Monthly Archives: July 2014

Catholic Schools: Stepping Into a New School Year

by Sister Carl Shively, OSU, Superintendent

As we step into a new school year, I would like to introduce  the profile of a Catholic school teacher/minister.  Many times we forget that these ministers are walking a journey with our students, gently leading students towards goals and expectations and showing them the movements of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  It is the goal of each teacher to serve as a “John the Baptist” each day in pointing out the Lord.

A Catholic school teacher is a man or woman of faith. This gift of faith, though unseen, motivates the teacher to take our students into a world where peace and justice reign. The teacher must “walk the talk.” Every day the student is grading the teacher and evaluating to see if the actions match the words.  For us who are teachers, our students can serve as a mirror for our daily examination of conscience.

A Catholic school teacher is a man or woman of integrity. Integrity is a purity of mind and heart that knows no deception, no excuses, no rationalization, nor any coloring of the facts. It is an absolute honesty with one’s self, with God and with our fellow man. Even if God blinked or looked the other way for a moment, it would be choosing the right—not merely because God desires it, but because our character demands it.

A Catholic School teacher is a man or woman of forgiveness. Forgiveness is about releasing ones apprehension, trepidation and consternation. This may be done by letting loose the past so it no longer has control over the individual, their views or sentiments. One way of releasing this tension is to gain reconciliation through forgiveness, especially with students; it is essential that the teacher be aware there is a need to engage the student, particularly if there is likelihood that the student may find it difficult to render forgiveness. The teacher will also discover that reconciliation happens naturally once they have set themselves free through forgiveness.

A Catholic school teacher is a man or woman of laughter. In the words of Carolyn Birmingham, “A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.”  To our students, yesterday is just a memory, today is the adventure. The Catholic school teacher believes in the present and that the adventure is in the future where God shapes and molds young lives into being for others.

A Catholic school teacher is a man or woman who is commissioned to go into the workplace and reveal God’s saving spirit through the quality of their lives. May our teachers labor for justice, lobby for peace and be content with the wage of commitment.

Click to download the Annual Catholic Schools Report

Pope Calls for Intervention in the Crisis of Migrant Children

Vatican City (VIS) – On July 15 Pope Francis sent a message to the participants in the “Mexico/Holy See Colloquium on Migration and Development.” In the text, the Pontiff urges the international community to promote the adoption of new forms of legal and safe migration and called for protection and a suitable reception for the many children who migrate across the border with the United States unaccompanied. He also highlights the need for policies to inform potential migrants of the dangers of such a journey and above all, for initiatives to promote development in their countries of origin.

“Many people forced to immigrate suffer, and often, die tragically; many of their rights are violated, they are obliged to separate from their families and, unfortunately, continue to be the subject of racist and xenophobic attitudes.

“Faced with this situation, I repeat what I have affirmed in this year’s Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees: ‘A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world.’

“I would also like to draw attention to the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence: This is a category of migrants from Central America and Mexico itself who cross the border with the United States under extreme conditions and in pursuit of a hope that in most cases turns out to be vain. They are increasing day by day. This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected. These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin. Finally, this challenge demands the attention of the entire international community so that new forms of legal and secure migration may be adopted.

Meeting of the Cardinals: “Free, Frank and Friendly”

Vatican City (VIS) –  On July 4, the Council of Cardinals, gathered at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

With regard to the themes considered, as well as those indicated in recent days (the Governorate, the Secretariat of State and the Institute for the Works of Religion), the Council resumed its reflections on the dicasteries of the Curia. The laity and family were studied in particular depth, especially in terms of the contributions and roles that should be assumed by laypeople, married couples and women.

Decisions were not made, but more detailed proposals were offered that will subsequently be inserted into the overall framework of the new configuration of the Curia. Other themes on which there has been an exchange of opinions during the meetings include the nunciatures and their work, and the procedures for the appointment of bishops. Aside from the contribution of the Commission of Cardinals for the Supervision of the IOR, heard on Tuesday and Wednesday, there was no further participation from entities external to the Council.

With regard to the working atmosphere and approach, the participants have expressed great satisfaction. The overall tone has been described as “free, frank and friendly” (the “3Fs”). The Pope participated naturally in the dialogue, promoting a climate of free expression.

There are still no texts that may be considered as drafts of the new Constitution, since the work proceeds in the form of partial contributions, generally presented by individual Cardinals charged with the task of studying specific matters.

