Monthly Archives: January 2014

Prayer Service Held to End Global Hunger

A prayer service was held at noon on December 10 at the Catholic Center honoring Pope Francis’ request. Fr. Rothell Price led the prayer to end Global Hunger.

Hispanic Youth Group Formed at Christ the King

The first Hispanic Young Adults Group in our Diocese of Shreveport has been formed. The new young adults group is from Christ the King Church in Bossier City and they are called “OASIS.” You are invited to “OASIS” every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in the youth room at Christ the King in Bossier City.

Spanish Retreat Held in Minden

The Hispanic Young Adults retreat “Experiencia Cristo #3” was held November 15-17 at Camp Harris in Minden, LA. This was a conversion retreat in Spanish for young adults hosted by the Hispanic Catholic Ministry of the Diocese of Shreveport.

Cathedral Presented Teaching and Exposition of Sacred Relics

The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans presented a teaching and exposition of Sacred Relics for its school students and parishioners in December. Fr. Carlos Martins of the Companions of the Cross spoke about his very special ministry to travel and teach about these holy objects. The exhibit included over 150 relics, some as old as 2000 years. Among the treasures were relics of St. Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Lisieux (the “Little Flower”), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Faustina Kowalska. Also present was a portion of the veil of Our Lady, as well as one of the largest remaining pieces of the True Cross in the world.  Those in attendance were able to examine and venerate each relic.

Kurtz Applauds Pope’s Decision To Establish Commission for Protection of Minors

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed the decision of Pope Francis to establish a commission on the protection of minors. The move was urged by the Council of Cardinals, an advisory group to the pope that met at the Vatican, December 3-5. Archbishop Kurtz praised the effort in a December 5 statement.

The statement follows: The decision of Pope Francis to establish a commission for the protection of minors is a most welcome initiative. Abuse of minors is a sin and a crime, and every step must be taken to eradicate this blight. Such abuse is especially grave when committed by anyone in ministry in our Church.
The problem of sexual abuse of minors exists throughout society and every effort must be made to protect children, particularly within the Church.
The announcement of this initiative reflects a broad-based approach that considers changes in Vatican procedures in dealing with clerics accused of abuse, seminary training for future priests, and other pastoral efforts to address this horrific problem. This international effort is particularly welcome as we have come to learn that this tragedy affects many, if not all, parts of the world.

As president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I promise full cooperation of the U.S. bishops with this commission and look forward to more information on its implementation. In the United States, we have learned of the importance of background checks, education of children and adults on child safety, the swift removal of offenders and the need for the Church and civil authorities to work together. While these efforts have resulted in a dramatic reduction in abuse cases, much work remains to be done.

Our prayers are with Pope Francis and this commission, and we are grateful for this effort.

U.S. Bishops’ Justice and Peace Committees Join Pope Francis’ Global Anti-Hunger Campaign

The committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops dealing with international and domestic justice issues have joined Pope Francis and Caritas Internationalis in a global campaign to combat hunger, which began December 10 and runs through May 2015. The committees moved to join the campaign during their joint meeting at the USCCB headquarters in Washington, December 9.

The campaign, “One Human Family, Food for All,” began with a global wave of prayer, at noon in every time zone on Earth, December 10. This included a Mass offered by Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, IA, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, at the USCCB headquarters, and prayer services coordinated around the world by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) regional offices.

“The bishops of the United States stand with Pope Francis in his call to end world hunger,” said Bishop Pates and Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, on behalf of their committees. “Since his election, Pope Francis has challenged Catholics and all people to go beyond the boundaries of their own lives and encounter the poor and marginalized. As legislators in Washington deliberate how to allocate budget resources to the many people who are hungry, both in our country and around the world, this campaign gives all of us an opportunity to turn awareness into action.”

Resources for the campaign are available in English and Spanish at: http://crs.org/food-for-all/

Youth Attended the National Catholic Youth Conference

The 2013 National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis, IN is an energizing experience of all things Catholic from uplifting speakers, energetic concerts and quieted adoration to the celebration of the Mass.  Over the course of three days, youth are welcome to attend talks by various speakers on multiple topics, as well as attend general sessions with the large group.

This year over 23,000 teens participated in the event.  They came from 44 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.  Our diocese sent two buses loaded with 75 youth and 25 chaperones from 12 parishes.  We also had eight students from Louisiana Tech and Grambling State University on the buses this year. The National Catholic Collegiate Conference offered a track for college age students which ran concurrently with NCYC. They attended the same opening and closing events, with separate workshops just for young adults.

The 2015 National Catholic Youth Conference will be held in Indianapolis.  This is an inspirational and faith building event for the youth of our diocese. It is a chance for them to connect with other young Catholics across the country who want to celebrate and share their faith while deepening their relationship with the Church.

by  Brandy Boudreau, Campus, Youth & Young Adult Ministry

“NCYC wasn’t just a conference to go to and have fun.  It was more than that.  I felt like through NCYC I’ve learned more things about being a Catholic.  Being a Catholic isn’t just about not eating meat on Fridays during Lent, going to Confession, or attending Mass.  It is about coming closer to God. NCYC taught me that being Catholic isn’t all smooth sailing either.  You have so many ups and downs but it is worth the journey to reach the eternal goal, Heaven!  So I suggest going to NCYC for everyone.  You will not be the only ‘Jesus Freak’ there!  There are plenty of them and more.  I’ve gone twice and have loved every minute of it.”
- Tatiana Pham, Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Monroe

