Monthly Archives: July 2018

From the Editor: Thank You, Bishop Duca

by Jessica Rinaudo, Editor, The Catholic Connection

There’s a certain rush, at least for me, that comes with good planning. Most issues of The Catholic Connection are planned well in advance, infused with ideas from our writers, editorial board, readers and myself. Riding the excitement of all the new ideas handed to me recently and some shiny new Catholic Press Awards, I was ready to tackle and plan the editorial calendar for the next 12 to 15 months of The Catholic Connection.

As I sat down at my computer Monday morning, June 25, I began laying the groundwork for our August issue – always an annual report on our Catholic schools – when our Communications Director, John Mark Willcox, walked into my office and closed the door. After a moment of staring down at the floor, he looked up and said, “They’re moving Bishop to Baton Rouge. There’s a press conference at 10:00 tomorrow morning down there.”

My heart stuttered. No. This couldn’t be happening. After John Mark reiterated that this news could in no way be shared until after the press conference, I sat at my computer, staring blankly into the white depths of the blank pages of the next issue of our magazine. I had a very short time to process the news before I had to move into action.

I found myself on the phone with my counterpart in Baton Rouge, both of us quietly panicking as we discussed who would cover what events, when stories could be released, how to stream our respective press conferences and what to post on our social media platforms. I wandered in and out of Bishop Duca’s office multiple times that day, ensuring that everyone was on the same page about when the news would be released and how it would be done. Tears flowed from the small group of us who were working together on this, but we tucked them away to uphold the Vatican’s embargo on the news.

I realized this would mean our August issue would change to a special edition of The Catholic Connection, honoring our bishop of the last 10 years. Bishop Duca has always been one of The Catholic Connection’s biggest cheerleaders – from looking over every issue before it goes to press, to committing to writing his reflection each and every month. He has personally reached out and congratulated our writers and me each time we have won Catholic Press Awards, and has even been awarded three himself.

So Bishop Duca, while this issue could have never been planned, especially months in advance, it has come together with the love and support of our publication’s writers, the editorial board, the chancery staff, the churches and faithful of the Diocese of Shreveport, and countless other dioceses across the United States. It is our farewell, our love letter to you, of a kind.

From all of us who work diligently on The Catholic Connection every month: thank you for your support, Bishop Duca. We hope all our readers will treasure this special issue as much as we do.

BIshop’s Reflection: Do You Accept?

by Bishop Michael G. Duca

On June 10th, as I pulled into my garage after having just ordained Father Duane Trombetta as a priest for the Diocese of Shreveport in a beautiful ceremony at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, my phone rang. It was an incoming call from Washington, D.C. I stared at the caller ID for a moment and my heart skipped a beat, because I knew who was most likely calling me: the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. And I knew he was almost certainly calling me about a change of assignment. I almost did not answer the call.

I had received a similar call sitting in my office at Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas over 10 years ago. It was a different archbishop, but it was the same office and my heart had skipped a beat then, too, as I was told by the then Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, that I had been chosen by our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, as the next Bishop of Shreveport. You might imagine that at this point he would have kindly asked: “What do you think about this?,” or “Do you need some time to think about this?,” or “Does this fit into your life plan?” But the next words out of the Papal Nuncio’s mouth were simply, “DO YOU ACCEPT?”

Bishop Michael Duca serves soup for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's Poor Man's Supper at Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish in Monroe.

With this simple straightforward question Archbishop Sambi brought the matter into clear focus and asked the only important question. It was the right question, because at that point in my priestly life it was no longer about me, it was about my willingness to accept the will of God in my life.

I must admit that God prepared me for this profound question because, as I have spoken of in this column over the years, I had already come to the conclusion that I was not in control of my life any more. My priestly life had not been anything like I expected. It was a good life, but so different than I had imagined it would be. I remember talking with my vice-rector at the seminary years before my call to the Episcopacy. We discussed what would come next in our lives as priests. Surprisingly, we both said in so many words that if we were asked, we would respond, “Bishop, wherever you need me.” We had not given up, but rather learned to give our lives freely to God in our priestly vocations. (By the way, my vice-rector was Father Doug Deshotel at the time, now Bishop of Lafayette.)

At Encounter Jesus 3 diocesan youth event.

