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Ruston Catholic Received French Legion of Honor

by John Mark Willcox There is always a first time for everything when you work for the Church and I had a first time experience recently when I conducted my first interview More »

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From Atheism to Seminary: Meet the Diocese’s Newest Seminarian

by Jessica Rinaudo When you think of candidates for the Catholic priesthood, the word “atheist” likely never crosses your mind, but the Diocese of Shreveport’s newest seminarian, Francis Genusa, used that term More »

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Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat: Post-Abortive Healing

by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship Rachel mourns for her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more. Thus says the LORD: Cease your cries of mourning, wipe More »

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His Presence & Prayers Saved My Daughter’s Life

by Susan Flanagan On a hot Saturday this past July, the local abortion clinic’s parking lot was filled with cars, business as usual getting underway there. On average, 60-70 babies are aborted More »

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Money School Gives Value to Those in Need

by Lucy Medvec, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana It’s 9:00 a.m. on a Tuesday at Catholic Charities and the lobby is filled with people waiting to attend the Money School, the weekly More »

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Catholic Schools Annual Report

by Sr. Carol Shively, OSU This 2017 – 2018 Annual Report is organized around the four major themes of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Schools—Mission and Catholic Identity, Governance More »

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Domestic Church: Finding Treasure in Monotony

by Katie Sciba If you have a family, you have monotony; there’s no way around it. Work, school, errands, activities – there is so much “same ol’” on repeat. Quite simply, all More »

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BIshop’s Reflection: Do You Accept?

by Bishop Michael G. Duca On June 10th, as I pulled into my garage after having just ordained Father Duane Trombetta as a priest for the Diocese of Shreveport in a beautiful More »

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A Decade with Bishop Duca

by Jessica Rinaudo, Editor, The Catholic Connection In December 2007, newly married and stepping into a budding career as a graphic designer and journalist, I was hired as the editor of The More »

It’s a Great Day When…

by Mike Van Vranken

I crawled into the donor chair to give yet another pint of blood.  In deep concentration as she prepared my arm, the nurse attempted to engage in small talk, asking:  “how are you?”  I smiled and answered:  “It’s just a great day!”  She immediately stopped what she was doing, looked into my eyes, and with a grin much wider than the sky itself, responded:  “Every day is a great day when you know the Lord!”  I gave her a big “Amen” and settled in for the next 15 minutes or so meditating on her declaration of faith.

If her statement is true, and I believe it is, do I live every day with the total awareness that each and every day is a great day?  If not, what am I missing?  Could it be I don’t really know the Lord as much as I could or even should?

Has anyone ever asked if you know a particular person and you respond with something like:  “Oh I’ve met her, but I really don’t know her.”?  Could that describe our relationship with Jesus?  St. Jerome said:  “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.”  I like to say:  “To know scripture is to know Jesus.”  If we really want to know the Lord it will take more effort than the 15 or 20 minutes we spend in the Word each week on Sunday.  And, because He is the infinite God, our ability to know him is infinite as well.  In other words, every effort to know Him better will produce a closer relationship with Him.

Action Plan:
• Commit to at least 15 minutes per day of devoted scripture study
•  Commit to more intimate conversations with Jesus on a very frequent basis
•  Make the effort to see Jesus in every one you see each day.

Do you want to eliminate bad days?  Do you want to make every day filled with joy and abundance?  Remember the profound words of my friend at the blood bank:  “Every day is a great day when you know the Lord!”

Mike started a teaching ministry after graduating from the University of Dallas’ School of Ministry in 2006 (www.mikevanvrankenministries.org). He also serves as an adjunct professor for the Diocese of Shreveport’s Greco Institute.

Un Compromiso más Profundo con Cristo

por Obispo Michael G. Duca

(CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Ya para el mes de octubre estamos bien adentrados en la rutina del otoño. La escuela ya está en camino y el recomienzo de organizaciones y responsabilidades está ya en nuestro pasado además de que el verano es ya un recuerdo distante. Cuando yo era el rector del seminario anticipaba la rutina del año escolar. La rutina nos da una estructura para ordenar una vida ocupada, asegura que nuestras responsabilidades vocacionales básicas son cumplidas y que nuestros valores de fe formen nuestra vida de cierta forma con cada tarea diaria. Aun nuestra vida de oración en la Iglesia esta ordenada con el tiempo Litúrgico y nuestra misa dominical reconfirma nuestra conexión con el Cuerpo de Cristo y nos da testimonio a la centralidad de nuestra fe en la vida diaria.

Pero nuestra rutina diaria, y especialmente nuestra rutina espiritual, se puede hacer anquilosada o pesada por su dificultad o por nuestros deseos egoístas. De vez en cuando los santos nos recuerdan de romper la rutina, por medio de un retiro por ejemplo, para examinar la rutina y las opciones en nuestras vidas y para que podamos limpiar lo que es pecaminoso y comprometernos de nuevo a cumplir el mensaje del Evangelio de Jesus y las enseñanzas de Su Iglesia.

