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Fidel Mondragon’s Ordination

by Jessica Rinaudo Before Fidel Mondragon landed in the Diocese of Shreveport, he spent many years in various seminaries, countries and a religious order, discerning the vocation God had planned for his More »

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Pope Francis Celebrated Mass and Canonization at Fatima Shrine

At 10:00 a.m. on May 13, the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fátima, on the plaza of the Shrine, the Holy Father Francis celebrated Holy Mass on the occasion of More »

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Join Us for Summer Catholic Camps for Teens!

Dear Parents, As parents of teenagers, you want the very best for your children. As faithful Catholics, you want them to grow closer to the Church in their teen years, not drift More »

Left to right: Sr. Carol Shively, OSU, Superintendent; Fr. Joe Martina, Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish; Dr. Carynn Wiggins, Principal; Shelly Bole, Director of Catechesis; Jamie Humphrey, Religion Teacher

Relgious Education Gets Boost at Our Lady of Fatima

by Bonny Van During the school year, Wednesday morning Mass for students at Our Lady of Fatima School in Monroe is much more than just a time to celebrate the Eucharist.  It’s More »

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Vocations View: The Identity and Role of a Deacon

by Duane Trombetta, Seminarian By the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a man is appointed to nourish the people of the Church with God’s Word and grace in the name of Christ.  He More »

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Faithful Food: Vulnerability and Risk

by Kim Long Words and their meanings have become causalities in our current world. It seems we can be overly casual with their meanings, “loving” everything from soda to chocolate and “knowing” More »

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Mike’s Meditations: Embracing All Prayer Types

by Mike Van Vranken I recently overheard two people discussing (maybe arguing) about whose form of prayer was best. One thought Sunday Mass was the best form of prayer because they could More »

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Bishop’s Reflection: Don’t Be Afraid to Be “Religious”

by Bishop Michael G. Duca I think it is fair to say that in today’s secular culture there is a bias against religion. Maybe the bias against it has always been there, More »

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Our Lady of Fatima Plenary Indulgence

by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship On Saturday, May 13, the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Francis declared canonized saints, Jacinta and Francesco Marto, two of More »

Visit Your Local Catholic Pumpkin Patch

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October brings a stunning spray of orange that covers the lawn of Mary, Queen of Peace in South Bossier. The parishioners of Mary, Queen of Peace, under the leadership of Deacon Michael Straub, are hosting the 2nd Annual Pumpkin Patch in an effort to support the church’s various youth programs. Fellowship abounds as community members pile in and peruse the patch for that perfect, picturesque pumpkin. Please consider visiting our patch if it’s a pumpkin you are pondering. We are located five miles south of the Jimmie Davis Highway in Bossier City. We would love to help you and appreciate your helping our youth! We will be in place for the duration of October, even through Halloween evening.

And, don’t forget our Pumpkin Patch Carnival on Saturday, Oct. 27th from 5p to 8p. Only $3 admission for all the trunk or treating and gaming playing they can stand! Also, we will have burgers and hot dogs, and cotton candy and other goodies! Oh, you can also have a chance to “dunk the deacon” as well as others in our dunking booth. Come join us for the annual fun and don’t forget to wear your costumes!

Blessing of the Graves

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The Church seeks to help the faithful departed by earnest prayer to God, and in particular, by remembrance of them on All Souls Day and throughout the month of November.  In the communion of the saints, the communion of Christ’s members with one another, the Church obtains spiritual help for those who have preceded us in faith.  This spiritual communion brings the consolation of hope to us who remember with gratitude, love and devotion those who have gone before us in faith.  It is in this spirit that we commemorate our faithful departed on All Souls Day and bless their graves.  We entrust them once again to the purifying and life giving love of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our priests and deacons will offer prayers at our local cemeteries on the weekend closest to All Souls Day, our annual commemoration of the faithful departed on the following dates:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saint Joseph Cemetery, Shreveport, 2:00 p.m. –  Rev. Msgr. Earl V. Provenza, V.F.

Centuries Memorial Cemetery, Shreveport, 2:00 p.m. – Rev. Francis Kamau, F.M.H.