When I received the call 10 years ago naming me Bishop of Shreveport, there was only one important question, “DO YOU ACCEPT?” I immediately said, “YES,” not so much at the time to the Diocese of Shreveport, because I knew nothing about it then, but rather to the mysterious will of God. I have lived that “Yes” for the past 10 years as your bishop, but now the “Yes” is not just to the will of God, but to YOU the people of the Diocese of Shreveport whom I have come to love during my 10 years as your bishop.

So on that Saturday, about eight weeks ago, I was again asked by a different archbishop to accept the will of God. The will of God this time was for me to become the Bishop of Baton Rouge. As much as I love the Diocese of Shreveport, there was only one right answer: “YES, I accept.” The same decision that brought me to Shreveport 10 years ago now takes me away.

Bishop Michael G. Duca receives a blessing from newly ordained Fr. Duane Trombetta, the morning of the day he received the call from Washington D.C., asking him to become the new Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

It was easy to accept this new call because it was the right answer, but it was hard to say yes because I so desperately did not want to say goodbye to my people here in the Diocese of Shreveport. I trust that we will, in the days to come, receive the blessings God intends even though they have not yet been revealed.

I am sure the next Bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport will find this diocese a blessing when he is called to say “YES” to the Apostolic Nuncio. I will always treasure my time here and count you all as my friends. I will pray for you always and I ask for your prayers for me. •

A Decade with Bishop Duca

by Jessica Rinaudo, Editor, The Catholic Connection

In December 2007, newly married and stepping into a budding career as a graphic designer and journalist, I was hired as the editor of The Catholic Connection, the official magazine of the Diocese of Shreveport. It was a time of limbo at the diocese – we had no bishop, and the long wait time between the retirement of Bishop William Friend and the anticipated naming of a new bishop fueled both excitement and anxiety amongst the staff.

Would our new bishop like a magazine? Would he insist we move to a newspaper? Would he even want a publication? Similar questions floated through every office of the chancery. And then, in April of 2008, a priest from the Diocese of Dallas was appointed to be ordained the Bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport. Once he was named, things began to happen very quickly while everyone waited on pins and needles, eager to find out what our new shepherd would be like.

I have been fortunate enough to visit Bishop Duca’s office many times since that day – and rarely has it ever felt like I’ve been called to the principal’s office. For just as he is a bishop, he is also a pastor. I have sat in front of him, relatively fresh off maternity leave, nervously and emotionally explaining that I was pregnant once again – this time with twins, no less – and I had no idea how I was going to make my life and my job work. He sat with me, listened, and told me, “We will do whatever it takes to keep you.” Very few responses have ever meant so much to me and inspired me to move forward when all felt impossible.

The twins made their appearance, and even though it wasn’t always easy, we did what it took to make it work. In that time since, I have seen Bishop Duca kneel down before my children and earnestly ask them about their favorite parts of Disney World and listen with sincerity as all the names of My Little Ponies were listed off and explained to him. I’ve seen him joyfully present them with candy bars – purchased from me to benefit their Catholic education.

He even once told me he would like to come over to our home for dinner. I said a quick prayer that I would somehow whip my house into a functional state in the couple of weeks I had to prepare. He insisted we do nothing special, but we couldn’t let our Italian bishop go without trying the Rinaudo family meatballs. He visited with us from the couch, allowing Sarah to place a unicorn helmet atop his head and laughing as tiny Vera stared at him nervously from the corner. And any time the Rinaudo children visited the Catholic Center, you better believe we had to make a bee-line for Bishop Duca’s office to tell him hello.

Bishop Duca and I had a conversation outside in the hall during a retreat recently. At the time we were talking about the plan God has for our lives. The reflection he had written for the upcoming magazine that month had touched me. In it he said, “It was as though no matter what I imagined my life to be, God was leading me in another direction that was very different. When I was finally able to accept (i.e., I gave up) that God may have a different direction and a deeper understanding of my life, I stopped fighting and second guessing God’s will for my life. Instead I embraced His will and with that surrender came a new freedom and wisdom that allows me every day to accept with joy this wonderful call to be your bishop, even though I often feel unworthy.”

