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Fidel Mondragon’s Ordination

by Jessica Rinaudo Before Fidel Mondragon landed in the Diocese of Shreveport, he spent many years in various seminaries, countries and a religious order, discerning the vocation God had planned for his More »

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Pope Francis Celebrated Mass and Canonization at Fatima Shrine

At 10:00 a.m. on May 13, the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fátima, on the plaza of the Shrine, the Holy Father Francis celebrated Holy Mass on the occasion of More »

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Join Us for Summer Catholic Camps for Teens!

Dear Parents, As parents of teenagers, you want the very best for your children. As faithful Catholics, you want them to grow closer to the Church in their teen years, not drift More »

Left to right: Sr. Carol Shively, OSU, Superintendent; Fr. Joe Martina, Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish; Dr. Carynn Wiggins, Principal; Shelly Bole, Director of Catechesis; Jamie Humphrey, Religion Teacher

Relgious Education Gets Boost at Our Lady of Fatima

by Bonny Van During the school year, Wednesday morning Mass for students at Our Lady of Fatima School in Monroe is much more than just a time to celebrate the Eucharist.  It’s More »

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Vocations View: The Identity and Role of a Deacon

by Duane Trombetta, Seminarian By the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a man is appointed to nourish the people of the Church with God’s Word and grace in the name of Christ.  He More »

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Faithful Food: Vulnerability and Risk

by Kim Long Words and their meanings have become causalities in our current world. It seems we can be overly casual with their meanings, “loving” everything from soda to chocolate and “knowing” More »

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Mike’s Meditations: Embracing All Prayer Types

by Mike Van Vranken I recently overheard two people discussing (maybe arguing) about whose form of prayer was best. One thought Sunday Mass was the best form of prayer because they could More »

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Bishop’s Reflection: Don’t Be Afraid to Be “Religious”

by Bishop Michael G. Duca I think it is fair to say that in today’s secular culture there is a bias against religion. Maybe the bias against it has always been there, More »

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Our Lady of Fatima Plenary Indulgence

by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship On Saturday, May 13, the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Francis declared canonized saints, Jacinta and Francesco Marto, two of More »

Bishop’s Reflection: Don’t Be Afraid to Be “Religious”

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by Bishop Michael G. Duca

I think it is fair to say that in today’s secular culture there is a bias against religion. Maybe the bias against it has always been there, but it is certainly more pronounced. How often have you heard a celebrity, friend or even a fallen away Catholic say, “I am spiritual, but not religious”?  It comes across as a statement that infers the spiritual path is the “higher path” and a person has somehow grown beyond religion.  This has become such a regular statement that to some it sounds profound, but I think it is just another way of stripping GOD more and more out of our culture as a binding truth.

It is true that there have been many sins committed in the name of religion, but the problem lies with individuals, not in our religion, our Catholic Faith.  The meaning of the word religion, (re-legio, Latin root) is to bind again. In the context of faith, the highest purpose and meaning of religion is to bind us back to God. In faith, we reorder our thinking so that our morality, our virtue, our prayer, the very ultimate meaning of our lives is grounded in the belief that God is the author of life, the great architect of creation and that He sent His son Jesus as the very revelation of who He is.

Often times in the business and temptations of life we forget this truth.  We may say that we believe in God, but can at the same time become functional unbelievers, stripping God out of our lives as our center and guide. We begin to act without regard for others in the attainment of success or wealth; to seek pleasures without respect for others, our own dignity or even our sacred vows. We find ourselves becoming more allied with the values of the world – becoming vain, judgmental, self righteous, envious and self-centered.  When we then stop praying and going to Church, we reach a moment when we need to ask ourselves a question: If there is no place for God at the center of my life, then what is the new center of my life? Is it my job, my search for success, my desire for more money, popularity, influence, pleasure, avoiding old age…? Whatever it is, it will not be enough.

How do we break out of this empty life, this functional unbelief?  The answer is simple: go to Church! Begin to seek out God as the center of your life. Get back into the religious practices that put you back in contact with Jesus, to help rebind yourself back to God, to remind yourself of what is good and true.  Your Catholic faith is your way to reorder your thinking and life in light of your faith in Jesus and belief in God. We do this by reconnecting with the sacraments, the teachings of the Church, the reading of scripture and prayer. We need to discover God not from within, but in the Body of Christ, the Church. It is there we will rediscover our authentic center and truth.  Some will suggest that this is an old-fashioned approach and a more spiritual approach is better and purer.

