Monthly Archives: April 2014

Ordinations! May 31: Keith Garvin to be Ordained to the Priesthood & Jerry Daigle, Jr. to be Ordained to the Transitional Diaconate

by Sam Alzheimer

After a dry spell of five years, our diocese will have three ordination liturgies in 2014. Sixteen men will be ordained permanent deacons on June 28.  Two Franciscan Missionaries of Hope will be ordained on June 21, one to the priesthood and the other to the transitional diaconate. And on May 31, Bishop Duca will ordain Jerry Daigle to the transitional diaconate and Deacon Keith Garvin to the diocesan priesthood.

While Deacon Keith and Jerry come from very different backgrounds, they both have a clear love for Christ and his Church. They are personable and pastoral and have shown great stability of character as they have progressed through seminary formation. In them, our diocese will gain two new shepherds to serve and love Gods people.

Deacon Keith Garvin Prays for “Single Purity of Heart”

Seniors sometimes have “senioritis.” Transitional deacons, as they wait for priestly ordination, sometimes develop “deaconitis.” But not Deacon Keith Garvin. Ordained in January, hes content with his current ministry, assisting Fr. Rothell Price as a deacon at Christ the King parish in Bossier City.

“The person I visited at the hospital today needed my ministry as a deacon, my presence and prayers, not someone daydreaming about his future priesthood,” he said. “My ordination date has been set; everything is in motion, so I dont need to worry. Im content to do my day-to-day work. Im just trying to get through Holy Week.”

Right now, Keith preaches at two daily Masses a week, and one Sunday a month. He also visits the sick, sits in on marriage preparation, and attends various parish events. “Its a great parish,” he said. “The people have been very welcoming.”

On one occasion at Mass, he did miss a cue. “I drew a blank when I was supposed to say, ‘Let us offer one another a sign of Christs peace. The words just werent there. Fr. Price looked at me, smiled and said my line. The people knew what had happened and laughed.”

Working with Fr. Price has been a valuable apprenticeship, said Deacon Keith. “Ive learned a lot by watching how he responds to people. He always has time for anyone, no matter what he was preparing to do. Anyone who comes into his presence, he gives them his full attention.”

Keith often thinks of the Gospel story in which Jesus washes the disciples feet. “Jesus was washing away the dirt and grime that had accumulated. The pastoral aspect of priesthood can be like that, to be there to bring the healing and goodness of Christ to peoples lives.”

So far, says Deacon Keith, the practical aspects of ministering to people is not so different as when he was an Episcopal priest, but the spiritual reality is quite different.

“Ive found my spiritual home in the sacramental life and the fullness of truth,” he said. “Within Catholicism, you have the teachings of the Church through the magisterium, and theyre not going to change just because society changes in one direction. Theres a better ability to lead and guide the people when you know the foundation youre standing on is the same today and the day after.”

As he nears ordination in just a few weeks, Deacon Keith says that his daily prayer – and the prayer he asks of others – is for five things: “I wake up every morning and ask the Lord that I can walk in holiness. I ask for a spirit of wisdom, a spirit of discernment, and a spirit of understanding so I can serve people and know what is going on with them. And finally, I ask for single purity of heart for the love of Christs Church, my bride, so that I am not distracted from my love of the Church.”

Jerry Daigle: Preparing to Stand in Place of the Lord

When seminarian Jerry Daigle first put on a clerical collar a few months ago, he felt like a different person. “It really does change the way you behave,” he said, talking on a balcony one beautiful spring day at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

“I recently went to the bank and forgot I was wearing clerics. I was wondering why people were staring at me,” he laughed. “Most people look at you very respectfully. But some people look at you with what seems to be a challenging stare. They see me as a representative of the Church, and I imagine that could challenge their lifestyle.”

In addition to donning the collar, in the months leading up to ordination, Jerry and all his classmates are preparing very seriously for their practical ministry – preaching, presiding at funerals, witnessing marriages and baptizing.

Sometimes the training takes on a humorous tone. “You can imagine a bunch of men handing around a baby doll at our baptism practicum,” Jerry said. “Some guys have more experience with children than others. One guy says to another, ‘Quit holding the baby like that! Youll drown him!”

Its also hard to keep a straight face while practicing the Marriage Rite, listening to a seminarian intone the brides vows in a baritone voice.

Learning to deliver an inspiring homily is one of the hardest parts of formation. “Preaching to your brother seminarians is a greater challenge than you think, because its the hardest audience youll ever have. These guys have no charity!” he laughed.

Special classes prepare the seminarians to deliver homilies in various scenarios which theyll soon encounter. One professor even gives “pop homilies,” handing students a short scripture passage as they come into class, and asking them to give a reflection on the spot. The experience is supposed to prepare them for unexpected moments, such as filling in at Mass for a sick priest.