Forest Park Cemetery East, Shreveport, 2:00 p.m. –  Deacon John Basco

Forest Park Cemetery West, Shreveport, 2:00 p.m. – Rev. Matthew Long

Lincoln Park Cemetery, Shreveport, 2:00 p.m. – Deacon Burt Ainsworth

Rose-Neath Cemetery, Bossier City, 2:00 p.m. – Deacon Freeman Ligon

Round Grove Cemetery, Shreveport, 2:00 p.m. – Rev. Andre McGrath, OFM

 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hill Crest Cemetery, Haughton, 2:00 p.m. -  Deacon Michael Straub

Carver Cemetery, Shreveport, 3:00 p.m. – Rev. Michael Thang’wa, FMH

Please contact Father Rothell Price at 318-868-4441, ext. 259 with any questions.

9/11 First Responder Speaks to SJS Students

September 11, 2001, a day that many of us remember like yesterday. A day that we recall precisely where we stood, what we were doing, who we were with, and what we said those very moments as the events of that terrible day unfolded. September 11 will be etched into our minds for the rest of our lives. But how do we move forward? How do we look at our children, many of whom were not yet born, and explain to them the magnitude, significance and impact this event had on our history?

St. Joseph School in Shreveport was honored to have Michael Torres, a retired New York City firefighter and 9/11 First Responder, speak at our annual September 11 Commemoration Ceremony. Torres was humble enough to share his experiences of that tragic day; a story he had never publicly spoke of until 11 years later.

Torres’ message was simple – education. “When I was talking to the children it was great because I could see their eyes light up,” Torres Said. “I could see I had their attention. I could see they were thinking… ‘wait a second, this is for real, this happened.’” Our children have learned about this event in the classroom, in books and through the media, but this opportunity humanized the event. It added the emotional touch to an event that they did not live through or did not remember. It added perspective that the country these students live in is not the same country as 11 years ago.

The students of St. Joseph will never view this day in the same light. The tears shed by Michael Torres were and will be forever shared by each student, teacher and parent attending that day. Tears of sorrow for those who did not make it home to their families, tears of gratitude for those who went in as others retreated, tears of joy because our flag still stands for freedom, and no one can take that away. “This should never be forgotten,” Torres said. “Our children should always be taught what happened on September 11, 2001 so that it never happens again.”

Torres concluded his presentation by saying, “September 11th, there were no heroes. It was a country that came and rose together and we still are a country that is together and bound.”

by Kevin Nolten, St. Joseph School

Celebrating 10 Years of Women’s Ministry

The Northwest Louisiana’s Magnificat celebrates a decade of prayer & learning

The NOWELA Chapter of Magnificat is proud to announce the celebration of its 10th Anniversary. The visitation scene from the Gospel of Luke is the inspiration for this women’s ministry, which adopts the name of Mary’s hymn of praise and the spirit of this biblical encounter. This ministry has proven to be a point of unity for Catholic women.

Magnificat began as an evening prayer group for women in New Orleans. It fulfilled a means through which Catholic women could pray, love, serve and share the good news of salvation and thus impart the Holy Spirit to each other. This small group sponsored their first Magnificat Meal in 1981. From that point Magnificat grew with chapters all over the United States and internationally.

In June 2001, June Finnorn said “yes to the Lord.” With spiritual support of our Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit, combined with the support of the Magnificat Central Service Team, the long process of becoming a Magnificat Chapter began for northwest Louisiana. Since that time, we have held 34 Prayer Brunches and hundreds of women have heard testimonies of how God has touched the lives of our guest speakers. Under the direction of Coordinator Sandy Chapman, her service team and current members, we have continued to grow and thrive. We humbly thank all that have participated, attended and supported our ministry as you have been a big part of our founding roots.

The Magnificat Meal is a venue for faith-sharing in a relaxed social setting. It supports the Magnificat objectives of encouraging spiritual growth in holiness through prayer, love of God the Father, commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord, study of scripture, love of and loyalty to the Catholic Church, serving the needs of the Church and world, love and devotion to Mary, appreciation of the vocation of Christian women, reverence for the sanctity of life, fostering the works of intercessory prayer, frequent participation in the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation and promoting unity among Catholic women.

We cordially invite you to attend the celebration of our 10th Anniversary as a Chapter as we host a Magnificat Prayer Brunch on November 10 at St. Jude Church in Bossier City.  Our guest speaker will be Fr. Partain from Mansura, LA.  To make reservations, please contact Barbara McAlister at 318-747-7029 or Helen Langley at 318-746-6223.

by Barbara McAlister

Pope Urges Interfaith Dialogue in Mideast, Defends Religious Freedom

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Photo: Pope Benedict XVI signs the apostolic exhortation on the church’s concerns in the Middle East during his visit to the Melkite Catholic Basilica of St. Paul in Harissa, Lebanon, Sept. 14. Standing next to the pope is Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

by Francis X. Rocca, CNS

BEIRUT (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI signed a major document calling on Catholics in the Middle East to engage in dialogue with Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim neighbors, but also to affirm and defend their right to live freely in the region where Christianity was born.

