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 »

0219appeal

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 »

0219charities1

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 »

0219koc1

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 »

0219lombard2

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 »

0119ccto1

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 »

0119pa6

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 »

0119fabre

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 »

0119lacazegala

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 »

OLF Students Win Patriotic Contest

Our Lady of Fatima School’s Kindergarten through 4th grade students participated in a contest on patriotism hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Kindergarten students had to color the American flag; 1st – 2nd graders had to draw the American Flag; and 3rd – 4th graders had to draw a historic event. Three students placed.

SJB Students Win Big at Science Olympiad Invitational

St. John Berchmans School’s (SJB) Science Olympiad Team competed at the Harmony Invitational in Fort Worth, TX, at the Harmony School of Innovation on Saturday, December 8. They competed against 14 highly competitive Texas schools and received medals in six events.

Coach Amy Knight remarked, “Participating in Invitationals gives our team members an extra opportunity to compete at a high level of competition. We gain experience and learn something new with every competition.”

The team will compete in Houston, TX, for the Anthony Invitational this month and then the regional competition will follow in March. In April, SJB Science Olympiad Team will defend their 10 time title in the State Tournament in Hammond, LA.   •

Grant Gives Garden to St. Frederick High

Dan Lindow was a Mini-Grant Recipient from the Junior League of Monroe. With the funds made available through the grant, Dan was able to purchase a greenhouse for St. Frederick’s Science/Botany/Garden club! The Parents Association donated seeds and supplies to help him see this project through. With the help of Tierny Gammage, Anna Grace Gill and Olivia Letlow, they were able to grow a variety of vegetables the last couple of months! Once the vegetables are ready to harvest, they will be donated to Grace Place Ministries, a local soup kitchen in the Monroe area. A big congratulations to Dan and his students for their selfless project to give back to the community!  •

87 Year Old Loyola Grandmother Loses Home in Devastating Fire

In times of celebration and in times of sorrow, the Loyola family can always count on a rallied community to provide love and support. Word traveled that Marilyn Pettiette, grandmother of 15, including seven Loyola alumni, lost her home and all possessions in a devastating fire in November.

Born in a small town in Minnesota during the Great Depression, this sweet 87-year-old participated in the Rosary Group for 10 years while her grandchildren attended Loyola. Marilyn faithfully prayed for the students and community of Loyola and continues to do so as prayer requests are made known to her. When the Flyers received word of the fire, immediate brainstorming efforts went into place to provide assistance in some way.

Over the past year, the Pettiette family has created a YouTube channel entitled “Three Generations Singing.” The channel features songs which showcase the musical talents of Marilyn, a former music educator with Caddo Parish, and an accomplished pianist and vocalist. Currently, the family has released over 30 videos that feature three generations of musical talent.

Loyola took note of this 87-year-old grandmother’s special presence on YouTube and decided to host a 24-hour video marathon devoted to building views on the family’s channel. Students, faculty, parents and alumni committed to watching several of the videos on December 12. If views should reach a necessary quantity, the channel can be monetized for revenue in an effort to provide assistance for Marilyn.

Please join the Loyola family in building views for “Three Generations Singing.” Simply search for “ThreeGenerationsSinging” with no spaces on YouTube, and watch the delightful musical presentations. •

Kids’ Connection: Epiphany

Click to download and print this month’s Kids’ Connection.

Priestly Vocations Bloom from Louisiana Tech University

by Brother Mike Ward, OFM

On Saturday, November 10, Fr. Luke LaFleur presided at the wedding of Abbey Simoneaux and Jack LaFreniere. This was Fr. Luke’s first wedding as a priest, as he was just ordained this past May at the Cathedral in Alexandria. Both Abbey and Fr. Luke were students at Louisiana Tech and very active members of the Association of Catholic Tech Students (ACTS) at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and Student Center in Ruston.

Bro. Michael Ward, OFM, the Campus Minister at St. Thomas, served as deacon. This was the first time that Bro. Michael and Fr. Luke celebrated a Mass together. Bro. Mike was Fr. Luke’s spiritual director at Louisiana Tech as Luke discerned his vocation to the priesthood while studying electrical engineering.

The stoles they both wore were handmade by Suzi Broussard of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. They were gifts to Fr. Luke from his fellow classmates who were members of ACTS and attended Tech. Suzi was able to stitch each of their signatures on the inside of the priest’s stole to commemorate
Fr. Luke’s ordination.

Over 50 ACTS alumni attended the wedding at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Destrehan, LA. At the moment three students from ACTS and Louisiana Tech are studying for the priesthood in Louisiana! •

Ouachita Parish to Host Bingo on the Delta 2019

Catholic Charities of North Louisiana (CCNLA)announces their 2nd Annual Bingo on the Delta fundraising event will be held at the West Monroe Convention Center on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. All proceeds will benefit CCNLA programs in Northeast Louisiana and the Eastern Deanery service areas.