With ordination around the corner, Jerry says preparation is intense. “I wasnt expecting this, but it makes everything richer. The Mass is more powerful, and a lot more personal,” he said. “Were all realizing that in a few months, well be standing in the place of the Lord doing these things.”

Jerry first felt called to the priesthood as a young teenager. One day, while hunting on the Texas plains, he was moved by the beauty of the landscape and said a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Then he spontaneously added, “I will be your priest and with my small voice I will praise you for all the world!”

Jerry says he never forgot that promise. “It never diminished. It never felt unreal. In fact, sometimes it was the most real thing in my life. But it was unkept, and that bothered my conscience.”

In college at ULM, Jerry drifted away from his faith, but then returned to it in graduate school through the unlikeliest of encounters. After telling a friend he was looking to live someplace other than the dorms, she went to the nearest bulletin board and plucked a card advertising a studio apartment. When Jerry called, he learned that the landlord had put out only one card, just a few moments before he found it.

The landlord was Dr. Carol Christopher, a choral professor at ULM, who became a friend and mentor to Jerry. “Through the witness of how she lived her life, I came back to the Church,” he said.

Jerry became active in an organization that Dr. Christopher founded to help runaway and homeless teens. Even after entering the business world at AT&T, Jerry continued to work with these troubled youth, and eventually found himself on the board of a similar national organization, National Safe Place.

“Working with those kids made me think about fatherhood. Most of them did not have dads,” said Jerry. “I saw them running away, being beaten, in all sorts of bad situations…  The daddy in me wanted to protect them, mentor them and provide for them. Since it didnt look like marriage was imminent, I had to ask what fatherhood would mean for me. I never understood it – actually I did, but I didnt want to admit it.”

As his career at AT&T blossomed, Jerry was still thinking about the priesthood. His faith was deepening, and he began to visit the Benedictine Abbey near Covington. He even started to incorporate small aspects of the Rule of St. Benedict into the “corporate culture” of the AT&T retail store he managed.  “In a few years, that made a tremendous difference, and made me a very successful manager,” said Jerry.

Now with five years of seminary training under his belt, Jerry is excited about his impending ordination. “I mean, this is my marriage!” he said. “Candidacy is like engagement. Ordination as a deacon is my marriage, because that’s where I make my permanent vows. I am getting married to Christs bride, the Church. It really is astonishing!”

Jerry has been studying the Rite of Ordination closely. “Guys in my class will even bring the Rite into the chapel with them, and pray over every word… Hopefully, by the time I press my nose on the marble, I wont be thinking about where to stand or sit, but rather, Ill be praying through it all.”

At 45 years old, Jerry brings with him a wealth of life experience. “I don’t like the term ‘late vocation,” he said. “I’m right on time. I’m on Gods time. If I would have answered back then, I would not have been ready. The Lord wanted me to learn some other things first.”

What Happens at an Ordination

The two ordination liturgies taking place in our diocese this year have something unusual in common: Bishop Duca will be ordaining both a deacon and priest in a single liturgy. The first ordination is for two men in our diocese. The second is for two men from a religious order, the Franciscan Missionaries of Hope.

The men being ordained for our diocese have passed through a rigorous formation process that leads up to ordination. Typically, this progresses according to the time frame presented below:

• Ministry of Lector (First Theology): Proclaim the word of God in a liturgical assembly, in any church, not just ones home parish.
• Ministry of Acolyte (Second Theology): Assist the deacon and priest during Mass, in any church, not just ones home parish.
• Admission to Candidacy (Third Theology): The bishop formally calls a man to be ordained.
• Ordination to Diaconate (Summer after Third Theology): A man is ordained to proclaim the Gospel at Mass, preach, baptize, witness marriages and assist the priest in bringing Jesus to people in need.
• Ordination to Priesthood (Summer after Fourth Theology): A man is ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

The rite of ordination to priesthood always takes place within a Mass, with a bishop presiding. In this liturgy, the bishop is exercising the fullness of his episcopacy by conferring Holy Orders on a man, thus perpetuating Apostolic succession. The rite is very solemn, and yet is filled with intense joy.

During an ordination to the diaconate, the ordinand makes three promises: to live celibately, to Pray the Liturgy of the Hours and to be obedient to the bishop and his successors. He is given the Book of the Gospels, symbolic of his “tools of trade,” so to speak, as he is now able to preach officially.

In an ordination to priesthood, the bishop gives the ordinand a paten and chalice, the tools proper to his work as a priest. Interestingly, the ordinand does not make new promises of celibacy or to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. But he does repeat his promise of obedience to the bishop.

