity of those we wish to invite to an encounter with the mystery of God’s love,” he writes.
He also cautions Christians not to get caught up in the rapid and sometimes volatile exchanges that happen within social media networks. “We are called to attentive discernment,” he said, especially in digital networks, “where it is easy for heated and divisive voices to be raised and where sensationalism can at times prevail.”

The entire message is available on the Vatican website.

by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Catholic Charities: New Staff Member Brings Wealth of Experience and Love to Local Program

Often we follow a winding path to reach the place where we feel we belong and can make the best contribution.  For Gilda Rada (pronounced Jill dah), Catholic Charities newest staff member, that was most certainly true.

As a child growing up in Caracas, Venezuela in one of the poorest ghettos, Gilda learned early about poverty and its effects on individuals and families.  Her determined parents wanted to make a better life for their children, so they learned everything they could, worked as hard as possible and set goals for themselves and their children to overcome the poverty they lived every day.  And they did!  They also set an example for their little children of the value of hard work and that education was a key to a better life.  But, they shared even more important life lessons.

When Gilda was only 11, she experienced something that would change her life forever.  A local priest invited the entire family to a three day retreat, a “Mariapolis,” a movement of the Catholic Church with a goal of working for unity with God and with our fellow human beings. Gilda became a disciple that day, with a desire to do her part to, in her words, “change the world,” a lofty goal for a girl of 11.

As Gilda grew in her faith and desire to follow Christ, she understood that this unity would begin within, but, says Gilda, “The most important lesson I learned that day was to love Jesus in everyone.”  So she practiced that, beginning with her teachers, her family members, friends and school mates. She invited class members home to help them with their studies.  This was another way she believed she could embrace the message she learned at the Mariapolis and another avenue to love Jesus in everyone. When I asked her why she wanted to work for Catholic Charities, her eyes lit up as she told me this story and it was easy to see that her deep faith and her desire to be of service brought her to our door.

Gilda and her husband Manuel and their two children, arrived in the U.S. from their home country of Venezuela in 2012 when they made a decision to seek a better life for themselves and their children. With her background as an international affairs officer for 20 years and a journalist for five, she brings many skills that will add to those we enjoy from other staff members.  As our Benefits Case Manager for the SNAP program (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), Gilda will be working with families who face food insecurity to enroll them in the food stamp program.  She is excited and ready to embrace the challenge of working for Catholic Charities and it is our good fortune to welcome her.

by Theresa Mormino, Catholic Charities of Shreveport

Groundbreaking for St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Life Center

The ceremonial ground breaking included (from left) Brian Smith, Mike Froelich, Charlie Bourgeois, Herman Manuel, John Denny, Dr. Gary Luffey, Angela Luffey, Joseph Luffey, Jan Luffey, Father Frank Folino, Ron Barron, Rodney Manning and Peter Gallagher.

On December 6, 2013, a large crowd of Parishioners gathered during a noon-time ceremony under a tent across the street from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Ruston to participate in the ground breaking for the Joe & Roger Luffey Catholic Life Center.  In spite of the rain and cold, many attended as our pastor, Fr. Frank Folino, presented a dedication prayer followed by a ceremonial golden shovel photo session and a delicious luncheon to celebrate the initiation of our new building construction. This fine facility is to be named in memory of the two deceased sons of Dr. Gary Luffey and his wife Jan.

The new building is being erected on the site of the St. Francis Building, which originally served as an elementary school and later as Sunday school classrooms prior to its demolition in October 2012.  This new facility will serve as a central focus for the St. Thomas community.  It is to include administrative offices for the parish, a conference room, youth activity and meeting room, youth director’s office, a large multi-purpose room (basketball, meeting, special functions, etc.), a fully-functional commercial kitchen, restrooms with bride’s dressing room and a storage/copy room.

Although the planning and fundraising process has spanned nearly 10 years, we anticipate completion and dedication within the next 12 months. With this addition to our parish, the student center will be officially turned over to the use for which it was originally designed: the Catholic Students of Louisiana Tech University. That building had been serving as our parish office and activity center for years, since we had no alternative space for these functions. We envision having the new facility usher in a new era for the St. Thomas Catholic community, a place where all are welcome!

by Peter Gallagher

New Altar Dedicated at St. Paul Church in Minden

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On December 21, just in time for the Christmas celebration, Bishop Michael Duca officially dedicated the new altar at St. Paul Catholic Church in Minden. It was the culmination of Father Mark Franklin’s, Pastor of St. Paul, beautification program for the 31 year-old building.