During our conversation, I told him how I could have never anticipated having four children in four years – it completely derailed me, but it also made me who I am. His words encouraged me; by choosing to accept God’s will in my life, I’m a better person.

I have been blessed to have a bishop who always supports our magazine, always looks over each issue before it goes to press. He has written articles each month without fail, even when I had to chase him down at deadline time and knock on his office door, or call for him as he ran past my office door, his hand in front of his face yelling, “I know! I know! I’m working on it!”

Bishop Duca has taught me much, most importantly how to be a gracious servant of the Lord and listen with compassion in both difficult times and in the good ones. I am truly grateful to have worked with him these 10 years. He has been a pastor, a supervisor, a friend. I wish him the very best in Baton Rouge. •

The Priest and the Bishop

by Father Rothell Price, Moderator of the Curia

When I first saw Msgr. Michael Duca, he struck me as an affable fellow. He brought to mind this passage from ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, “… a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.” The sight of him was not a moment of comedy or derision, rather it was an encounter of joy and gladness. His Gospel joy radiated out from him, in spite of his nervousness. The gift and wonder of his episcopal dignity engendered hope and joy. There was a certain light in his eyes, a certain energy about his demeanor, and a certain inspiration in his person. Bishop Duca was not nearly as round and plump as Old St. Nicholas, but he was every bit a bringer of spiritual blessings and gladness.

I think this spiritual joy was the hallmark of my relationship with him over these past eight years. He constantly held up the bright light of his episcopal motto, “Hope in the Lord.” The spiritual torch he held aloft certainly was a constant source of inspiration and fuel for me. I have learned so much from him. Above all, I learned to “protect the mission of the Gospel.” This exhortation of his reminds me of the solemn dignity and hope of receiving blessed ashes on Ash Wednesday. On that day, we hear the Gospel call and challenge to, “Turn from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.”

For me, having worked so closely with Bishop Duca over the years, I have an extensive list of impressive things about him. I’ll share a few.

Listening: He has this amazing ability to be still and focus in totally on the person with whom he is engaged. He listens with his heart and soul, as well as his eyes and ears.

Compassion: He is always deeply concerned to do that which is spiritually advantageous to the person on the other end.

Love for his priests: His concern and goal has always been to do and permit whatever serves to strengthen each priest’s vocation. This was never a neutral compromise on his part, rather it was always his chosen goal for each of his priests.

Love for his people: Bishop Duca loved being with people. He never missed a parish reception, and he was usually among the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. Following the exhortation of Pope Francis, Bishop Duca was happy to take his place in front of the flock, behind it, to the left and right of it, and certainly in the midst of it as need dictated.

Soft touch: He taught me to engage people in the gentlest way possible. This is a skill I am continuing to learn and practice. In this soft touch, he makes me think of the golden rule stated in its positive form, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Discerning: Bishop Duca has an amazing capacity for looking at every person, circumstance and concern from all possible angles. He also is fantastic at striking that life-enriching balance between work and play. He is a man of God who knows how and when to work hard and when to rest in the Lord.

Passionate: Who does not know that Bishop Duca, Sicilian that he is, loves to cook, feed people, feast on fine food, (the spicier it is, the better he likes it), and good wines? It was an annual wonder to watch him become a teenager again at the sights, sounds and tastes of the Texas State Fair and the State Fair of Louisiana.

Bishop’s rallying cry in difficult times is, “It’s a great life…” to which I was to respond, “If you don’t weaken.” He always knew that his strength resided in the Lord Jesus. I think this was his paraphrase of St. Paul, who said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Twas the Night Before Christmas, ends on this note: “But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.” As Bishop Duca drives away from Shreveport, I know he will say with nostalgia about the Diocese of Shreveport and anticipation about the Diocese of Baton Rouge, “Hope in the Lord.”

It has been my distinct joy and honor to serve as his Vicar General and to be one of his “dinner and a movie” buddies. Our great loss is the Diocese of Baton Rouge’s great gain! What a gift we have had! •

Remembering Bishop’s “Study Tour” to India

by Fr. Philip Pazhayakari, CMI, Pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Rayville & St. Theresa Church, Delhi

While planning a visit to India, our bishop clearly mentioned to me that his intention was not primarily a pleasure trip or a sight-seeing trip. His intention was to make a “study tour” to India to have a firsthand glimpse of the Catholic faith in India and to have a birds’ eye view of the activities of the Order of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) and of the Oriental Church (Syro-Malabar Church) founded and nourished by the blood of St. Thomas the Apostle, whose place of martyrdom and tomb are still preserved and duly venerated in India. He wanted to visit and pray at the Shrines of the new Indian saints: St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara and St. Alphonsa of Bharananganam.

