0917dig6

Historic Dig: Artifacts of St. John’s Church & College Unearthed in Shreveport

by Jessica Rinaudo The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans has garnered much attention in recent months for the archeological dig they are conducting on Texas Avenue in Shreveport. There the dig team More »

0917bishop

Bishop’s September Reflection: The Resurrection of the Body

by Bishop Michael Duca I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen. Most More »

0917podcast

Classes and Podcast on Catholic Retrospective on the Anniversary of Protestant Reformation

by Dr. Cheryl White As the world prepares to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation on October 31, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans is using this More »

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New Christian Service Facility to Have September Grand Opening

by Jane Snyder The new Christian Service facility on Levy Street will have its grand opening on Wednesday, September 27, at 1:00 p.m. Please join Bishop Michael Duca and Mayor Ollie Tyler More »

0917samekind1

Catholic Charities Presents: Same Kind of Different as Me

by Lucy Medvec Catholic Charities of North Louisiana will be hosting private showings of the movie Same Kind of Different as Me in Shreveport and Monroe during the weekend of October 20-22.  More »

0917sjbschoolupdate

St. John Berchmans Catholic School Welcomes Changes!

by Kelly Phelan Powell With the advent of a new school year, St. John Berchmans Catholic School in Shreveport is undergoing some exciting changes. Former principal Jo Cazes retired this year after More »

0917deaconhomer

Vocations View: God is Persistent: Being Accepted to the Permanent Diaconate Program

by Mike Van Vranken I had just turned 28 years old and was standing in the vestibule of St. Michael Church in West Memphis, Arkansas with my pastor.  Thumbing through a pamphlet More »

0917spiritualdirectors

Navigating the Faith: Spiritual Direction

by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship While our diocese does not have an abundance of lay spiritual directors, the number more than doubled in August as four more people completed two years More »

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Catholic Connection Wins Awards!

The Catholic Press Awards were held in Quebec on Friday, June 23, 2017, with Catholic publications from across North America competing in hundreds of categories. The Diocese of Shreveport’s Catholic Connection took More »

Representatives Attend Family Life Ministries Conference

Carol Gates and Dotye Sue Stanford, representatives of Family Life Ministries for the Diocese of Shreveport, attended the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministries (NACFLM) meeting at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. They learned ideas on how to include Catholic social teaching within family day-to-day activities, along with ideas to enrich parish life with small groups, to enhance our marriage preparation and marriage and family programs.

Slow Food Donates to Earthquake Victims

Lynn Mandina, Cathy Gregorio and Vita Gregorio presented Fr. Rothell Price with a check on behalf of Slow Food of North Louisiana for the support of earthquake victims in and around Amatrice, Italy. The proceeds will be given to Catholic Relief Services and used for this purpose.  To raise the funds, the group hosted a benefit dinner with the help of Italian-American members of the community.

Catholic Youth Camp at Sacred Heart

On July 22-23, seven youth from Shreveport responded to the invitation to attend a Youth Camp held at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Shreveport. The camp was led by Couples for Christ (CFC) Youth from Dallas-Fort Worth. Some members of CFC were present in the camp to provide spiritual support, attend to nutritional needs and serve as adult chaperones. Fr. John Paul Crispin presided over the sacrament of reconciliation and the concluding eucharistic celebration. CFC Youth is a family ministry of Couples for Christ.

JGS Hosted Kagan Cooperative Learning Workshop

Jesus the Good Shepherd and Our Lady of Fatima teachers attended a two-day workshop on Kagan Cooperative Learning. They learned about Kagan Structures which increase academic achievement, improve ethnic relations, enhance self-esteem, create a more harmonious classroom climate, reduce discipline problems, and develop students’ social skills and character virtues. These simple teaching strategies have a profoundly positive effect on overall student engagement! When students are engaged, they pay attention, they’re motivated, they learn more, and the learning is retained. The biggest difference between the Kagan approach and teaching using traditional methods is the ability to engage every student. We are excited to implement these wonderful learning structures in our classrooms at JGS and OLF.

OLF Inservice Day

Our Lady of Fatima School held a Teacher Inservice Day prior to the start of the new school year. OLF principal Dr. Carynn Wiggins observed while Vice Principal Stephanie Haney explained the updated features of the 2017-2018 student handbook.

Loyola Students Intern with Congress

Loyola graduates left with more than diplomas as 82% of them earned over $12 million in scholarships. Additionally, the class of 2017 accumulated over 17,000 hours in service to the community, answering the call to be men and women for others.

