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Bishop Duca Reflects on Our Diocesan Stewardship Appeal

by John Mark Willcox, Director of Stewardship  Incredibly this May, Bishop Michael G. Duca  will mark his first decade as the second Ordinary of the Diocese of Shreveport. During his 10 years More »

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Bishop’s Reflection: Letting Go of “Mine” for the Glory of God’s Work

by Bishop Michael G. Duca Maybe the first surprise to new parents is that children are born wild – not tame. I don’t mean this in a bad sense, but our first More »

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Faith Partners for Progress: Catholics Charities of North Louisiana and Society of St. Vincent de Paul

by Bonnie Martinez  The Western District Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been awarded a $5,000 systemic change grant by the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent More »

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Pro-Life Events Evolving in 2018: An Interview with Bishop Michael G. Duca

by Jessica Rinaudo As the Diocese of Shreveport continues to support and champion pro-life efforts in 2018, Bishop Duca is planning to keep awareness of the issue at the forefront but now More »

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Discerning a Vocation in College

by Raney Johnson, Diocese of Shreveport Seminarian Some young men discover their calling to the priesthood in high school and decide to enter the seminary right after graduating from high school. However, More »

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Mike’s Meditations: Courageously Ask for God’s Opinion

by Mike Van Vranken Someone recently asked me what he could do differently for Lent. I suggested he think of a moral issue about which he’s always had a definite opinion, and More »

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Bishop’s January Reflection: Make Small Commitments for Big Changes

by Bishop Michael G. Duca As you receive this Catholic Connection, I suppose we are all well into our New Year’s resolutions. Changes are tricky things because we often have a strong More »

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Discerning a Vocation in High School

by Raney Johnson, Diocese of Shreveport Seminarian High school can be a fun but stressful time. Life can easily become consumed with classes, extracurricular activities, jobs and finding moments to spend time More »

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50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

by John Parker On July 25th 1968, Pope Paul VI issued a brief but controversial document that shook the secular and ecclesial world. The document was Humanae Vitae, Of Human Life, and More »

Loyola College Prep Prepares for Exciting Changes

Loyola College Prep opened its doors to a record enrollment as the school’s 111th year began in August. But that’s not the only big news going on at LCP. In addition to having an enrollment of 455, the new school year is bringing out more exciting changes to the Jordan Street campus. After the renovation of the gym and the construction of the cafeteria/community center in 2011-12, Loyola will open a new library/technology center along with three renovated classrooms on the ground floor of the main building during the 2012-13 school year. Pictured: Senior William Windham checks in a freshman on Orientation Day.

St. Pius Church Dedicated 10 Commandment Monunment

On August 19 Bishop Michael Duca dedicated a Ten Commandments Monument donated by the Knights of Columbus, Council 1108 of St. Pius X Catholic Church. The monument is two-sided with the Beatitudes on the reverse side. Pastor Fr. Joseph Kallookalam and Deacon Jeff Chapman assisted in the ceremony.

Sacred Duty: Saints Show Church is Holy

A statue of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholic devotion to the saints appears to be alive and well, and Pope Benedict XVI continues to proclaim new saints at a regular pace. The official calendar of saints’ feast days will grow in October when the pope canonizes seven men and women, including Mother Marianne Cope of Molokai and three laypeople: the Native American Kateri Tekakwitha, the Filipino Peter Calungsod and the German Anna Schaffer. The canonization Mass Oct. 21 will be one of the first big events of Pope Benedict’s Year of Faith, which is designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and to launch a strengthened commitment to the new evangelization. According to Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the appeal of the saints and their concrete examples of holiness give them “an undeniably positive role to play in this time of new evangelization,” since they are living proof that the church is holy. In a new book, currently available only in Italian, Cardinal Amato writes that it’s easy to understand how people can question the church’s holiness when they see the sinful behavior of some of its members. But the good, loving and charitable activities of other members are the best evidence that the church truly is the holy body of Christ, he says.

Majority of Catholics Share Religious Liberty Concerns

by Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A majority of Catholics say they share the U.S. bishops’ concerns about the federal contraceptive mandate and other government restrictions on religious liberty, and the percentage of Catholics who say they are satisfied with the bishops’ leadership has increased sharply in the past 10 years. Catholics who attend Mass more frequently are more likely to agree with bishops’ concerns on social issues, and those who attend less frequently show less support for their views on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Those opinions, made public Aug. 1, were among the results in a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The survey showed that 64 percent of Catholics have heard about the bishops’ objections to the HHS contraceptive mandate. Among Catholics who are aware of the bishops’ concerns on this issue, 56 percent agree with the bishops and 36 percent disagree. In the American population at large, 41 percent agree with the bishops and 47 percent disagree. The survey results also gave high marks to Catholic leadership. Eighty-three percent of Catholics expressed satisfaction with women religious; 82 percent, with their own parish priests, 74 percent, with their diocesan bishop and the pope; and 70 percent, with U.S. bishops in general.

