Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Adventure of Fatherhood

Wild at Heart is in my top five favorite books. Written by John Eldredge for both male and female readers, Wild at Heart took me on an adventure through the soul of every man and explored the universal desires of his heart. While it goes without saying that each man is different from the next, there’s no denying that they aspire to heroism, they seek a battle to fight, and adventure and risk are woven into their fantasies. Ultimately, the answer to all of the above is found in a life lived with God, the very source of each yearning. God Himself is the prime example of what it means to be a warrior, to take risks and to rescue those in danger; and because God created man with these hopes, He offers him the chance to fulfill his dreams in whatever God calls him to do.

For millions of men, that call includes fatherhood which never fails to provide opportunity for truly masculine expression. Though it may not entail conventional ideas of heroism, battle and adventure, fatherhood requires every bit of them in abundance.

Perhaps surprisingly, heroism is the easiest among the three to achieve in fatherhood. All my husband has to do is look up and he’s a champion. Our small children range from unborn to four-years-old, so the height of their existence right now is showcasing their abilities: how strong they are and how fast. “Daddy, watch me!” Though they can’t get enough of my attention, it’s their dad’s amazement that they pursue constantly; when Andrew walks away from what he’s doing to affirm that our boys are as great as they hope, he’s a hero. They glow knowing they impress him and make him proud.

When it comes to fighting battles, fatherhood is the perfect place. In family life, confrontation is all too easy to encounter, but the battles that go largely unrecognized are of a spiritual nature. When we have our children baptized, we agree to raise them in the Catholic faith; parents become responsible for their children’s spiritual upbringing, which includes covering them in prayer. Pray for their purity, pray for their fortitude, pray for fervor of faith and the conviction to imitate Christ. Prayers for strength in trial and temptation are equally important as prayers for blessings and joy. My father-in-law began praying for my husband’s future wife when Andrew was still very small. Looking back, it’s wonderful knowing he was covering both Andrew and me in prayer our whole lives.

Most don’t think of fatherhood as daring, but what else could be more adventurous than teaching another person how to live? Fatherhood calls a man to teach his kids how to love God and neighbor. So much of the adventure comes in experiencing the thrill of the world through a child’s eyes and in passing on wisdom for another’s benefit. The perk here is that the more adventures come the more present a father is – hunting and road trips, camping, playing catch in the yard. The excitement only increases the closer a man is to his kids.

The desires for heroism, fighting battles, and adventure are written on the heart of every man. The secret is knowing that God avails every father the chance to fulfill all three through living more closely with his kids. Doing so will only result in greater joy for dads and children.

Katie Sciba is the author of thecatholicwife.net. She lives in Shreveport with her husband, Andrew, and three sons, Liam,Thomas & Peter.

Second Collections for June and July

Peter’s Pence
Announcement Dates:  June 15th & 22nd
Collection Dates: June 28th & 29th

Be a Witness of Charity.”  This is the theme for the 2014 Peter’s Pence Collection. This collection provides the Holy Father with the funds he needs to carry out his charitable works around the world. The proceeds benefit the most disadvantaged: victims of war, oppression and disasters.

Each of us have been on the receiving end of charity.  We have received divine charity: the Eternal Father’s love, the Son’s redeeming sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit’s grace and power.  We’ve received the charity of parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives, a neighbor, a teacher or a friend.  The saints and angels have been given to us as intercessors, companions and guardians.

It’s our turn to “Be a Witness to Charity.”  We are given this opportunity to join Pope Francis in bearing witness to what we have gratefully received.  Now we show and do for others as has been done for us. This was the mission of Jesus, and this is the mission of his holy people who are the Church. Our Lord bore witness to the Father’s love and mercy.  We have this awesome opportunity to do likewise in union with him.

Archdiocese for Military Services
Announcement Dates:  July 6th & 13th
Collection Dates: July 19th & 20th

The Archdiocese for Military Services, USA provides pastoral and spiritual care for our active duty and retired military personnel and their families. In the third chapter of  Luke, our Lord Jesus Christ addresses the spiritual needs and works of soldiers.  It is re-assuring that no group or sector of our society is left outside the merciful embrace of our Savior. The bishops of the United States have faithfully addressed the pastoral, spiritual and sacramental needs of our U.S. military personnel and their families. They are asking our help to sustain and advance this apostolate of the Church.

This collection gives us at home the religious and civic opportunity to serve those who serve. The Archdiocese for Military Services depends completely on the generosity of the American Catholic Community to operate its necessary programs and services for our service men and women and their families. The funds from this collection ensure all Catholics have access to the sacraments  and spiritual guidance of a Catholic chaplain wherever they are stationed.

Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General, is the Director of Special Collections.

The Lord’s Day and Travel

This summer, the pews in many of our parishes will be a little emptier as our families undertake summer vacations. Traveling removes us from our ordinary routine, and thus embarking on even the most relaxing vacation plan can require a lot of energy, especially for families with young children. But when we travel, our senses are attuned to new sights and sounds, different colors and flavors. How blessed we are that as Roman Catholics, we have the privilege of being able to attend Mass almost anywhere in the world we go!

We are reminded in the third commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. This includes vacation Sundays! But Sunday Mass attendance is so much more than an obligation; indeed, our Sunday liturgy is “the summit toward which the activity of the church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows. (Sacrosanctum Concilium 10)” On the Lord’s Day, or Sunday, the Church celebrates the Resurrection of Christ. The Catechism reminds us that on Sundays, we celebrate both the first day of Creation and also the day of rest, when God looked back on all of creation and saw that it was very good. How good and fitting for us to make celebration of Sunday liturgy a priority when we take vacations with the intent of resting and refreshing our bodies and our spirits.

When we enter an unfamiliar Church in a new town, we are reminded that the prayer of the Church is much larger than that just celebrated in our own parish. We open our eyes to a larger vision of Church and we get the opportunity to see different accents superimposed on familiar rituals. For our children in particular, it is so important to demonstrate through our actions that our entire lives are gifts from God, and that the magnitude of this gift means we should gather as a Church in thanksgiving, praise, and worship each Sunday, no matter where we are.

Summer travel includes a lot of logistical planning – transportation, lodging, meals, etc.  When planning a vacation, Sunday Mass can also be “in the plan.” Online resources such as www.masstimes.org are easy to use. You simply input the name of the town to which you will be traveling and the website locates not only adjacent parishes, but also lists Mass times. The Catholic Directory makes an app that allows you to instantly access  information on local Masses using your current location.

When we take a vacation, we step away from the ordinary rhythm of work and home to reconnect with loved ones and to remember who God has created each one of us to be. When we maintain our connection to the Body of Christ and the rhythm of the Church, we allow ourselves to be drawn ever more deeply into the mystery of Christ and thus to become more effective witnesses in our daily lives and indeed, to the very ends of the earth.

by Cathy Cobb, Director of Faith Formation,St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish

Some Thoughts for Our Graduating Seniors

by Bishop Michael Duca

As I write this article I know that many of our Catholic young people are graduating from high school throughout the diocese and are looking forward to the possibilities of college and other new beginnings.  You are probably looking forward to this new beginning as an opportunity to “discover who you are” and “to experience” the bigger world beyond your high school and family.  This is mostly true.  This new time in your life will open your mind and heart to so many new ideas, experiences and hopes.  You will discover who you are and what you are called to be in a new and deeper way.  But before you go I want to remind you that you won’t be completely clueless, YOU DO KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT WHO YOU ARE and being aware of this will give you important wisdom to guide and support you in your new beginning.

First, you know that you are part of a family.  You have a last name and it represents, I hope, a family of loving relationships that you may not fully appreciate now but they will, if you let them, most likely provide a rock of support as you face future challenges. You do know who your family is, so in times of need do not be afraid or too proud to ask for their help and to hold on to their love as a source of strength. There are many aspects of yourself that you will discover in college, but this is something you already know.  When you know your family you know who you are, where you came from, and this is a truth that will ground you as you seek out the opportunities before you.

You know that you are a Catholic, baptized into Christ and are truly a Child of God.  This relationship with God in the Church is important to fighting all the forces that are trying to strip God out of our lives. You will certainly meet teachers and others who will challenge your faith and the notion that God exists. They will sound like they know so much, and they do know a lot more than you, but you should not accept their understanding until you know more as well.  Study and search for answers of an equal intellectual weight. Platitudes of faith will not be enough; you must seek to deepen the knowledge of your faith just as you are deepening the knowledge of all your other subjects.  Believe me, if someone gives you a seemingly solid argument that contradicts the truth of your belief, know that in over 2,000 years of Christianity that question has been asked and answered and the faith endures. Find the answer; it is there.