I do not know why our bishop selected me to accompany him as a guide. I love and appreciate his confidence in me. He had only 12 days to spare for the visit. I planned the details of the tour, not as a guide, but as a guardian – or rather a “guardian angel” – during his journey to a new world. Here is a travelogue of our trip.

Bishop Michael Duca and Fr. Philip Pazhayakari, CMI, his guide and guardian on their trip to India.

11.27.16 – Sunday: We landed at Trivandrum (TVM) at 3.20 a.m. local time. Fr. Thomas Elavunkal was at the airport to fetch us to the CMI Provincial House, TVM. Fr. Thomas worked in the Diocese of Shreveport. There are currently 10 CMI priests working in the Diocese of Shreveport, and practically all of them have been members of the CMI Province TVM.

That day, we visited our prestigious Christ Nagar educational center at Thiruvallam. It is an educational complex with a Senior and a Junior Secondary School, a College of Education and Chavara Institute of Educational Research and Training. It provides instructions to about 4,000 students.

Our next destination was the famous Christ Nagar Higher Secondary School in Trivandrum where the CMI Fathers extended a hearty welcome to our Bishop. Christ Nagar is also an educational complex providing instruction to about 3,000 students. It is under the supervision of the Superior of the monastery known as Christ Hall. Christ Hall was established in 1946, the earliest institution in south Kerala to cater to the needs of the Christians migrating towards the south.

After dinner, we headed towards the next State and reached our CMI House in Kannyakumari.

Bishop Duca at one of the CMI schools, Christ Nagar School, Thiruvallam

11.28.16 – Kannyakumari or Cape Comorin (its old name) is the southern tip of peninsular India where the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea join, the meeting point of three oceans. One of the important attractions at the beach is the Alankara Matha church dedicated to Mother Mary where thousands of devotees come and pray. After the beach, we went to the local bishop’s house where Bishop Rejendran extended a hearty welcome to us.

From the bishop’s house we went to the Carmelite Sisters’ (CMC) provincial house where we had lunch with Provincial Sr. Viji and the other sisters of the convent. We visited the nearby local shrine of a martyr, a Hindu convert to Catholicism, Blessed Deva Sahayam Pillai.

11.29.16 – Tuesday: We left for the next destination in Kochi, our Prior General’s House at Kakkanad. On the way we visited a High School for the deaf and mute at Eanath where Fr. Jose Kadavil CMI looks after about 100 deaf and mute boys. By 6:30 p.m. we reached our Prior General’s house at Kakkanad, and our Prior General, Fr. Paul Achandy, and the other priests of the house gave us a warm welcome.

Fr. Philip and Bishop Duca with the Sisters of the Destitute.

11.30.16 – Wednesday: We left for the nearby Sisters of the Destitute Generalate for Mass. We now have three of these sisters working at CHRISTUS Highland hospital in Shreveport. Bishop Duca celebrated Mass in their chapel with all the sisters of the institute and visited an old age home run by the sisters.

By 10:45 a.m., we left for Kochi. On the way we visited the famous St. George Basilica at Edapally, where thousands rush for regular novenas and prayer. We then went to the Punnapra Polytechnic run by CMI Fathers where my nephew,
Fr. Jacob Purakary, is a professor.

12.1.16: Thursday: This was the only day set aside for some rest, relaxation and sight-seeing. We started our trip in a house boat through Alapuzha backwaters. Frs. Biju Palamattam and Paul Thunduparampil took the lead for our day of rest and relaxation. After the boat trip, we went to the Chavara Shrine, the birth place of St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the Founder of the CMI Order.

A scene from the welcome dance at the school.