Pope’s Nuncio to Sudan Spoke at Cathedral

On June 18, the Diocese of Shreveport enjoyed a rare opportunity – Archbishop Bert Van Megen, Apostolic Nuncio to the Sudan, the largest country in Africa, shared his experiences at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans. Close to 100 people turned out to learn about the functions of the papal nunciature, what’s happening with the Church in Africa and Archbishop Van Megen’s experiences in this fascinating and vital position that’s all but unknown to many American Catholics.

“Nuncio” means messenger, and that’s an apt description of what an Apostolic Nuncio, also called a Papal Nuncio, does. Essentially, an Apostolic Nuncio is an ambassador or diplomat for the Catholic Church. “The Holy See has a central power from which it governs the entire Church,” the Archbishop explained, “which is why it has and sends out diplomats.” The Papal Nunciature is comprised of 100 ambassadors to countries around the world, 12 ambassadors to various international organizations, such as the United Nations and the African Union and 142 junior diplomatic staff.
That sounds like a lot of people working on behalf of the Church – and it is – but it’s far more than there once was. At the beginning of St. Pope John Paul II’s pontificate, there were 78 Apostolic Nuncios stationed throughout the world. By the end, there were 174. Among his myriad accomplishments, he reestablished diplomatic relations with the U.S. in 1984 (they were severed sometime after the 19th Century) and forged a relationship with Israel in 1993.

To those outside the Church, it may seem odd that the Holy See has diplomats at all, but it’s only logical when considering that one out of six people on Earth is Catholic. With a population that astronomical, “the Church has a very significant political weight,” Archbishop Van Megen said. Unlike governmental institutions, the Holy See has no economic interests and is not a military power. This gives the Apostolic Nunciature more freedom to act and garners more trust from the countries with which they negotiate, but correspondingly, they have few means to pressure a government. But, the Archbishop pointed out, “when the majority of the population is Catholic [e.g., Brazil], that in itself creates political pressure.”

Like other diplomats, Apostolic Nuncios have the privilege of legal immunity, but their professional positions are often much more delicate – any misstep, and the Catholics in that country may suffer the repercussions. “We are responsible for human lives,” said Archbishop Van Megen.

The Archbishop, in particular, knows full well how precarious an Apostolic Nuncio’s situation can be. Although the citizens of the Sudan ostensibly enjoy religious freedom, the truth is that the country is 95 percent Muslim and Khartoum, the capital, operates under Shari’a law. Converting to Christianity, for instance, is punishable by death. Archbishop Van Megen pointed out that since he has diplomatic immunity, it is easier for him to discuss political matters with the government than it is for the local bishops, who are citizens of the country. The Apostolic Nunciature is concerned with all matters of peace, justice, truth and human rights in addition to matters specific to the Roman Catholic Church.

Shortly, the Archbishop will return to the Sudan, a frontier between the Middle Eastern and African worlds, and he will face the many problems currently plaguing the country, namely the tension between Northern Sudan, which is almost entirely Muslim, and the South, which seceded in 2011 and declared itself a Christian nation – one of the few countries in the world that has. Not surprisingly, this move created and inflamed a number of volatile situations, all of which must be closely monitored by the Archbishop.

Archbishop Van Megen encouraged those in attendance on June 18 to pray for the heroic Christian men and women who suffer under the Sudan’s Muslim government. Let us also pray for the Archbishop himself, that he can continue to support the Christian community in the Sudan through a Gospel of reconciliation, forgiveness and mercy.

by Kelly Phelan Powell

New Clergy Assignments


1)  Fr. Abraham Chiramukhathu, CMI, relieved of his position at Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Monroe.

2) Fr. John Paul Crispin, FMH, appointed Parochial Vicar of St. Mary of the Pines Parish, Shreveport.

3) Fr. Karl Daigle appointed Pastor, Christ the King Parish, Bossier City.

4)  Fr. Thomas Elavunkal, CMI appointed Pastor, St. John the Baptist Parish, Many, and St. Terence Church, Toledo Bend.

5) Fr. Mark Franklin appointed Pastor at St. Joseph Parish, Shreveport.

6) Fr. Keith Garvin appointed Parochial Vicar, Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Monroe and Chaplain at St. Frederick High School, Monroe.

7) Fr. Sebastian Kallarackal, CMI appointed Pastor, St. Paul Parish, Minden, and St. Margaret Church, Homer; Blessed Sacrament Church, Ringgold and Sacred Heart Church, Springhill (Chapel of Ease).

