0617fidel

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 »

0617fatima2

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 »

0617camps

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 »

0617trombetta

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 »

0617kim

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 »

0617mvv

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 »

0617bishop

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 »

0617fatima

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 »

New Programs and New Homes in Cedar Grove

New home being built in the Cedar Grove area.

by Theresa Mormino, Catholic Charities

If you were watching KSLA on the morning of May 7, you may have seen Catholic Charities workers Jean Dresley, Executive Director, and Theresa Mormino, Director of Development, interviewed on “Your Hometown Show.” We discussed our work at Catholic Charities and talked about our newest programs, Gabriel’s Closet and The Money School.  Both of these programs are progressing and will be formally announced on our website and Facebook as they near completion and are ready to offer assistance.

The Money School program, a four unit financial education course, will become a required component for those who seek financial aid from Catholic Charities.  Our desire is to help those who come to us break the cycle of generational poverty. We believe the often used quote “knowledge is power” especially applies here. It’s impossible to make changes when you don’t have the tools.

The course work will cover subjects like how to open and maintain a bank account, develop a budget, save money and plan for the future, avoid predatory lending and will also include coaches for those who would like to have long-term help.  These volunteer coaches will work one-on-one with our clients for six months to a year in an effort to help them to apply the knowledge they have gained from The Money School.  This kind of life-changing work impacts the individual, their family and the community. As more people learn to manage their income and begin a better life path, we will see the kind of changes we aim for: more people able to thrive and pass down these skills to their children. We are looking for people with financial experience to volunteer as coaches. Please call us at 318-865-0200 if you would like to make a difference in the life of someone else.

Another exciting event happening in our neighborhood is the building of a new home by The Fuller Center for Housing. On April 30 an 18-wheeler pulled up alongside the St. Catherine campus and began unloading the structural supplies to build the new house in Cedar Grove. The house is one of several the Fuller Center will build in the neighborhood.  The Diocese of Shreveport donated two plots of land for this project and is a major supporter of the center’s work. Families who wish to apply for one of the homes must go through a rigorous application process and evaluation.  They will also be required to complete classes in money management and home maintenance.

La Reflexión del Obispo

por Obispo Micahel G. Duca

(CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Este mes pasado el Presidente Obama se convirtió en el primer Presidente de los Estados Unidos que confirma que está a favor del matrimonio homosexual. Estoy de acuerdo con el Cardinal Dolan de Nueva York que este fue un día triste, pero no sorpresivo dado a las pólizas del Presidente al aspecto. El punto fue revelado más claramente en una entrevista que escuché donde el experto simplemente añadió, “Era lo justo”.

El debate público acerca del matrimonio en nuestro país ha sido exitosamente promovido como un tema de los “derechos” de imparcialidad y de casarse de una persona. Pero de esta manera debería verse superficial e incompleta en la mente y corazón de los Católicos. Siempre buscamos descubrir la verdad de algo y después conformarlo a nuestras vidas en la verdad. Así que la manera de contestar esta pregunta para cada Católico debería ser, “¿Qué es un matrimonio?” la primera y más importante pregunta en esta discusión.

Nosotros por supuesto vemos la naturaleza del hombre y la mujer y las revelaciones de Jesucristo encontradas en las Sagradas Escrituras y la tradición de las enseñanzas de la Iglesia para contestar esta pregunta. Podemos ver las palabras de San Pablo que dice, cuando describe el matrimonio, “Este es un gran misterio, pero hablo en referencia a Cristo y la iglesia.” (Efesios 5:32). El matrimonio, es para nosotros, un Sacramento y en este Sacramento el amor del esposo y la esposa se convierten en una verdadera señal de la presencia de Dios entre nosotros. Así que si el matrimonio es referirse a Cristo y a la Iglesia y ser una señal de la presencia del amor de Dios, entonces el amor del esposo y la esposa deberían reflejar los elementos esenciales del amor de Dios por nosotros.