12.2.16 – Friday: We visited the CMI Monastery at Chethipuzha where Fr. Zacharias Prakuzhay, who was a pastor in Lake Providence, LA, resides. Lunch was at Fr. Philip’s house where a non-meat Friday meal was served, Friday being a day of abstinence from meat in the Oriental Church.

Grand Welcome to the Bishop at K. E. School: After lunch we went to the Kuriakose Elias Higher Secondary School where the principal, Fr. James Mullassery, arranged a grand welcome for our bishop. Bishop Duca was led to the assembly hall escorted by a band display of the students that Bishop Duca very heartily enjoyed and commended a number of times with joy and enthusiasm, even after his return to the U.S. Kuriakose Elias School is a very prestigious institution of the locality where more than 2,600 students are given Catholic oriented education and training. This school was started by me in 1991.

We then visited the Deepika Daily Newspaper complex started by the CMI Order. The Deepika is the only Catholic Daily in India.

Our next destination was Vadavathoor diocesan major seminary which is the second largest major seminary in the state to train diocesan priests for Kerala.

12.3.16 – Saturday: We left the seminary to say Mass at St. Kuriakose Elias Shrine at Mannanam, where St. Kuariakose Elias was buried and his holy remains are venerated with special devotions on Saturdays. Our bishop prayed at the Tomb of St. Kuriakose Elias before the Mass. I am sure, he was surprised to see the vestments for Mass in the Oriental Liturgy. Bishop Duca was the main celebrant for the Mass, assisted by the prior. The church was full with more than 500 people.

Bishop visited the Chavara museum and then the Malayalam medium Higher Secondary School and Kuriakose Elias College. Our next visit was at Bharnanganam, where
St. Alponsa was buried and her holy remains are venerated.

With more than 1,000 children after the Mass in Eastern Rite.

12.4.16 – Sunday: After breakfast we moved to the Cathedral for a Mass for the CCD students of the parish, where Bishop was the main celebrant for the Eastern Rite Mass. A group of about 1,000 students attended with loud responses through their young and vibrant vocal chords.

Bishop’s extraordinary quality of adjusting himself to any situation is great and is appreciated with awe and admiration. Many priests and the people were wondering how he could wear a 10 to 15 pound oriental chasuble (kappa) for Mass that could take about one and a half hours. His endurance was great and very commendable, especially when we realized that the church was not air conditioned, the people kneel on the floor, and most of them enter the church bare-footed. There was absolutely no expression of displeasure or uneasiness from him. Many exclaimed: “What a great American Bishop he is!”

Then we visited some of the Agricultural Centers (PDS) at the High Ranges of Kerala run by the Diocese of Kanjirapally.

12.5.16 – Monday: The local Bishop Mathew Arackal, who was out of town, arrived quite early that morning to bid farewell to Bishop Duca. We left the Pastoral Center for the Kochi airport to take the last leg of our visits at Bangalore.

Dharmaram College is the most important major seminary of the CMI order started in 1957. I am lucky to have been a student of the college from its beginning until my ordination in 1962. Bishop gave an excellent talk to the 350 seminarians in the Seminary auditorium and had dinner with the community.

At the Arts Festival of Christ University, Bangalore

12.6.16 – Tuesday: This was his last day of this phase of his visit to India. Bishop celebrated Mass in Latin for the students of the seminary. After breakfast, he toured the Dharmaram complex that ended at the Christ University on the campus. We had lunch at the University with its Vice Chancellor, Fr. Thomas Chathamparampil and other CMI priests of the teaching faculties. Fr Lijo Thomas, who was the pastor in Bastrop, LA, is now a member of the teaching faculty of the Christ University Bangalore.

At 3:30 p.m. Rector Fr. Thomas Aykara was present to bid good-bye to our bishop as he was leaving for the Bangalore international airport for his return journey to Dallas via Dubai.

How great thou art: I was lucky to accompany our bishop to India from Dallas to the airport in Bangalore. What a great personality Bishop Duca is! A man of great and wonderful adjustments to every culture, people – old and young! Everyone throughout our visit loved him and appreciated his modest and humble personality. He appreciated any type of food that was served to him. Never did he have a complaint or wry face at any moment of our journey through various cultures and people.

