0417prison1

In My Weakness is My Strength: Answering the Call to Prison Ministry

by Jessica Rinaudo God often calls us to serve in unexpected ways. We resist, shrug it off, tell God that it’s too hard, but the Lord can be persistent and surprising. It More »

0417porn3

The Harm of Pornography and Hope Beyond Addiction: Spouses

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

0417orphanage1

Volunteers Care for Orphans Through Pick It Forward

by Jamie Jett Pick It Forward (PIF) for Orphans is a small nonprofit organization that has accepted the challenge to do what they can for orphaned and foster children on behalf of More »

0417harris1

Catholic Community Volunteers Resources to Help Flood Victim

by Bonny Van On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, the skies opened up on North Louisiana.  “It rained a long time,” says 89-year-old Shreveport resident Lizzie Harris. “And, I heard it in my More »

0417jocazes

Jo Cazes Retires, Leaves Legacy at SJB School

by Kelly Phelan Powell After 44 years spent changing the lives of students, Jo Cazes’ own life will take a happy turn when, at the end of the school year, she retires More »

0417palmsunday

Navigating the Faith: The Origin of Palm Sunday

by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship They took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna!’” (Jn 12:13). The Sixth Sunday of Lent is “Palm Sunday of the More »

0417mvv

Mike’s Meditations: Who is Life? Jesus.

Seeing Life, Seeing Jesus, in the Incarcerated by Mike Van Vranken Very early in the Bible, God tells us he has set before us life and death, and to choose life (Deuteronomy More »

0417bishop

Bishop’s Reflection: Speak Charitably, Confidently & Joyfully

by Bishop Michael G. Duca “CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! I have always been at a loss for how to greet people at Easter. I suppose the default common greeting More »

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 »

Tech and St. Thomas Welcomed Sr. Miriam

Sr. Miriam Mitchell, a religious sister with the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate stationed out of San Antonio, visited with the young women of the Association of Catholic Tech Students (ACTS) on February 24. Sr. Miriam is currently the vocation director for her community.  She shared stories about her life, led the group in prayer and reflection, and entertained questions from the group. Sr. Bernie, from Lake Providence, who is from the same community as Sr. Miriam, initiated the visit with ACTS vice president Courtney Smith.  Thanks Sr. Bernie!  ACTS loves to have visitors.  If you, or if someone you know would like to speak with very active Catholic college students, please contact Br. Mike Ward, OFM at 381-251-0793.

Ash Wednesday at St. Francis Medical Center

Fr. James Dominic provided ashes to St. Francis Medical Center team members on Ash Wednesday.

New Investitures in the Equestrian Order

On February 15, Holy Trinity Catholic Church was the site for an investiture for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.  In a special ceremony, Jan and Justin Querbes were invested as a Knight and Lady, presided over by Bishop Duca and the leader of the Southeastern Lieutenancy,  Lt. Ray Garrity  and 40 members from the Diocese of Shreveport.

St. Jude Youth Participate in the Pro-Life Movement

St. Jude joined in the fight for life by being present at the March for Life annual rally. Forty young people participating in the march gathered on Saturdays during the 40 Days for Life to pray for the sanctity of all life at the Bossier abortion clinic, and attended the Bishop’s Pro-Life banquet. These are just a few of the ways our young people have chosen to share in the fight for life.

Marriage Celebrated at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament parish celebrated couples who have been married for a multiple of five years. Those over 50 years were also included. Pictured right to left: Jerry and Lila Davis, 25 years; Michael and Marie Woodfork, 30 years; Van and Diane Sanders, 45 years; Herbert and Patricia Encalarde, 52 years; Lloyd and Marilyn Parker, 61 years; Willie and Victoria Lewis, 64 years.

Black History Celebration at St. Joseph in Bastrop

St. Joseph Parish, Bastrop held its annual Black History Celebration, “African American culture and spiritual contributions to the Universal Catholic Church,” on February 19. Bishop Duca presided over the Mass. A short program was held where attendees learned about St. Benedict the Black, heard a Black Lives Matter speech and received information in reference to past and former leaders in the church and community.

Gala Supports Scholarships

The Knights and Ladies Auxiliary of Saint Peter Claver, Little Flower of Jesus Parish, hosted their third annual Mardi Gras Soirée in the Little Flower Complex. The gala is one of several fundraising events to support scholarships for youth of Little Flower Parish.

