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Catholic Charities: North Louisiana’s Good Samaritan

by Lucy Medvec Who will you help today? In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we are called by Jesus to go forth and treat our neighbors with mercy, even those we More »

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Bishop’s Reflection: Live in a Way That Embraces Eternal Life

by Bishop Michael G. Duca For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the More »

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26th Annual Red Mass Set for May 4 at Holy Trinity

by Jessica Rinaudo & Richard Hiller The Red Mass, which takes place annually at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in May of each year, has become a fixture in the Diocese of Shreveport. More »

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Author and EWTN TV Show Host to Give “Feeding Your Family’s Soul” Workshop in Shreveport

I sat down with Donna-Marie Cooper-O’Boyle, author of Feeding Your Family’s Soul, to talk to her about her book and upcoming workshop in Shreveport on April 28.  Q: What inspired this idea More »

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Loyola Students Memorialize Florida School Shooting Victims

by Lisa Cooper In the wake of the Parkland, FL, school shooting on Ash Wednesday, Loyola students found themselves hurting and desired a way to honor those who were killed. The art More »

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Domestic Church: Facing Fear and Difficulty

by Katie Sciba I had over 20 tabs open online, all of them for rentals within a 50 mile radius. We needed a three-bedroom house for the seven of us, that would More »

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Mike’s Meditations: Good Catholic, Bad Catholic

by Mike Van Vranken There is an interesting story where an official asked Jesus: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 18:18. Jesus peculiarly responds: “Why do you More »

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The Shroud of Turin: Cathedral to Host Nationally Known Shroud Speaker, Replica Display & Shroud of Turin Podcast Series

by Jessica Rinaudo The Shroud of Turin has long been a source of fascination. The burial shroud of a man who many believe was Jesus Christ has both inspired the faithful around More »

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Fr. David T. Richter’s Legacy to Continue Through Memorial Fund

by Diane Libro Fr. David T. Richter served the Diocese of Shreveport for 29 years with a quiet but fierce passion for God and the Church. Three years after his unexpected death More »

Our Lady of Fatima Jump Rope Champ

Josiah Menyweather and Noah Harper won the jump rope challenge during Our Lady of Fatima School’s recent spring fundraiser kick-off.

God & Sex Series April Event

This months speaker, Dr. Christopher Manion, will speak about, “Too Many People? The Myth of Overpopulation” in the God & Sex Speaker Series.
Dr. Manion served as a staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for several years. He has taught in the departments of politics, religion and international relations at Boston University, The Catholic University of America and Christendom College, and is the director of the Campaign for Humanae Vitae.

This talk will be held at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, located at 939 Jordan Street in Shreveport, on April 25 at 6:30 p.m. Nursery available. Please make nursery reservations by calling 318-221-5296.

Shreveport-Bossier Pro-Life Oratory Contest

The National Right to Life is sponsoring its annual Pro-Life Oratory Contest. The competition is open to all high school juniors and seniors, who will address the issues of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research in five to seven minute oral presentations.

The Shreveport-Bossier contest, now in its thirtieth year, is sponsored locally by the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport and will be held on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. at the Catholic Center, located at 3500 Fairfield Avenue in Shreveport. The contest is open to the public at no charge. The local first place winner will receive a $500 cash prize and will represent Shreveport at the state contest.

The state contest will be held in Baton Rouge on May 5 at the Louisiana Knights of Columbus Convention. The state winner will receive $500 cash, plus expenses paid (up to $1,000) to go to Nationals.

The national contest will be held in Kansas City, KS at the National Right to Life Convention, June 28-30. The national prize is $1,000 cash.
All high school juniors and seniors are eligible, and there may be more than one student entered from each school.

For additional information and entry blanks, please contact Anthony Fabio, 1908 Carol Street, Bossier City, LA 71112, awfabio2@hotmail.com, or call 318-402-6663.

 www.facebook.com/SBProLifeOratoryCommittee/

26th Annual Red Mass Set for May 4 at Holy Trinity

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by Jessica Rinaudo & Richard Hiller

The Red Mass, which takes place annually at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in May of each year, has become a fixture in the Diocese of Shreveport. Now in its 26th year, the Mass, which invokes God’s blessing and guidance in the administration of justice, is well attended by local judges, lawyers and government officials. The Mass always takes place the first Friday in May in conjunction with the nationally recognized Law Week.

