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Historic Dig: Artifacts of St. John’s Church & College Unearthed in Shreveport

by Jessica Rinaudo The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans has garnered much attention in recent months for the archeological dig they are conducting on Texas Avenue in Shreveport. There the dig team More »

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Bishop’s September Reflection: The Resurrection of the Body

by Bishop Michael Duca I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen. Most More »

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Classes and Podcast on Catholic Retrospective on the Anniversary of Protestant Reformation

by Dr. Cheryl White As the world prepares to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation on October 31, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans is using this More »

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New Christian Service Facility to Have September Grand Opening

by Jane Snyder The new Christian Service facility on Levy Street will have its grand opening on Wednesday, September 27, at 1:00 p.m. Please join Bishop Michael Duca and Mayor Ollie Tyler More »

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Catholic Charities Presents: Same Kind of Different as Me

by Lucy Medvec Catholic Charities of North Louisiana will be hosting private showings of the movie Same Kind of Different as Me in Shreveport and Monroe during the weekend of October 20-22.  More »

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St. John Berchmans Catholic School Welcomes Changes!

by Kelly Phelan Powell With the advent of a new school year, St. John Berchmans Catholic School in Shreveport is undergoing some exciting changes. Former principal Jo Cazes retired this year after More »

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Vocations View: God is Persistent: Being Accepted to the Permanent Diaconate Program

by Mike Van Vranken I had just turned 28 years old and was standing in the vestibule of St. Michael Church in West Memphis, Arkansas with my pastor.  Thumbing through a pamphlet More »

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Navigating the Faith: Spiritual Direction

by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship While our diocese does not have an abundance of lay spiritual directors, the number more than doubled in August as four more people completed two years More »

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Catholic Connection Wins Awards!

The Catholic Press Awards were held in Quebec on Friday, June 23, 2017, with Catholic publications from across North America competing in hundreds of categories. The Diocese of Shreveport’s Catholic Connection took More »

Finding Faith Abroad

Photos from the Irish Road

by Kim Long

^ St. Brendan’s Well, Valencia Island, Kerry I have had a devotion to St. Brendan for many years so much so that my second son’s baptismal saint is Brendan. In Ireland there is a tradition of leaving something at holy wells. I left a paper with names front and back of all those I brought with me across the ocean, tucked between two loose stones. I dipped my hand into the dark water and renewed my baptismal promises marveling at how many people were baptized here in this spot.

 

^ Croagh Patrick, County Mayo My friend Sharon climbed Croagh Patrick which is THE pilgrimage site for locals. It is considered the holiest mountain in all of Ireland. It is known locally as “the Reek” and on the last Sunday in July over 25,000 pilgrims turn out to make the climb to the top where Mass is celebrated. I was intimidated and unprepared so I decided to try things at ground level. I moved to the outdoor chapel to pray, think and climb my interior mountain. Five hours after we arrived Sharon came down from the mountain and we both were exhausted from our own spiritual journeys.

^ Kildare Town, St. Brigid’s City St. Brigid is known as Mary of the Gaels and, along with St. Patrick, is a patron of Ireland. Did I mention she is also my confirmation saint? Walking in Kildare Town the symbols of Brigid are everywhere: the acorn, St. Brigid’s Cross as well as a bowl of flame. There is a well at the end of the walking pilgrimage in Kildare. It was here that we spoke prayer intentions and marked and tied our cloth to an old tree that held many other offerings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

^ Skellig Michael and Little Skellig, off the coast of Portmagee, County Kerry Skellig Michael and Little Skellig rise seemingly straight from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. This is a massive testament to the missionary spirit of “the monks.” There are 600 steps leading to the top where in the 6th century St. Fionan founded a monastic settlement on the island, which is 714 feet high and lies eight miles off the coast of Ireland. On top there are the remains of the beehive cells or huts. I had a lesson in progress, not perfection, this day as I realized I don’t really like heights so I sat and had a long talk with God and the monks.

40 Days for Life

Pro-Life Movement from September 26 – November 4

September 26 through November 4, 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.
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 Highway in Shreveport.
• Community Outreach: taking a positive pro-life message to every corner of our community through church and school outreach, the media and public visibility.

To get involved contact Chris Davis at chris@40daysforlifesb.com or visit the local campaign website at www.40DaysForLifeSB.com.

Chris Davis is the Campaign Director for 40 Days for Life in Shreveport/Bossier.

Second Collections

A woman reaches for cedar ashes before Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Tohatchi, NM, on the Navajo Indian Reservation. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Black and Indian Missions

by Fr. Rothell Price

Collection Dates: Sept. 22 & 23
Announcement Dates: Sept. 9 & 16

The theme for the 2012 Black and Indian Missions Collection is, “Faith: Anchored in Jesus, Alive in Mission.” This theme connects with Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement of a special “Year of Faith.”  The Year of Faith is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Vatican Council II.

