0518vocations

Preparing for June Ordinations: Q&A with the Candidates

KEVIN MUES What are you most looking forward to about being ordained to the Transitional Diaconate? The transitional diaconate is a period of about a year. A man is ordained to the More »

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Grant Brings Money School to Rural Community

by Lucy Medvec Catholic Charities of North Louisiana (CCNLA) recently took its financial education class, The Money School, on the road to Ringgold and it was all made possible by a grant More »

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St. John Berchmans School Reigns as 10 Time Science Olympiad State Champions!

by Mary Simpson The St. John Berchmans Science Olympiad team won the State Science Olympiad competition held in Hammond, LA in March of this year – in fact, they have won it More »

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St. Joseph Seminary Youth Events

by Kelby Tingle, Diocese of Shreveport Seminarian Throughout the course of the academic year, there are many exciting events that take place within the seminary community at St. Joseph Seminary College. The More »

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Navigating the Faith: Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church New Feast Day

by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued a decree signed by Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect, on March 3, 2018, announcing that More »

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Domestic Church: Finding the Divine Plan in Grief

by Katie Sciba I lost my dad in the fall of 2013. After dodging more adventurous deaths in his youth, he met his match in cancer. He fought for two-and-a-half years before More »

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Faithful Food: Summer Recipes for Life

by Kim Long Birthdays when I was a child were a Real. Big. Deal. What exactly do I mean when I say that? My birthday, which falls in the later part of More »

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Catholic Charities: North Louisiana’s Good Samaritan

by Lucy Medvec Who will you help today? In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we are called by Jesus to go forth and treat our neighbors with mercy, even those we More »

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Bishop’s Reflection: Live in a Way That Embraces Eternal Life

by Bishop Michael G. Duca For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the More »

40 Days for Life

From September 25 through November 3, our community will be uniting with many others from coast to coast – and internationally – for a major simultaneous pro-life mobilization – the 40 Days for Life campaign. The mission of the campaign is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40 day campaign to seek God’s favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion.

www.40daysforlifesb.com

Kickoff Rally
September 22 at 3:00 p.m.
Loyola’s Messmer Stadium
Opening prayer by Bishop Michael Duca and keynote address by Gail McWilliams, a national pro-life speaker whose blindness was caused by pregnancy and her decision for life has given her immeasurable vision (http://gailmcwilliams.com/)

Halfway Rally
October 12 (tentative)
Hope Medical Center at 210 Kings Hwy

Victory Celebration
(Candlelight Vigil)
November 4 at dusk
Hope Medical Center at 210 Kings Hwy

Pope Addressed Seminarians, Novices & Those Discerning

VATICAN CITY (VIS) – The joy of consolation, the Cross and prayer were the reference points in Christian mission proposed by Pope Francis to the young seminarians, novices and all those who participated in Mass celebrated on July 7 in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“You are seminarians, novices, young people on a vocational journey, from every part of the world. You represent the Church’s youth! If the Church is the Bride of Christ, you in a certain sense represent the moment of betrothal, the Spring of vocation, the season of discovery … in which foundations are laid for the future. … Today the word of God speaks to us of mission. … What are the reference points of Christian mission? The readings we have heard suggest three: the joy of consolation, the Cross and prayer,” said Pope Francis.

“Dear seminarians, dear novices, dear young people discerning your vocations. … Listen well: ‘evangelization is done on one’s knees.’ Always be men and women of prayer! Without a constant relationship with God, the mission becomes a job. But for what do you work? As a tailor, a cook, a priest – is your job being a priest, being a sister? No. It is not a job, but rather something else. The risk of activism, of relying too much on structures, is an ever-present danger. If we look towards Jesus, we see that prior to any important decision or event he recollected himself in intense and prolonged prayer. Let us cultivate the contemplative dimension, even amid the whirlwind of more urgent and heavy duties. And the more the mission calls you to go out to the margins of existence, let your heart be the more closely united to Christ’s heart, full of mercy and love. Herein lies the secret of pastoral fruitfulness, of the fruitfulness of a disciple of the Lord!” he added.