“NCYC is such an amazing event for the youth to have the opportunity to experience. The focus on faith and how to live a Catholic Christian life is important to us all, but most especially to the youth of our Church.  The speakers, the breakout sessions, the music – it all emphasizes the greatness of our Church.  I feel so thankful to the Diocese of Shreveport for making this trip affordable for all the parishes to be able to attend.  I truly believe lives are touched and changed for the better by experiencing NCYC.”
- Michelle Higdon, St. Ann Church, Stonewall

“ NCYC was an experience that opened my eyes to all the other Catholic youth in America.  I had a great experience and have many great memories to hold on to.  I’ve never seen priests taking selfies until NCYC!”
- Christopher Schmidt, Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Monroe

 

Two Dedicated Priests Received Papal Blessing

The Diocese of Shreveport is certainly blessed with a presbyterate who willingly and faithfully serves, and is especially fortunate in the many priests who have had the opportunity to retire upon reaching their 70th birthday, but throw retirement to the winds and continue to serve as Senior Actives. In some cases, although they may have retired from the day to day activities in ministry, they continue to assist across the diocese in various ancillary capacities.

It is always exciting when any of “our” priests celebrate a milestone in concert with their years of service of priestly ordination. Most recently, two of our senior priests, Fr. Richard Lombard and Fr. Ken Williams, brought a combined 110 years of continued ministry since their ordinations with 60 years and 50 years respectively. To celebrate this momentous occasion, on November 26 Bishop Michael Duca, the priests and religious men of the Diocese of Shreveport, as well as some of the lay faithful, gathered at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans for Solemn Evening Prayer.  This prayer gathering was in thanksgiving for the priestly service of all of our priests throughout the diocese. Special recognition was given to Fr. Lombard and Fr. Williams with a presentation by the bishop of a papal blessing from His Holiness Pope Francis.

I had the pleasure of meeting and knowing both of these men in my parish at different times. Both of these priests served at St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport, as well as numerous other parishes around the Dioceses of Alexandria and Shreveport.

Fr. Lombard, after his ordination on December 20, 1953, went to St. Joseph for his first assignment there (1957 to 1962) very early in his priestly service. Since 1993 he has served faithfully at St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport and still resides in the parish.

Fr. Ken Williams was ordained May 25, 1963 as a priest of the Diocese of Alexandria. Fr. Ken, among many other assignments, also served at St. Joseph in the late 1960’s. He was assigned as an assistant to the pastor from June 1966 through November 1968.

The gift that these two men have given to the generations of Catholics throughout the diocese has been one of pastoral care in the true biblical meaning of “shepherding their flock.” These two men ingratiated themselves in their parishes and to their parishioners by answering a higher calling to be servants of Christ. They are just two ordinary men being extraordinary priests.  Their memories of times, events and mostly people’s names are phenomenal at the least and overwhelming at the most.  How many marriages, baptisms, first reconciliations, first communions have they witnessed? A debt of gratitude goes out to both of these priests, content to do the work of Christ for 110 years.  How blessed is the Diocese of Shreveport?

by Randy G. Tiller, Director of Mission Effectiveness

The Fourth Annual Bishop’s Pro-Life Banquet

The fourth annual Bishop’s Pro-Life Banquet will take place Thursday, February 20, 2014, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Bossier Civic Center, 620 Benton Road, Bossier City.  The speaker is Shak Hill, a Bossier City native, graduate of Shreveport’s Loyola College Prep and pro-life advocate. He and his wife are parents of six children and have been foster parents to 46 children.  They received the 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award for the State of Virginia.  Please join the bishop for this important way to support pro-life ministry in the Diocese of Shreveport.  Tickets are $50 per person.

Click here to download the Pro-Life Banquet Registration Form.

 

Golf or God? Diocese of Shreveport Welcomes New Seminarian Brandon Rice

Golf or God? That was the question that plagued Brandon Rice. God had graced him with a natural ability with golf. He took those natural talents and developed them for the last six years. He dreamed of one day being at the top of the PGA and being able to share his Catholic faith with others. This year he went pro, but he was not at peace as he began to accomplish his dreams. You see when Brandon was a student at St. John Berchmans School he began to hear God calling him to priesthood.

Raised as an only child and cradle Catholic in Stonewall, Louisiana, Brandon encountered many inspiring priests throughout his life. The possibility of a priestly vocation was introduced by Fr. Curtis Woods always taking the time to visit with the students at St. John Berchmans School. When he moved to St. Joseph School and began serving at Mass, Fr. Peter Mangum inspired him. As he grew Fr. Karl Daigle continued to witness to him the role of the priest. Meeting Vocations Director Fr. Matthew Long at an ACTS retreat last September was another encouraging factor on his path to discerning the priesthood.

From these great examples he realized that the most effective way to share the Catholic faith with others was through priesthood. And so Brandon has answered the question, “Golf or God?” He begins seminary at St. Joseph College in January of 2014. The Diocese of Shreveport is proud and excited to have Brandon join our growing number of seminarians, making for a total number of nine men in formation – a diocesan record!

Brandon, who is 20-years-old, is very excited about beginning seminary. “I’m looking forward to the spiritual formation, the school and the brotherhood I’m going to be a part of,” said Brandon.

Please add Brandon to your seminarian mailing list! Our seminarians love to hear from those who support them. You can reach him at 75376 River Road, P.O. Box 464, St. Benedict, Louisiana 70457. His birthday is November 17.

by Fr. Matthew Long, Director of Vocations &
Jessica Rinaudo, Editor