The Red Mass has a rich history originating centuries ago in Rome, Paris and London. Its traditional name is derived from the color of the vestments worn by the celebrants of the Mass. Over the centuries, the Red Mass has officially opened the judicial year of the Sacred Roman Rota, the Tribunal of the Holy See. During the reign of Louis IX, Saint Louis of France, La Sainte Chapelle was designated as the Chapel for the Mass and is now used only once a year solely for the Red Mass. In England, the tradition began in the Middle Ages and continued even during World War II when judges and lawyers attended the Red Mass annually at the Westminster Cathedral. The tradition was inaugurated in the United States in 1928 at old St. Andrew’s Church in New York City. Since then, the Red Mass has been celebrated annually there and in many cities in the United States.

Locally, the Red Mass Society of Shreveport has been sponsoring the Mass since 1993. Their primary mission is to organize the annual Red Mass, which includes selecting a homilist and honoree.

Richard Hiller is a local attorney and Chairman of the Red Mass Society. He is excited about this year’s event. Fr. Matthew Long, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport and former attorney, will give the homily, and local non-profits Christian Service and Hope Connections, two organizations that serve the hungry and homeless in our community, will be the honorees.

“What’s also great about the Red Mass is that the music is quite extraordinary. Zion Baptist Church provides the music before Mass. They start at about 8:30 a.m. The Mass begins at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, May 4, at Holy Trinity Church. The judges and officials gather across the street at the Second Circuit, [then] they walk across,” said Hiller.  “During the service the St. Cecilia Choir provides the music.”

The Red Mass is an ecumenical event with pastors of different faiths coming together to bestow their blessings and prayers on legal professionals. People of all faiths are welcome to join the Red Mass Society and the Diocese of Shreveport at this annual event.  •

Author and EWTN TV Show Host to Give “Feeding Your Family’s Soul” Workshop in Shreveport

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I sat down with Donna-Marie Cooper-O’Boyle, author of Feeding Your Family’s Soul, to talk to her about her book and upcoming workshop in Shreveport on April 28.

 Q: What inspired this idea to set aside dinner time as a dedicated time for teaching the faith to our children?
It just makes sense to me – when the family is gathered for dinner, we have the advantage of a captive audience – a hungry family! Kidding aside, I believe dinner time is a perfect time to teach the Faith because we are all gathered together to break bread, to pray with one another (at least Grace Before Meals), and to converse about our day. I believe that at least once a week we can seize the opportunity to teach the Faith right at the dinner table! I like to encourage families to also pray more while gathered together at the table. The children can voice their prayer intentions. The prayer habits that the family will form now will hopefully be carried into the children’s future domestic churches.

Q: What are some of the reasons dinner time, in particular, is an advantageous time to do this?
Today’s families are pretty much out of time on most days–struggling to check off our “to-do” lists, running ragged getting to all of the sports practices and games, as well as many other activities that can cause us to become exhausted, as well as pull us away from the dinner table. Time to teach the Faith becomes almost non-existent. That’s one reason why I think the family dinner table is a good place to teach the Faith. We can nourish our bodies and our souls!

Most Catholic and Christian families enroll their children in faith formation classes. That is very good. However, the parents and grandparents are called to be THE first and foremost educators of Faith for the children.

The Church has always taught that the family is the vital cell of society and that as a “domestic church” it should mirror the big Church. … There are so many Church teachings to support the necessity of parents teaching the Faith to the children, but Id like to mention at least a few. First of all, the Catechism states, “Parents are the principal and first educators of their children” (1653). As well, “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable” (2221).

In Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World) we learn, “Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. The right and duty of parents to give education is essential” (36). These words should truly inspire us to step up to the plate to be our children’s and grandchildren’s Faith educator. … There’s much more, but the point is that the family is so important. We grow in Faith together and work out our salvation together right within the walls of our domestic churches—through the daily give-and-take, the practicing of virtues, and forgiveness—over and over again! We are all works in progress and absolutely need to carve out the time to learn and live the Faith! Teaching the Faith at the dinner table ensures that it will actually happen and not get put off until yet another day because our schedules are so intense.

Q. For an event like the one you will be holding in our diocese, what can people expect to learn?
Hopefully, people can learn ways in which to teach the Faith to their children, as well as how to deal with specific situations, how to be more countercultural, how to set parameters for the dinner table, and more. I hope and pray that folks will also feel a sense of camaraderie being there with other parents and grandparents. As well, I will have my many book titles, DVD’s and other resources available for purchase and book signing.