An ordination has a number of important parts to it. Each part is like a little ceremony within the whole service. The parts of the rite of priestly ordination are as follows:

• The people of God affirm that the candidate has been found worthy of ordination, and the Bishop solemnly calls him to be a priest. The candidate affirms his resolve to undertake the priestly ministry.
• The ordinand prostrates himself on the floor as a sign that he is giving his “all” to the Lord, while the people pray the Litany of the Saints. This is a very beautiful, powerful and moving part of the liturgy.
• The bishop lays his hands on the mans head in silence, an ancient symbol of the coming of the Holy Spirit. All the other priests present come forward, silently laying their hands upon him, in a show of presbyteral unity.
• The bishop now says the solemn prayer of consecration, asking God to grant the ordinand the dignity of the priesthood and to renew his spirit of holiness. The man is now a priest, a co-worker with his bishop and his brother priests. He now shares in their ministry, which is the ministry of Jesus himself.
• Next the ordinand is clothed in his priestly vestments, including a stole and chasuble. This is normally done by a priest who has a special relationship to the ordinand. It is the equivalent of the best man at a wedding.
• The bishop anoints the ordinands hands with the oil of Chrism, asking Jesus to preserve him to sanctify Gods people and to offer sacrifice to God. Some men will save the cloth they use to wipe the sweet-smelling chrism off of their hands, and give it to their mothers as a sign of gratitude and respect.
• The ordinand is presented with the paten and chalice for the Eucharist, with the prayer that he will model his whole life on the mystery he will celebrate.
• The Bishop and the other priests give him the sign of peace, a gesture of welcome and of brotherly love.
• Then, for the first time, the new priest concelebrates the Eucharist with the Bishop and priests.

The Church teaches that Holy Orders confers an indelible mark on a mans soul. His very being is different; philosophers describe it as an “ontological change.” He is a priest of Jesus Christ forever! If you have never been to an ordination, do not miss this incredibly beautiful and powerful liturgy that will take place on May 31 at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport. The Mass will begin at 10:00 a.m. •

The Church Will Take No Step Backwards in Sanctions Against Child Abusers

Vatican City — On April 11 Pope Francis received in audience a delegation from the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE), instituted following Pope Pius XII’s appeal for the defense of children following the Second World War. Since then, this organization, born of the maternity of the Church, as Pope Francis remarked, has been committed to promoting the defense of the rights of children, also contributing to the 1989 United Nations Convention and working in constant collaboration with the Holy See in New York, Strasbourg and above all in Geneva.

Francis, after stating that in a well-constructed society, privileges should only be for children and the elderly because the future of the people is in their hands, went on to comment on the theme of abuse of minors.

“I feel that I must take responsibility for all the harm of some priests quite a number, but not in proportion to the total. I must take responsibility and ask forgiveness for the damage they have caused through sexual abuse of children. The Church is aware of this damage. It is their own personal and moral damage, but they are men of the Church. And we will not take one step backwards in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, I believe that we must be even stronger. You do not interfere with children.

“In our times, it is important to implement projects against forced labor, against the recruitment of child soldiers, and against every type of violence against minors. On a more positive note, it is necessary to emphasise the right of children to grow up within a family, with a father and a mother able to create a suitable environment for their development and emotional maturity. Continuing to mature in the relationship, in the complementarity of the masculinity and femininity of a father and a mother, and thus preparing the way for emotional maturity.

“This means, at the same time, supporting parents right to moral and religious education for their children. In this regard, I would like to express my refusal of any type of educational experimentation on children. One does not experiment on children and young people. They are not guinea pigs! The horrors of the manipulation of education that we have experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared; they have retained current relevance in various guises and in proposals that, under the pretext of modernity, compel children and the young to take the dictatorial path of ‘unitary thought. A great educator said to me, little more than a week ago, ‘At times, we dont know if these projects – referring to real education projects – are sending a child to school or to a re-education camp.

“Working for human rights presupposes keeping anthropological formation alive, being well prepared regarding the reality of the human person, and knowing how to respond to the problems and challenges posed by contemporary cultures and mentalities that are spread by the mass media. Obviously this does not mean seeking refuge in protected environments, which these days are incapable of giving life, which are linked to cultures that have already moved on. No, this isnt right. It means facing with the positive values of the human person the new challenges that the new culture presents. For you, this means offering to your managers and workers a permanent formation regarding the anthropology of the child, as it is there that rights and duties are based. This decides the approach to educational projects, that obviously must continue to progress, mature and adapt to the signs of the times, always respecting human identity and freedom of conscience.

“Thank you again, and I wish you well in your work. I am reminded of the logo of the Commission for the protection of childhood and adolescence in Buenos Aires. It was an image of the Holy Family seated on a donkey, fleeing to Egypt to defend the Child. At times it is necessary to flee; at times it is necessary to stop to protect oneself; and at times one must fight. But always with tenderness.”

