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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »

Movie Showings of Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima for 100th Anniversary

May 13, 2017, is the 100th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima.

In our continuing efforts of evangelization through media, the 1952 Warner Brothers production of the true story of the apparition, Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, will be shown at the Catholic Center in Shreveport on Tuesday, May 23, at 6:00 p.m., and on Wednesday, May 24, at 2:00 p.m., as well as at the Monroe Civic Center on Thursday, May 25, at 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

This movie gives a moving and accurate account of the 1917 events in full color and in true Hollywood fashion on the big movie screen, starring, among others, Gilbert Roland.

This movie is based upon the Marian apparitions reported in 1917 by three shepherd children living in Fatima, Portugal. The three children were Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The reported apparitions at Fatima were accepted to be believed by the Catholic Church, which commemorates the event on the same date.

This event is free and open to the public, but donations are accepted. For more information, visit www.dioshpt.org, or call 318-868-4441.

Shreveport’s Cathedral to be Featured on EWTN

“Within the Orb of Glories Wearing”

Music by Kermit Poling Performed by the Shreveport Festival String Quartet Narrated by Father Peter Mangum

The Shreveport Festival String Quartet performed Kermit Poling’s original music reflecting on the lives of seven saints – Within the Orb of Glories Wearing!  It will air on EWTN in the United States on May 21, at 12:30 p.m.!

The musical reflection celebrates the lives of seven saints through a seven-movement piece for string quartet by composer Kermit Poling.  The saints’ lives featured are St. Paul, St. Cecelia, St. Hildegard of Bingen, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Br. Joseph Thamby, and St. John Berchmans.

U.S. Bishops Conference Calls for Renewed Peace Efforts in Syria


U.S. Bishops Conference Calls for Renewed Peace Efforts in Syria
Bishops Echo Call of Pope Francis to Attain Peace in Syria “Through Dialogue and Reconciliation”
from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Oscar Cantú, chair of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, have issued a joint statement calling for renewed peace efforts in Syria.

The full statement is as follows:

“Three days ago, our Conference of Bishops decried the chemical attack in Syria as one that ‘shocks the soul. The use of internationally banned indiscriminate weapons is morally reprehensible. At the same time, our Conference affirmed the call of Pope Francis to attain peace in Syria ‘through dialogue and reconciliation.

The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution. We ask the United States to work tirelessly with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.

We once again make our own the earlier call of our Holy Father, Pope Francis: ‘I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people. May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries.

Join us as we pray for the intercession of Our Lady Queen of Peace that the work of humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding will find strength in the merciful love of her Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Kids’ Connection: St. Rita of Cascia

Click to download and print out this month’s Kids’ Connection on St. Rita of Cascia.

Deason New Principal at St. John Berchmans Catholic School

St. John Berchmans Catholic School is excited to announce Jennifer Deason will be the school’s new principal beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

Deason began her career at SJB in 2012 as the school counselor, just one year after being named Middle School Counselor of the Year for the state of Louisiana. While a certified teacher (1-8) and school counselor (K-12), Mrs. Deason went on to obtain her Educational Leadership I certification and was named assistant principal, where she has worked seamlessly with retiring principal Jo Cazes the past five years. She also holds a dual certification as a National Certified Counselor and National Certified School Counselor. Deason is currently on track to receive her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and is in the dissertation phase of her program.

“The past five years working with the faculty, staff and students at St. John Berchmans School have been a wonderful experience,” said Deason. “I love being a part of this school and community and am grateful to continue to work with our excellent staff and teachers to educate our students. I am excited to be stepping into the role of principal, and look forward to leading the school into the future.”

Deason has a passionate commitment to excellence in education. She generates a positive Catholic culture and environment in the school, which supports SJBs mission statement. Deason leads with kindness, patience and an optimistic outlook. She is truly an invaluable asset to SJB!

Leadership Changes at St. Frederick High School in Monroe

New Principal Blair David

New President Bob Webber

Bishop Michael G. Duca of the Diocese of Shreveport is pleased to announce that after several years of working to transition their academic focus from a traditional classroom environment to a science-centered focus around technology and engineering, St. Frederick High School, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, will appoint Mr. Blair David, formally the STREAM director and vice-principal, as principal of the school effective July 1, 2017.  Along with this change, current principal Dr. Bob Webber will be moving into the role of president, also effective July 1, 2017.

By making this change, David will concentrate on the academic success of St. Frederick High School and continue to place an emphasis on the science, technology and engineering curriculum. St. Frederick plans further utilization of Dr. Webber’s experience in community relations and his strong regional ties to build new relationships and strengthen existing partnerships.  The student experience at St. Frederick will be enhanced by these changes and the staff and student body are excited about the upcoming academic year.