8) Fr. Joseph A. Martina, Jr. appointed Pastor, Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Monroe, and St. Lawrence Church, Swartz, and Christ the King Parish/ULM Campus Ministry, Monroe.

9) Fr. Rothell Price, VG, relieved as Pastor, Christ the King Parish, Bossier City.

10) Fr. Michael Thang’wa, FMH appointed Parochial Vicar, St. Joseph Parish, Shreveport.

11) Fr. Jéan Bosco Uwamungu appointed Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph Parish, Zwolle.


1) Orlando Batongbakal appointed to St. Clement Parish, Vivian.

2) Scott Brandle appointed to St. Matthew Parish, Monroe.

3) Tim Cotita appointed to St. Paschal Parish, West Monroe.

4) Tom Deal appointed to Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Monroe.

5) Christopher Domingue appointed to Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Monroe.

6) Bill Goss appointed to St. Lawrence Church, Swartz.

7) Bill Kleinpeter appointed to St. Joseph Parish, Mansfield.

8) Scott Lehr appointed to St. Jude Parish, Benton.

9) Danny Lemoine appointed to Christ the King Parish, Bossier City.

10) Jack Lynch appointed to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Shreveport.

11) David Nagem appointed to Sacred Heart Parish, Oak Grove.

12) Robert Ransom appointed to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Ruston.

13) Ricardo Rivera appointed to Christ the King Parish, Bossier City.

14) Charles Thomas appointed to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish, Shreveport.

15) Marc Vereen appointed to St. Joseph Parish, Bastrop.

16) Mike Whitehead appointed to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Shreveport.

17) Mike Wise appointed to St. Jude Parish, Benton.

Bishop Duca Ordains 16 Permanent Deacons

When Bishop Michael Duca ordained 16 Permanent Deacons on June 28, he gave them a profound mission for their life of service –– Believe what you read; teach what you believe; practice what you teach.

This ordination was the exclamation point for the Diocese of Shreveport this year. Within an extraordinary 30-day period beginning at the end of May, Bishop Duca ordained two priests, two transitional deacons and 16 Permanent Deacons. This was the third group of Permanent Deacons ordained in the Diocese of Shreveport since 1986.

The new deacons and their assignments include Deacon Orlando Batongbakal, St. Clement Parish, Vivian; Deacon Scott Brandle, St. Matthew Parish, Monroe; Deacon Tom Deal, Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Monroe; Deacon Chris Domingue, Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Monroe; Deacon Bill Goss, II, St. Lawrence Church, Swartz; Deacon Bill Kleinpeter, St. Joseph Parish, Mansfield; Deacon Steve Lehr, St. Jude Parish, Benton; Deacon Danny LeMoine, Christ the King Parish, Bossier City; Deacon Jack Lynch, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Shreveport; Deacon David Nagem, Sacred Heart Parish, Oak Grove; Deacon Robert Ransom, St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Ruston; Deacon Ricardo Rivera, Christ the King Parish, Bossier City; Deacon Charles Thomas, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish, Shreveport; Deacon Marc Vereen, St. Joseph Parish, Bastrop; Deacon Mike Whitehead, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Shreveport; and Deacon Michael Wise, St. Jude Parish, Benton.

Every aspect of the ordination, held at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, had deep meaning for the new deacons: from the laying on of hands by Bishop Duca, to presenting the Book of the Gospels, to humbly lying prostrate. The new deacons will help the bishop and his priests in the ministry of the word and charity, showing themselves to be the servants of all. They will preside over public prayer, administer baptism, assist at and bless marriages, bring Viaticum to the dying and conduct funeral rites.

In his homily, Bishop Duca gave the new deacons one sustaining virtue as they go forward to serve God and God’s people: “Do not be proud of being a deacon. I say that particularly because pride could easily go wrong. Pride can become arrogance. And very quickly you can seek to be someone who seeks to be served, not to serve. Rather, I ask you to be thankful for being called to diaconate service. Thankfulness is an attitude that has room for mercy, room for the call to service for others. When thankfulness is in our heart, then we are open to God’s graces, His mercy and His love. As a result, you will become better ministers of Jesus Christ.”

Deacon Clary Nash, the Director of the Permanent Diaconate for the diocese, was celebrating the 28th anniversary of his ordination that same day. “Our church is alive and well as demonstrated at the ordination. The Cathedral was standing room only with another 250-plus in the simulcast area to allow for all who came to witness this great day for our church. After more than five years of prayerful reflection and training, the culmination of watching 16 men dedicate their lives to service and the people of God was one of my greatest and most emotional days of my life. I will never forget the expressions on their faces as Bishop Duca laid hands on them as he prayed for the Holy Spirit to descend upon them.”