Mardi Gras at St. Ann

 

Mardi Gras fun was shared by young and old at St. Ann Church, Ebarb. John Ebarb and cousin, Emma Jean Ebarb were crowned king and queen of the party.

Parents Serve Students

Thanks to the Parents Ministry for cooking and serving lunch to confirmation students, their sponsors and families at St. Joseph Parish, Shreveport!

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

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)

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 compelled to get involved.  Braga’s family posted a plea seeking help to get their daughter to America, where she could find treatment for a large, rare facial tumor.  Dr. Palmieri, associate professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at LSU Health Shreveport, took a screen shot of Melyssa and sent it immediately to his colleague and department chairman, G.E. Ghali, DDS, MD, FACS, who said right away that they could help the little girl.  Dr. Ghali then contacted Willis-Knighton Health System seeking help to support the effort, and the health system agreed to provide housing for the family and to underwrite the cost of the hospital stay.

Within an hour, Palmieri found the Bragas on Facebook, and told them the good news.  In the course of his correspondence with them, Palmieri discovered that the family had been able to raise enough money through donations to cover their travel expenses.  He also discovered an underbelly of predators who sought to take advantage of the family.  “The family had people contacting them, offering their help if they could have control of the money,” Palmieri stated. From the time of his initial communication with the Bragas, he sent them links to the LSU Health Shreveport website and to his department in hopes of assuring them of his and Dr. Ghali’s credibility and sincerity.  It was on the night before the Bragas were to arrive in Shreveport, that Palmieri discovered something surprising.  Speaking of Caroline, Melyssa’s mom, he said, “She called the night before we were to pick them up from the airport and asked for a picture of me.  I realized she had never opened the links I sent.” When he asked her about why she hadn’t followed up on the information he provided, Caroline said that she never felt a need to.  She said she had a peace about Palmieri’s offer and trusted God through the entire process.

Once in surgery, Palmieri served as Ghali’s assistant in removing what turned out to be a five-pound myxoma tumor from the jaw of three-year-old Melyssa.  When asked about the possibility of the tumor’s returning, Palmieri said he is confident that there is “almost no chance” of that. Melyssa’s surgery was a great success, but she still has some time ahead of her before she is fully recovered.  After having been relieved of such an enormous weight, Melyssa is having to learn to balance differently so that she can walk fluidly again. She has a titanium plate reconstructing her mandible now, so she will have to have more surgeries in the future to replace the plate, and at the end, she will need a bone graft to reconstruct the mandible. She will also need to have implants placed so she can have teeth. “At this point,” says Palmieri, “chewing and eating is a challenge for her as well, since she has no teeth in the right side of the mandible, but she is recovering well and finding her way to eat.”

 

Before LSU Health Shreveport faculty successfully removed a myxoma tumor from 3-year-old Melyssa Braga.

Braga with her mother Caroline after successful removal of the tumor.

Although this story, which has now been covered across the globe, has pushed Palmieri and Ghali into the world-wide spotlight, Palmieri says it was the compassion he had for Melyssa the moment he saw her that prompted him to work to meet an immediate need.  He never expected such notoriety.  Sharing about how his faith prompted him to act on Melyssa’s behalf, Palmieri acknowledged that he has been “blessed with a gift and blessed to have received an excellent education and experience in Brazil, at Parkland Hospital in Dallas and here at LSU Health in Shreveport.  I felt I needed to give something back.”  For the Palmieris, giving back has been a family affair.  The Palmieri family went together to meet the Bragas at the airport, and Palmieri’s wife Ingrid, a computer analyst, would spend time she had away from work serving the Bragas and helping to make the family feel at home here.  “Because they did not have a car here, [Ingrid] would drive them to the grocery store or take them to run errands.  We also had the help of many great friends who welcomed the Bragas with us and helped them shop and run errands as well,” says Palmieri.

Noting the effect his involvement has had on his children, Palmieri says, “It’s important to me that my children see my faith through my actions and not just through my words.”  Palmieri’s son, Loyola junior, Felipe spent last summer putting this principle into practice as a volunteer at an MDA camp, where he served as the daily caretaker for a camper with MD. The Palmieris are intentional about teaching their children the importance of living their faith.  “Giving money is easy compared to being involved,” says Palmieri, “but your time and attention are what people need most.”

When it comes to living his faith, Palmieri takes a practical approach.  “I don’t worry about changing the world.  I probably won’t,” he says, “but if I can change the life of just one person, I have lived my faith well.”