Faithful Step Up in Wake of Tornado Devastation

by Walter Johnson On April 25, the city of Ruston found itself reeling from an EF3 tornado that blew into the area in the early hours of Thursday morning. The vicious storm More »

Fr. Kevin Mues Ordination to the Priesthood

A Q& A with the Diocese of Shreveport’s Newest Ordained Priest During your time in seminary, what are some of the moments that have encouraged your vocation? The things that have been More »

Reflection on Minor Seminary

by Seminarian Kelby Tingle Four years ago I graduated from Loyola College Prep in Shreveport and, feeling a call to discern a vocation to the priesthood, I made the prayerful decision to More »

CCNLA and SVdP: Side by Side and Hand in Hand

by Tiffany Olah, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana At first glance, it may appear that there is a duplication of services in what the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) does More »

Pro-Life Oratory Contest Winners Announced

T he Shreveport-Bossier Pro-Life Oratory Committee has announced the local winners of its high school oratory contest. Kaiden Odell, a senior at Word of God Academy in Shreveport, won first place with More »

Pope Exhorts Young People to Be Courageous; Encounter Christ on the 56th Annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations

from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops The 56th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations was celebrated by the Catholic Church on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 12, a More »

One Last Time: Rinaudo Bids Farewell After More Than a Decade as Connection Editor

by Jessica Rinaudo As I began to work on this, my final issue of The Catholic Connection, I looked back and counted the number of issues I’ve put together over the past More »

The Beauty of Parish Life

by Kim Long Recently I began to reflect on what God used to get my attention over 30 years ago when “becoming Catholic” began to go from a wild exotic notion to More »

On the Trail of History: France and the Priest-Martyrs of 1873

by Fr. Peter B. Mangum As many are aware, I have been working on a project over the last two years to explore and raise awareness of the lives of five remarkable More »

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).

Loyola College Prep Welcomes New Faculty

Loyola College Prep opened the 2012-13 school year with 10 new members of the faculty: (from left) Antonio Ramallo (Spanish), Stephanus Clark (Latin), Anna Fuenfhausen (Science), Chris Kourvelas (Boys PE and Basketball), Holly Bissell (Math), David Custis (Math), Whitney Bradley (Theology), Ron Fenwick (Boys PE and Baseball), Arelis Soberal (Spanish) and Hal Meekins (Physics).

St. Frederick’s Annual Work Day

St. Frederick High School hosted its annual Work Day over the summer to help “freshen up” the campus and get ready for the new school year!  Students, parents, siblings and friends joined together to paint, clean, move furniture and lockers and just do general projects around the school. Everyone enjoyed the day of fellowship and loved being a part of the progress at SFHS!

Reader Theater at St. Joseph School

St. Joseph School teachers participated in a “Reader Theater,” facilitated by Mrs. Lisa Raith. Lisa shared unique techniques on reading lessons for grades K-8.  “Reader Theater” was one of many continuing education opportunities the faculty and administration of St. Joseph Catholic School experienced during their in-service week in August.

Jesus the Good Shepherd School Kicks Off New Year

Jesus the Good Shepherd School’s first day of school was August 14 and the students, faculty and staff were all very excited to get back into the swing of things. With over 350 registered students, 2012-13 is set to be a banner year!  Teachers and volunteers are working hard to finalize plans for fall events. Please remember to keep all of our students, teachers and schools in your prayers.

Cathedral School Welcomes New Staff

St. John Berchmans School began the school year on Friday, August 10, with its annual Parent and Student Orientation.  In addition to the new students who arrived on campus, SJB is also thrilled to have the following new members on its staff: Jennifer Deason (Counselor), Valorie Maniscalco (Middle School Math and Algebra), Jaime Guillaume (5th grade), Meaghan Long (6th and 7th grade Social Studies and Middle School Language Arts), Tina Lennard (P.E. and Athletic Director) and Linda Ott (K4). Not pictured: Andy Hitt (Director of Information Technology) and Shelita Soriano (K4 Aide).

Sacred Heart Church Hosted Annual Fun Day

Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Shreveport hosted their annual Westwood Community Fun Day alongside Councilman Sam Jenkins and Interfaith. This free event took place in the parking lot at Sacred Heart Church and members of the surrounding area enjoyed food, drink and games while meeting their local councilman, registering to vote, learning about property standards and interacting with area police and firemen. This year’s event was another huge success for Sacred Heart Church and their neighbors! Pictured: Sacred Heart’s neighbors register to vote and talk with Shreveport Parks and Recreation.

St. Jude Church Took Regional Pilgrimage

Facilitated by Fr. Pike Thomas, pilgrims from ST. JUDE CHURCH recently visited shrines around New Orleans. Pictured: Pilgrims gathered with Fr. Pike at the Blessed Francis Seelos Shrine.