In a ceremony at the Melkite Catholic Basilica of St. Paul in Harissa Sept. 14, Pope Benedict signed the 90-page document of his reflections on the 2010 special Synod of Bishops, which was dedicated to Christians in the Middle East. He formally presented the document Sept. 16 at an outdoor Mass in Beirut.

A section dedicated to interreligious dialogue encouraged Christians to “esteem” the region’s dominant religion, Islam, lamenting that “both sides have used doctrinal differences as a pretext for justifying, in the name of religion, acts of intolerance, discrimination, marginalization and even of persecution.”

Yet in a reflection of the precarious position of Christians in most of the region today, where they frequently experience negative legal and social discrimination, the pope called for Arab societies to “move beyond tolerance to religious freedom.”

The “pinnacle of all other freedoms,” religious freedom is a “sacred and inalienable right,” which includes the “freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public,” the pope wrote.

It is a civil crime in some Muslim countries for Muslims to convert to another faith and, in Saudi Arabia, Catholic priests have been arrested for celebrating Mass, even in private.

The papal document, called an apostolic exhortation, denounced “religious fundamentalism” as the opposite extreme of the secularization that Pope Benedict has often criticized in the context of contemporary Western society.

Fundamentalism, which “afflicts all religious communities,” thrives on “economic and political instability, a readiness on the part of some to manipulate others, and a defective understanding of religion,” the pope wrote. “It wants to gain power, at times violently, over individual consciences, and over religion itself, for political reasons.”

Pope Benedict XVI walks to the altar for the start of Mass on the waterfront in Beirut Sept. 16. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Many Christians in the Middle East have expressed growing alarm at the rise of Islamist extremism, especially since the so-called Arab Spring democracy movement has toppled or threatened secular regimes that guaranteed religious minorities the freedom to practice their faith.
The apostolic exhortation criticized another aspect of social reality in the Middle East by denouncing the “wide variety of forms of discrimination” against women in the region.

While the pope signed the document in an atmosphere of interreligious harmony, with Orthodox, Muslim and Druze leaders in the attendance at the basilica, the same day brought an outburst of religiously inspired violence to Lebanon.

During a protest against the American-made anti-Muslim film that prompted demonstrations in Libya, Egypt and Yemen earlier in the week, a group attempted to storm a Lebanese government building in the northern city of Tripoli. The resulting clashes left one person dead and 25 wounded, local media reported. According to Voice of Lebanon radio, Lebanese army troops were deployed to Tripoli to prevent further violence.
Mohammad Samak, the Muslim secretary-general of Lebanon’s Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue, told Catholic News Service that the violence had nothing to do with the pope’s visit.

“All Muslim leaders and Muslim organizations — political and religious — they are all welcoming the Holy Father and welcoming his visit,” Samak said. “I hope his visit will give more credibility to what we have affirmed as the message of Lebanon — a country of conviviality between Christians and Muslims who are living peacefully and in harmony together for hundreds of years now.”

The State of Giving

Southern states rank among the top for charitable giving

The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s much heralded “How America Gives” project highlighting charitable donations on a state-by-state basis has been completed, and their exclusive study shows that every state within our region appears in the top 25% of charitable giving among our nation’s 50 separate states.

Which state is number one for support of charitable causes?  Why, our super tithing Mormon sisters and brothers in Utah lead the way with a whopping 10.6% of household discretionary income directed toward charitable giving. The state which stands at number two may surprise you… our eastern neighbor Mississippi which despite a 3.4% drop from giving titan Utah, still provides 7.2% of household income to charity.  Two hops over to the east and Alabama lands in third place by this study data, with residents there providing 7.1% of their valuable income to non-profit organizations.  Just to the north, Tennessee residents see fit to provide 6.6% of their discretionary income to charitable causes, good for number four in the study.  Just above us, Arkansas tallies a seventh place finish with charitable giving claiming 6.3% of a family’s total annual directed income.

Where is Louisiana?  We finished a very respectable 12th in The Chronicle’s study, with people in our state donating 5.3% of discretionary income to charitable needs. Oh, and by the way, Texas was right behind us at lucky number thirteen with a 5.1% rate of charitable support from the family budget.