Three Loyola College Prep graduates spent their summer working in D.C. as they interned for Congressman Mike Johnson. Griffin Neal, John Henry Hobgood and Andrew Dzurik are pictured with Loyola physics teacher Hal Meekins in Washington D.C.

SJS Gets Casual Learning Space

Beginning this fall, St. Joseph middle school students will have a new perk in their building – the SJS Middle School Lounge. The space in the classroom next to the library was transformed this summer into a casual learning space, including new tile floors, tables with plugs and USB charging ports, a comfortable couch and a bistro table with barrel stools. Teachers will be able to reserve the room for study time, reading time, or any other flexible learning time. The students will be given ownership of the room, with tasks such as painting and decorating the room and selecting pieces of furniture. The new breakroom was the highlight of the upgrades the campus received over the summer, which included newly painted red doors with black trim, the newly refurbished campus computer lab, and a refreshing of the playground mulch in all areas.

Domestic Church: Doubting the Truths We Learned in Youth

by Katie Sciba

It’s four years ago this month that my dad passed away. His battle with melanoma was shorter than others’ and though I’m grateful his suffering wasn’t long, it’s still painful knowing my children will grow up without knowing him.

Because I want his memory to be as present as possible, I flood the kids with stories so “Pop Pop” is a legend in their little minds. And because they know he died early in or before their lifetimes, the question inevitably arises, “Where is Pop Pop now?”

The reality is I don’t know.

I doubt seriously that my father is in hell – perish the thought – and though I hope so much that he’s in heaven among Christ, the angels and saints, I don’t know that for certain either. Andrew and I have taught our kids about Purgatory and we frequently pray for the poor souls there, often mentioning my dad “just in case.” Truly, only the Lord knows.

My four-year-old Peter recently asked me how long Pop Pop would have to wait if indeed he is in Purgatory. “When will Jesus let him out?”

“I’m not sure,” I said, taking his hand. “That’s why we have to pray for Pop Pop, so the Lord will bring him to heaven. We pray for the souls in Purgatory and then they go to be with Jesus. And if Pop Pop is already there, then Jesus takes our prayers and does something else with them.”

Peter furrowed his brow in childlike curiosity, “Can I pray for Pop Pop to get out?” After I nodded, he squeezed his eyes shut and prayed silently. Opening them a few seconds later, he grinned at me. “I did it,” he stated proudly. “You did!” I replied. “And we’ll keep praying for him.”

“No, Mama. He’s out. I prayed for him so now he is out. Pop Pop is in heaven.”

I smiled at my son’s innocence. Initially I tried to discern how to tell him it doesn’t work just like that, but I stopped myself. Why wouldn’t it? I had just told my inquiring four-year-old that when we persistently pray for the souls in Purgatory, they’re released. He prayed, he’s been praying, and now he’s sure his grandfather beholds the face of God. It was a classic example of faith like a child.

What is it about adulthood that causes us to doubt the truths we learn in our youth? Even after teaching Peter that prayer will aid in releasing souls from Purgatory, why is it still hard for me to grasp that my dad could be in heaven? I suspect at some point in our lives, our sense of trust begins to crack, so divine revelations that call for faith become harder for us to swallow. Maybe questions aren’t answered to our satisfaction or some kind of hurt leaves us asking why.

What remains firm among our doubts or hesitations is the fact that the Lord waits for us. He wants us to ask the unbelievable, the impossible of Him. He wants us to believe what He says and who He is. From faith comes certainty and from trust in the words of Christ, peace is born.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1)

Katie Sciba is married to Andrew and together they have five children. She is the author of thecatholicwife.net.

Faithful Food: Finding Balance

by Kim Long

September, usually a much anticipated month, seems to have been lying in wait and now it has caught me up. September is the month for balance as the autumnal equinox occurs around the twenty-first day of the month. Terms like equinox and solstice can put some people “off,” as they have been co-opted by many “new age” followers. I do not see it that way. God made the heavens and the earth and ordered time, so I give Him all the credit for the equinoxes and solstices and the rest.

The equinox occurs when there are equal hours of light and darkness and it happens twice in a year (spring and fall). The solstices occur in December (shortest day of the year) and June (longest day of the year).

When my children were young and school-aged I accepted, not unlike a court summons,  the pages and pages of supplies required by schools. I shopped, bargained, pleaded for a peaceful (and early) bedtime, and  when the alarm clock moved the day quite literally forward, I can see now that September was anything but balance. Happily, scripture reminds us there is a time for every purpose under heaven.