Q: Will they learn ways to teach the faith to all ages?
I will provide various tips about teaching the Faith to all ages of children.

Q. “Teaching the faith” is such a broad topic, what are some specific ways you encourage families to share their faith at the dinner table?
… One example is in challenging the children. They usually like to be challenged. They want to make you proud! The brief lessons in my book often encourage the family to extend the lesson throughout the week with encouragement to do a little research to share at the table, or to call upon specific saints for help. There are also suggestions for family members to help in certain ways in the family, or to reach out to relatives you might not have contacted in a while and get together for visits (hopefully a meal). I love to encourage families to share a recipe with an older relative and ask them to share one of theirs so that you can keep family traditions going throughout the years. Another type of “extra credit” lesson is in doing Works of Mercy as a family.

“Feeding Your Family’s Soul” will take place on April 28, from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at St. Mary of the Pines Parish in Shreveport. Visit www.dioshpt.org to register today!

Reflections on Spiritual Direction

Some of our diocesan spiritual directors: Brenda Lites, Susan Tousignant, Marie Rinaudo and Mike Van Vranken

by Joe & Katherine Bernal, Spiritual Directors

Our journey to becoming spiritual directors began about 30 years ago in Lafayette, LA. At that time our parish hired a new Director of Religious Education who was also a certified spiritual director. When we asked about spiritual direction, she described it as a tool to help those who knew about God foster their experience and relationship with God.

We were intrigued by her description and asked her to consider us as directees. We both experienced encouraging and fruitful sessions. With her gentle guidance, our prayer began to take on a more meaningful quality as God became integrated with our everyday life.

After being in spiritual direction for about three years, our director relocated out-of-state to be with her elderly mother and shortly after that, we moved our family to North Louisiana. We soon found out that the Catholic population was smaller here in comparison to the population in south Louisiana, and it was difficult to find a spiritual director.

As we settled into our new home, jobs and schools, spiritual direction was not a priority. Several times during the years that followed, we found directors and continued our spiritual journey with them. Unfortunately, even though those times were spiritually meaningful and enriching, they were short in duration due to the relocation of the directors and again left us without a spiritual director.

As the years went by, our children began to leave the house. Once again, our experiences with spiritual direction came up in our conversations. If we could not find a director, perhaps we were being called to be directors. We began to imagine what it would be like to help others develop a more meaningful relationship with God.

About six years ago, we began to search for a spiritual direction training program and became aware of the one offered by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. That was the closest one available. We inquired about the training and the per-requisites. It would take us another year to complete the pre-requisites: Ongoing direction for one year and experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in everyday life. It was a process of formation as well as discernment.

Upon completion, we decided to commit to train for two years: traveling to New Orleans once a month for instruction and giving five and eight-day silent retreats.

In his book, Like the Lighting, David E. Fleming, S.J., offers a very descriptive metaphor for a spiritual director: “A spiritual guide (director) is like a mirror. We all can live without a mirror, but a mirror makes combing our hair and shaving or putting on makeup a lot easier. With a mirror, we do a better job of cleaning and grooming ourselves. In a similar way a spiritual director makes it easier to see better our interaction with God. It is not so much the wisdom or great insight that a particular guide may bring to that relationship with God. Rather, the importance of the guide is found in the careful listening and the ‘reflecting back’ that helps us come to see how God is working in our lives ….”

The spiritual director listens carefully and reflects back what the directee brings to the spiritual direction session. Spiritual directors help others to see better, become more aware and notice the presence of God in their lives.

We began our ministry as spiritual directors in Monroe/West Monroe three years ago. It is humbling and inspiring to journey with others on their spiritual paths. It is a privilege and a blessing to observe God’s relationship with our directees as we walk with them in spiritual direction.

Administrative Assistants Day: Meet the Faces Behind the Phones

Elaine Gallion, Administrative Assistant to the Bishop, and Linda Sutton, Administrative Assistant to the Vicar General, the Chancellor and Mission Effectiveness.

by Randy Tiller

Haven’t you wondered what the person attached to the voice on the other end of the phone looks like?

Today I want to set the record straight and put those questions to rest, particularly in the instances of the Siri and Alexa of the Chancery Office.
These are the two ladies who are the support staff in the Chancery Office of our diocese. Many people have contact with them throughout the day in person, yet many of those contacts are only over the phone.

Let’s take a closer look at the voices behind the phones and “behind the scenes.” In the best sense of the word, we gladly have a couple of real characters!