As many of our Catholic Connection readers may know, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops divides our nation into regions for administrative and sectional purposes.  Louisiana is a resident of Region V of the USCCB Conference and below are the states that join us in Region V and their ranking in The Chronicle’s study: Mississippi, #2; Alabama, #3; Tennessee, #4; Louisiana, #12; Kentucky #15.

The results of the study obviously say very good things about the level of social capital and charitable giving in the Deep South.  Donative intent and the empathetic capacity to give still dominate the psyche of the people of the Sun Belt, regardless of their chosen faith tradition. With the exception of Idaho and Utah, there is not a single state above the Mason-Dixon Line that is above number 20 in the Chronicle’s study and those facts just ain’t whistln’ Dixie!

by John Mark Willcox, Director of Development

Institution of Readers

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On Sunday, August 26, Bishop Michael Duca installed 16 deacon candidates to the Institution of Lector at Jesus the Good Shepherd Church in Monroe. During this Rite Bishop Duca instructed the candidates, “As readers and bearers of God’s word, you will assist in the mission of preaching the Gospel to the whole world and so take on a special office within the Christian community.  You will be given a responsibility in the service of the faith, which is rooted in the word of God. You will proclaim that word in the liturgical assembly, instruct children and adults in the faith and prepare them to receive the sacraments worthily. You will bring the message of salvation to those who have not yet received it.” Each candidate then went before Bishop Duca who gave them a Bible and said, “Take this book of holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the word of God, so that it may grow strong in the hearts of His people.”

The four-year formation is a commitment of time, energy and personal finances by these candidates. They must attend three weekend classes per month from September through April, and must complete approximately 1,000 hours of education and training by the end of training. Formation consists of five dimensions: Human, Spiritual, Intellectual, Pastoral and Diaconal.  All five dimensions are integrated together to create the diaconal ministry of service. Successful completion of this formation will result in ordination of men to the Order of Permanent Deacon.

In the dogmatic constitution, Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council called for the revival of the Order of Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. A deacon is a man who is called to a ministry of service, to live a Christian life and to increase the active service of the laity.  He is an ordained person living as one among the people. The role of a deacon is to be a helper of bishops and priests in service to the People of God, proclaiming by his very life the Church’s call to serve the needs of others.

The Diaconate Formation was established by the Church to encourage, support and train Catholic men who feel a call from God to offer their lives to the Lord in service. Deacons serve the community in many ministries. Deacons are official clergy in the Church, although they lead a lay lifestyle. Most are married, have families, and have secular jobs while serving the church and society.

by Deacon Clary Nash, Director of the Permanent Diaconate

Pope Appoints Synod Members

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles and 35 other cardinals, bishops and priests to serve as full members of the Synod of Bishop (CNS photo/Paul Haring).

by Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles and 35 other cardinals, bishops and priests to serve as full members of the Synod of Bishops. The papal appointees, whose names were announced Sept. 18, will join more than 200 other synod members who were elected by their national bishops’ conference, serve as the head of a Vatican office or were elected by the Union of Superiors General, the organization for the heads of men’s religious orders. The synod is scheduled for Oct. 7-28 at the Vatican to explore the theme, “New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.” Twelve cardinals, including Australian Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, and diocesan bishops from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe also were named synod members by the pope. The prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, and the president of the Communion and Liberation movement, Father Julian Carron, were among the papal appointees, as were the superiors general of three religious orders of men: the Camillians, the Schonstatt Fathers and the Carmelites. According to Vatican rules, only priests, bishops and cardinals can serve as full voting members of the synod, but the popes always have appointed laymen and laywomen to be among the synod’s experts and auditors.

October is Respect Life Month

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40 Days for Life in Shreveport Bossier
Since September 26 (and through November 4), our community has been united in a tremendous campaign for prayer to end abortion.  The 40 Days for Life Shreveport-Bossier Team would like to thank all who have participated. We would like to assure you that your prayers are being answered:

Internationally, there are a record 314 campaigns in cities across North America, South America, Europe and more!
Nationally, the number of crisis pregnancy centers in America is increasing, while the number of abortion centers is decreasing!
Locally, our recent sidewalk counseling initiative has confirmed the saving of many babies.
The campaign is made up of three key components:
Prayer and fasting: inviting people of faith throughout Shreveport-Bossier and across the world to join together for 40 days of prayer and fasting to end abortion.
Peaceful Vigil: standing for life through a 40-day peaceful public witness outside the local abortion center at 210 Kings Hwy.
Community Outreach: taking a positive pro-life message to every corner of our community through church and school outreach, the media, and public visibility.

Mobilize your church members to attend the Halfway Rally on October 13 at 10:00 a.m. at the abortion center at 210 Kings Hwy, and the Victory Celebration candlelight vigil on November 4 at dusk at the abortion center. Please join us! Contact Chris Davis chris@40daysforlifesb.com, or visit the local campaign website at www.40DaysForLifeSB.com.

by Chris Davis,Campaign Director

One Life Pro-Life Ministry Events
The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans One Life Ministry will host several events for Respect Life Month.

• Free Movie Night featuring October Baby on Saturday, October 6 at 5:15 p.m. in the multi-room of the St. John Berchmans School.

• Rosary for Life on Respect Life Sunday, October 7 in the Cathedral at 10:15 a.m. to pray for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.

• Bake Sale after the 11:00 Mass on Sunday, October 7. Proceeds will go to the new billboard campaign coming soon on Kings Highway in Shreveport.

• Diaper Drive for Catholic Charities of Shreveport’s Gabriel’s Closet, a ministry for new mothers and infants in need. Diapers can be dropped off at the Cathedral October 1 – 14.

Plan to Attend Bishop Duca’s 3rd Annual Pro-Life Banquet
During the Respect Life month of October, we would like to begin getting the word out for Bishop Duca’s 3rd Annual Pro-life Banquet which will be held on January 31, 2013 at Eastridge Country Club in Shreveport. The guest speaker is going to be Karen Garnett, the Executive Director of Respect Life Ministries of the Diocese of Dallas.  Tickets will be $50 per seat/ $400 per table. Proceeds will benefit pro-life work in the Diocese of Shreveport.

Karen Garnett and her team built a solid, grassroots-based organization that has brought the pro-life message to the churches and schools of the Diocese of Dallas. Under Karen’s leadership, with nine distinct ministries, 38 full- and part-time staff members and hundreds of volunteers, the Catholic Pro-Life Committee has been heralded as the largest and most effective diocesan pro-life organization in the world, and a model for the nation.

by Sarah Barlow

St. Jude Breaks Ground

Bishop Michael Duca blessed the site of the new St. Jude altar during the groundbreaking ceremony Aug. 25.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new St. Jude Catholic Church, Pre-K school and Family Life Center took place August 25 at the site of the multi-million dollar project.  More than 200 parishioners attended the ceremony as Bishop Michael Duca, assisted by St. Jude Pastor Fr. Pike Thomas, blessed the property. Bishop Duca and Fr. Thomas joined the project designer, Mark Prevot, the contractor, Hank Boggs, and key members of St. Jude’s pastoral and finance teams as they grabbed gold shovels and officially kicked off the 18 month project.

Bishop Duca stated, “I want to offer my appreciation and support to Fr. Pike Thomas and the generous people of St. Jude Parish for the labors they have put forth to make this groundbreaking for a new St. Jude Church a reality. This challenging project is supported by a strong, faith-filled vision of a parish that is growing to meet the needs of the Church well into the future.  I am sure this vision of hope built on a strong faith will bring this project to a successful completion. May God bless this good work with success.”

The mood of the crowd was pure joy as they sang, prayed and listened to speeches from key members of the project team.  Architect Mark Prevot gave a heart-felt talk about how thankful he is to have the opportunity to design his first church.

The planning and fundraising for the new church has been underway for several years and at the outset was met with mixed reaction by some. “As much as I loved St. Jude the old, I’m looking forward to the majesty of St. Jude the new,” said 20 year St. Jude member Toni Shirley.  The location of the new church and school is 4700 Palmetto Road, three miles south of the Bossier Court House. The 20 acres of land was donated by Dr. Jake and Rose Miciotto and is located near a neighborhood, rather than the increasingly industrial Viking Drive site of the present church.

“I view this project as having multiple benefits for our own congregation, for the Catholic presence in Northwest Louisiana, and for spiritual life in general in Bossier Parish,”said Fr. Thomas. “We intend, with a presence on the major thoroughfare of our area, to be able to be much more present and involved in our surrounding community, and partner with our surrounding churches to bring a stronger Christian flavor for our community.”
Bishop Duca agreed, “We need to have a presence here to meet the growing demand for the people moving into this area.”  The theme for the project is “New Church-New Site-New Life” and the goal to move in to the 650-seat church is Christmas of 2013.

by Stephanie Boswell