Fr. Franklin has been pastor since 2007 and recognized the need to improve some areas within the structure. It started with expanding the entrance areas to permit funeral services to proceed more smoothly. He has since enhanced and beautified the chapel, installed new lighting, replaced Stations of the Cross, created a choir loft, bought a new organ and many more improvements.

But his major achievement has been the complete re-design and construction of the main sanctuary. This included the removal of a raised platform area where the old altar was located, the building of a Presider’s bench and an Altar of Repose which has a carving of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that was carved in 1785 in London, England. He also purchased an antique oak-carved matching pulpit and altar.

Fr. Mark discovered this unusual pulpit and altar set online. DC Riggott, Inc. specializes in architectural and liturgical artifacts. They provide antique stained glass windows, light fixtures, woodwork and paintings. that have been rescued from other churches but are in perfect condition to be used again elsewhere.

Fr. Mark Franklin’s history with St. Paul is unique. As a young Baptist lad of 12 growing up in Heflin, he was invited to attend a Midnight Mass celebration at the original church location on Broadway in downtown Minden. This experience captured his interest in the faith and he continued to learn more about Catholicism. His devotion grew over the years and he became a convert.

After graduation from Louisiana Tech in 1981 with B.S. in Business Administration, and after working with Swepco in Shreveport for 17 years, he decided to become a priest.

He has since received a Master of Divinity degree from Notre Dame in New Orleans. He has never missed a Midnight Mass at Christmas since the first one he attended at age 12.

More remarkable is the fact that he has been the pastor of the first Catholic church he visited for over seven years.

by Vince Vella

Loyola Rosary Group Sponsors Book Publication

The Loyola Rosary Group is sponsoring the publication and distribution of a book entitled The Way of the Cross – Meditations of a Cancer Survivor.  The text of the book is based upon the inspirations of a cancer survivor from the Diocese of Shreveport.  The book presents the devotion of The Way of the Cross from the perspective of an individual undergoing treatment for cancer; however, the meditations are suitable for anyone to read as the reflections provide messages of hope and inspiration for all. Each station is accompanied by a photograph, provided by Pat Harrington of Harrington House Photographic Studio and Gallery. These photos are different than those typically associated with the Stations.  The images are symbolic in nature and provide the basis for the meditation.

Proceeds will be donated to The Shreveport-Bossier Cancer League Foundation, a charitable organization that assists with transportation and lodging needs for cancer patients. A portion of the proceeds will also be directed to the Loyola General Scholarship Fund. The books provide an excellent meditational resource for the Lenten Season and are available in Shreveport at Jacob’s Well Catholic Book Store, St. Paul’s Gift Shop, Harrington House Studio and Gallery, St. Joseph Church Office and at the Anderson Building on the Loyola Campus. Books are $20. If you would like to make a donation to provide books to local cancer patients, please contact chairpersons Julia Pettiette Doolin or Carroll Watts Neal at lcprosary@loyolaprep.org.

by Julia Pettiette Doolin

Keith Garvin Ordained to Transitional Diaconate

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I’m nervous; I feel like a groom,” said Keith Garvin. He was standing in the sanctuary of St. John Berchmans Cathedral during the rehearsal for his diaconate ordination. A few seminarians present kidded him, “Why be nervous? Isn’t this your third ordination?”

They were referring to the fact that Keith has made a circuitous journey toward the Catholic priesthood. Raised as a Methodist, Keith became a Baptist preacher, then an Episcopal priest, before joining the Catholic Church.

In his homily during the ordination, Bishop Duca referred to Keith’s long journey, then added, “But serving as a deacon, then as a priest, will be the last line on your curriculum vitae.”

The ordination liturgy, which many believe to be one of the most beautiful in the Church, has not been celebrated in the diocese for five years. “We’re a little rusty,” laughed diocesan liturgist Dianne Rachel—though none in the congregation could tell.

An ordination to the transitional diaconate is for men who will go on to become priests.  Essentially, the ordinand makes three promises: obedience to the bishop, daily prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours and lifelong celibacy.

Commenting on this last promise, Bishop Duca said, “Celibacy is a commitment to love—to love the people by sharing of yourself. And you must also allow the people to love you as well. We only discover who we really are through sacrificial love. I really believe that.”

A particularly resonant line during the ordination is when the bishop presents the ordinand with the book of the Gospels, enjoining him: “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

The congregation included Keith’s family and friends, permanent deacons, a dozen priests and seven seminarians who participated as altar servers. Seminarian Jerry Daigle did a beautiful job as Master of Ceremonies.