Do not fall for the lie that faith and science cannot mix or that faith and reason are incompatible.  It is a hallmark of our Catholic faith that we give an honored place to both faith and reason in our lives. In his book on Faith and Reason, St. Pope John Paul II writes:

“Faith asks that its object be understood with the help of reason; and at the summit of its searching, reason acknowledges that it cannot do without what faith presents” (n. 42). As St. Thomas Aquinas argued, “because the light of reason and the light of faith both come from God, there can be no contradiction between them (n. 43).” (Faith and Reason)

We can see an example of how science and faith can mix in the life of Gregor Johann Mendel who was an Augustinian Friar and is known as the founder of the modern science of genetics.  Also, St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican priest, is one of the great philosophers because he took ancient pre-Christian philosophers, like Plato and Aristotle, and applied their insights to create a Christian philosophy that explained in a clearer and reasonable way the truths of our faith.  Faith and reason are not incompatible so let your belief in God be a source of deeper insight and wisdom in your studies rather than an obstacle.

Know that you are loved by God and with His love comes the sacrament of forgiveness.  You will probably make some big mistakes along the way.  Do not fear; do not give in to shame or pride. Know that with the grace of going to confession and receiving God’s forgiveness we can begin again. The knowledge about yourself that you are loved will also help you seek the honest and faithful love of another who will be worthy of marriage or will guide you to the service of God as a priest or sister.

Finally, know that you are a member of the Church.  Stay connected to your parish church if you stay close to home. If you are going to college, connect with the Catholic Campus Ministry on campus or with a parish close to your campus and you will strengthen all the knowledge I have listed above.  You will feel the support of family, you will be reminded of God’s love, be able to receive the sacraments and find a place to have questions answered.

I hope you are encouraged that you are not beginning with a clean slate.  You know a lot about yourself already.  These truths: knowing you have a family, that you are a child of God, that you are loved and that your search for truth in school is not hindered by your faith but rather enriched, will ground you in the kind of wisdom that will protect your soul.  May God bless and protect you on your journey of life.

Algunos Pensamientos para Nuestros Graduados

por Obispo Michael G. Duca

Mientras escribo este artículo, sé que muchos de nuestros jóvenes Católicos se están graduando de la Preparatoria en toda la diócesis y esperan con gusto las posibilidades que tendrán para ir a la universidad y otros nuevos comienzos. Ustedes están seguramente esperando estos nuevos comienzos como una oportunidad de “descubrir quiénes son” y “experimentar” el mundo más allá de la preparatoria y de su familia y esto es en parte verdad. Pero este nuevo paso en su vida abrirá su mente y corazón a muchas esperanzas, ideas y experiencias nuevas. Descubrirán de una manera más profunda quiénes son y lo que están llamados a ser. Antes de que se vayan, quiero recordarles, que no es que no sepan nada porque USTEDES SI SABEN ALGO ACERCA DE QUIENES SON y el estar conscientes de esto les guiará a dar tanto importancia y sabiduría, como apoyo en su nuevo comienzo.

Primero, ustedes saben que son parte de una familia. Tienen un apellido y este representa, espero, una familia de relaciones amorosas que tal vez no valoren ahora pero, si los dejan, ellos los apoyarán y lo más seguro es que serán una fuente de apoyo cuando enfrenten retos en el futuro. Ustedes saben quién es su familia, así que en tiempos de necesidad no tengan orgullo ni miedo de pedir su ayuda y aferrarse a su amor que es como una fuente de fortaleza. Hay muchos aspectos que tienen que considerar en la universidad, pero esto es algo que ustedes ya saben. Sin embargo, cuando conocen a su familia, se conocen a ustedes mismos, saben su procedencia, y esta es una base que les servirá para aprovechar las oportunidades que se les presenten.

Saben que son católicos, bautizados en Cristo y son verdaderos Hijos de Dios. Esta relación con Dios en la Iglesia, es importante para contrarrestar todas las fuerzas que intentan sacar a Dios de nuestras vidas. Encontrarán maestros y otras personas que los retarán directamente a ustedes, a su fe y a la noción de que Dios existe. Estas personas se van a presentar como muy sabias y sí, saben más que ustedes, pero ustedes no deben aceptar el entendimiento de ellos hasta que ustedes también conozcan más. Estudien e investiguen respuestas al mismo nivel intelectual. Poco conocimiento de la fe no les será suficiente; necesitan buscar un conocimiento más profundo de su fe de igual manera que lo harán con en el conocimiento de sus otras materias. Créanme, si alguien les da un argumento que parece sólido pero contradice la verdad que ustedes conocen, sepan que por más de 2,000 años de Cristiandad ya se han hecho esas preguntas y se han respondido porque la fe las soporta. Encuentren la respuesta, sí existe.