Pope prays for disaster victims in Philippines, China, Iran

Rescuers search for victims in the earthquake-stricken village of Varzaqan, near Ahar, Iran, Aug. 12. (CNS photo/Arash Khamooshi, ISNA via Reuters )

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI asked Catholics around the world to pray and offer material assistance to flood victims in the Philippines and China and to people affected by an earthquake in northwestern Iran. The natural disasters have caused death and injury and left thousands of people homeless, the pope said Aug. 12 after reciting the Angelus in the courtyard of the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo. “I ask you to join me in prayer for those who lost their lives and for all the people so harshly tried by such devastating calamities. May these brothers and sisters of ours not lack our solidarity and support,” the pope said. Flooding caused by days of torrential rains forced more than a quarter million people from their homes in parts of Manila and provinces surrounding the Philippine capital. The government said Aug. 7 that at least 50 percent of metropolitan Manila was under water, displacing an estimated 270,000 people. News reports Aug. 13 said more than 90 people had lost their lives and more rain was expected. In China, Typhoon Haikui brought heavy rains and flooding to Jiangxi province in the eastern part of the country. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced. In Iran, two strong earthquakes struck Aug. 11, leaving at least 300 people dead and 2,000 injured. The quakes destroyed entire villages in the northwest. In his main Angelus address, Pope Benedict spoke about the Sunday Gospel reading in which Jesus tells the people, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”

THEOLOGY ON TAP

Event for young adults to gather and learn more about the Catholic faith

Calling all young adults in the Diocese of Shreveport! A new season of Theology on Tap is quickly approaching. We have a fantastic lineup of speakers that will enlighten and enrich our faith as young adults. Christ says, “Where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst.” For those who are not familiar with Theology on Tap, it is a program that revolves around spiritual development and enrichment of young adults, all while interacting in a social environment. Our gatherings take place at local restaurants during the evening hours. Below is our kick off event. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 13, 7:00 pm (El Chico – Madison Park): Topic: “Bible Light: More Fulfilling, Tastes Great!” Speaker: Brock Restovich. Brock is a parishioner at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans and is blessed with the gift of spreading the Gospel and scriptural values to those around him.

Other Theology on Tap events will be held on September 21, October 11 and October 25. Watch for more details and speaker announcements in your church’s bulletin.

by Kevin Nolten

Summer Camp Keeps Education Fun

St. Catherine Summer Camp children enjoying an afternoon at Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport with Kechia Carter, Innervisions Summer Camp teacher, who is a Caddo Parish Schools Masters Level Teacher.

St. Catherine Community Center Summer Camp 2012 was a huge success. Such a success that more than half of the participants requested Summer Camp be extended for another week, which was granted.

During our Summer Camp children grades Pre K-4 through  8th spent half of the day concentrating on skill building to retain what they gained in academic skills during the school year while preparing for their next grade level for the upcoming school year.

Summer Camp participants also enjoyed Physical Education classes led by Bossier High School basket ball coach LeAndre Gipson. Additionally, children also participated in a dance class taught by Southern University Shreveport dance instructor Roshonda Spears.

Children also went on field trips, including a visit to two local museums: the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum and Norton Art Gallery.

Summer Camp children, staff and parents conducted and participated in a 4th of July celebration and parade around the Cedar grove Community led by the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Calvary.

On the final day of Summer Camp, teachers and students showcased their various talents in the “End of Summer Camp Program” with a dance program, music performance by the Pre-K through second grade choir conducted by Brenda Richardson, retired educator and a Shreveport church musician. Last but not least, 3rd graders through 8th graders gave poetry readings, jump rope performances, violin performance, and a drum and piano performance.  This led to a barbecue cook out and fun water day on slippery slides, portable swimming pools, water balloons and squirt guns.

by William Livigne, St. Catherine Community Center Coordinator

Year of Faith Speaker Series

Nick Wagner

Workshops for RCIA and Catechists on September 29

Everyone is invited to the first presentation for the Diocese of Shreveport’s  “Year of Faith Speaker Series” on Sept. 29 at 9:00 a.m.

In the morning there will be a presentation by Nick Wagner on The Catechism of the Catholic Church and how it forms Catholics in the faith and prepares them in ministry.

Nick Wagner is the director and founder of TeamRCIA.com. He has more than 25 years experience as a leader and trainer in liturgical and catechetical ministries. He is an active team member with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.

