Dr. Celso Palmieri (far right), talks with the Braga family. Palmieri was instrumental in bringing the family from San Paolo, Brazil to Shreveport, Louisiana to treat 3-year-old Melyssa's myxoma tumor. (Photo Courtesy of LSU Health Shreveport)

Medical Miracle: Shreveport Catholic Doctor Reaches Out to Brazilian Family Seeking Help for Their Daughter

by Lisa Cooper When Loyola parent and St. Joseph parishioner Dr. Celso Palmieri saw the face of Melyssa Delgado Braga while looking through online publications from his native country, Brazil, he felt More »

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Ignatius of Loyola Movie Coming to Diocese of Shreveport

by Randy Tiller Ignatius Press announced the new theatrical release of Ignatius of Loyola, Solider, Sinner, Saint on December 1, 2016. Due to the past relationship our diocese has with Ignatius Press, More »

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The Harm of Pornography and Hope Beyond Addiction: Addicts

Series written by Katie Sciba under guidance of Fr. Sean Kilcawley, STL This is the second article in a four-piece series on pornography; the first can be found in the January 2017 More »

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Shreveport Mom and Daughter March for Life with Love in D.C.

by Katie Aranda Who would have imagined that my daughter and I would be at the March for Life in Washington D.C. this year?  Not me! My best friend from college, who More »

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Irish Heritage Brought to Life with St. Brigid Feast at St. Mary of the Pines

by Kelly Phelan Powell Kim Long, Director of Religious Education (DRE) at St. Mary of the Pines Parish in Shreveport, is one of those rare and wonderful souls who dream big, then More »

Deacon Bill Roche and Deacon Larry Mills carry in the oil for Chrism Mass.

Vocations View: My Blessings in the Diaconate

by Deacon Bill Roche When I was a youngster, I thought about the priesthood, but being a priest was never a serious consideration after I entered high school. I never expected to More »

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Navigating the Faith: Lenten Fasting Through the Ages

by Dr. Cheryl H. White As we enter the season of Lent, it is helpful to pause and reflect on both its purpose, how it is expressed, and to know we are More »

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Mike’s Meditations: An Experience with God

by Mike Van Vranken Ask most Christians why they participate in the season of Lent, and many will respond with some explanation that they want to get closer to God. A holy More »

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Bishop’s Reflection: What Will You Do When Jesus Knocks?

by Bishop Michael G. Duca “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” This is one of the exhortations that can be used for the imposition of ashes and it beautifully sums up the More »

Multicultural Tasting Event at St. Joseph Parish, Shreveport

“A Taste of St. Joseph,” a multi-cultural potluck, was held January 29 to share and experience the food of the different nationalities of the church family. Favorite dishes that represented parishioners’ cultures were served. Many members set up tables and wore clothing of their cultures and nationalities.

World Marriage Day at JGS

Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish in Monroe celebrated World Marriage Day 2017 on February 11 with a dinner honoring couples married for either half decades or decades. Anniversaries ranged from five years to 69 years.

Darnell Wins Poster Contest

Hannah Darnell was the winner of the Knights of Columbus “Keeping Christ in Christmas” poster contest. She was selected as the district winner and will move on to the state competition.

Zwolle Parents of the Year

Congratulations to St. Joseph, Zwolle’s 2017 Father and Mother of the Year, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Ezernack. Pictured with them is St. Helen Circle Captain, their daughter, Colleen Britt.

St. Lucy’s Reaches Out to Nursing Home

St. Lucy’s annual Christmas ministry shares the love of God with the residents of Wyatt Manor Nursing Home. Through the parish’s Angel Tree, the residents’ Christmas is blessed with gifts and fellowship. Pictured is the Stricklands, a participating family.

SEAS Group Valentines Gathering

The Youree Fellowship group of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton celebrated an early Valentine dinner with food, fellowship and fun. The group meets monthly for a spiritual presentation, dinner and camaraderie.

Surprise Visit from Fr. Thomas Elavunkal

Friends and former parishioners of Fr. Thomas Elavunkal (center) were surprised by his recent visit to the Diocese of Shreveport. Fr. Thomas returned to India last May, but returned for a short visit.

2017 Annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal: Our Vision, Our Mission

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by John Mark Willcox

The coming months will see our community of faith again striving to enable the work of Christ within our diocese by supporting our Annual Stewardship Appeal.  A new year brings the promise of hope and there is no better time than the season of Lent to choose how we might provide for the needs of others amongst us.

As with each Appeal, significant funds are dedicated to providing for our retired and infirmed clergy, men who have given lives of service to this local Church and who are worthy of our combined care. Our aging Presbyterate means this area of need will always be a part of our Annual Appeal.  Replacing these men with newly ordained priests remains a high priority and your Appeal donations support the cost of educating our 10 seminarians. Our diocese is blessed to have a strong contingent of men in seminary training and this remains our largest Appeal allocation at $300,000 in 2017.