No caigan en la mentira de que la fe y la ciencia no se mezclan o que la fe y la razón son incompatibles. Es una característica de nuestra fe Católica a la cual damos un lugar de honor en nuestras vidas a la fe y a la razón. En su libro “La Fe y la Razón”, San Juan Pablo II escribe:

“La Fe pide ser entendida con la ayuda de la razón; y en la cumbre de este razonamiento, reconoce que no puede existir sin lo que la fe presenta” (n. 42). Como Santo Tomas de Aquino lo argumentó, porque la luz de la razón y la luz de la fe vienen de Dios, no puede haber contradicción entre ellas (n. 43). (La Fe y la Razón)

Podemos ver un ejemplo de cómo la ciencia y la fe sí se pueden mezclar en la vida de Gregorio Johan Mendel, un Fraire Agustino que es conocido como el fundador de la ciencia moderna de la Genética. También, Santo Tomas de Aquino, un sacerdote Dominicano, y es uno de los grandes filósofos porque tomó a los antiguos pre-Cristianos filósofos como Plató y Aristóteles y aplicó sus conocimientos para crear una filosofía Cristiana que explicara de manera más clara y razonable las verdades de nuestra fe. La Fe y la Razón no son incompatibles, así que dejen que su creencia en Dios sea una fuente de conocimiento y sabiduría en sus estudios en vez de que sea un obstáculo.

Ustedes saben que son amados por Dios y con Su amor viene el sacramento del perdón. Probablemente ustedes cometerán errores en su camino, algunos de estos serán grandes errores. No tengan miedo; no se dejen llevar por la vergüenza ni por el orgullo. Sepan que con la gracia de ir a la confesión y recibir el perdón de Dios, podemos comenzar de nuevo. Sabiendo que ustedes son amados también les ayudará a buscar el amor de alguien honesto y fiel, que sea merecedor de matrimonio o tal vez sean guiados al servicio de Dios como sacerdotes o religiosas.

Finalmente, sepan que son miembros de la Iglesia. Manténganse conectados con su iglesia si continúan viviendo cerca de casa. Si se van a ir a la universidad, conéctense con el ministerio Católico universitario o con una parroquia cerca de su escuela para que se fortalezcan en todo el conocimiento que menciono arriba. Sentirán el apoyo de la familia, recordarán el amor de Dios, podrán recibir los sacramentos y encontrarán un lugar donde sus preguntas serán respondidas.

Espero se animen sabiendo que no están comenzando desde abajo. Ya saben mucho sobre ustedes mismos. Estas verdades: saber que tienen una familia, que son un hijo(a) de Dios, que son amados y que su búsqueda por la verdad en la escuela no se daña con la fe, sino al contrario la enriquece, les da una base en la clase de sabiduría que protegerá su alma. Que Dios bendiga y proteja su camino por la vida.

Zwolle Children Presented Holy Week Play

Kindergarten and First Graders at St. Joseph Parish in Zwolle, presented a play of Holy Week with Palm Sunday, Last Supper and the Agony in the Garden. These young people may be small, but moved the parishioners hearts in a big way.

Oak Grove Hosted Easter Egg Hunt

On Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014, there were two Easter Egg Hunts at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oak Grove. The first was held after the morning Mass at 11:00 pm. The second was held after the Spanish Mass at 5:00 p.m. A fun time was had by both groups of children.

St. Paschal Youth Re-enacted Stations of the Cross

The Hispanic Youth at St. Paschal Church prayed the Stations of the Cross following the Palm Sunday Mass at 2:30 p.m.  The youth dressed in costumes to reenact the Sations of the Cross outside behind the school building.  The youth and the congregation walked the journey of Our Lord’s Passion which also included readings of self-examination that are pertinent to our modern time. The youth are led by Mirna Pineda and Arianna Gonzales on Wednesday nights from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Religious Sisters Honored

Sr. Rose Marie McDermott

Sr. Ernestine Mulvey

Two religious sisters who spent several years working and ministering at Schumpert Medical Center and later CHRISTUS Schumpert, were honored May 10 for their long years of service by their congregation, The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Sr. Ernestine Mulvey and Sr. Rose Marie McDermott were honored for 60 years of service at a Diamond Jubilee Mass and luncheon at the congregation’s Mother House, Villa de Matel, in Houston, TX.

St. Lucy Ladies Make Rosaries for Others

Every month, on the second Monday, some of the ladies at St. Lucy Church in Hodge, LA, gather for food, fellowship and rosary making.  They have shipped these rosaries to India, China, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Africa, and, most recently, the Philippines. The rosaries were shipped to the St. Vincent de Paul Parish and Shrine and were handed out to the children receiving their First Communion and to the teachers who are assisting them.  Pictured are the recipients of the collected gifts.