El matrimonio es ser amor indisoluble, irrompible, porque el amor de Dios por nosotros es dar la vida y Él desinteresadamente comparte Su vida con nosotros. El matrimonio es fiel porque el amor de  Dios es fiel. La naturaleza del matrimonio no es creada por un hombre, sino que saca su definición esencial de Dios que es amor. El matrimonio es una relación que puede ser reflejada completa solamente entre un hombre y una mujer porque juntos solo ellos pueden crear nueva vida y formar un verdadero fundamento para nuestro país y la Iglesia.

Sí, es verdad que algunas parejas casadas no pueden tener hijos y adoptan como lo hace una pareja del mismo sexo, pero la idea general que motiva a la pareja en matrimonio es crear una vida a la luz del entendimiento Sacramental del matrimonio. Cuando las relaciones del mismo sexo son llamadas matrimonio, los aspectos procreados de matrimonio se convierten en opcionales y la mera definición de matrimonio cambia. El matrimonio civil entonces llega a estar desconectado del matrimonio Sacramental y crea su definición por las leyes humanas que reflejan una diferente intensión y fuente de la verdad. Mientras que nuestra discusión pública esté centrada solamente en los derechos imparciales y personales nunca discutiremos que nuevo modelo se genera con estas nuevas leyes. Lo que sí es cierto es que esta nueva creación civil refleja menos el entendimiento del amor revelado en Jesucristo. Desde la perspectiva de la fe, la definición de un matrimonio civil se convertirá mas y mas en solo eso una unión civil porque se separa a sí misma de la definición de matrimonio enraizado en el amor revelado de Dios.

Esta es la fuente de la tristeza de la que habla el Cardinal Dolan, la redefinición propuesta del matrimonio que separará el significado del matrimonio civil de nuestro entendimiento Católico. A pesar de esto, continuamos proclamando la belleza de un matrimonio Sacramental enraizado en la riqueza espiritual de un amor que refleja la fe, irrompible y procreadora de Dios. Profesamos nuestra creencia que el verdadero matrimonio Sacramental es la esperanza de nuestra Iglesia y la fuerza futura de nuestro país.

Yo sé que con frecuencia es difícil. Muchos miembros de nuestra iglesia que son casados experimentan presiones diarias que amenazan la vida del matrimonio, pero es precisamente nuestro entendimiento que el matrimonio está conectado al amor de  Dios lo que le da a cada persona casada un pozo de gracia y esperanza que Dios está con ellos en el vivir de ese sacramento. Debemos apoyar a las parejas en todas las etapas de sus vidas y enseñar a nuestros niños la bondad del matrimonio Sacramental en la Iglesia. Espero pronto tener un taller que los directores y voluntarios de la vida parroquial de la familia continúen desarrollando nuestros programas como una diócesis que apoya la Vida Familiar. Como un recurso ustedes pueden también leer la página de matrimonio de La Conferencia Episcopal de los Obispos de Estados Unidos en: www.foryourmarriage.org

Vamos juntos a proclamar nuestra esperanza y entendimiento de un matrimonio sacramental y trabajar en mantener la integridad en nuestro país.

Bishop’s Reflection (June)

Knights of Columbus stand outside the Capitol in Olympia, WA to protest a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. (CNS photo/Robert Sorbo, Reuters)

by Bishop Michael G. Duca

This past month President Obama became the first President of the United States to confirm he is in favor of gay marriage.  I agree with Cardinal Dolan of New York that this was a sad day, but not surprising given the President’s policies in this regard.  The heart of the matter was more clearly revealed in an interview I heard where the expert simply stated, “It was the fair thing to do.”

The public debate about marriage in our country has been successfully promoted as an issue of a person’s “right” to marry and about fairness.  But this approach should ring shallow and incomplete to the minds and hearts of Catholics.  We always seek to discover the truth of something and then conform our lives to the truth.  So the approach of every Catholic should be to answer the question, “What is marriage?” as the first and most important question of this discussion.

We of course look to the nature of man and woman and the revelations of Jesus Christ found in the scriptures and the tradition of teachings of the Church to answer this question.  We can look to the words of St. Paul who says, in describing marriage, “This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5: 32).  Marriage is, for us, a Sacrament and in this Sacrament the love of husband and wife become a real sign of God’s presence among us. So if marriage is to refer to Christ and the Church and to be a sign of God’s presence, then the love of husband and wife should reflect the essential elements of God’s love for us.