“The spread of the Gospel is not guaranteed by the number of persons, nor by the prestige of the institution, nor by the quantity of available resources. What counts is being permeated by the love of Christ, allowing oneself to be led by the Holy Spirit and to graft one’s own life onto the tree of life, which is the Lord’s Cross.”

Pope Francis Announces Theme for 47th World Day of Peace

by Vatican Information Services

Vatican City (VIS) – “Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace”: this is the theme of the 47th World Day of Peace, the first during the pontificate of Pope Francis.

The World Day of Peace was an initiative of Pope Paul VI and it is celebrated on the first day of each year. The Message for the World Day of Peace is sent to particular churches and chancelleries all around the world, drawing attention to the essential value of peace and the need to work tirelessly in order to attain it.

As the theme of his first Message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis has chosen Fraternity. Since the beginning of his Petrine Ministry, the Pope has stressed the need to combat the “throwaway culture” and to promote instead a “culture of encounter,” in order to build a more just and peaceful world.

Fraternity is a dowry that every man and every woman brings with himself or herself as a human being, as a child of the one Father. In the face of the many tragedies that afflict the family of nations – poverty, hunger, underdevelopment, conflicts, migrations, pollution, inequalities, injustice, organized crime, fundamentalisms – fraternity is the foundation and the pathway to peace.

In a world that is constantly growing more interdependent, the good of fraternity is one that we cannot do without. It serves to defeat the spread of the globalization of indifference to which Pope Francis has frequently referred. The globalization of indifference must give way to a globalization of fraternity.
Fraternity should leave its mark on every aspect of life, including the economy, finance, civil society, politics, research, development, public and cultural institutions.

St. Vincent de Paul Month

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The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Poor Man’s Supper and Silent Auction will be held on Thursday, September 26, at 6:00 p.m. in the Gymnasium at Jesus the Good Shepherd School in Monroe. This is the 14th year that the Society, together with Jesus the Good Shepherd School, St. Frederick High School and area churches, will volunteer to raise around $20,000 to be donated to the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy.

Since opening in April of 1999, the pharmacy has served 6,200 unduplicated patients in a 19-parish area, filling 183,000 prescriptions at a retail cost of $14,500,000. We fill 97% of all prescription requests to the St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy. The Mission of the SVdP Pharmacy is to provide prescription medications free of charge to those who have no means of acquiring them. This channel of charity is a community-wide effort of all faiths, races and backgrounds.

Tickets for the Poor Man’s Supper are $10 and can be bought at the door or purchased early at the church offices. For more information call (318) 381-9670.
Additionally, the Society will sponsor their 6th annual Friends of the Poor Walk and Run on September 28 to benefit the needy and those living in poverty who are served by the Society. SVdP programs include food pantries, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, clothing, transportation and utility costs, thrift stores, home visits, care for the elderly, medicine and youth outreach.

The Conferences of the Diocese of Shreveport Council encourage all to participate in the Friends of the Poor® Walk locally – as walkers, pledgers, volunteers or all three. Those conferences which do not have either the facilities or support to conduct a walk within their parish are invited to join the Diocesan Council and St. Jude Conference for the Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run. All are welcome to join us Saturday, September 28, any time between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway in Bossier City. We will be starting from the main pavilion right next to the boat launch, just south of the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge. Any monies raised in the name of your parish will be given to the St. Vincent de Paul conference servicing the poor in your parish. Come on out, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and become a friend of the poor. Find out how good it feels to give.

Log on to www.fopwalk.com to give. Contact Brian for more information at 318-746-1299 or baburgess@gmail.com.

by Brian Burgess and Joann Crone

Early Christian Faith: “After the New Testament” Course to be Offered

Instructor Jim McGill

Contemporary Catholics might well imagine that we are living in an era of unprecedented conflict and controversy within the life of the Church. Scandalous behavior among the faithful, disputes among theologians, conflicts with the culture, abuses of the clergy, persecutions by authoritarian regimes and the like may seem to dominate our perspective. Surely such things are rare in Church history!  Our times must be unusually corrupt, confused and sinful.