Following the morning presentation, there will be lunch, included with the $10 registration fee.
Beginning at 1 pm, there will be two afternoon sessions. The first is an RCIA workshop presented by Nick Wagner. This workshop is for RCIA team members.

The second workshop is a Catechist Workshop for all Directors of Religious Education and Catechists. This workshop will be on the YouCat, the youth catechism of the Catholic Church, and presented by Shelly Bole, Director of the Office of Catechesis for the Diocese of Shreveport. Participants in this workshop should pre-order a copy of the YouCat.

Please use the form below to register for lunch and your afternoon session. Or, you can contact the Office of Worship to register at 318-868-4441 or drachal@dioshpt.org.

Seminarians Meet Up

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Pictured: Seminarians John Parker, Duane Trombetta, Jerry Daigle, Jr. and Keith Garvin stand with Fr. Matthew Long outside the Catholic Center.

Building the bonds of brotherhood

The beginning of the academic year for 2012-2013 has been an exciting one for the Vocations Office because we are sending new seminarians to both Notre Dame and St. Joseph Seminaries. In preparation for this year of formation our returning and new seminarians gathered at Fairview House to attend their First Seminarian Convocation. The Convocation was scheduled for August 12 and 13. The purpose of the convocation was to build the bonds of brotherhood between our seminarians and to assist them in forming a stronger connection with the diocese.  In order to accomplish these goals we gathered in the Holy Family Chapel, located at the Catholic Center, for the celebration of the Holy Mass and to pray the Divine Office numerous times. We also invited Randy Tiller, Director of Mission Effectiveness, to give a conference on the History of the Diocese of Shreveport. Tiller’s goal was to show the seminarians that although we are only 25 years old as a diocese, the Catholic Church in our area has a rich tradition dating back to the earliest days of European discovery.  Bishop Duca and Fr. Price also joined the seminarians for meals and prayer when their schedules permitted them to do so.  There was time for the seminarians to get to know each other in less formal settings.  This was accomplished through a game night when the bishop, priests and seminarians matched wits.

One of the reasons that I decided to hold the convocation is because when you look at our record of attracting men to answer the Call of God, it is evident that we are accomplishing the goal. Over the years, however, many of the men we have sent to seminary to be formed have not been ordained. It is my hope that building community and strengthening the bonds our seminarians have with the diocese will help to lower our attrition rate. The way you can help is by sending cards and letters of support to our seminarians.  You can invite them to partake in your parish’s activities and a gift of any kind is always greatly appreciated by them. The journey to priesthood is not an easy one and it is filled with pitfalls because the enemy desires fewer priests, but when you know that you have the support, prayers and love of the people you hope to serve then it is a much easier journey to make. Please join me in assisting the next generation of priests to fulfill their vocation in life.

by Fr. Matthew Long, Director of Church Vocations

Catholic Charities: Home Cooling and Financial Education

Summer can be brutal and this one is no exception. Out of our concern for low-income families who struggle to pay seasonally high bills, we hosted a Home Cooling Shower where donors can give money to help people stay cool. The mail-in shower is getting great response from donors who understand the need to assist the less fortunate and keep families, especially those with small children and the elderly, as cool as possible during the fierce summer heat. We’re so grateful for the response as we continue to receive donations for this important project.

Our desire to facilitate long-term and permanent changes in the lives of low-income individuals, their families and their communities is the impetus for our newest program, The Money School.

This financial education program is our effort to break the cycle of generational poverty. It is a supportive and preventive program to assist people in recovering from financial crises enabling them to return to financial stability.

Those who come to us for Emergency Assistance will be required to take the classes before we will assist them financially a second time. These classes will provide services based on the premise that all people have the right to basic needs without having to compromise their physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual wellbeing. The Money School program provides information and skills that enable our clients to manage their financial resources wisely.

When clients complete the courses, financial education volunteer coaches will be available as advocates and advisors to help insure clients complete their work and stay on a path toward financial stability. When families achieve these important goals, it is life changing not just for the family, but has an important and long-lasting effect on the community as a whole. If you’d like information about becoming a financial coach please call us at 318-865-0200 and ask for Carl.

We are excited about two events in September!  On September 13 we will host “Miracles in Medicine,” a reception for our local medical community, at East Ridge Country Club in Shreveport at 6:30 p.m.  We’re also planning an“Evening in Rome with Bishop Duca,” a fundraising dinner at Ristorante Giuseppe on September 21 at 6:30 p.m.  There will be excellent food and the Shreveport Opera Xpress will entertain. Table or individual reservations are available. Contact Theresa at Catholic Charities at 318-865-0200.

by Theresa Mormino, Catholic Charities of Shreveport