The Black and Indian Missions collection occurs each year as the hot, robust season of summer comes to a close, and the cool, mellow season of fall commences. We anticipate the advent of warm days, crisp nights and brisk mornings. September will be the month of final preparations for the inauguration of the Year of Faith which will span 14 months, extending from October of 2012 through November of 2013. Our diocese, parishes and schools will observe the Year of Faith by actively drawing closer to Jesus Christ through reflection and prayer on the Church documents born of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the work of the Bishop of Rome in union with his brother bishops and the expertise of many others during the course of the Second Vatican Council.

This is the background in which the special collection for Black and Indian Missions will take place this year.  All of our second collections have a strong connection with the Year of Faith and are a tangible manifestation of our devotion to our Lord. These collections have a clarion proclamation and eloquent expression in the voices of the Church fathers of the Second Vatican Council.  The Council documents call us, the Church, the pilgrim people of God, to be the authentic visible manifestation of Christ, our invisible head in the world, today.
The Black and Indian Mission Office was established in 1884. This office embodies the Catholic Church’s concern for evangelizing the black, Native American and indigenous peoples of the United States. The funds support pastoral ministry, Catholic schools, religious education programs and missionaries on reservations and black communities in impoverished areas.  Each year bishops request help from the Black and Indian Mission Office to support local black and Indian evangelization.

Please be generous in your support of this mission of Christ and his Church.

Fr. Rothell Price is the Vicar General for the Diocese of Shreveport.

Catechetical Sunday

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by Shelly Bole

This year, the Church will celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 16, 2012.  The Church has set aside this day to recognize and commission all who are called to catechetical ministry:  parents, PSR catechists/teachers, Catholic School teachers, Youth Ministry Leaders, RCIA Team Members and Catechetical Leaders just to name a few!  Traditionally, the commissioning takes place during the Sunday liturgies.

A brief history of Catechetical Sunday
In 1935, the Vatican published On the Better Care and Promotion of Catechetical Education, a document that asks every country to acknowledge the importance of the Church’s teaching ministry and to honor those who serve the Christian community as catechists. The ministry of catechesis is passed from the pope to the bishops who in turn pass the ministry to the clergy, religious and laity who are charged with the responsibility and privilege of inviting others into an intimate relationship with Jesus and His Church.

Why do we have a special day set aside to commission catechists?
Catechesis is a distinct and special ministry in the Church. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes clear, “Catechesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church’s life… her inner growth and correspondence with God’s plan depend essentially on catechesis” (no. 7). This ministry of teaching in the name of the Church has a profound dignity, which is why catechists are formally commissioned by the Church. It is only fitting that we set aside a day to highlight this ministry and invite the entire church community to think about our responsibility to share our faith with others.

How are parents, the primary catechists of their children, recognized on Catechetical Sunday?
Parents are truly the primary catechists of their children. They prepare the soil and plant the first seeds of faith. On Catechetical Sunday, not only the work of catechists in parishes and schools are highlighted, but the day also commends parents and guardians and encourages them to take seriously their role of making their Catholic households a place where faith is passed on to the next generation.
Catechetical Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel.  “Being a Christian is never the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and decisive direction.”  Pope Benedict XVI

Shelly Bole is the Director of Catechesis for the Diocese of Shreveport.

Bishop’s Reflection (September 2012)

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Pictured: Mariela Zamora, an agronomist with Catholic Relief Services, examines the health of coffee trees with coffee farmer Rosa Amelia Centano in La Sirena, Nicaragua.  (CNS photo/Rick D’Elia for Catholic Relief Services)

Love one Another

by Bishop Michael Duca

In this month’s Catholic Connection you will find some inspiring articles on the good works of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Charities.  As you read these wonderful stories consider that these are not just organizations or clubs within the Church.  In these two communities of faith we encounter the heart of the Church’s mission. In these stories you will see some of the ways people fulfill the mission of the Church given by Our Lord to “love one another.”

Today we are surrounded by a society that is primarily self-centered. Think how often you hear the advice, “You need to take care of yourself,” “You need to look out for yourself,” “Take some time for yourself, you deserve it!” or, my favorite, “It is time for me to get MINE!”  This self-centered perspective may even shape our attitudes of faith. For example, when we ask, “What am I getting out of this Mass, or this sermon?”  Without realizing it, even our charitable giving is affected when how much we give is decided only after we have considered all of our needs and wants.  Believe me, I am not judging anyone more than myself in this regard, but if we do not let the Gospel renew our lives we will live in this self-centered fog that surrounds us and the saving words of Jesus will never penetrate our hearts.