As before, clergy from churches in North Louisiana will serve as bingo callers. Tickets will include dinner and two bingo cards. There will be raffle prizes and a cash bar. Dress is casual for the adults-only event and wearing your team colors is encouraged. Table sponsorships are available and begin at $750. If registered by January 11, sponsors will be recognized in all media and materials.

This year’s football theme will prepare fans for Super Bowl Sunday the night after our event, as we plan to spend an evening in food, fun and fellowship. Join us as we celebrate what Catholic Charities is doing to help the poor and vulnerable of Northeast Louisiana!

Please contact Tiffany Olah at 318-865-0200, ext. 109, or at development@ccnla.org for a sponsorship form or for more information.

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

0119fabre

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 Against Racism.” The full body of bishops approved it by a two-thirds majority vote of 241 to three, with one abstention.

The USCCB Cultural Diversity in the Church Committee, chaired by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, of San Antonio, TX, spearheaded the letter’s drafting and guided it through the voting process. Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, of Houma-Thibodaux, Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and Chair of the Sub-committee on African American Affairs within the Cultural Diversity Committee, issued the following statement:

“The entire body of bishops felt the need to address the topic of racism, once again, after witnessing the deterioration of the public discourse, and episodes of violence and animosity with racial and xenophobic overtones, that have re-emerged in American society in the last few years. Pastoral letters from the full body of bishops are rare, few and far between. But at key moments in history the bishops have come together for important pronouncements, paying attention to a particular issue and with the intention of offering a Christian response, full of hope, to the problems of our time. This is such a time.”

Initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in August 2017, the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism was created to address the evil of racism in our society and Church, to address the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions, and to support the implementation of the bishops’ pastoral letter on racism.

“Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” is a Pastoral Letter from the full body of bishops to the lay faithful and all people of goodwill addressing the evil of racism.

The pastoral letter asks us to recall that we are all brothers and sisters, all equally made in the image of God. Because we all bear the image of God, racism is above all a moral and theological problem that manifests institutionally and systematically. Only a deep individual conversion of heart, which then multiplies, will compel change and reform in our institutions and society. It is imperative to confront racism’s root causes and the injustice it produces. The love of God binds us together. This same love should overflow into our relationships with all people. The conversions needed to overcome racism require a deep encounter with the living God in the person of Christ who can heal all division.

“Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” is not the first time the U.S. Bishops have spoken collectively on race issues in the United States, but it is the first time in almost 40 years.

In 1979, they approved “Brothers and Sisters to Us: A Pastoral Letter on Racism in Our Day.” Among the many things they discussed was the fact that “Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father.” The newly approved “Open Wide Our Hearts” continues the message that “Brothers and Sisters to Us” sought to convey.

The full text, as well as many accompanying pastoral resources, are posted at http://www.usccb.org/racism. Resources include a bulletin insert, homily help, prayer materials, background information on systemic racism, and activities for primary, secondary, and higher education classroom settings.  •

 

Saint Brigid of Kildare

by Kim Long

How many of us who have chosen a Confirmation saint with no real knowledge of the strength and insight they hold for us? That is certainly the case between St. Brigid of Kildare and myself. I will confess that I chose her to please my mother, but as my Catholic life has unfolded she has revealed herself to be a woman of many gifts.

Who was she? Born in Ireland around 451, she is reported to be the child of Brocca, a Christian slave, who was reported to be baptized by St. Patrick, and Dubthacth, a chief of Leinster. From a young age, she was known for her purity and piety. Later she prayed for her beauty to be taken away to dissuade any suitors. Legend has it that she was rendered physically unattractive, but as soon as she took her vows to be a nun, her beauty was restored.

Hospitality St. Brigid is known to have worked many miracles, and two of the most well-known center on hospitality and feeding the hungry. Her mother worked in a dairy and Brigid frequently gave away the produce to feed the hungry and poor. The produce always multiplied. From a very early age she was known for giving away anything that would help people and it was always “miraculously” replaced.

Woman of Learning Brigid desired above all things to serve God in the world around her. She also had enough sense to know she needed helpers. Ireland’s Christianity in those days was a monastic one, the nuns and monks engaged in hard physical labor and many hours of prayer. She founded a dual monastery in Cill Dara, which we know today as Kildare. Built atop an earlier pagan site where there was already a tradition of flame tending, Brigid and her sisters kept the fire burning to symbolize the light of Christ.

Gerald of Wales visited Kildare in the 12th century and gave witness that the flame still burned. It is believed to have done so until the 16th century, when the monasteries were suppressed.