Be the Mission: A Special Lenten Drive at St. Mary of the Pines

This year St. Mary of the Pines Parish decided to try something different for Lent. Rather than bringing in a speaker for a traditional Lenten Parish Mission, the parish decided to BE the mission. Choosing a group, Hope for the Homeless, the parish offered several ways to participate: donating items needed, offering a monetary donation, helping bag donations, delivering donations and, last but not least, prayer.

Parishioners were encouraged to offer a daily rosary and to spend an hour before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer for the homeless and those who help them. On Friday May 11, after Stations of the Cross, parishioners divided donations into individual bags for clients at Hope for the Homeless. In addition to individual bags, three large bags of new socks, t-shirts, and underwear were collected, as well as large bottles of laundry soap and other cleaning supplies for the center. Everyone agreed that the volume of donations was wonderful, but more than that many parishioners were eager to continue this as an ongoing project!

by Kim Long, DRE, St. Mary of the Pines Parish

St. Joseph Altar in Bastrop

The St. Joseph Altar was celebrated at St. Joseph Parish in Bastrop, Sunday March 16.

Pastor, Fr. Lijo Thomas, explained during the Mass that St. Josephs Day is actually March 19, which is the Feast of St. Joseph. For us, March 16 is the closest date before March 19  to celebrate the St. Joseph Altar; a reflection of deep devotion to St. Joseph, our patron saint and the patron to those in need – workers, travelers, the persecuted, the poor, the aged and the dying.

Father Lijo offered a blessing to everyone in attendance and blessed the items on the altar – food, candles, holy cards and fava beans. Guests enjoyed a slideshow from the 2013 St. Joseph Altar celebration and a movie about St. Joseph.

The St. Joseph Altar is a tradition for members of St. Joseph Church. However, this was the first time for Fr. Lijo.

This years celebration was dedicated to Fr. Bob Inzina (deceased), Veronica Worley and Downey Black who started our tradition. The celebration serves as a reminder that those who have enjoyed some measure of good fortune must share it with those who have less.
At the opening of the St. Joseph Altar, children re-enacted the roles of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. They dressed in costumes and, along with the angels, knocked at three doors asking for food and shelter. They were refused at the first two and were finally invited in by the host of the altar at the third door; they were welcomed in and they sat down to a beautifully decorated table and ate their meals. Guests attending did not eat until the children were finished with their meals.

Because of Lent, a meatless meal is always served. This years menu included the traditional meatless spaghetti with a boiled egg (which symbolizes the rebirth of spring and the coming of Easter).  A statue of St. Joseph stood in the center of our altar which included lilies (symbol of St. Joseph), candles, pineapples, chalice (sign of the consecration of the Bread and Wine at the Last Supper) and wine bottles (represent the miracle of Cana). The altar was adorned with stuffed artichokes, salads and various vegetable dishes, artistic loaves of breads (to represent the miracle of the loaves), sandals, hammer, nails (symbols of St. Joseph) and  other baked goods. Also included were baked red fish (symbol of Jesus Christ, the Fisher of Men), St. Joseph cake, cross cake, lamb cakes and fava beans (the lucky bean).

Each family received a “keepsake bag,” which included fava beans and a holy card blessed by Fr. Lijo. Guests were allowed to take bread and any remaining food with them as they departed to share with the needy. The St. Joseph Altar tradition is to collect a “Love Offering” to be given to a needy family. Parishioners also offered petitions of the faithful which were written on pieces of paper and placed in a container on the altar, which Fr. Lijo will incorporate at various Masses in the future. Everyone enjoyed the celebration.

by Kathy Lenard, St. Joseph Parish

Spirit-Filled Weekend at Abbey Youth Fest

Diocesan teens met up with our seminarians at the annual Abbey Youth Fest.

A 56 passenger bus filled with teenagers and chaperones from St. Matthew, Our Lady of Fatima, St. Paschal, ULM Catholic Campus Ministry, and Saint Mary’s (Winnsboro),  traveled from Monroe to Covington, LA on the weekend of March 21-23, to attend Abbey Youth Festival (AYF). AYF is hosted annually by St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary College. This event exposes teenagers to the abbey, seminary and a variety of religious orders who come to mingle with the teens at the festival. It is a day full of opportunities for teens to hear engaging Catholic speakers, attend concerts, pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and participate in Mass and candlelight Eucharistic Adoration with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

This year, AYF featured the musical talent of the Ike Ndolo Band, Greg&Lizzy, and Covenant 7. Speakers included Sr. Marie Protectrice de la Foi, Nick Adam, Leah Darrow, Dom Quaglia, Fr. Mark Toups, Fr. Tim Hepburn and Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans.

The theme of this year’s festival was “Made For Greatness.” The speakers and music challenged the teens to not accept the world’s vision of who they are to be, but instead to find greatness in God’s vision for their lives. Teens were encouraged by talks on chastity, modesty, true love and the Eucharist. Archbishop Aymond challenged the teens  to be open to God’s calling on their lives, regardless if that call is to be single, married, a priest or religious.

More than 4,500 teens attended from all over the southern U.S. and 900 participated in the Sacrament of Reconciliation offered by priests throughout the day. Our group was given a private tour of St. Joseph Abbey by the seminarians. Additionally, 300 teens presented themselves to Archbishop Aymond as those who felt an attraction to priesthood or religious life.

Most importantly, these teens were able to meet Jesus in the Sacraments. Reconciliation, the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration were moments when these young souls were brought face-to-face with Jesus by the hands of the many priests who devoted their time at the festival. We were even able to spend time with seminarians from the Diocese of Shreveport who helped organize the festival!

Joseph Miller, a teen from St. Matthew, said, “Abbey Youth Fest was an amazing experience. It was a great way to connect with new people from all over and especially with God through the Eucharist.”

by Thomas Kennedy, Teen Minister at St. Matthew Parish.

Catholic Charities Serves Up Nutrition and Budget Class

Seventy-six percent of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) households included a child, an elderly person or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83 percent of all SNAP benefits. Families who struggle to put food on the table often make choices between buying enough food and paying for utilities, not a choice anyone wants to make.*

Can you imagine feeding your family on less than $1.50 per meal per person? The average monthly SNAP benefit is only $153.85 and benefits don’t last most participants the whole month. Ninety percent of SNAP benefits are redeemed by the third week of the month, and 58% of food bank clients currently receiving SNAP benefits turn to food banks for assistance at least six months out of the year.* It seems impossible to us, but that is life for many who want to provide this most basic need of food for their families.

It’s important to know how hunger affects the lives of those who suffer day-in, day-out, right here in our community. At Catholic Charities of Shreveport, we strive to discover more ways we can help, so we’ve begun to offer nutrition workshops for our clients. Rhonda Winbush of United Health Care partners with us in our efforts to enlighten our clients on healthy eating. Recently she presented a video of families who deal with food insecurity, each telling their personal story and how they are learning to make better use of SNAP benefits by shopping more wisely and cooking more.  After the video there was a discussion about the benefits of healthier eating. Then, with the help of Chef Ramundo Benavidez, Gilda Rada-Garcia and Susan Torma, all gathered in our kitchen and enjoyed learning how to prepare many meals from only $10 worth of groceries. Chef Ramundo created a stir fry, a stew, soup and finally, with some of the rice left from the other dishes, a nutritious and tasty rice pudding. Catholic Charities kitchen never smelled so inviting and everyone enjoyed the delicious food.

Each client received the recipes for all dishes as well as the nutritional details and were also shown what fast food meals for a family of four would cost instead and, in turn, how much further that money would go at the grocery store with careful shopping and remembering the rules of good nutrition.

We challenge ourselves and you to take the SNAP challenge to feed your family on $1.50 per person per meal!  It just might be a much more concrete way to understand the effects of poverty and hunger in our country and our community.

 *US Census Bureau Report

by Theresa Mormino, Catholic Charities of Shreveport

The Traveling Vocation Chalice Program

How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me? I will take the Chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord…” (Psalm 116:12-13).

Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish in Monroe, and St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport and many other churches around the nation participate in the growing ministry of the Traveling Vocation Chalice or Crucifix. These programs are supported by a variety of organizations such as the Serra Club, the Catholic Daughters, the Knights of Columbus, and in some parishes, the Vocation Awareness Committee.

The purpose of the Traveling Chalice Program is to encourage families and parishioners to pray for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. The chalice itself is a visual reminder of the importance of Christ’s body and blood as central to our faith and the role of the priest at Mass. Additionally, the chalice is rich with Church history and a testament to the power of the Eucharist that is at the root of our faith. The Second Vatican Council highlighted the responsibility of the laity in fostering vocations. The writings of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict also encourage our active participation in supporting vocations.

In “The Conclusive Document: Developments of Pastoral Care of Vocations in the Local Churches, Experience of the Past and Programs for the Future” (1981), the writers state that “prayer is not a means of receiving the gift of the divine call, but the essential means, commanded by the Lord.”  Vocations are the result of the Christian community actively engaged in prayer that “the owner of the harvest… will send out workers to gather his harvest.”  When we put our faith and hope in the Lord and follow these with action, great are the results. “The domestic church is the normal place for human, Christian, and vocational growth of children.”

Most of the churches run their programs in a similar manner. The main idea is that the Vocation Chalice, or Vocation Crucifix, travels from family to family on a weekly basis. Some programs run year-round, while others last a shorter period of time. Each parish or organization schedules the program according to its own requirements. Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish in Monroe focuses on the Vocation Chalice during Lent. Prior to the beginning of Lent, the Vocation Awareness Committee places notices in the bulletin reminding parishioners of the upcoming schedule and asks for volunteer families. This year there were more volunteer families than there were weeks available.

Each Sunday during Lent, the Vocation Chalice is placed on a small table in front of the main altar at the Mass which the host family attends. At the end of Mass, the priest calls the host family to the front of church. He reminds the parishioners to pray for the host family as well as for vocations from our parish.  In addition to the Chalice, the host family receives a special cloth pouch which contains appropriate prayers. The host family places the Chalice in a place of honor in their home. Each day the family gathers and says prayers for vocations. On the following Friday, the host family returns the Chalice to the church office. This cycle is repeated each Sunday during Lent. According to Dorothy Tipton, a past chairperson of the Vocation Awareness Committee, Good Shepherd Parish instituted the Traveling Vocation Chalice program over six years ago while Fr. Mark Watson was the pastor.

Fr. David Richter, the present pastor, affirms that the placement of the Vocation Chalice can be one of the vocational seeds planted with the children while praying around the dinner table. He added, “We don’t know what means God will use to coax a response from the young person’s heart.”

The Hays family – parents Josh and Ashley and children John Paul, Ella, and Audrey – is one of the host families this year. Ella, age eight, made her First Holy Communion in April. Ashley reported, “Each day during our week with the Chalice, Ella read from a book, Jesus Calling for Kids, then she read the vocation prayers for the day. This experience has made a huge impression on her and the rest of our family.”

St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport has one of the most extensive programs of a Traveling Vocations Crucifix – actually a series of Crucifixes. According to Jennie Murphy, the program at St. Joseph began over a year ago. Mary Frances Parker, the mother of John Parker, a seminarian for the Diocese of Shreveport, was a catalyst for the program. At St. Joseph Parish, parishioners have responded to the Traveling Crucifix program to such an extent that the program runs year round. Not only that, there is a separate crucifix for each of the weekend Masses. There is even a special crucifix which “travels” from classroom to classroom at St. Joseph School throughout the school year.

If your parish has been searching for a particular way in which to call all people to a “vocation state of mind,” perhaps your pastoral council, Mothers’ Club, or other parish organization might consider instituting a Traveling Vocation Chalice or Traveling Crucifix ministry. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact the church offices of either Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish in Monroe (318-325-7549) or St Joseph Parish in Shreveport (318-865-3581). There are also multiple sources on the internet. Just type “traveling vocation chalice” in the search box and you will be led to many links and parishes around the country.

Mary Frances Nahlen-Many, Ph.D., is a member of Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish in Monroe and serves on the Vocation Awareness Committee. 

Be God’s Aging Worker

St. John Paul II said, “Old age is the final stage of human maturity and a sign of Gods blessing.” He felt very close to older people as he aged himself and always said the Church still needed each of us and should make us feel loved, respected and needed. When people tell us, “you’re too old,” I think we should simply hold on a bit more because God is certainly holding  on to our lives. We still have our gifts and talents and time is ours. Its our vitality that allows our light to shine. Dr. Richard Johnson tells us, never allow yourself to think, “My health is shot, I cant do anything more, so Ill stop trying.” Why have such an attitude? My self-confidence has not eroded and neither should you allow yours to. Let your wisdom and courage keep your thinking alive.

Being Gods aging worker in the world is what it is all about. At every age, God needs us to reach out to those in need. Changing lives one at a time is the power of the cross. Pope Francis tells us to “live the Gospel without frontiers,” and that means living in love without any limits to what we are still capable of doing. You must have open hands in order to receive so you can add life to your years. St. John Paul II did just that with all his limitations during the last months of his life. Lets imitate him. What a beautiful example of aging gracefully he was!

Pope Francis said this in his address to the Cardinals, “Old Age, they say, is the seat of wisdom. The old ones have the wisdom that they have earned  from walking through life, like old Simeon and Anna at the temple, whose wisdom allowed them to recognize Jesus.  Let us give with wisdom to the youth like good wine that improves with age, let us give the youth the wisdom of our lives.”

This reminds me of the Adriatic Sea, which I live by, and as I walk along its shores my footprints are left in the sand. It becomes so evident that God has walked with me through all my years and is still walking with me. Remember growing old is a part of everyones life. Just as walking by the sea or in a park is healthy. The breathing of fresh air into my lungs, wading in the water and feeling new energy welling up in my body, as well as an unspeakable calmness as I return home, makes me feel happy, so that during the day I wont “sweat the small stuff,” I can laugh at it instead.  I must tap my mind constantly to keep a youthful spirit by doing all I can, while I can. All things must and do change in the world, so must we. Dont let your circumstances make your decisions for you. Life has taught you many things and even today everything that happens is a teachable moment. Take advantage of it!

May is the month dedicated to seniors. Lets “top it off” by continuing our journey by growing in AGE, WISDOM, COURAGE and SPIRIT. May this month of ours be a real bonus of all that we have been, as our TESTIMONY of what growing older is all about.

Sr. Martinette Rivers, OLS, is a Sister of Our Lady of Sorrows and Spiritual Gerontologist.

Navigating the Faith: Ordinations

by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship

Through sacred Ordination certain of the Christian faithful are appointed in the name of Christ and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to shepherd the Church with the word and grace of God. The divinely established ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different Orders by those who, even from antiquity, have been called bishops, priests, and deacons. The sacramental effects of Holy Orders are the power of the Order and the grace of the Holy Spirit which are accepted and used as such by the Church.

Episcopal consecration (bishop) bestows the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, that fullness of power, namely, which in both the Church’s liturgical practice and the language of the Fathers is called precisely the High Priesthood, the summit of the sacred ministry. But episcopal consecration, together with the office of sanctifying, also confers the offices of teaching and governing, offices that of their very nature can be exercised only in hierarchic communion with the head of the college (the pope) and its members (other bishops). For from tradition, it is clear that the laying on of hands and the words of consecration bestow the grace of the Holy Spirit and impress a sacred character in such a way that bishops in an eminent and visible way carry on the role of Christ himself as Teacher, Shepherd and High Priest and act in his person.

The Church upholds the apostolic succession of bishops. The Order of Bishops succeeds the College of Apostles in teaching authority and pastoral rule. Therefore, as successors of the apostles, bishops receive from the Lord the mission to teach all nations and to preach the Gospel so all people may attain salvation. The prayer of consecration for bishops is found in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome, written at the beginning of the third century.

The placing of the Book of the Gospels over the head of the bishop-elect during the Prayer of Ordination and the presenting of it to him illustrate the pre-eminent obligation of preaching the word of God.  The anointing of the head is the sign of the bishop’s distinctive share in the Priesthood of Christ. The presentation of the ring symbolizes the bishop’s fidelity to the Bride of God, the Church.  The investiture with the miter signifies his resolve to pursue holiness. The presentation of the crosier signifies the duty of guiding and governing the Church entrusted to him. The fraternal kiss seals, so to speak, his admittance into the College of Bishops.

Priests are the bishop’s co-workers. Even though priests do not possess the fullness of the High Priesthood and in the exercise of their power are dependent on the bishops, they are nevertheless linked to the bishops in priestly dignity. By virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, in the image of Christ the eternal High Priest, they are consecrated to preach the Gospel, to shepherd the faithful, and to celebrate divine worship as true priests of the New Testament. By sacred Ordination and the mission they receive from the bishops, priests are promoted to the service of Christ the Teacher, Priest and King. They share in his ministry of unceasingly building up the Church on earth into the People of God, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

By sacred Ordination a sacrament is conferred on priests through which, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, they are signed with a special character and are so configured to Christ the Priest that they have the power to act in the person of Christ the Head. The central part of the Ordination of Priests is the laying on of hands and the consecratory prayer.

From Apostolic times, the Catholic Church has held the holy Order of the Diaconate in high honor. Deacons are ordained for the bishop’s ministry.  At a lower grade of the hierarchy they receive the laying on of hands not for the priesthood, but for the ministry. Strengthened by sacramental grace, they serve the People of God, in the diakonia of liturgy, word, and charity, in communion with the bishop and his presbyterate.

The Ordination of Deacons is a distinct and permanent grade of the hierarchy in the Church.  As with the other Orders, in the Ordination of Deacons the matter is the laying of the bishop’s hands on the individual candidates, and the form consists in the words of the consecratory prayer.  The Ordination of Deacons includes the “Rite of Commitment to Holy Celibacy,” therefore candidates for the Diaconate are consecrated in a new way to Christ.

Structure of the Celebration
1. Presentation of the Elect (the Bishop-elect, or Candidates for the Priesthood or Diaconate)
2. Homily
3. Promise of the Elect
4. Litany of Supplication (the elect prostrate themselves)
Laying on of Hands
Book of the Gospels over head
Prayer of Ordination
Anointing of the Head
Receiving of the Book of the Gospels
Receiving the Ring
Receiving the Miter
Receiving the Crosier
Occupying the Cathedra
Fraternal Kiss
Laying on of Hands
Prayer of Ordination
Investiture with Stole & Chasuble
Anointing of Hands
Receiving the Paten & Chalice
Fraternal Kiss
Laying on of Hands
Prayer of Ordination
Investiture with Stole & Dalmatic
Handing on the Book of Gospels
Fraternal Kiss
5. Liturgy of the Eucharist
6. Concluding Rites
The bishop is the minister of sacred Ordination to all Orders. The laying on of hands and the Prayer of Ordination are the essential elements of every ordination. These elements bestow the gift of the Holy Spirit and impress a sacred character in such a way that bishops, priests and deacons are, in their respective ways, conformed to Christ.