My niece, who is a teacher to the little ones, told me, “Your bishop is simple and humble down to the earth. He speaks lovely English, articulating every syllable that we, all of us, could understand. A man of great flexibility and simplicity! He appreciates everyone who comes in contact with him, accepting everybody, irrespective of caste, race, religion or age with the love of God.”

My heart breaks as I think of him leaving us, but as he mentioned, it is the will of God. All my parishioners have the same response and send their love and appreciation to him.

May the light and love of God be ever bright and shining throughout his pursuit in proclaiming the Kingdom of God!  •

Despedimos a Nuestro Pastor

por Rosalba Quiroz

El buen pastor da su vida por las ovejas. Juan 10:11. El Obispo Michael G. Duca ha sido ese buen pastor y como tal, nos ha guiado por los últimos diez años. Desafortunadamente las ovejas estamos por todo el mundo y este mes despediremos a nuestro querido obispo, ya que el Papa Francisco lo ha nombrado Obispo de la Diócesis Baton Rouge Luisiana. Pareciera que nos quedamos como dice una vieja canción: “dicen que no se sienten las despedidas, dile al que te lo cuenta que esto es mentira… el que se queda se queda llorando y el que se va, se va suspirando… 

Después de diez años de tenerlo con nosotros, nos quedaremos tristes porque se va pero llevaremos en el corazón sus enseñanzas, y muestras de cariño. ¿Quién no estrechó su mano amigable en un convivio o celebración? o ¿Quién no vio como recorría las mesas en las fiestas preguntando a los niños que película o juego les había gustado últimamente? Todos en la diócesis, sin importar raza o lengua sentimos su cariño y nos favorecimos de su ministerio como obispo al servicio de Dios y de la Iglesia.

Aunque con el corazón afligido de verlo partir, nos alegramos por él, pues aunque este cambio trae consigo más responsabilidades, es también un desafío que por obediencia al Papa y a la Iglesia aceptó y está dispuesto a tomar el 24 de agosto.

Los invitamos a participar en las Misas y despedidas que se ofrecerán en su honor los siguientes días: el viernes 17 de agosto en la parroquia de San Jose en Zwolle, a las 6 p.m. El sábado 18 en la parroquia de Jesus el Buen pastor en Monroe a las 10a.m. y el domingo 19 en la Catedral a la 1:30p.m. Todas las Misas serán seguidas por una recepción a la que estamos todos invitados. Los exhortamos a que no falten y le muestren al obispo su cariño y agradecimiento por estos diez años que Dios nos permitió tenerlo como nuestro pastor.

Oremos por su futuro, por la Diócesis que lo recibe, así como también para que Nuestro Señor Dios y el Papa Francisco envíen pronto un nuevo Pastor a nuestra diócesis y continuar juntos construyendo su reino en esta área de Luisiana.

Oremos también por todas las necesidades de la iglesia, de todos los que sufren y de los que no conocen aún a Jesús, “El Salvador del Mundo” para que Dios envíe más pastores a guiarnos por el camino de la fe y la salvación.

Una de las enseñanzas que nos deja el obispo es algo que nos ha dicho y ahora le toca vivir: “Es difícil dejar algo cómodo y conocido o que necesitamos cambiar pero cuando lo hacemos, Dios llena ese espacio que abrimos con algo mejor y maravilloso porque Dios nunca deja de sorprendernos”. Que el vacío mutuo que se abre hoy, sea llenado de bendiciones abundantes como nos lo repitió nuestro obispo Michael G. Duca.

Well Wishes from Fr. Phil

by Fr. Phil Michiels

Bishop Duca has been a bright pastoral light in the administration of the diocese. I am very appreciative of his initiative in bringing Catholic Charities to the diocese, his respect for his clergy and his willingness to be present to parishioners in the diocese whenever possible.

Personally, I felt an instant rapport with Bishop Duca from the first time we met. I felt privileged to serve as a member of the College of Consultors, the Diocesan Clergy Personnel Board, the Priests Council and the Clergy Retirement Board. I value his acceptance of my voice and advice in the concerns of these important groups.

I value most of all his visitations to the parish for special occasions, which included the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation and his dining with parish staff members.

Again on a personal level, as well as pastoral, I valued his presiding for a special Mass celebrating my 40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood and the special Mass celebrating my “official retirement” after completing my 12th year as a very happy pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Shreveport.

I send my prayers and best wishes to Bishop Duca as he begins a new chapter in his episcopacy as Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

About the Diocese of Baton Rouge

Click to download a PDF of this file.

Lo que todos se preguntan ¿Que sigue para la Diócesis de Shreveport?

por Father Rothell Price, Moderator de la Curia

Todos se preguntan quién será nuestro próximo obispo. Pienso que la respuesta clara a esa pregunta la tiene Dios nuestro Señor y su Vicario en la tierra, el Papa Francisco. El Papa Francisco tiene la responsabilidad de nombrar obispos en la Iglesia Católica. La Congregación de Obispos asiste al Papa en esta tarea. Ellos reciben una cantidad de nombres de parte del Nuncio Papal de los Estados Unidos de América, Arzobispo Pierre Christophe, quien tiene su oficina en Washington, D.C. El Arzobispo Christophe recibe nombres de posibles candidatos de cada uno de los obispos en los Estados Unidos. Cada obispo es libre de presentar un nombre o nombres de sacerdotes que presentan requisitos y cualidades de obispo. Entonces, para contestar la pregunta de; ¿quién será el siguiente obispo de la Diócesis de Shreveport? La respuesta correcta es, ¡No sabemos! 

El día que nuestro obispo, Michael Gerard Duca, se instale como obispo de Baton Rouge, nuestra Diócesis pasa a ser “Sede Vacante”, como se conoce en Latín. Esto significa que la silla o cátedra, (silla del obispo en la catedral) está vacía.

Ocho días después que el Obispo Duca este instalado en Baton Rouge y tome posesión de esa diócesis, nuestro Colegio de Consultores se reunirá para elegir a un sacerdote que asuma la administración de la diócesis hasta que el Papa Francisco nombre a nuestro nuevo obispo. El obispo Duca se instalará el viernes, 24 de Agosto a las 2:00 pm. En el transcurso de esa hora dejará de ser nuestro obispo. El Colegio de Consultores no elegirá al nuevo obispo. Ellos no participan en elegir a un obispo. Solamente tienen la responsabilidad de nombrar al sacerdote que será administrador de nuestra diócesis hasta que recibamos al nuevo obispo enviado por el Papa Francisco.

El Colegio de Consultores está compuesto por sacerdotes del Consejo Presbiteral de la Diócesis de Shreveport. El obispo puede nombrar a un mínimo de seis a doce sacerdotes máximo del Consejo Presbiteral a ser miembros del Colegio de Consultores. Es un requisito que los miembros del Colegio de Consultores sean seleccionados de entre los miembros del Consejo Presbiteral.

Para seleccionar al administrador diocesano, se requiere que el candidato sea sacerdote, haya cumplido 35 años de edad, y una doctrina y prudencia excepcional. Si tuviéramos un Cabildo Colegial (un consejo, el cual no tenemos) también se requiere que el candidato no debe haber sido ya elegido, nombrado, o presentado para esta diócesis.

El Colegio de Consultores es libre de seleccionar cualquier sacerdote a servir como administrador diocesano. Pueden elegir a un sacerdote dentro o fuera de la diócesis que sea diocesano o de orden religiosa. No obstante, que reúna los requisitos legales mencionados anteriormente.

El administrador diocesano disfruta del poder del Obispo diocesano, con la excepción de algunas cosas; por ejemplo, no puede ordenar a un obispo, sacerdote, o diácono porque no es obispo. Lo que puede hacer, es invitar a un obispo a hacerlo. Tampoco puede presidir en la Misa Crismal durante Semana Santa. De igual forma, tendría que recluir a un obispo de fuera que viniera a presidir en esta Misa

El administrador diocesano no tiene autoridad de hacer algo que esté en contra de los derechos de la diócesis o del nuevo obispo. Tiene prohibido eliminar o modificar documentos de la curia diocesana. Durante su administración nada debe ser alterado o modificado en la diócesis. Estas reglas se establecen para asegurar la estabilidad y tranquilidad en la diócesis hasta que el nuevo obispo llegue. El administrador diocesano está obligado a vivir en la diócesis y asegurarse de dar Misa a las personas de la diócesis. Sus responsabilidades terminan cuando el nuevo obispo tome posesión de la diócesis.