Marriage is to be a love that is indissoluble, unbreakable, because God’s love for us is eternal and does not end.  Marriage is to be a love that is procreative because God’s love is life giving and He selflessly shares His life with us.  Marriage is faithful because God’s love is faithful.  The nature of marriage is not created by man, but draws its essential definition from God who is love.  Marriage is a relationship that can only be fully reflected between a man and a woman because together only they can create new life and form a true foundation for our country and the Church.

Yes, it is true that some married couples are unable to have children and adopt as a same sex couple might, but the overall idea that motivates a couple in marriage is to create a life in light of the full sacramental understanding of marriage.  When same sex relationships are called marriage, then the procreative aspect of marriage becomes optional and the very definition of marriage changes.  Civil marriage then becomes disconnected from sacramental marriage and creates its definition by human laws that reflect a different intent and source of truth. As long as our public discussion is centered only on fairness and personal rights we will never discuss what new model is envisioned by these new laws.  What is certain is that this new civil creation reflects less the understanding of love revealed in Jesus Christ.  From a faith perspective, the definition of civil marriage will become more and more just a civil union as it separates itself from the definition of marriage rooted in the revealed love of God.

This is the source of the sadness that Cardinal Dolan spoke of, the proposed redefinition of marriage that will separate the meaning of civil marriage from our Catholic understanding.  In spite of this, we continue to proclaim the beauty of a sacramental marriage rooted in the spiritual richness of a love that reflects the faithful, unbreakable and procreative love of God. We profess our belief that true sacramental marriage is the hope for our Church and the future strength of our country.

I know marriage is often difficult.  Many married members of our Church experience daily pressures that threaten married life, but it is precisely our understanding that marriage is connected to the love of God that gives every married person a deep well of grace and hope that God is with them in the living of this sacrament. We should support married couples in all stages of their lives and teach our children about the goodness of sacramental marriage in the Church. I hope soon to have a workshop for parish family life directors and volunteers to continue to develop our outreach as a diocese to support family life. As a resource you can also check out the USCCB website on marriage at: foryourmarriage.org.

Let us together proclaim our hopeful and sacramental understanding of marriage and work to maintain its integrity within our country.

St. Frederick High School Hires New Principal

Guy Farber

Bishop Michael G. Duca is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Guy Farber as the new Principal for St. Frederick Catholic High School in Monroe.  Farber has been an educator for 25 years serving all of that time at his alma mater, St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie.

Farber is a life-long resident of the New Orleans area but he and his family are very much looking forward to moving to Monroe.   “I am extremely impressed with the family atmosphere of the Monroe community as a whole but especially the St. Frederick community.  My family and I are looking forward to becoming an active part of the SFHS family.”

A graduate of Louisiana State University with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, Farber also holds a Master’s degree in the Science of Teaching and a second Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of New Orleans.  He will bring a wealth of knowledge in the area of highly effective educational practices as well as an enthusiasm for his new vocation.  “I think of myself as a coach meeting my new team.  It’s very exciting and I am looking forward to getting to know everyone involved with St. Frederick.  My goal is to do a great deal of learning about the needs and desires of the school as a whole and then help them get where they need to be.”

Farber is known for his exceptional leadership qualities, always being grounded in his efforts to improve the learning experience for his students.  Lisa Patrick, principal of Jesus the Good Shepherd School, stated, “I am very excited to have Mr. Farber and his family join our Catholic School family. He is energetic, knowledgeable and it is my belief that he will be a wonderful principal.  He has all of the characteristics of a great leader and I have been impressed with his dedication to providing a meaningful school experience for each of his students.”

Kindergarteners Give Change for a Change

Renovations will soon begin on St. Joseph Church in Zwolle. To help, Kindergarten Religion Class students started “giving change for a change” and set a goal of raising $100. Every Wednesday the children would bring handfuls of change to put in a coin bank. The class raised $172.59 to donate towards the renovation. The students presented their donations at two Masses on April 21 and 22.