Easter is a Season, Not a Day

by Kim Long

As I write this Palm Sunday is just a few days away and I, like many of us, am already looking forward to Easter Sunday and the “season.” With so much activity and demands on our time I have never been as glad as I am now to think of Easter as a real season, a 50 day invitation to revel in Gods extravagant love for us. Sadly this is a mindset that takes a bit of adjustment from the worlds time to Gods time, from the merchandisers who are already urging us on and at a frantic pace to the next “holiday,” to the natural inclination I have of breathing a sigh of relief that “at least now I can focus on the next event in the parish.”

This Lent hasn’t been what I expected… I didn’t really give up anything and found myself showing up for Stations of the Cross, attending the Ecumenical Lenten lunches in the Southern Hills area, going to confession and slowly realizing that I had been making a steady progression toward faithfulness. In my previous Lenten experiences I thought what I did needed to be BIG: give up all sugar, go to Mass daily, no television, no fast food, no no no. I am grateful to feel a sense of balance in this Lenten period and perhaps this year it was exactly what I needed. I think it has helped me with the concept of Easter as a season and not a day. Of course the cantor reminds the congregation that this is the second, third, fourth Sunday of Easter and so on, but to really begin to embrace it feels comforting and not like an additional burden or another event.

Easter treats are fun and I enjoy making them and eating them. Over the years I, like my mom and grandmother before me, have rolled out countless sugar cookies, frosted cupcakes with dyed coconut and jellybeans, homemade carrot cake, and once cut out yeast dough with cookie cutters for Easter lunch so that the rolls were in the shape of bunnies and carrots. Most of this has been replaced with the following recipe. I made it just as an experiment one Eastertide  and since then it is the dessert I am “told” to bring to family Easter gatherings. I also make a second one just for my boys. I stumbled across it in Nigella Lawsons hefty tome Feast: Food to Celebrate Life, I think it is also known under the guise “flourless chocolate cake,” but Nigellas recipe is written in a comical, encouraging and non-inflated way that made me confident of my effort. Don’t worry, its an easy and delicious recipe and a small bite will definitely take you to another place.

This year as we wend our way toward Pentecost Sunday, which is on June 8 this year, pace yourself with “treats” – which is something my siblings and I didn’t do; by sundown on the Feast of the Resurrection all but the “yuckiest” of our Easter treats were consumed and there was nothing for the days ahead to remind us of the sweetness of Gods love! Consider pacing  and marking some of these 50 days with small treats along the way. Of course, I am not saying they must all be food!
Christ is risen… truly Christ is risen!

PLEASE don’t be put off by the number of steps in this recipe! Read it through a couple of times and then proceed with confidence after prayers to Saints Lawrence and Martha (some patrons of cooks everywhere). You can do it! And the rewards will be if not “heavenly” then certainly yummy!

Easter Egg Nest Cake


For the Cake:
• 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 6 eggs: 2 whole and 4 separated
• 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar (1/3 cup for the yolk mixture; 1/2 cup for the whites)

For the Topping:
•4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup sugar shell (sugar coated) Easter egg candy (like Cadbury Mini Eggs)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Line the bottom of an 8″  springform pan with parchment paper. DO NOT grease sides of pan.
3) Melt the chocolate with the butter (microwave or double boiler) and set aside to cool slightly.
4) Beat 4 egg whites until firm, then gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until the egg whites are holding their shape and peak but aren’t yet stiff.
5) Remove bowl from mixer and set aside. In another bowl place 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 1/3 cup of sugar and vanilla and once that is mixed up really well gently fold in your chocolate mixture. Lighten the mixture with some of the egg whites –just a dollop at a time and stir briskly – then fold in the rest of the egg white mixture gently.
6) Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the center is no longer wobbly on the surface. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack; the middle sinks as it cools and the sides splinter. You want this to look like a cake with a crater in it so DON’T PANIC.
7) To finish cake, carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a cake stand, not worrying if bits fall off here and there. Put them back on in a loose fashion.
8) Melt the chocolate for the topping and leave it to cool a little while. Whip the cream until it is firming up but still soft (not like butter!) and then add vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate.
9) Fill the crater of the cake with the chocolatey cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake with a rubber spatula and then arrange the little sugar eggs on top.

Nigella Lawson “Feast: Food to Celebrate Life” published by Hyperion