Jesus offers us a wonderfully contradictory wisdom and truth.  He says, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)  This is a hard, challenging wisdom but it cuts through the artificiality of so much of what we hear on TV or from others. The wisdom of Jesus leads us in a counter cultural way.  He says that we must be willing to give away something that we treasure in our LIFE, that we do not want to let go of, for His sake and for the sake of love.  When we allow the need of others to touch our hearts so deeply that we are willing to give out of our want and need, then we begin to understand the depth of Love that Jesus calls us to embrace.  He promises that through acts of charity and love we will find our truest self and peaceful fulfillment in our lives.  This peace comes from realizing how blessed we are and the joy of this peace causes us to judge the success of our life by how free we are to love and not by the oppressive secular standards of wealth or influence.

I remember hearing the story of a group of Catholics who contributed to Catholic Relief Services taking a trip to South American to see the success of their giving.  They packed as typical Americans and when they arrived they surveyed proudly the work their gifts had accomplished to bring clean water to a poor village.  The people of the village were also thankful and they prepared a fiesta of roasted goat, beans and tortillas. That night after the fiesta, the guide explained to the visitors, who were having a wonderful time, that the village had only one goat for meat and that goat had been served that night to their guests as a sign of their thankfulness.  Each of the visitors was deeply humbled. Before this realization they had been proud of their gifts and their generosity, but they realized they had given from their extra and not from their need. That next day, as they were leaving the village, they emptied their pockets and left all their luggage, giving everything they had realizing how blessed they were and how this simple goat was a greater gift than any they could give because it came from the villagers’ need.

We are called to minister to the poor.  We should ask ourselves, “Where do we encounter the poor and offer real help?”  Let me put it even more concretely, “Where do we physically touch the poor, the needful of this world with loving care?”  Or maybe even more challenging and closer to the truth of Jesus teaching, ‘Where do we allow ourselves to be so caught up in the love of another that we are willing to give from our need or want?”
Be intentional in your decision to love.  Look for opportunities within your own family, in your parish and local community where you can give of yourself for Jesus’ sake and show His love to others. This may not even include giving money, but rather the giving of time or a more complete dedication of time to family or church.   We may feel the call to support Catholic Charities or to become a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The way in which each of us gives ourselves over to the demands of love will each be different, but if we are to cut through the false hope of the secular world and allow the words of Jesus to change us we must make this kind of sacrificial love part of our lives.

La Reflexion del Obispo

Amarse Los Unos a Los Otros

por Obispo Michael G. Duca

(CNS photo/David Maung)

En esta edición de la revista Catholic Connection encontrarán algunos artículos inspiradores sobre las buenas obras de la Sociedad de San Vicente de Paul y de Caridades Católicas. Cuando lean estas historias maravillosas consideren que estas organizaciones no son solo organizaciones o clubs dentro de la Iglesia. En estas dos comunidades de fe encontramos el corazón de la misión de la Iglesia. En estas historias verán algunas de las maneras en que la Iglesia cumple la misión de la Iglesia que le dio Nuestro Señor para “amarse los unos a los otros”.

Hoy estamos rodeados por una sociedad que es primordialmente egoísta. Piensen cuantas veces escuchan el consejo, “Cuídate a ti mismo,” “necesitas cuidarte,” tÓmate un tiempo para ti solo, ¡lo mereces!” o mi favorito,  “¡Es hora de que obtenga lo MIO!” esta manera egoísta puede aun cambiar actitudes de fe. Por ejemplo, cuando preguntamos, “¿Qué voy a obtener YO de esta misa, o de este sermón? Sin darnos cuenta aun nuestras ofrendas caritativas se afectan cuando lo que damos lo basamos solo después de haber considerado todas NUESTRAS necesidades y deseos. Créanme, no estoy juzgando a nadie más que a mí mismo en este campo, pero si no dejamos que el Evangelio renueve nuestras vidas viviremos en esta neblina egoísta que nos rodea y las palabras salvadoras de Jesús nunca penetrarán nuestros corazones.

Jesús nos ofrece una verdad y sabiduría en contra de este egoísmo. El dice, “porque el que quiera salvar su vida la perderá, pero el que pierde su vida por mí la encontrará.” (Mateo 16:25) Esta es una difícil y desafiante sabiduría  pero sobrepasa todo lo artificial que vemos en la televisión o escuchamos de otros. La sabiduría de Jesús nos lleva hacia una nueva manera cultural. El nos dice que debemos estar dispuestos a dar lo que atesoramos en nuestra VIDA, lo que no queremos dejar ir, por Su bien y el bien del Amor. Cuando permitimos que la necesidad de otros toquen nuestros corazones tan profundamente que estamos dispuestos a rechazar nuestros deseos y necesidades, entonces comenzamos a entender la profundidad del Amor que Jesus nos llama a cumplir. El nos promete que a través de las obras de caridad y del amor encontraremos nuestro verdadero ser y una satisfacción paĆifica en nuestras vidas. Esta paz viene de la realización de que somos bendecidos y del gozo que esta paz nos causa al entender el éxito de nuestra vida de libertad para amar y no a un nivel seglar opresivo de riqueza o influencia.

Recuerdo escuchar la historia de un grupo de católicos que contribuyeron a la organización de Catholic Relief Services cuando fueron a un viaje a Suramérica para ver el éxito de su donación. Empacaron como típicos americanos y cuando llegaron vieron muy orgullosamente el trabajo que sus regalos habían logrado para llevar agua a un pueblo pobre. La gente del pueblo estaba agradecida y les prepararon una fiesta esa noche con un cabrito rostizado, frijoles y tortillas. Esa noche después de la fiesta, el guía de los visitantes, quienes se estaban divirtiendo les explicó que el pueblo tenía solo ese cabrito para carne y que ya se había servido esa noche a sus invitados como señal de agradecimiento. Cada uno de los invitados aprendió una lección de humildad. Antes de que se dieran cuenta de esto estaban orgullosos de sus regalos y su generosidad, pero ahora entendieron que habían dado de lo que tenían extra y no de lo que necesitaban. Al siguiente día, cuando se iban del pueblo, vaciaron sus bolsas y dejaron todo su equipaje, dieron a los lugareños todo lo que traían dándose cuenta de que tan bendecidos habían sido y que tan grande era el regalo de este simple cabrito ya que era el regalo más grande que ellos pudieran haber dado porque venía de la necesidad del pueblo.

Estamos llamados a dar a los pobres. Deberíamos preguntarnos nosotros mismos, “¿Dónde encontramos al pobre y ofrecemos verdadera ayuda? Permítanme ponerlo más concretamente, “¿Donde tocamos físicamente al pobre, al necesitado de esta palabra con amor fraterno?” o aun más desafiante y más cerca a la verdad de la enseñanza de Jesús, ‘¿Donde permitimos nosotros mismos estar tan envueltos en el amor del otro que estamos dispuestos a dar de nuestra propia necesidad o deseo?”

Decidan amar con verdadera intensión de hacerlo. Busquen oportunidades en su propia familia, en la parroquia y en su comunidad local donde puedan dar de ustedes mismos por el amor de Jesús y muestren Su amor a los demás. Esto puede aun no incluir el dar dinero, sino más bien el dar de su tiempo o una dedicación más completa de tiempo a la familia o a la iglesia. Podemos sentir el llamado de apoyo a Caridades Católicas o hacerse miembro de la Sociedad de San Vicente de Paul. La manera que cada uno da de sí mismo puede ser diferente pero si rompemos la falsa esperanza de un mundo seglar y permitimos que las palabras de Jesús nos cambien, debemos hacer que esta clase de sacrificio de amor sea parte de nuestras vidas.

Our Lady of Fatima Church Celebrated 60 Years!

Our Lady of Fatima Church in Monroe celebrated their 60th anniversary as a church on Sunday, June 24 at 10:30 am at a special Mass. Bishop Micheal Duca, Fr. Sebasatian Kallarackal, Fr. Adrian Fischer, OFM, Fr. Job Scaria, CMI, Msgr. Edmund Moore and Fr. Dominic Thekkemury celebrated Mass. Parishioners joined together and celebrated with a special procession, banner and music. Longtime parishioners were also recognized for their years of service to the church. (Photos by Guinigundo and Meyers).

Loyola College Prep Welcomes New Faculty

Loyola College Prep opened the 2012-13 school year with 10 new members of the faculty: (from left) Antonio Ramallo (Spanish), Stephanus Clark (Latin), Anna Fuenfhausen (Science), Chris Kourvelas (Boys PE and Basketball), Holly Bissell (Math), David Custis (Math), Whitney Bradley (Theology), Ron Fenwick (Boys PE and Baseball), Arelis Soberal (Spanish) and Hal Meekins (Physics).

St. Frederick’s Annual Work Day

St. Frederick High School hosted its annual Work Day over the summer to help “freshen up” the campus and get ready for the new school year!  Students, parents, siblings and friends joined together to paint, clean, move furniture and lockers and just do general projects around the school. Everyone enjoyed the day of fellowship and loved being a part of the progress at SFHS!

Reader Theater at St. Joseph School

St. Joseph School teachers participated in a “Reader Theater,” facilitated by Mrs. Lisa Raith. Lisa shared unique techniques on reading lessons for grades K-8.  “Reader Theater” was one of many continuing education opportunities the faculty and administration of St. Joseph Catholic School experienced during their in-service week in August.