Things change, our lives, the people in them, our jobs, our roles, all change. And in those changes growth occurs and then hopefully and prayerfully, we achieve balance. I like two definitions of the word “balance,” and I find them to be companionable rather than conflicting: “An even distribution of weight enabling someone or thing to remain upright and steady;” and “harmony of design and proportion.”

September, for me, comes down to one word: balance. So, now that I have taken my life down to the basics, how can I become healthier in body, mind and soul? Balance. What that means for me is being gentle with where I am. I did not get out of balance overnight, so finding my way back to center won’t be a quick, easy or one time trip. September though, with a built-in reminder from God, assures me it is doable. In September, God reminds me to check in and see what needs to be adjusted.

In my September kitchen I cook with more intention and that includes body (healthier), mind (not blowing my budget) and soul (enjoying some “slow” food – the kind I must sit down to enjoy). I found this dish, cooked on a Sunday for family dinner “dessert,” achieved harmony of design and proportion.

Greek Yogurt with Fall Fruit Conserve

Ingredients:
• 4 pears, peeled and sliced
• 3 apples, peeled and sliced
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 1 cup brown sugar
• Enough water to cover

Directions:
1)  Add all ingredients to heavy bottomed pot (you don’t want it to stick) and add just enough water to cover.

2)  Cook down over a low flame, stirring often so it doesn’t stick. You may need to add more water from time to time as mixture thickens. Once thickened and fruits are soft, remove from heat and cool.

3)  Dish up some plain Greek yogurt and cover with the conserve. Add a handful of oatmeal and this can easily double as breakfast.
Leftover conserve may be stored in a container with a lid (a canning jar is great but plastic containers work just as well, use what you have on hand). It will keep about a month.

In Review: Knit One, Purl a Prayer: A Spirituality of Knitting

Knit One, Purl a Prayer: A Spirituality of Knitting
by Peggy Rosenthal

reviewed by Kim Long

The truth is that all my life I have wanted to belong to that sisterhood that understood the instructive nature of the phrase “knit one, purl one” but alas no one in my immediate family knitted. My great aunt, Ruby Cumela, left as her legacy one hand knitted cardigan in what I now recognize as seed stitch, and that seemed to be enough to fuel my dream of learning to knit. My late father-in-law proved that men do it too; he learned to knit while convalescing from injuries sustained in World War II. The humidity and heat of just about any season in Louisiana did nothing to dissuade me from the desire to offer hand knit wool socks to all my relatives at Christmas. Well, I still can’t knit socks, though I have managed a few simple garments.

When I saw this book on the Paraclete Press website, I wasted no time in ordering a copy. This book does not disappoint nor does it discriminate. One does not have to knit to read it and benefit from Peggy Rosenthal’s take on prayer. In six short chapters, a big chunk of life is examined and, as an added bonus for those who do knit, there is a simple pattern at the end of each chapter.
As part of the Active Prayer Series this book brings together knitting, praying and the spirituality of life. How many times have our hands worked on a task or project while our minds (and hearts) are elsewhere and otherwise engaged?

In the first chapter, prayer is the focus. “I found that each stitch invoked a prayer as it slipped through my fingers from the left needle to the right. It was a wordless prayer – just an awareness of the Divine Presence.” She delves into the definition of prayer and gives wordless prayer its proper respect. Prayer, she suggests, is our human longing for communication with the Divine.

Peggy and her husband, George, are converts to Catholicism, both having grown up “in a happy, loving agnostic household.” She recalls feeling an emptiness on Sundays along with a restlessness and sense of longing, but not quite sure of what would fill her. During the months of their preparation leading up to baptism, they were introduced to some monks at a nearby Trappist Abbey. Contemplative prayer and the monks’ practice of chanting the psalms were intriguing. In chapter two she reflects on that practice noting that prayer is in the pause rather than the words themselves.

Chapter three talks about community. Women often sit together, knit, talk and ….yes pray! And we are not praying for only ourselves, but for the needs of others, both individuals and communities.

Chapter four is about working with patterns – in knitting, in prayer, in life. The author states, “sometimes when I am knitting I enjoy just watching the knitted pattern forming through my fingers.”

In chapter five, Peggy recounts stories of people who have purled through pain.

In chapter six, the prayer aspect she began with in the first chapter is brought round again full circle.  Why do we knit? How is it prayerful? What does this work of our hands do for our whole body, mind and spirit? Again she grapples with these basic questions. I imagine the same questions and prayers can be applied to many “jobs or activities” such as cooking or  gardening, so I see this book as a template for the merging of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, which for me have always been a guide, a pattern to be worked and reworked.

This book is worth the day or two it may take to read it. Its precepts are not brand new, but it offers a fresh perspective. I hope you will take the time to explore it.