Nuestro Santo Padre, el Papa Benedicto XVI ha proclamado el Año de la Fe comenzando el 11 de octubre del 2012 para marcar el 50 Aniversario del Concilio Vaticano II y el 20 Aniversario de la publicación del Nuevo Catecismo. Voy a abrir el Año de la Fe para la Diócesis con una Misa el 11 de octubre del 2012 en la Catedral de San Juan Berchmans a las 6:00 p.m. Este es un año de retiro para la Iglesia. Durante este Año de Fe todos deberíamos considerar alguna acción u opción que rompa nuestra rutina diaria de una manera que nos rete a un compromiso más profundo con Cristo y a reflexionar nuestra fe como católicos en las opciones y acciones de nuestra vida diaria.

Mi compromiso este año será visitar cada parroquia en la diócesis y tener una tarde de oración con cada comunidad eclesial. Nos reuniremos para la Liturgia de la Palabra. Será un tiempo de oración y reflexión sobre nuestra fe en Jesucristo y Su Iglesia. Los animo a invitar a sus amigos no-católicos a unirse con nosotros. Esta también será una oportunidad para que yo considere, en mi quinto año como su Obispo, como ser un mejor servidor y cómo podemos crecer juntos en la fe y la respuesta de fe, la Caridad.

En esta carta Porta Fidei, traducida “puerta de fe,” (Hechos 14:27) el Santo Padre nos da una reflexión maravillosa, un tipo de letanía, de como la fe que tanto estimamos ha formado y continua formando la Iglesia y asegura la proclamación del Evangelio.

“Por la fe María aceptó la palabra del Ángel y creyó el mensaje que iba a ser la madre de Dios por la obediencia y su devoción (cf. Lucas1:38).”
Por la fe, los apóstoles dejaron todo para seguir a su Maestro (cf. Marcos 10:28).

Por la fe, los discípulos formaron la primera comunidad, reunidos con las enseñanzas de los apóstoles, en oración, en celebración de la Eucaristía, unían sus bienes en común y los repartían según las necesidades de cada uno. (cf. Hechos 2:42-47).

Por la fe, los mártires dieron sus vidas, siendo testigos de la verdad del Evangelio que los había transformado e hizo capaces de obtener el regalo más grande de amor: el perdón de sus perseguidores.

Por la fe, hombres y mujeres han consagrado sus vidas a Cristo, dejando todo atrás para vivir en obediencia, pobreza y castidad con la simplicidad del Evangelio, señales concretas de la esperanza que el Señor viene sin tardanza.

Por la fe, innumerables Cristianos han promovido la acción por la justicia para poner en práctica la palabra del Señor, que vino a proclamar libertad a los oprimidos y un año favorable para todos (cf. Lucas 4:18-19).

Por la fe, a través de los siglos, hombres y mujeres de todas las edades, y cuyos nombres están escritos en el Libro de la Vida (cf. Ap. 7:9, 13:8), han confesado las maravillas de seguir al Señor Jesus por doquier y fueron llamados a ser testigos del hecho de ser Cristianos: en la familia, en el lugar de trabajo, en vida pública, en el ejercicio de los carismas y ministerios a los que han sido llamados.” Porta Fidei #13 Benedicto XVI.

Durante este Año de Fe pido a Dios que nuestros corazones se llenen de fuego y creamos más profundamente y gustosamente “confesemos la maravilla de seguir al Señor Jesus.” Rezo para que seamos testigos de esta fe en la familia, en el lugar de trabajo, en la vida pública y en la práctica de nuestros carismas y ministerios a los que hemos sido llamados.

Hay un artículo en la página 12 de esta revista Catholic Connection por Dianne Rachal con más información sobre el Año de la Fe y algunas celebraciones en nuestra diócesis durante este Año.

A Deeper Commitment to Christ

During the Year of Faith, Bishop Michael Duca will visit each of the diocesan churches to share the Liturgy of the Word and an evening of prayer.

Pictured: During the Year of Faith, Bishop Michael Duca will visit each of the diocesan churches to share the Liturgy of the Word and an evening of prayer.

by Bishop Michael G. Duca

By the month of October we are deep into the routine of fall. School is well underway and the restarting of organizations and responsibilities is now in our past and the summer is a distant memory. When I was the rector of a seminary I actually looked forward to the routine of the school year. Routine gives us a structure to order a busy life, ensures our basic vocational responsibilities are fulfilled and our values of faith shape our lives in a real way with every daily task.  Even our prayer life in the Church is ordered with the Liturgical seasons and our weekly Sunday Mass reconfirms our connection with the Body of Christ and gives witness to the centrality of our faith in our daily lives.