When someone says they are spiritual, and not religious, there is an unspoken assumption that they can discover God within themselves. I don’t think a Christian can make this statement.  Just think of how God revealed Himself.  The Word became flesh in Jesus Christ. The apostles had to listen to Jesus, come to know and love him, to allow Jesus to reveal to them WHO GOD IS! Jesus is not a fabrication of the human heart. He is the Revelation of God who comes from outside ourselves and reveals the deepest truth about the human heart and our identity as Children of God. To re-center ourselves we must allow God to reveal Himself to us once again.  We do not do this as simply a spiritual practice, but as a religious one, re-connecting with the Body of Christ, the Church, who continues to make known the truth and revelation of Jesus in the sacraments, the scriptures and the tradition of understanding coming from the apostles.  Once we find Jesus and discover who God is, we then begin to see spiritually the truth of Jesus revealed in our very being, finding joy, peace and a truth that resonates in our hearts.

I am aware the Church can be at times an imperfect reflection of Jesus in the everyday encounters we may have with parishioners or pastors.  Religious practices can become empty and at times self-serving.  But the heart of the Church is Jesus Christ and here we will find the true teaching and encounter with Christ. Stop worrying about being religious. Draw strength, inspiration and hope from your faith, from your religion as a Roman Catholic.  Come back to church to encounter Christ once again and reorder your life with God at the center.

Our Lady of Fatima Plenary Indulgence

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by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship

On Saturday, May 13, the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Francis declared canonized saints, Jacinta and Francesco Marto, two of the three shepherd children to whom Our Lady appeared. A one-year Jubilee began on November 27, 2016, the First Sunday of Advent, and will continue until November 26, 2017.  The Apostolic Penitentiary has granted a plenary indulgence for the centennial anniversary of the Fatima apparitions.  “The plenary indulgence of the jubilee is granted: to pious faithful who visit with devotion an image of Our Lady of Fatima solemnly displayed for public veneration in any temple, oratory or adequate place, during the days of the anniversary of the apparitions (the 13th of each month, from May to October 2017), and devotedly participate there in any celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary, pray the Our Father, recite the Symbol of Faith (Creed) and invoke Our Lady of Fatima.”

“To obtain the plenary indulgence, the faithful, truly penitent and animated with charity, must fulfill the following conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father.”

The parishes in the Diocese of Shreveport with images of Our Lady of Fatima for veneration at the time of this publication are:
• Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, Shreveport
• Mary, Queen of Peace Parish, Bossier City
• St. Jude Parish, Benton
• St. Patrick Parish, Lake Providence
• Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Monroe

O God, who chose the Mother of your Son to be our Mother also,
Grant us that, persevering in penance and prayer
For the salvation of the world,
We may further more effectively each day the reign of Christ.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.  

25th Annual Red Mass in Shreveport

Bishop Michael G. Duca presents a check to a member of Holy Angels Residential Facility during the 25th Annual Red Mass at Holy Trinity in downtown Shreveport. The Red Mass honors lawyers, judges and court officials. This year’s honoree was Holy Angels.

Fr. Thang’wa Led Prayer for LA Senate

Fr. Mike Thang’wa gave the opening prayer at the Louisiana Senate on April 25. He was invited by Senator Barrow Peacock, District 37, Shreveport-Bossier. The Senate is opened with prayer each session. He also was given a tour of the Capitol, seeing the view from the top and going to the fourth floor where the governor’s office is and where news conferences are held.

Fr. Gaitley Led Cathedral’s Divine Mercy Retreat

Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, and the Marian Missionaries conducted a Divine Mercy Day Retreat on Saturday, April 22, at the Cathedral of  St. John Berchmans for over 200 attendees from throughout the diocese and surrounding areas. Pictured: Fr. Gaitley offers a blessing of the Divine Mercy images for retreatants.

Fr. Tim Surprised with Anniversary Gift

The children of St. Joseph Parish in Zwolle and St. Ann Church in Ebarb surprised Fr. Tim Hurd with an engraved bench for his 25th anniversary of priesthood.

St. Joseph PSR Students Present Rice Bowl

Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General and Director of Special Collections, was presented with a check in the amount of $775.11 from the Rice Bowl Lenten donations of the students of the Parish School of Religion of St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport. Teachers, Bonnie Vanni and Suji Sujith, along with students, Joshua and Theresa Sujith made the presentation to Fr. Price for the efforts of Catholic Relief Services.

Foot Washing at St. Jude

St. Jude participated in foot washing on Holy Thursday. Pictured are Joey and Candace Brickner and family.

May Crowning in Many

The youth of St. John the Baptist Parish in Many brought flowers for the annual crowning of Mary in May.

St. Joseph Altar, Mansfield

St. Joseph in Mansfield hosted a St. Joseph Altar on March 19 for both St. Joseph, Mansfield and St. Ann, Stonewall. Both churches contributed to the decorations and food for the event.