The charitable endeavors of Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Pro-Life Ministry, Campus and Prison ministries still seek the Church’s assistance for people in need.

This past year of intense flooding across our diocese brought out the best in area Catholics, as donations and direct assistance made a difference in the lives of thousands.

Our ever growing and diverse Hispanic Catholics benefit from your Appeal, and our entire diocese will celebrate the ordination of Deacon Fidel Mondragon to the priesthood on June 10, 2017!  His ministry to our diocese will be a true benefit to both English and Spanish speaking Catholics throughout North Louisiana.


Your Appeal has funded recent successes in the ministry of youth and young adults which has put this group of young Catholics on solid footing. This includes the establishment of youth leadership, helping the young people in our community take ownership of their faith. This is crucial for the future of our faith community.

In the ministry of education, your Appeal dollar supports our Office of Catholic Schools and catechesis for our youth and adults in local parishes. Consistent, high quality worship also compliments our lives as Catholic Christians due to Appeal support.

Our wonderful Slattery Library, located on the second floor of the Catholic Center, continues to grow in its resources and materials with Appeal support. Additionally, our Safe Environment Program benefits from this Appeal. And, don’t forget, the very magazine you are reading, The Catholic Connection, has received most of its funding from our Annual Appeal since its inception. It is mailed free of charge to every known Catholic in our diocese and is one of Bishop Duca’s primary ways of communicating with the people of North Louisiana.

“This is an important year for our diocese,” comments Bishop Michael G. Duca.  “Nearly every avenue of our ministry and outreach as a Catholic community is impacted by our Annual Appeal and it is vitally important that we work together to keep the success of our Appeal a priority.  Our people have been so generous over the years and for that I am truly thankful.  My prayer is that more Catholics in our diocese choose to support our Appeal this year as the need is greater than ever.”

Appeal Sunday this year falls on February 26. Please take some time until then to consider your 10-month pledge to support our array of Appeal ministries. A pledge card can be found on page 30 of this issue, and you may use this to facilitate your annual gift to our Appeal. You can also give online by visiting, www.dioshpt.org.

Together we can form a vision for our diocese, a mission of walking together in the footsteps of Christ to help those in need, evangelize our community and enrich our children and teenagers in the faith. Together we can enact our vision of having more priests to serve the faithful, allowing them to train and carry out their missions from God. Please consider sharing in our vision, our mission, and take time to pray for the success of our Annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal.

USCCB Releases Written Report and Recommendations On Promoting Peace in Our Communities

from the USCCB

WASHINGTON—The USCCB Special Task Force to Promote Peace in Our Communities has released a written version of the report. The report includes findings and recommendations for bishops to continue the vital work of fostering healing and lasting peace in communities across the U.S. through concrete action, ongoing dialogue and opportunities for encounter. The USCCB Special Task Force to Promote Peace in our Communities can be found at http://www.usccb.org/racism.

As part of its convening, the special Task Force conducted an in-person listening session in October 2016 involving bishops from communities hit hard by violence and unrest. Participants in the listening session highlighted the strong need for candid conversations about the nature of challenges facing communities, while stressing the need for sustained work in order to move toward lasting solutions and healing on matters of race. Beyond the initial listening session, additional interviews were conducted with key individuals including law enforcement officials and a student who demonstrated at Ferguson and North Charleston. A central component of the Task Force’s findings also stresses the significance of prayer as well as ecumenical and interfaith collaborations, along with building solid and unique models of engagement, particularly for at-risk young people. The important role of bishops in helping to convene these conversations is also emphasized in the report.

General recommendations from the report to help promote peace in our communities include prayer, encountering others through local dialogues, parish-based and internal diocesan conversation and training, and fostering opportunities of encounter toward empowering communities to identify and begin to address challenges as a way to begin community healing.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, appointed the Special Task Force in July, 2016 after incidents of violence and racial tension spread throughout communities across the United States.

As part of the convening of the group, a national Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities took place on September 9, 2016. The day of prayer was celebrated on the feast day of St. Peter Claver (1580-1654), a Spanish Jesuit priest who worked tirelessly to care spiritually and materially for Africans who were being sold as slaves.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta and Chair of the special Task Force, initially presented a summary of the findings of the task force at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Fall General Assembly in November, 2016 in Baltimore.

The Task Force also included numerous bishop consultants whose jurisdictions have experienced extreme violence, or who otherwise bring special insight or experience to bear on related questions. A number of lay consultants with relevant expertise also participated. The Task Force has provided additional resources and support at http://www.usccb.org/racism

Kids’ Connection: Saint Blaise

Click to download and print out the Kids’ Connection on Saint Blaise!