Of course nothing could be further from the truth. No era of Church history has been immune from such challenges. We may have been taught that there was a “golden age” when everyone agreed on everything and the beliefs and practices of the faith were upheld with near unanimity of support. However, even within the New Testament itself we see disagreement among the apostles of Jesus (Acts 15 and Galatians 2:11-14). And in the centuries immediately after the New Testament the voices of early Christians can seem at times more like a cacophony than a harmony. There are reports of Christians debating the two natures of Christ in barbershops and marketplaces the way they would sports or politics.

I will be teaching a course beginning in the fall in Shreveport on the first two centuries of Christianity called “After the New Testament.” Christianity during its earliest centuries was a remarkably diverse movement. These early Christian thinkers established the core of our faith: the collection of the books of the New Testament, the creation of the basic elements of the early creeds, the development of the liturgy and sacraments. And they did so in the midst of scandals, disputes, persecutions and controversy.

In this course we will survey the literature, history and theology of the period hearing first hand from those who were there what concerns held their attention and how they articulated a response.  A broad spectrum of issues emerges, including conversion of non-believers, persecution and martyrdom, apologetics both inside and outside the Church, development of church offices, liturgical practices, ethical norms and doctrinal beliefs.

This treasure of early Christianity needs to be rediscovered and explored by believers in the 21st century. In so doing the depth and diversity of the early Christian heritage will be reclaimed for the challenges facing the Church today.

Courses are once a month on Saturdays at the Catholic Center beginning September 21. Registration is required and may be done through Ginger by calling 318-868-4441.  Cost is $615 and financial assistance is available on as-need basis.

by Jim McGill

Catholic Charities: Reaching Out to New Mothers in Need

It’s not unusual for our volunteers to hear heart-wrenching stories week after week, especially those who so graciously give their love and time to Gabriel’s Closet, our shop for low-income new moms, their infants and small children. These dear women tend to the immediate and emergency needs of mostly young single mothers who often have nothing at all for their new baby. When we say nothing, we don’t just mean a pretty layette or a fancy crib, we mean no diapers, formula, bottles, clothing, furniture or car seat.

We also see young women who have not yet had their babies and this is an especially critical opportunity for the volunteers to be of even greater service. Recently, a young lady, “Larinda,” came for help and sat down with one of our dedicated volunteers. As she began to tell her story, the volunteer saw in this young woman’s face the fear and worry she was facing alone. Her family did not support her and had asked her to end the pregnancy.

“I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes,” said Larinda. “Everyone was telling me to get rid of my baby and there was so much pressure to do that. But something inside me just told me that this would be the worst mistake I could ever make. That it would be really wrong.”

The volunteer listened intently and, with a smile on her face she said, “Congratulations on your baby Larinda,” and gave her a big hug. The young woman told our volunteer she was the only person who had said that to her. In fact, all she got from her family and friends was discouragement and negative comments. Imagine being so alone at a time that should be filled with happy anticipation.

We always hope that life is celebrated, but we know often it is not. We are so grateful that Larinda decided to seek help from Gabriel’s Closet and Catholic Charities. She has peace of mind now knowing she has caring people who will lovingly support her and be there to help her through her journey. She will have the things she needs for the baby and will be able to learn and grow through our classes on infant safety, health and care taught by a volunteer retired OB nurse. Everything she needs to build a safe, happy life for herself and her little one is available to her through Catholic Charities of Shreveport. We celebrate Larinda, our dedicated volunteers and this newest member of our Gabriel’s Closet family.

by Theresa Mormino

A Century of Healing: St. Francis Medical Center

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Picture: Nurses and patients at St. Francis Medical Center in 1913.

In 1911, six Franciscan Sisters left their homes in Calais, France and selflessly set sail crossing the ocean at the request of Bishop Van de Ven of Alexandria, LA to open a hospital in Pineville.Upon their arrival in Pineville, they were greeted with the unfortunate news that funding for their hospital had fallen through. The seed!

Ever confident, Mother de Bethanie quickly contacted Fr. C. Mahe, a priest from Louisiana the Sisters met on the journey across the Atlantic. He urged them to go to Monroe where funding and land were available through the generosity of another priest, Fr. Ludovic Enaut. Father Enaut was satisfied that his dream was finally being realized. He wanted sisters “who would work for nothing (except for the Lord) and be interested in everything.” Within months the St. Francis Sanitarium and Training School was under construction. The seed was planted!

The St. Francis Sanitarium opened its doors earlier than planned, on July 14, to take care of a 10-year-old girl who was admitted with abdominal pains. She had arrived at the sanitarium after a 50 mile train ride and was diagnosed with appendicitis. The mission of this new Sanitarium, named after St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the Franciscan Sisters, would be to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to God’s people, especially those most in need. On the opening day, July 22, 1913, the St. Francis Sanitarium and School of Nursing had four patients, and by late September, 193 had been admitted. Mother de Bethanie wrote in her diary, “That the hospital be located in Monroe was God’s plan. Everything went so smoothly and fell right into place.”

The seed that was planted over 100 years ago in Monroe continues to be nourished and supported by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Sisters, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, and the over 10,000 team members who provide care through each of its hospitals serving 40 percent of the state’s population across Louisiana: St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales. As St. Francis said, “Preach the Gospel always and when necessary use words.” As you can see, through the foundation of one mission and the planting of one seed grew a healthcare ministry with one call… the call to serve!

by Saundra Nalley

New Seminarians!

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Photo: Seminarians left to right: Kevin Mues, John Bosco Nyirenda, John Parker, Jerry Daigle, Jr., Martin Aviles-Vazquez, Steven Griego, Keith Garvin, Duane Trombetta and Vocations Director Fr. Matthew Long

It seems like only yesterday that I moved to Shreveport and began my assignment as Vocations Director. The reality is that I have been about this work of the Lord for over a year. This year has been one of many ups and downs, but more importantly it has been a year of learning for me. As with any new ministry, I can never be certain exactly what it will entail, but I had to be open to following the Spirit’s lead. Under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception, this year has been extremely fruitful. It has been fruitful to me personally by affirming me in my vocation as a Priest.  It has been fruitful to me in strengthening my relationship with Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother. It has been fruitful to me in building up my hope that the future of the Church in North Louisiana is secure.

Click here to download a printable sheet of seminarians and their contact information.

The true fruit of this year has been an increase in the number of seminarians. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspiration of Mary Immaculate we have the largest number of seminarians in the history of our diocese. This is the result of prayer, of the work of priests and religious in our parishes, and the support of the people of God. We were able to maintain all of our seminarians from last year and add three new seminarians this year.  There is only one thing to be said to this, “Thank God” and “Thank you.” We thank God because He is the only one who can call more laborers into the harvest and we thank you the priests, religious and people of the diocese because of your untiring support and prayers for this important work. Although we have accomplished much, that does not mean the hard work is over, it means that it is only just beginning.

With an increase in seminarians comes an increase in the budget for the Office of Vocations. Great sacrifices were made by the entire Catholic Center staff so this could be accomplished and for that the seminarians and I are grateful. Now I ask you the people of the diocese, to continue your support of this important work.  I invite you to adopt a seminarian and pray for him. I encourage you to send our seminarians notes of encouragement and support.  I ask you to send them a gift of some kind to assist them as they prepare themselves to spend their lives in service to Christ and His Church (see pg 15 for their school addresses). I especially implore you to turn to Mary, the Immaculate Conception, and ask her to continue to pour grace upon the work of vocations in our diocese.
“O Mary, conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to Thee.”

by Fr. Matthew Long, Director of Vocations

Mission Possible: Young Catholic Men Gathered for Fun & Retreat

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Two boys, poised to sprint, stare at one another 40 yards apart. A giant, five-foot-tall canvas ball sits exactly midway between them. “On your mark, get set, GO!” Seconds later, they impact the ball with such force that they are both thrown to the ground – then scramble up and try to muscle the ball past one another, until one finally pushes the ball past the other’s goal line.

This scene played out dozens of times at the recent Mission Possible weekend for teenage boys. “Earthball,” as the rough-and-tumble game is known, was a huge hit among the 35 boys who attended. And it wasn’t even the most popular activity! By general agreement, that honor goes to the giant zip line, on which boys traveled at high speeds through a leafy corridor of woods near Dubach, Louisiana.

Seminarian Jerry Daigle, along with four other seminarians, helped to run the camp. His observation sums up the experience: “All the fun activities were important, but the most important part was gathering together in prayer to listen to the Lord. To me, that was the crux of the weekend.”
Fr. Matthew Long, Vocations Director, agreed. “The point of Mission Possible – and I really want parents to hear this – is that we’re trying to form men of God. Hopefully some will become priests, and others will go on to become good husbands and fathers. But first and foremost, we’re helping the boys understand what it means to strive for holiness.”

Each day began and ended with prayer, including Confession, Mass, Eucharistic adoration, the rosary and the Liturgy of the Hours.

“I thought it went really well, especially the activities,” said seminarian John Parker. “They’re typical teenage boys – good guys who were a lot of fun to be with.”
For his part, Fr. Long said he was extremely happy that attendance doubled compared to last year’s retreat. “There was a great mix of boys, from public schools and Catholic schools, and I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In my opinion, it was a great success. I’m already looking forward to next year!”

by Sam Alzheimer, Vianney Vocations

Ordinary Veggies

by Kim Long

We are now well into the long span of our liturgical year known as Ordinary Time, or counted time. Unless there is a feast day that dictates otherwise, we will see priests in green vestments and the altar cloths reflecting that too. Green used in this way means growth. This is also the time of year when many of us are tending our gardens. Vegetable gardens are making a bit of a comeback, though admittedly for some it has never gone out of fashion.

Why do we garden when fresh produce is readily available? For some it is a passion and a way to be closer to God’s creation, for others it is more a matter of prudence and the desire to have the purest foods possible, for some a matter of economy and still others have never lost the desire to play in the dirt. For me it is the desire to know where my food comes from, to plant something in the dirt and watch it grow and to be in the garden at the end of the afternoon when the evening begins to usher in the dark of night. There is such a peace that comes from pulling weeds while thanking God that I am physically able to perform these tasks. Similarly, as religious educators we are in the business of planting seeds, and while we may not always see those efforts brought to maturity, we must continue to plant.

When my children were young I raised a huge garden and made a big effort to can or preserve as much of summer’s bounty as possible. This included the vegetable staple of “green” beans. Green beans sometimes take a beating for being an “unglamorous” vegetable, even though there is almost a litany of green bean recipes: green bean casserole, marinated bean salad, green beans “cooked down” with bacon and new potatoes, steamed, and my favorite green beans with butter and olive oil which I will share with you now. I will give you a recipe for a family sized dish (about six servings), but it is easily adjusted to suit your own needs. It also works very well for a large quantity… this is a forgiving recipe!

These beans go well with chicken, pork or beef and I NEVER have leftovers. We have a patron saint for farmers, St. Isidore who was from Madrid, Spain. He never missed daily Mass and therefore was later in the day arriving in his fields. While he worked we are told he was in almost constant prayer. Here is a bit of a blessing written a few years ago by the son of another farmer in another country, Ireland, but the theme is the same.

“May the farmer continue to hold true ground, keeping the intimate knowing of clay alive, nourishing us with fruits from the earth, serving as custodian of that precious threshold where the rhythm of nature with its serene pulse and sublime patience restores our minds.”

Kim’s Green Beans

Ingredients:
• 2 pound fresh or frozen green beans (do not substitute canned, the texture will be wrong)
• 1 stick of unsalted butter
• olive oil
• 2 tbsp. parsley (fresh or dried)
• salt and pepper
• 1/2 cup of water or vegetable broth

Directions:
This recipe uses the lowest flame or setting on your stove and takes a couple of hours to achieve the flavor so plan ahead. Cover the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and add 1 stick of unsalted butter. With flame on lowest setting add green beans, two tablespoons of parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth and cover. Check periodically to stir and add liquid (either water or vegetable broth) so that the beans don’t scorch. The beans will begin to “wilt” and change color to a dark green. Stir from bottom up so as to incorporate all the beans in the olive oil and butter mixture.

From “Benedictus To Bless the Space Between Us” by John O’Donohue