Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher to the Papal Household, was the leader for the Bishops' Retreat in January. (photo: Catholic News Agency)

Prayer Before Action A Reflection on the Bishops’ Retreat

by Father Peter Mangum, Diocesan Administrator We just celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and have brought the Season of Christmas to a conclusion. May the graces of that More »


Continuing the Mission: 2019 Annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal

by John Mark Willcox One might ask these days, “Since our diocese is without a bishop, will we be conducting the Annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal?” The answer to that question is a More »


Catholics and Methodists: Working Together to Bring Christ’s Message of Love to the Poor and Vulnerable

by Tiffany Olah, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana Catholic Charities of North Louisiana (CCNLA)has been working together with area Methodist churches to fulfill its mission of bringing Christ’s message of love to More »


Knights Raise Funds to Purchase Ultrasound Machine

story and photos by Kelly Phelan Powell One of the most encouraging signposts in the recent years of the pro-life movement is the enthusiastic involvement of men. So often shouted down and More »


Saying Goodbye to Father Richard Lombard

by Lucy Medvec Fr. Lombard is why my family is at St. Joseph. When he baptized our son in 1995, and one year later welcomed me into the Catholic Church, our family More »


Moving Forward in Sede Vacante

by Jessica Rinaudo Bishop Duca’s appointment to Baton Rouge earlier this year made our diocese, Sede Vacante or a “vacant see:” a diocese without a bishop, overseen by a diocesan administrator, who More »


Praise Academy: Building Faith, Education and Community in Lakeside

by Jessica Rinaudo Every city has them – areas rampant with crime, populated by the poor, the hungry, those surviving day to day. Shreveport, Louisiana is no exception. I found myself driving More »


U.S. Bishops Approved “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism”

from the USCCB BALTIMORE— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved during its November General Assembly, the formal statement, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter More »


LaCaze Lagniappe Gala: Celebrating the Life of Monsignor J. Carson LaCaze

by Randy Tiller Msgr. Carson LaCaze was a force of nature in the Diocese of Shreveport, but in sharp contrast to that dynamic personality, he was also well known to collect various More »

Extraordinary Service in Ordinary Circumstances

Heroism and love begin in the home

(CNS photo/Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register)

As a theology major, I earned my degree turning thousands of pages of spiritual reading – reflections of saints, papal documents and biblical analysis. I remember highlighting quotations that struck me, whole paragraphs of intricate wording that spoke right to my soul. It’s important to continue being a student of the Catholic faith, reading the more weighty documents and understanding Church history; but some of the best theology I’ve studied came packed in simple phrases like Christ’s “…whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). This powerful statement was often quoted by Blessed Mother Teresa when compelling the world to help others and pour oneself out in service to them.

Blessed Mother Teresa and the Sisters of Charity subjected themselves to the most grotesque of visions in their ministry, bathing the maggots off homeless in the streets and feeding those gaunt with starvation. The filthy could not bathe themselves, neither could the hungry feed themselves, so the sisters did for them. Though there is certainly no denying the greatness of her love considering the lowly and poor state of those whom she helped, if you examine the very basic nature of Mother Teresa’s work, she did what we can do; what we all already do.

The heroism that she showed to thousands of people she helped moments before their passing has been shown to me throughout my own life. As a mother of two beautiful kids and a child to two wonderful parents, I constantly re-learn that the small services I offer and was offered in my upbringing require as much self-sacrifice and love. I wonder how many times my parents denied themselves so they could buy clothes and food for their growing children. We couldn’t obtain those things on our own and so they did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. Similarly, my 10 month old baby boy still gets hungry in the smallest hours of the morning and I would love to tell him to just grab something from the fridge; but since he can’t do for himself, either Andrew or I crawl out of our warm bed to feed the Hungry for 20 minutes before putting him back down.

And what do you do for your family? The bread winner, the laundry folder, the lunch maker, the money manager, the listener and supporter – often we think that extraordinary service requires extraordinary circumstances, but sainthood is found in the love with which we do what we’re called to do. It is not an extraordinary thing to interact with the same people who lived in your house yesterday and years before, and it might not be as dramatic as the slums of India to serve the family who are so common in your life; but consider that they are Christ – that to serve them is to serve Him. You did it to me. The heroic nature of Mother Teresa’s actions is found where there is common care among the family.

It’s important to note that Blessed Mother Teresa herself said that “love begins at home,” which beautifully complements Blessed Pope John Paul II’s words “So goes the family, so goes the world.” We cannot begin to help the world at large without tending to our own domestic church.

Katie Sciba is the author of She lives in Shreveport with her husband Andrew and two sons Liam and Thomas.

Vincentian Aid

Society of St. Vincent de Paul volunteers assist members of the Cedar Grove area at the St. Catherine Food Pantry.

Our diocesan mission statement proclaims, “We are called to serve as a sign and instrument of Christ’s liberating and healing presence in the world,” and there is no better way to fulfill our call as Catholic Christians than to support the work done in every deanery of our diocese by The Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Almost since its inception, our Annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal has assisted the work and ministry of St. Vincent de Paul in numerous locations throughout our diocese, as Vincentians seek to give hope to those people of our area who are suffering.  The promotion of works of justice and charity through assistance with food, clothing and medical supplies are just some of the ways the Society of St. Vincent de Paul helps define who we are as Catholic Christians.

Young and old persons seek to fulfill the mission of St. Vincent de Paul as they strive to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to individuals in need.  It is this personalized involvement that makes the work of the Society effective and unique.  Assistance may take the form of consultation or through direct dollar or in-kind services. Vincentians also strive to preserve the dignity and confidentiality of those who benefit from the helping ministry of St. Vincent de Paul.

Many dedicated and faithful servants of God help their needy brothers and sisters within our diocese performing Vincentian home visitations, volunteering in St. Vincent de Paul pharmacies or facilitating Society food pantries for the financially poor.  Your Appeal generosity helps this ministry to continue and offers our Appeal donors tangible evidence of the Church’s efforts to provide for the marginalized of our communities who are always among us.

John Mark Willcox is the diocesan Director of Stewardship and Development. To give to the annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal that supports ministries like these, visit

Making God Smile

by Mike Van Vranken

(CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

“God loves a Cheerful Giver.”  2 Cor 9:7.

The idea of freely sharing our own gifts to build up and support others must be very pleasing to our Father in heaven.  In other words, we are obedient when we give because God commanded it.  But, what the God of love really craves is for His children to give because we desire to.  Being Christlike is not just about compliance.  It’s about having the hunger to love others as much as we love ourselves.  Our yearning to help those in need is where God finds joy.

Someone recently may have asked you if they can borrow money and you know they cannot or will not repay it. Respond out of guilt and you still help that person. Responding with joy however, gives both you and God great joy and helps the borrower as well.

But, as humans, we can’t miss the point.  It is our own desire to give that the Lord loves and that desire must be the catalyst of our giving, not the guilt we may experience if we don’t give.  And, certainly not the hope of getting something in return.

Action Plan for this month:

  • Ask God each day where He wants you to share your gifts.
  • Each time you give, whether it’s time, talent or money, tell God in an audible voice that you are freely giving in a joyful, happy and laughing way.
  • Thank God unceasingly for the many, newly discovered opportunities to give He is providing for you.
  • Finally, meditate on your own picture of God.  Maybe He is sitting on a throne. Maybe He is standing next to you at work.  Whatever that picture, make sure you see Him with a grin on His face from ear-to-ear. And, laugh with Him knowing that He and you both love a cheerful giver.

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

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 or visit the local campaign website at

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


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)


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).