The sacred flame was re-lit in 1993 by the head of the Brigidine Sisters. It still burns today – I have seen it myself and visited with some of “the good sisters” in that order.

Standing in their home in Kildare and receiving a blessing from them was one of the holiest moments of my life. I thought back to the day of my Confirmation so many years ago and was struck by how perfect St. Brigid was as my choice for a spiritual leader. I also thought back to all the bonfires my children and I gathered around and the stories we told. The light of Christ burns as brightly as we allow it to, whenever we are open to it.

Patronage and Spirituality The phrase Celtic spirituality can be a bit “charged.” I found this out after working on the Brigid feast at St. Mary of the Pines for a couple of years. Some people feared I was leading us into the waters of the New Age.

One of St. Brigid’s quotes is “Christ dwells in every living thing.” This is an old concept and a holy one. This quote from the Book of Lismore gives us more insight into her personal spirituality and piety:

“Abstinent, she was innocent, she was prayerful, she was patient; she was glad in God’s commandments; she was firm, she was loving; she was a consecrated casket for keeping Christ’s body and His blood; she was a temple of God, her heart and mind were a throne of rest for the Holy Ghost.”

Not exactly a woman with whom one trifles, nor doubts their devotion to the one God, Christ His Son and the Holy Spirit. She was a woman who saw the hand of God and the heart of Christ in everything and every place around her. This is one of the legacies of the early Celtic Christian communities whose lives were not easy, who worked hard and found solace in the smallest of things. A wonderful lesson for each of us.

St. Brigid’s feast day is formally celebrated on February 1, but at St. Mary’s we celebrate it annually on the last Sunday in January. All are welcome to celebrate with us.  •

Saint Brigid Celebration at St Mary of the Pines

January 27: Celebrate the life and mission of St. Brigid of Kildare with a Bilingual Rosary at 8:30 a.m. (Irish and English) and Mass at 9:00 a.m. Immediately following Mass there will be an Irish brunch served along with singing, dancing and a children’s corner. If you are Irish by birth or marriage and would like to participate in the entrance procession, please call Kim in the parish office, 318-687-5121. 

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

0119lacazegala

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 kinds of rabbits  – ceramic rabbits, stuffed rabbits, large rabbits, small rabbits – to add to his vast collection, which continued to grow over the years. He also had an extensive collection of decanters of varying sizes, shapes and contents. This extensive collection of items has been donated by his family to the Diocese of Shreveport to help raise funds to directly benefit the retired priests of our diocese.

In order to make this collection available to as many people as possible, the Diocese of Shreveport and the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans are working together to sponsor a LaCaze Lagniappe Gala, a Mardi Gras themed memorial event, where the items will be auctioned off.

The benefits of participating is not in the receiving, but in giving to honor Msgr. LaCaze and, more importantly, to help provide funds for our retired and future retired priests. Everyone is needed and encouraged to participate to make this a success.

Letters asking for table sponsors have been mailed. Notices are appearing in church bulletins. Groups are being asked to sell tickets to the Gala after Masses in several parishes; particularly where Msgr. LaCaze offered his ministry through the years.

Table sponsors levels are: Gold ($5,000), Purple ($3,500), and Green ($1,000), in keeping with the Mardi Gras theme. Individual tickets will be available for purchase for $50 through the Office at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, or at the Catholic Center. Table sponsors will receive exclusive perks, VIP seating and special mementos reminiscent of Msgr. LaCaze, as well as a table hostess at the event. Single event tickets include entrance, food, a drink ticket and a special memento from Msgr. LaCaze. Valet parking will also be available.

The Gala will be held in the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans multi-room on Saturday, February 16, 2019. The auction area and bars will open at 5:30 p.m. with the dining area opening at 6:00 p.m. Drinks and food will be provided throughout the evening.

There will be both a silent and a live auction. In addition to the collections and other memorabilia from Msgr. LaCaze, there will be several items in the auction from Bishop Michael G. Duca and other priests of our diocese.

Many people who knew and loved Msgr. LaCaze are working together to make this event a success. Jan Pou and Fr. Peter Mangum will be the Masters of Ceremonies for the evening and will handle the live auction.

Mary Kay and John Townley, along with the Cathedral staff and the Catholic Center facilities staff, will be responsible for the set-up, tear down and clean up. Other volunteer committee chairpersons are Aaron Wilson, entertainment;  John Mark Willcox, video tribute;  Jessica Rinaudo, publicity and print materials; Connie Sims, auction items; Kim Long, food; Pam Shaughnessy, finances; Jean Cush, volunteers; and Peggy Green, decoration coordination.

Anyone interested in serving on one of these committees should contact Carol Gates at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, or Randy Tiller at the Catholic Center.

Get your tickets NOW! Seating is limited.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!