In addition to celebrating the 16 new deacons, two women, Jane Himel and Nadalie Thomas, took all four years of the deacon courses alongside the men and received an Adult Faith Formation Certificate from Jim McGill of the University of Dallas.

by Deacon Mike Whitehead

African-Infused Ordination for Crispin & Mutisya

Ordinations to the diaconate and priesthood are always joyful events, especially in the mission Diocese of Shreveport where our clergy numbers are small but growing. When you take that joyful occasion and add to it a Catholic Kenyan choir who suffused the church sanctuary with beautiful music and celebratory dancing, it’s no wonder that all in attendance couldn’t help but smile and dance along.

On June 21, two Francsican Missionaries of Hope brothers rejoiced as they celebrated their ordinations: Brother Paul Mutisya was ordained to the transitional diaconate, and Deacon John Paul Crispin was ordained to the priesthood at St. Mary of the Pines Catholic Church in Shreveport.
The event was infused with the culture of both brothers who hail from Kenya and India respectively. Those who could travel from their homelands to the event did so, and those who could not were able to tune in via live webcast to watch as the two men took gigantic steps on their vocational journeys.

Bishop Michael Duca celebrated the ordination Mass and spoke to both men about their journeys to the priesthood.

“It is my prayer that you will take these gifts of diaconate and priesthood and use them to joyfully serve the people of God. Sometimes you get a lot more days of demand before you get days of fulfillment, but it does come… In the bridge between demand and sacrifice and fulfillment, what holds us over is our faith and our trust in the Lord; hope in the Lord. Be true missionaries of hope, not just to the people you meet, but also to your own self. Trust that the Lord will not leave you alone.”

Both men were ordained with celebration and joy from across the globe.  John Paul Crispin was even blessed to have his brother, Fr. Amal Raj Crispin, who is a diocesan priest for the Archdiocese of Bangalore in India, there and participating in his ordination.

Following their ordinations, both men had a chance to speak. Both Deacon Mutisya and Father Crispin thanked their families for their constant support, as well as their community and the faithful who have supported them on their way.

Fr. Michael Thang’wa announced that in the next year Deacon Mutisya will serve as an intern in New York. Bishop Duca followed his announcement by saying that after talking with the Franciscan Missionaries of Hope, he was happy to announce that Fr. John Paul Crispin will serve as Parochial Vicar at St. Mary of the Pines Church alongside Fr. Francis Kamau.

Both men are members of the Lyke Community, a Franciscan order that began in Kenya in 1993 and was officially established in 1999.

by Jessica Rinaudo, Editor

St. Thomas Statue Dedicated in Honor of Bishop’s Father

St. Thomas Aquinas was declared patron of Catholic educational establishments in 1880, thus many Catholic schools honor St. Thomas as their patron. Lewis and Aline Duca, parents of Bishop Michael G. Duca, helped found such a Catholic parish and school in the Dallas area in the early 1950’s that is still growing and educating generations of children.  Imparting the philosophy, ethics and Catholic teachings based on the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas is still very much their mission.

When Bishop Duca’s father passed away in October 2013, many wanted a way to honor Mr. Duca and offer condolences to the bishop, his mother and family.  Diocesan staff and clergy offered donations to procure a statue of St.Thomas Aquinas and a pedestal for the lower school building. Bishop Duca, his brother and sisters all attended St. Thomas school.

The pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Dallas, Fr. John Libone, was contacted and permission was eagerly given for the erection and dedication of the statue.  Once all the elements were in place, a small group from the Catholic Center accompanied Bishop Duca to join his family for the dedication of the statue.  June 2, 2014 was the last school Mass for the lower education grades at St. Thomas Aquinas school. Bishop Duca presided at the school Mass and the blessing and dedication of the statue.

Many members of Bishop’s family were there, including mother Aline Duca, brother James and his wife Cindy, sister Rosanne and her husband Bill, and sister Irene and her husband Mark, along with his father’s nieces, nephews and great grandchild. Bishop Duca presided at Mass with Fr. Libone con-celebrating in the chapel of the lower school. He reminisced in his homily of his days at St. Thomas and, of course, extolled the virtues of a good Catholic education, recognized some of the students for their achievements in math and proceeded to the dedication of the statue.