Our Lady of Fatima Youth Attend Abbey Youth Fest

The youth group from Our Lady of Fatima Church in Monroe recently attended Abbey Youth Fest in Covington, LA. They joined a crowd of over 5,000 Catholics at St. Benedict Abbey to hear Mark Hart, the “Bible Geek,” give the keynote address. The one-day outdoor event concluded with Mass and Adoration under the stars.

Ruston CYO Wins Soccer Tournament

The Catholic Youth Organization from St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Ruston participated in the first ever Ruston Church Soccer League. The St. Thomas team won the championship, beating Trinity United Methodist Church for the title (photo by Doug Gagnon).

Schools Raise Money for Family with Rosary Recording

On Friday, April 13, Christy Gallegos, a mother of five children who attend local Catholic schools, lost her battle with cancer. One week later, students from Loyola College Prep and St. John Berchmans SchooL gathered in St. Michael’s Chapel to participate in a unique project dedicated to Christy’s memory. The students, with the assistance of Bishop Michael Duca, taped a professional recording of children praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. The CD contains brief meditational readings as well as music provided by the Loyola College Prep Choral Ensemble accompanied by guest violinist, Zack Grant. Students from Loyola, St. John Berchmans and St. Joseph Catholic School all played a part in the final product. All proceeds will go the Christy Gallegos Memorial Fund. CDs can be purchased at Jacob’s Well Catholic book store in Shreveport.

Archdiocese of Washington Posts Video Explaining Diocesan Lawsuits

Chancellor Jane Belford of the Archdiocese of Washington explains the significance of the lawsuit filed to protect freedom to practice religion. Chancellor Belford details why the suit is necessary in light of the attempt of the government to redefine what is a religious institution. She explains that under the new definition that the work of Mother Teresa no longer would qualify as the work of a religious institution.

To learn more, please visit:
http://www.preservereligiousfreedom.org

Visit the Archdiocese of Washington at:
http://www.adw.org

St. Frederick High School’s FBLA Qualify for National Competition

0612fbla

by Dr. Laurie Babin

Pictured: The top 10 finishers front row:  James Babin, Kaleb Williamson, Jonara Mercado, Elaine Simon, Julie Farrar, Mattie Kincannon Back row: Dr. Laurie Babin, Alec Shell, Jon Kelley, Brandon Breard, Jefferson Manning, Ashton Fench, Drew Johnson.

St. Frederick Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members competed in the 2012 Louisiana FBLA State Leadership Conference held at the Lafayette Cajondome and Convention Center, March 25-27, 2012.  Our chapter project, “The Catholic Connection 2012 Blue Pages” directory of businesses owned by our school and parishioner families and other supporters of Catholic institutions, won first place in the Partnership with Business Project. The chapter qualified for national competition in seven events. The FBLA National Leadership Conference is June 27-July 3 in San Antonio, TX.

Dr. Laurie Babin, Professor of Marketing at the University of Louisiana Monroe, started and has been the adviser for the St. Frederick FBLA chapter for the past five years.  This is the second year the chapter will be competing at nationals.

2012 Louisiana FBLA State Leadership Conference Results:

Events Qualifying for National Competition:
• Partnership with Business Project – Brandon Breard, Julie Farrar and Jon Kelley (1st place)
• Business Communication – Randi Domingue (1st place)
• Public Speaking I – Jeff Manning (2nd place)
• Marketing (team event) – James Babin, Brandon Breard, and Julie Farrar (3rd place)
• Economics – Randi Domingue (4th place)
• Banking and Financial Systems (team event) – Elaine Simon, Jon Kelley and Jonara Mercado (4th place)
• Entrepreneurship (team event) – Drew Johnson, Jeff Manning, and Kaleb Williamson (4th place)

Events Finishing in the Top Ten:
• Mr. Future Business Leader – Brandon Breard (6th place)
• Ms. Future Business Leader – Julie Farrar (7th place)
• Emerging Business Issues (team event) – Alec Shell, Ashton Fench and Mattie Kincannon (8th place)
• Business Calculations – Jon Kelley (9th place)

Even though the St. Frederick FBLA team qualified for the national competition in seven events, they will only compete in four of them, including: Partnership with Business Project, Marketing, Business Communication and Public Speaking.