Monthly Archives: November 2016

St. Paschal Starts Blanket Ministry

Doris Fandal has started a new prayer blanket ministry at St. Paschal Parish in West Monroe. With the blessing of pastor Fr. Frank Coens, they held their first volunteer meeting on October 27 at Doris’ home. Together the ladies quickly assessed their talents, “The ladies all chose what they wanted to do to help make the blankets. We had some who cut and pinned the blankets. We had some who pressed the wrinkles out of the blankets. And we had ladies who sewed the blankets together,” Doris said.

As they meet to make the prayer blankets, volunteers say prayers for the person who will receive the blanket. The blankets will be given to anyone in the church who calls and requests one for an illness.

After its initial kick off, volunteers quickly came together and have already made 19 prayer blankets, all from donations from parish members.

To request a blanket, contact Doris Fandal, 318-397-9735 or •

St. Frederick’s Dismuke Excels Nationally in Track and Field

by Bonny Van

Imagine a schedule filled with activities including piano, basketball, church choir and a nationally ranked track athlete. Next, imagine that you are also a full-time straight-A student, and a member of the science club and the debate team. Now, imagine this: you are only 12-years-old.

That is the life of St. Frederick High School 7th grader Alyssa Dismuke, who is ranked number 14 in the country in her age group for the shot put. Alyssa’s career in track and field began when she was 9-years-old.

“I took her to the track at Bastrop High School to get her walking,” says her mother, Adrin Williams, “And, there were two dads and a group of kids doing track. I asked if Alyssa could join and they just took it from there.”

One of those dads is Mark Moore, of Bastrop, who coached Alyssa into championship form. “When I first saw her, I knew right away that she could do the shot put,” he says.  “You can recognize a strong work ethic with her.  She does everything extra.”
Since taking to the field, Alyssa has competed nationally at competitions in North Carolina, Florida and Texas.  In July, she competed at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, CA.  “I like challenges,” says Alyssa, who seems ready and able to conquer all.

One of those challenges is simply getting to school everyday.  Alyssa and her mom drive 25 miles from their home in Bastrop to Monroe, so that Alyssa can attend St Frederick High.

“She’s a great student both on and off the field,” says St. Frederick religion teacher Stephanie Hay.  “Alyssa is a true leader in her class.”
So, what’s in the future for this amazing young lady who distributed 195 homemade Halloween goody bags to a local nursing home?  “I want to be a neurologist after I graduate from Princeton,” Alyssa says, without hesitation.

“She’ll do it, too!” says Moore.  “Alyssa has a strong mind.  I haven’t met a kid with her frame of mind.”

And, that is a lesson she learned on the track. “I’ve learned how to be thankful for the little things,” says Alyssa.  “And, I always know I did my best.”

JGS Hosts OLF for a STREM Project

Jesus the Good Shepherd and Our Lady of Fatima 5th/6th grade students participated in their first STREM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering and Mathematics) project hosted by JGS. The students worked in unison to create a zip line apparatus with everyday household products. The goals of this project were to accomplish the task through teamwork and to make new friends in the process. Next month OLF will select the STREM project and host the JGS students on their campus. This cooperative learning project will continue throughout the remaining school year.

Students Share Dia de los Muertos

The St. Frederick High School Spanish IV class visited Jesus the Good Shepherd School on November 4 to teach the 5th and 6th grade students about the Hispanic holiday, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead.  The group explained that the Day of the Dead falls on November 1 and 2, coinciding with the traditional Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day.  They explained that “Dia de los Muertos” originated centuries ago in Mexico and is a holiday for remembering and honoring our loved ones that have passed away. The students talked about the different ways to celebrate and demonstrated how to make an altar for their loved ones that includes a photo, favorite foods, items representing favorite hobbies or pasttimes, bright yellow flowers, candles, traditional breads and colorful sugar skulls. They also explained the meaning of every item placed on the altar. The JGS students were given handouts with information and color sheets of sugar skulls.

Veterans Day at SJB

In honor of Veterans Day, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans School hosted its first Red, White and Blue Celebration for students and distinguished guests. This was a special program honoring veterans, active duty service members and first responders.

SJS Operation Gratitude


St. Joseph School students participated in Operation Gratitude – a project that gathers Halloween candy and sends care packages to troops serving overseas. Students collected 636 pounds of candy for the soldiers.

OLF All Pro Dads

On October 19, Our Lady of Fatima School held its first 2016 – 2017 All Pro Dads meeting.  In attendance were 42 dads and 47 kids. Just like last year, the dads and kids were eager to kick off this year.  Meetings are held every third Wednesday of the month.

Laity Diocesan Certification Program

120 Hispanics have started a Laity Diocesan Certification Program; they will have 8 all-day classes per year for three years at the Christ the King Parish in Bossier City. A generous donation from Catholic Extension will cover all expenses for this program.

St. Mary of the Pines Youth Made Pilgrimage to Holy Door

St. Mary of the Pines PSR students completed a seven week unit of study on mercy which culminated with a trip to the Holy Door. Fifty students and their catechists and some parents enjoyed the tour Fr. Peter gave, and then Fr. John Paul Crispin led the group through the Divine Mercy Chaplet before the Blessed Sacrament. The following week the group attended Mass to fulfill the requirement for their plenary indulgence. At that Mass the students presented a check for $138, which they donated to Food For the Poor.

Br. Mike Ward, OFM Celebrated 20th Anniversary of Vows

Br. Mike Ward, OFM made his first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on June 6, 1996. To celebrate his 20th anniversary, both resident and student parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas hosted a party after the 7:00 Mass on October 2. The Men’s Club cooked the meat, the Women’s Guild provided the sides and the college students provided desserts.

Over 100 people partook in the celebration. At the Mass, Br. Mike’s homily encouraged the congregation to NOT quantify their faith as the apostles did by asking, “Lord, increase our faith.”  Rather, Br. Mike challenged each person to be the “kindest person he/she knows.”  To do so requires an individual to see their own goodness as each of us is created by God.

The congregation was asked to stand together as one body, the body of Christ and repeat the phrase, “I am a good person, created and loved by God, getting better every day.”  This phrase was paired with the words of St. Francis to his brothers,  “Let us begin, for up to now we have done nothing.”

With a healthy sense of oneself and knowing that only a mustard seed of faith is necessary, the congregation was challenged to partake in great things in the name of Christ.

After the homily, pastor Fr. Frank Folino, OFM invited representatives from each segment of the parish to bless Br. Mike for his 20 years of service as a friar.