Character #1- Elaine Gallion, Administrative Assistant to the Most Reverend Michael G. Duca, Bishop of Shreveport, began work for the Diocese of Shreveport in August 1989. She was originally hired by Sr. Mary Jo Mutshcler, S.J., Director of Greco Institute. When Sr. Mary Jo returned to her order, Don Emge took over as the Director of Greco. Elaine fondly remembers the privilege of working with Mary Nash, Jim McGill, Sr. Eileen McGrory, S.C., Sr. Barbara Linen, S C. and a number of adjunct faculty during that time. In February 1993, Gallion was hired to assist Bishop William B. Friend, and upon his retirement and the ordinatin of Bishop Michael G. Duca, she was asked to continue in that position.

“Having worked with two great bishops…putting someone at ease when they call to request an appointment and being able to be of assistance to the priests, deacons, fellow staff members and the parishes” in Elaine’s words, are the best aspects of her position. She also added, “and sometimes just listening.”

Bishop Duca remarked, “On my first day in the office, Elaine knew more about my responsibilities as bishop than I did. Every day since that first day, Elaine has proven to be the kind and respectful pastoral voice that is the expression of what I hope to express in my ministry as bishop. I believe she has a true spiritual vocation for the work she does in the office.”

Character #2- Linda Sutton, the Administrative Assistant to the Vicar General, Chancellor and Director of Mission Effectiveness began working for our diocese nine years ago. She first served as the receptionist for the Catholic Center. While greeting and meeting the staff of the Catholic Center, she also met countless visitors to the Catholic Center. While in this position, she began decorating the display cabinets in the lobby. In 2014 Linda took over as the Chancery Administrative Assistant. Decorating the display cabinets has remained one of her favorite “jobs.” “I actually look forward to seeing how creative I can become in constructing a display for all to enjoy. Please come by and check the displays out.”

“Linda is both creative and multi-talented, handling a variety of tasks with ease. This includes working with records for St. Joseph Cemetery, creating and maintaining web pages for archives, the Chancellor’s Office, Slattery Library, pro-life, marriage/family life, and prison ministry. In spite of staying very busy working for three major offices of the diocese, Linda always has a smile for visitors and helpful attitude for people who call the Chancery,” said Christine Rivers, Chancellor.

Both of the assistants in the chancery feel that their positions have brought them closer to God, given them a better understanding of the Church, a deeper appreciation of the humanity of the priests and religious men and women, and more knowledge of what the diocesan offices do as a ministry for the people of our diocese.

“It is a joy and a privilege to work at the Catholic Center,” said Elaine, “and I think of the rest of the staff as my family.”

Linda Sutton offered, “I have come to grow and appreciate my interaction with my co-workers, the priests, parish staff members and ‘my cherished friends’ in the Chancery. I believe you need to have a strong foundation with any organization and my co-workers here definitely fit that mold. A composite of diligent, conscientious and virtuous assembly of upstanding people whom I call ‘friends’.”

Happy Administrative Assistant’s Day from the officers and director of the Chancery.

Bishop Michael Duca, Fr. Rothell Price, Christine Rivers and Randy Tiller

Loyola Students Memorialize Florida School Shooting Victims

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by Lisa Cooper

In the wake of the Parkland, FL, school shooting on Ash Wednesday, Loyola students found themselves hurting and desired a way to honor those who were killed. The art students initiated that effort by creating small cards with inspirational scriptures, quotes, paintings or words of encouragement. These cards adorn the small decorative trees in Loyola’s library and serve as a focal point where students can stop and offer prayers for those who have died and their families.

Art teacher Susan Brady says seeing her students’ need to express themselves in the days after the shooting is what prompted the project. “The kids were scared, and they needed to voice their feelings,” said Brady. “We wanted to create something that would respectfully honor those who were killed.”

Senior Chloe Green participated in the project. She was drawn to the project because “news moves on, but I wanted to be part of something that would help us keep in mind the victims.” Green said that every time she or other students see the trees, they are reminded to pray for the families. “Although the world has moved on,” said Green, “those families still struggle with the loss every day.”

Ella Mason

Echoing that sentiment, sophomore Ella Mason said of the shooting, “It’s important for us to acknowledge that what has happened to the victims in Florida is hard, and while we move on with our lives, we need to show respect and support for those families.”

With this aim in her heart, Mason approached Principal LeBlanc with an idea to honor those killed at a special liturgical service on March 14.
“I had been reading about the planned walkouts across the nation, but knew that wasn’t right for us,” said Mason. “I wanted to participate in a show of support that fits our community here.”

In honor of those who were killed in the Parkland shooting, Loyola students joined Fr. Peter Mangum at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans for the readings of the day and the reading aloud of the names of those who died in the shooting. As each name was read, a bell was rung, and students sat in reverent silence. The service closed with prayer for the souls of the faithfully departed and for comfort for those who remain.

Divine Mercy Sunday

by Julia Pettiette Doolin

The second Sunday of Easter is the Feast of Divine Mercy. This year, that date falls on April 8. The devotion to the Divine Mercy began spreading throughout the world in the 1930’s and is based upon private revelations to a young Polish nun whom we now know as St. Faustina. The message is a reminder of what the Church has always taught through Scripture and tradition: That God is merciful and forgiving and that we, too, must show mercy and forgiveness. But the message of the Divine Mercy devotion calls people to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone.

In a decree dated May 23, 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship stated, “throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come.” Taking the declaration of the feast day a step further, the Apostolic Penitentiary announced on August 3, 2002, that in order “to ensure that the faithful would observe Divine Mercy Sunday with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence…so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit.”

With the plenary indulgence associated with Divine Mercy Sunday, the usual conditions apply: sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff. The faithful are asked to gather in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is detached from the affection for a sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”)

On Sunday, April 8, St. Joseph Church, located at 204 Patton Avenue in Shreveport, will host a holy hour in honor of Divine Mercy Sunday. The holy hour will begin promptly at 2:30 p.m. and will include the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as well as veneration of the Divine Mercy Image. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available immediately following the holy hour.  •

Vocations View: Prayer and Pilgrimage

Duane Trombetta (center) with fellow seminarians in the Holy Land.

by Deacon Duane Trombetta, Diocese of Shreveport Seminarian

During my fourth and final year at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, my fellow transitional deacons and I were blessed with the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land: the biblical land of Israel and historical Palestine. And so, in January, we set out for what would become one of the greatest and most blessed experiences of our lives.

After arriving in Israel’s largest metropolitan city, Tel Aviv, we headed north along the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea. Even from our first day, we encountered sites of great importance in Church history, as documented in the New Testament (such as the site where the Romans held St. Paul prisoner in the earliest days of Christianity) and in the Old Testament (such as Mukhraka on Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal).

During the first half of our journey, we traced the paths of Christ’s ministry in the region of Galilee. At every stop on our journey, we read biblical passages of the events that occurred on the very ground on which we stood. One of my most spiritually stirring experiences occurred when I read the Sermon on the Mount on the actual Mount of Beatitudes. We also prayed at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves, and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter.

What a blessing it was to see the sites of the Annunciation, the Visitation and Christ’s first miracle of changing water into wine in Cana. Our first-hand encounters of the Jordan River, Jericho and the Dead Sea offered new perspectives on the life of John the Baptist and the temptation of Christ in the desert. This part of our trip afforded a little relaxation too, by way of floating on the Dead Sea – one of the saltiest bodies of waters the world.

We spent the second half of our journey in and around the Holy City of Jerusalem, beginning at the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed his last prayer before his arrest. We offered prayers for unity, at the site of the Jewish Temple, where Jesus worshiped and celebrated the religious feasts throughout his life. It was stirring to retrace the steps of Christ along the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow). I was privileged to serve as deacon at Mass inside the tomb of Christ, in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – the holiest site in all Christendom.

Any visit to the Holy Land is a wonderful blessing. But I feel all the more blessed to have made this pilgrimage as a seminarian with my fellow deacon classmates. By walking with Christian companions, praying and celebrating Mass every day, and experiencing Sacred Scripture “come to life,” we learned what differentiates a pilgrimage from every other type of travel.

I express my sincere gratitude to Bishop Duca and to all the people of the Diocese of Shreveport, for their support and prayers not only during my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but throughout my seminary studies and priestly formation. I give my assurance that I included you all in my prayers at the holy sites of Israel. It is because of your witness and generosity that I seek more eagerly now to carrying out the Great Commission set forth by Christ himself. My journey has been challenging but joyful. And now as my final semester at Notre Dame Seminary draws to a close, I look forward with great anticipation to receipt of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, to priestly ordination in June, and to serving the faithful people of Christ in our diocese.