Fr. John Libone especially asked that I convey his thanks, the gratitude of the school administration and appreciation on behalf of the students for the wonderful donation of the statue of their patron saint, Thomas Aquinas.  It has been placed on a pedestal in the foyer to watch over everyone entering the school.

by  Randy Tiller, Director of Mission Effectiveness

Encouring a New Evangelization

On February 11-13, Fr. Mark Watson and Marcos Villalba, Hispanic Youth Coordinator, traveled to the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC) in San Antonio, TX, for a Workshop on the New Evangelization. The focus on evangelization in the Catholic Church began with the Second Vatican Council. The “Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People” (Apostolicam Actuositatem) states that Christ calls every baptized believer to work toward the mission of the church which is striving for the salvation of all people and the renewal of the world. Through living out their faith, the laity acts as leaven which transforms society into the family of God. (AA, 2).

In Pope Paul VI’s 1975 Apostolic Exhortation, “On Evangelization in the Modern World” (Evangelii Nuntiandi), he says evangelization is the central mission of the Church and includes witness of life and liberation to the poor. All people are meant to be beneficiaries of evangelization. Pope John Paul II coined the term “New Evangelization”and challenged Catholics to share their faith in a friendly manner with those who needed the truth of Jesus Christ.

In Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelli Gaudium, he encourages the Church to begin a new chapter of evangelization marked with joy. The source of this joy is the infinite love of God. All Christians are to see themselves as missionary disciples who are sent forth to bring the Good News of Christ to others, especially the poor and despised. The New Evangelization consists of pastoral care for those in need of Christ’s love and forgiveness, for the baptized whose lives do not reflect the demands of baptism and for those who do not know or who have rejected Jesus Christ (EG, 14).

The three-day interactive workshop included presentations in both Spanish and English. In her presentation, “Lay People in the New Evangelization,” Gloria Coronado of Guadalupe Radio Network said, “Look for occasions to find Christ. We must look for opportunities, and knock at doors, not wait for others to look for us. Go out with joy, go out with happiness.”

Andrés Arango reiterated the importance of Evangelization, “It is a gift and a great blessing to be here. It does not matter which is your ministry, we all can and should evangelize. The pope does not give any program, he gives tips on how we can be good evangelizers. Evangelization is not a program, it is to live life.”

If you are interested in implementing the New Evangelization “Door to Door Method” titled Culturally Sensitive Home Visiting, please email Fr. Mark Watson at or Marcos Villalba at .

by Fr. Mark Watson

Catholic Charities of North Louisiana Expands East

Have you noticed a change? Perhaps you’ve seen Catholic Charities ads and thought, “That seems different!” It’s official! Catholic Charities of Shreveport is now Catholic Charities of North Louisiana, a more fitting name for our agency today.

Our membership board and board of directors, along with Executive Director Jean Dresley, made the decision for the new name in view of our changing landscape. After four years of operation, this new name gives everyone a clearer picture of the scope of Catholic Charities’ current and planned presence in the area.

This past year we opened our first satellite office in Lake Providence where the poverty level is one of the highest in our state with 41% of all residents at or below national poverty standards.  The need was so great and the response as well, that it quickly became apparent that opening the Lake Providence office was a good decision. The office is 100-percent volunteer staffed and run.  With the considerable expertise and help of Sr. Bernie Barrett, people are receiving the loving assistance that many have gone without for too long. Open two mornings a week, we have served 288 individuals through July of this year, offered two programs: Emergency Assistance and Financial Education, as well as supplied diapers for the youngest of our clients.

We have also developed a partnership with the Lake Providence local health unit in an effort to give parents in the area more help to safely raise their children. When the health unit administers a vaccination to our client, they are also given a voucher for diapers from Catholic Charities. With only five volunteers, the Catholic Charities Lake Providence office logged more than 752 hours of dedicated service.

Our next endeavor will be in the Monroe area, including the small  surrounding communities. We are currently investigating a site for this second satellite office and forming the nucleus of the staff as well.  Local supporter Randy Smith has been a great source of help in moving our plans in Monroe forward. As a resident of the area, Randy has hands-on knowledge of the area’s needs as well as a long list of possibilities for staffing and supporting a Monroe office.

It will take many volunteers and a lot of dedication on the part of everyone to see this latest extension of our agency become a vital part of the Monroe community. We ask for your prayers for Catholic Charities of North Louisiana as we move forward to make a difference in the fight against poverty.  If you are interested in volunteering, please call our Shreveport office at 318 -865-0200, or go to our web site,, for more details.

by Theresa Mormino, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana