Moving Forward in Sede Vacante

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by Jessica Rinaudo

Bishop Duca’s appointment to Baton Rouge earlier this year made our diocese, Sede Vacante or a “vacant see:” a diocese without a bishop, overseen by a diocesan administrator, who is elected by the College of Consultors. Many people wonder how the diocese is managing without a bishop in place. The answer? Well and busy!

Fr. Peter Mangum, in his capacity as diocesan administrator oversees the day-to-day management of the diocese.

“One of our first discussions after Fr. Peter’s election dealt with responsibilities in regards to the policies, procedures and protocols established over the years by previous bishops through decrees, decisions and documents,” said Chancellor Randy Tiller. “Fr. Peter and I both agreed that a large portion of our new positions was based on our ability to see that things went forward according to the policies in place.”

“Now after only a few short months, the diocese is moving along and the chancery is working side by side with Fr. Peter,” added Tiller.

Part of ensuring diocesan policies are working and moving along as they should is completion of the forms for the Official Catholic Directory (OCD). Through the efforts of all diocesan churches, priests, deacons, schools, hospitals, etc., and managed by the Chancellor’s office, these statistics on each entity are sent in to OCD annually. This is an essential part of maintaining the tax-exempt status of diocesan Catholic organizations with the Internal Revenue Service. Additionally, spiritual reports must be filed with the Vatican each year to keep them abreast of the status of the Diocese of Shreveport. This crucial reporting continues to be completed with the Chancery staff and parishes working together.

November was also an important month for the Diocese of Shreveport, as it hosted the Conference for Chancery and Tribunal Officials (CCTO) for the Provinces of Mobile and New Orleans, which includes the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The Diocese of Shreveport also extended an invitation to the Diocese of Tyler, TX. This conference brought together tribunal officials such as the judicial vicars, canon lawyers, moderators of the tribunals and the chancery officials, including chancellors and chancery staff, in an effort to update everyone on Church issues pertinent to their ministry. This year’s conference was entitled “Legalism, Laxism and Antinomianism in the Church Today.” Most Rev. Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, IL, and Dr. Diane L. Barr, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, were the keynote speakers for the event.

In conjunction with the conference, Bishop Paprocki celebrated Mass in the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans for participants of the event, as well as the people of the Diocese of Shreveport.

Members of the Catholic Center staff contributed their time and energies to ensure the event, hosted in Shreveport once every 11 years, was a success.

“Everything was first class! Father Gomez and I truly enjoyed the presentations and the comraderies,” said Peyton Low, Chancellor, Diocese of Tyler.

The Diocese of Biloxi echoed that sentiment, “Thank you for hosting this year’s Tribunal Conference! It was a wonderful and informative experience. Your extra effort in kindness and hospitality was greatly appreciated.”

Sede Vacante translates to vacant see, but it is so much more than not having a bishop in place. It is a time for prayer and contemplation as we all consider what we each want a new bishop to bring to the table,” said Tiller.

“I often hear Fr. Peter say, ‘I want to be able to hand off a diocese that is positioned to move ahead and one that does not prejudice a new bishop,’” he added.

As of now, the diocese has no news on when a new bishop will be appointed. The chancery staff continues to work with the churches and schools to serve the mission of the Catholic Church as they pray for and await the appointment of a new bishop for the Diocese of Shreveport.

“Prepare him, we humbly pray, to fill our minds and hearts with the truth of the Gospel, the power of the sacraments, and the desire to actively work to build up Your holy Church.”   

An excerpt from a “Prayer for a New Bishop for the Diocese of Shreveport.

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