But our daily routine, and especially our spiritual routine, can become stale or burdened by its difficulty or our own self-centered wants. From time to time the saints remind us to break our routine, through a retreat for example, in order to examine the routine and choices of our lives so we can clear out what is sinful and recommit ourselves to the Gospel message of Jesus and the teachings of His Church.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has proclaimed that the Year of Faith begin on October 11, 2012 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Vatican II Council and the 20th Anniversary of the publication of the New Catechism. I will open the Year of Faith for the Diocese of Shreveport with a Mass on October 11, 2012, at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans at 6:00 p.m. This is to be a year of retreat for the Church. During this Year of Faith we should all consider some action or choice that breaks our daily routine in a way that challenges us to a deeper commitment to Christ and to reflect our faith as Catholics in the choices and actions of our daily lives.

My commitment this year will be to visit every parish in the diocese and have an evening of prayer with each Church community. We will gather for the Liturgy of the Word. It will be a time of prayer and reflection on our faith in Jesus Christ and His Church. I encourage you to invite your non-Catholic friends to join us. This will also be an opportunity for me to consider, in my fifth year as your Bishop, how I might be a better servant and consider how we might grow together in faith and faith’s response, charity.

In his letter Porta Fidei, translated “door of faith,” (Acts 14:27) the Holy Father gives a wonderful reflection, a kind of litany,  on how the faith we treasure has shaped and continues to shape the Church and ensure the proclamation of the Gospel.

“By faith, Mary accepted the Angel’s word and believed the message that she was to become the Mother of God in the obedience of her devotion (cf. Lk 1:38).”

By faith, the Apostles left everything to follow their Master (cf. Mk 10:28).

By faith, the disciples formed the first community, gathered around the teaching of the Apostles, in prayer, in celebration of the Eucharist, holding their possessions in common so as to meet the needs of the brethren (cf. Acts 2:42-47).

By faith, the martyrs gave their lives, bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel that had transformed them and made them capable of attaining to the greatest gift of love: the forgiveness of their persecutors.

By faith, men and women have consecrated their lives to Christ, leaving all things behind so as to live obedience, poverty and chastity with Gospel simplicity, concrete signs of waiting for the Lord who comes without delay.

By faith, countless Christians have promoted action for justice so as to put into practice the word of the Lord, who came to proclaim deliverance from oppression and a year of favor for all (cf. Lk 4:18-19).

By faith, across the centuries, men and women of all ages, whose names are written in the Book of Life (cf. Rev 7:9, 13:8), have confessed the beauty of following the Lord Jesus wherever they were called to bear witness to the fact that they were Christian: in the family, in the workplace, in public life, in the exercise of the charisms and ministries to which they were called.”  Porta Fidei #13, Benedict XVI

During this Year of Faith I pray our hearts will be set on fire and we will more deeply believe and willingly “confess the beauty of following the Lord Jesus.”  I pray we will bear witness to this faith in the family, in the workplace, in public life and in the exercise of the charisms and ministries to which we have been called.

There is an article on by Dianne Rachal with more information about this Year of Faith and some of the ongoing celebrations in our diocese during this year.

JGS Students Kick Off First Religion Class

Jesus the Good Shepherd School Pre-K4 students in Miss Christine Stokes and Mrs. Breanne Ingram’s class are really enjoying their first Religion unit. They started off the unit by making a class prayer cloth. The students painted their hand prints all over the cloth. The cloth helps remind them that even though everyone is different, everyone can still be friends. During prayer time, the students hold on to the prayer cloth and thank Jesus for all their blessings.

Bishop Duca Helped Kick Off New Year at St. Fred’s

St. Frederick High School is off to a great start with a record number of enrolled students, some new faculty members and a dynamic new principal, Guy Farber, taking the reins!  To help kick off the school year, Bishop Duca celebrated Mass with the students, faculty, staff and families of St. Fred’s. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed having Bishop Duca visit SFHS!

SJB Names Students of the Year

St. John Berchmans School has chosen two outstanding students as the 2012-13 Cardinal Students of the Year. Fifth grader Peter Vanchiere and eighth grader Marie Marcalus were selected based on their years of academic excellence, leadership, extracurricular involvement and community service. Marie and Peter will compete later this year against other area students for regional and state Student of the Year.

Classrooms Blessed for Opening of Year

St. Joseph School At the beginning of each new school year, Fr. Karl visits classrooms to offer a blessing to the children, teachers and classroom as well as spend some time visiting with the students. He visited and blessed every classroom on the St. Joseph Campus. Pictured: Fr. Karl visits the Amy Kubat and Jenny McGuirk’s class, the K3B Wise Owls.

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.