Por favor oren por el Colegio de Consultores y por el sacerdote que ellos elijan para administrar la diócesis hasta que nuestro nuevo pastor sea nombrado e instalado. El colegio y el administrador van a necesitar la sabiduría y orientación del Espíritu Santo. Que la siempre Virgen Maria, San José, San John Berchmans, y todos los Santos de Dios intercedan por nosotros. Y no se olviden de orar por el Obispo Duca en este tiempo de transición emocional en su vida. ¡Nuestra pérdida es la gran ganancia de la gente de la Diócesis de Baton Rouge! Deo gratias. •


The Question on Everyone’s Mind: What Comes Next for the Diocese of Shreveport?

by Father Rothell Price, Moderator of the Curia

 Everyone is wondering who our next bishop will be. I think the only truthful answer to that question is that only our good Lord and His vicar on earth, Pope Francis, knows.Pope Francis has the responsibility of naming bishops in the Catholic Church. He is assisted in this task by the Congregation for Bishops. They receive their pool of names from the Papal Nuncio to the United States of America, who is Archbishop Pierre Christophe. His office is in Washington, D.C. Archbishop Christophe receives potential names from each of the bishops of the United States. Every bishop is free to submit the name or names of priests who they feel possess the qualifications and qualities of a bishop. So, to answer the question as to who will be the next bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport? The only truthful answer is, we do not know!On the day that our current bishop, Michael Gerard Duca, is installed as the bishop of Baton Rouge, our diocese becomes vacant. The Latin phrase for this is “sede vacante.” Sede vacante is pronounced “say-day vay-khan-tay.” It means that the seat or cathedra (the bishop’s chair at the cathedral church) is empty. There is no bishop here to occupy it.

Within eight days after Bishop Duca is actually installed in Baton Rouge and takes possession of that diocese, our College of Consultors will convene to elect a priest to govern the diocese until Pope Francis names our new bishop. Bishop Duca will be installed on Friday, August 24, at
2:00 p.m. Somewhere within that hour he will no longer be our bishop. The College of Consultors will not elect the new bishop. They have no role to play in the choosing of a bishop. They have the responsibility of naming the priest who will be the administrator of our diocese until we receive a new bishop from Pope Francis.

The College of Consultors is made of up priests from the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Shreveport. The bishop can name from a minimum of six to a maximum of 12 of the priests from the Presbyteral Council to be members of the College of Consultors. It is a requirement that the members of the College of Consultors be chosen from among the members of the Presbyteral Council.

In order to be chosen as the diocesan administrator, it is required that the candidate be a priest, have completed his 35th year of age, and be outstanding in doctrine and prudence. If we had a Cathedral Chapter (which we do not), it would also be required the candidate not have already been elected, appointed, or presented for this diocese.

The College of Consultors is free to choose any priest to serve as the diocesan administrator. They can choose a priest from within or outside the diocese. It can be a diocesan priest or a religious order priest. However, he must meet the legal requirements above.

The diocesan administrator enjoys the power of the diocesan bishop, with the exception of a few things; for example, he cannot ordain a bishop, priest, or deacon because he is not bishop. He can, however, invite a bishop to come to the diocese to preside over an ordination. Likewise, he cannot preside at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week. Again, he would have to recruit a bishop from outside our diocese to come preside at that Mass.

The diocesan administrator is forbidden to do anything against the rights of the diocese or those of the in-coming bishop. He is prohibited from removing or changing documents of the diocesan curia. During his administration nothing is to be altered or changed in the diocese. These rules are in place to ensure stability and tranquility in the diocese until the new bishop arrives. The diocesan administrator is obliged to live in the diocese and ensure Mass for the people of the diocese. His responsibilities end when the new bishop takes possession of the diocese.

Please pray for our College of Consultors, and pray for the priest they choose to administer the diocese until our new shepherd is named and installed. The College and the administrator will need the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. May the Ever-Virgin Blessed Mary, St. Joseph, St. John Berchmans, and all the saints of God intercede for us. And do not fail to pray for Bishop Duca in this highly emotional transitional time in his life. Our great loss is a great gain for the people of the Diocese of Baton Rouge! Deo gratias.