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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 »

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The Priest and the Bishop

by Father Rothell Price, Moderator of the Curia When I first saw Msgr. Michael Duca, he struck me as an affable fellow. He brought to mind this passage from ‘Twas the Night More »

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Remembering Bishop’s “Study Tour” to India

by Fr. Philip Pazhayakari, CMI, Pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Rayville & St. Theresa Church, Delhi While planning a visit to India, our bishop clearly mentioned to me that his intention was not More »

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Bishop Michael Duca Announced as Bishop-designate of Baton Rouge

by Bonny Van, The Catholic Commentator The sixth bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge was greeted with applause, smiles and hugs as he approached the podium for his introduction to the More »

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So Many Gifts to Share

by Deacon Mike Whitehead In his letter to parishioners on his new appointment in Baton Rouge, Bishop Duca said, “I am not clear about, ‘why me?’ I have to admit that I More »

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Mary’s House: Helping Mothers, Saving Lives

by L’Anne Sciba, Executive Director and Founder, Mary’s House  “I hope they… [people of the Shreveport Diocese] felt respected, I hope they feel they had a voice when they spoke with me, More »

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Catholic Charities of North Louisiana: A Bishop’s Legacy

by Lucy Medvec, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana  When Bishop Michael G. Duca arrived in 2008 as the second bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport, he was surprised to see that there More »

Following his ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Long blesses Bishop Duca.

Bishop Duca Altered My Priesthood Forever

by Father Matthew Long, Pastor, St. Joseph Parish On April 1, 2008, I arose to news that would alter my priesthood forever. A seminarian at that time, it was John Mark Willcox, More »

Bishop’s Reflection (April 2012)

Three women bring ointment to Christ’s tomb and discover it open in this artwork attributed to illuminator Cristoforo de Predis. (CNS photo/courtesy of Alinari, Art Resource)

by Bishop Michael Duca

CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

I have always been at a loss for how to greet people at Easter. I suppose the default common greeting is “Happy Easter” but that has always seemed too small for so wondrous a Solemnity of our Faith. It is also a little secular, mundane like “Have a nice day.”  The greeting I believe is big enough is the one above that comes out of the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox traditions. This greeting is not a simple desire that the other will have a good time but rather a PROCLAMATION that flows out of and draws us into the center of the mystery of our faith in Christ Risen from the dead for our salvation.  In my greeting/proclamation, “CHRIST IS RISEN!” and then the response of the other, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!” we are, in that moment of encounter, together the Church alive, proclaiming and giving witness to our common faith in the Risen Lord.

CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

This past Lent was a hard Lent for me, not in my personal acts of penance or commitments of charity, but in having to face the realities that MAY come our way if the new HHS mandates do not restore our freedom to exclude birth control and other morally objectionable abortafacients and procedures for sterilization from the health insurance we offers our employees.  I have had some ask, “Why are the bishops being so difficult? It is not that big of a deal.” But IT IS A BIG ISSUE. I ask that you take the time to carefully read the statement of the American bishops on the next page that gives a succinct explanation of the issue at hand.  Facing this as a bishop is challenging, but it has been difficult also on a personal level. I have always, from my first moments of awareness, always believed that being a good Catholic and being a good citizen were not only compatible but also mutually beneficial.  I have always been proud of the history of our dioceses and religious communities who brought medical care and hospitals to remote areas in a time when we were still a developing nation. I am proud of how we cared for immigrants and created an education system of Catholic schools and colleges that still excel academically. I have cherished and thankfully prayed for the freedom we enjoy as Catholics to worship God without interference and to administer our Catholic institutions in light of that same faith.  It is personally difficult to consider the possibility of having to decide between being a good citizen and being a good Catholic. This is the possible BIG DEAL that we are confronting as a Church.

CHRIST IS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Of course all these challenges to the Church bring to us an opportunity to consider the priority of our Catholic faith in our lives. This challenge to the freedom of religion, as big as it is, is nowhere near as big as the hope we proclaim in Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life, who was raised from the dead to save us from the darkness of sin and to take away the sting of death. In Jesus we have the true hope that gives our lives an eternal meaning, a hope that not even death can destroy. This same Lord comes to us in the celebration of the Mass as Eucharistic food, His true body and blood to strengthen us to become more like Christ each day.  This is the heart of the Church, it is our proclamation, our hope and our witness in the way we live our lives.  This is a freedom no one can take away.  So as difficult as my Lent has been I am not in any way without hope.  If it comes to a choice, I choose Christ.

CHRIST IS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Maybe the difference in the Easter greetings gives us some insight. Happy Easter is a good greeting but a somewhat generic one that can come off the tongue almost without thinking, and is certainly not expecting a substantial response.  Whereas the greeting “CHRIST IS RISEN!   HE IS RISEN INDEED!” can not easily be said without us being pulled into the mystery of our faith, without giving a public witness of our faith, without considering what I truly believe and how it is reflected in my life.  The greeting expects a response that ties us together in that faith, that unites us in the Church.

CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

The challenges before the Church today are calling us to consider whether our Catholic faith is just a generic title that has little influence in our lives or whether our Catholic faith is something that we embrace with a love that influences our whole lives and that we give witness to in the way we live.  Speak out against this coercive mandate.  Do not be pulled into the media downplay of the issue but continue to speak out against it.  Give witness to your faith in your life.  Do not just hope for a Happy Easter, but rather pray for a faith in Jesus Risen from the dead and in His Church that moves us to proclaim:

“CHRIST IS RISEN!” And to that I gladly respond, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”