When invited by the bishop to address those present at the end of Mass, Deacon Keith said, “I ask that you pray for me, that I can be faithful in this ministry. And if I’m not,” he paused, “Tell the bishop!” A few moments later, the newly-minted deacon recessed down the aisle, beaming with joy.

At a reception afterwards, Keith’s sister Cathy, an Episcopalian, said she was glad that her brother had found his life’s calling. “He always said he wanted to work in the Church, ever since he was a teenager. I’m very happy for him.”

Also present was Msgr. Tim Hogan, Vicar for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Detroit, who met Keith in the Navy when he served as an Episcopalian chaplain.  “I told him back then that his theology, his ecclesiology, was perfectly in line with Rome, so why not just jump the Tiber?” remembers Fr. Hogan.  A few years later, after much soul searching, Keith became Catholic, received into the Church by his friend Msgr. Hogan.

Deacon Keith is assigned to Christ the King parish in Bossier City, where he will serve until his ordination to priesthood, scheduled for May 31, 2014.

by Sam Alzheimer, Vianney Vocations

The Fourth Annual Bishop’s Pro-Life Banquet

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On February 20, Bishop’s Annual Pro-Life Banquet will be held at the Bossier City Civic Center.

This year’s event is being organized by Bernadette Boyd, a Catholic volunteer who is a parishioner at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans where she is also a catechism teacher for first graders and a lector. Bernadette is excited about the upcoming event, “It is an honor for me to be involved in Bishop Duca’s Pro-Life Banquet. I appreciate the volunteers, donors and parishes who have assisted in promoting the Pro-Life Banquet. Each of us can make a difference. My children’s pro-life t-shirts say it all in a simple, yet profound way: ‘Use your voice to save a voice.’”

The pro-life banquet has two main purposes, said Boyd. “First, awareness of the sanctity of life, is the most important. For this, we are asking for prayers, support and encouragement for everyone to be faithful in God’s love to respect human life, which is the creation of God.”

In order to spread this awareness, resources are needed including volunteers, funds, services, prayers and support. “Realistically, we need to raise money for practical purposes. We need funds to help those choosing life with the resources to sustain the life,” said Boyd.

Tickets for the event are $50 per person, or $400 for a table of eight. These funds are used in a variety of life affirming ways in the local community.
“It is important to have resources available to support others in their decision to respect life, whether it be a pregnant woman’s or a family needing help with an elderly family member,” said Boyd.

Funds raised from this event in the past have been used to pay for the cost of the bus for people from our diocese to attend the Louisiana Life March in Baton Rouge. These funds also assisted with the cost of the pro-life billboard along Kings Highway close to the Hope Medical Group for Women. Funds assisted the 40 Days for Life program by purchasing the yard signs for two years now.  Two people were also able to attend training sessions in Dallas for pro-life ministry and one person attended a pro-life event in Dallas with this funding. The banquet committee voted to give a donation to Catholic Charities’ Gabriel’s Closet as well, which provides much needed infant items for new mothers in need and their babies.

Funds are especially important this year, as Bishop Michael Duca has given the diocesan pro-life community space at the Catholic Center to begin the initial plans for a Pregnancy Help Center (PHC). He has asked members to develop a plan of action over the next several months.

“The PHC will be a beacon of hope and life in our city and diocese,” said Boyd.

Each year the banquet brings in a speaker who is active in pro-life ministry. This year, Bossier natives Shak and Robin Hill will share their story and how living pro-life affected their life paths. Shak and Robin have raised 46 foster children and have six children of their own. Robin faced a life and death situation for herself and her child during her second pregnancy.

“Their story is one that can only be told by them to give it the true justice it deserves. I hope that many will come hear for themselves their testimony and hopefully all will be inspired,” said Boyd.

There are many ways you can register for the event. Pick up a registration form at your local parish or the Catholic Center, cut out and mail in the form printed here, or download the form from the diocesan website (www.dioshpt.org).

For those who cannot attend, we still encourage you to support the banquet.  If you would like to sponsor a table and send others to attend, that is a great way to support pro-life ministry. Also, there is a need to sponsor the student volunteers who will help at the banquet for $50. Any monetary donation will be helpful, especially with the needs for the new Pregnancy Help Center. In particular, your prayers, support and encouragement are needed for the efforts of the pro-life ministry in our diocese. With your support, our goal is to have 500 attendees at the Banquet!

by Jessica Rinaudo, Editor