St. Frederick and its stakeholders are thrilled to be moving full steam (or as St. Frederick likes to say…full STREAM) ahead by providing the best educational environment in northeast Louisiana for students in grades seventh through twelfth.  St. Frederick High School is committed to providing a superior student experience that is grounded in faith, academic excellence and community engagement.  Everyone is invited to visit the school and see the exciting things that are happening. Please contact St. Frederick’s at 318-323-9636 to schedule your visit to our growing and diverse campus! •

Shreveport’s Red Mass Celebrates 25 Years


by John Mark Willcox

The year was 1992, only six years had passed since the creation of our diocese and several Catholics in the law field, joined by another group of supportive lawyers and judges from other faith traditions, sought to renew the age old tradition of the Red Mass to invoke God’s blessing and guidance in the administration of justice.  Red is chosen for the Mass to invoke the Holy Spirit and the first Friday in May was selected to coincide with the nation’s Law Week.

Holy Trinity Church was chosen as the home of the Red Mass and the late Msgr. William O’Hanlon joined with a group of law professionals including Larry and Janey Pettiette, the late Don Miller (a non-Catholic), along with Trudy Daniel and others and they began the planning for the first Red Mass presided over by our late Bishop William B. Friend.  That first Friday in May of 1992 saw every Louisiana Supreme Court Justice seated at Holy Trinity to witness a unique and meaningful ecumenical gathering of those connected to the administration of law which included a real and heart-felt blessing placed upon those with the awesome responsibility of carrying out this task in our nation of freedom.

In the 25 years since, the Red Mass of Shreveport has seen a host of visiting bishops, prelates, one cardinal and the Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court as special guests for this time-honored tradition.  “We have been beyond blessed by the success of our Red Mass,” commented Shreveport attorney Larry Pettiette.  “The people of our shared field of law have really bought into the Red Mass, and participation among our associates has just been fantastic.”  Special honorees are also chosen each year for recognition of their ministry of the people of the region.  “We like to honor organizations that provide for people and our Red Mass provides that opportunity,” commented Pettiette.

Bishop WIlliam B. Friend at the 2004 Red Mass.

Current Holy Trinity Pastor Msgr. Earl V. Provenza remains amazed at how the Red Mass has been able to attract interest from across the nation.  “We wanted Cardinal Egan to join us in 2008, so Bishop Friend offered him an invitation and he accepted,” said Provenza.  “We continued to dream big so Judge Henry A. Politz sent an invitation to Anton Scalia in 2005, and low and behold, he joined us as well.”  Msgr. Provenza will serve as Master of Ceremonies and our own Bishop Michael Duca will be the principal celebrant and homilist for this special 25th year of the Red Mass.

All are invited to be a part of the ongoing tradition of this year’s Red Mass which will take place on Friday, May 5th, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in downtown Shreveport beginning at 9:00 a.m.  Holy Angels Residential Facility will be the special honoree for 2017.  A reception at the Petroleum Club will follow.

The Harm of Pornography & Hope Beyond Addiction: Arming & Healing Our Children


Series written by Katie Sciba under guidance of Fr. Sean Kilcawley, STL

This is the final installment in a four-piece series on pornography. The first three can be found in the January, March and April 2017 issues of The Catholic Connection, or online at www.thecatholicconnection.org.

“[Young people] should be helped to recognize and to seek out positive influences, while shunning the things that cripple their capacity for love” (Amoris Laetitia, 281).
“The sad reality is that many children…begin viewing hard-core pornography long before their parents even consider discussing its dangers,” says Kristen Jenson, author of Good Pictures, Bad Pictures. The average age of exposure to pornography has slipped in recent years to a range of 8-11 years old, and because of its severe content, many children are afraid to approach their parents.

“Pornography today is violent; there are people enduring horrific sexual abuse” in addition to other lewd behaviors characteristic to the industry, says Matt Fradd, speaker and founder of The Porn Effect. “Kids don’t know how to process the combination of disgust, arousal, fear and excitement, so they hesitate to tell Mom and Dad, or don’t tell them at all.”

It’s this combination of reactions that adds up to a traumatic experience, according to Dr. Todd Bowman, director of the Sexual Addiction Treatment Provider Institute. Viewing pornography distorts sexuality, relationships and humanity in general. “Those traumas wire their ways into the brain’s memory and the damage comes when the sexual images or experience is incongruent with the level of development,” Dr. Bowman says.

But if a child isn’t saying anything, how do you know whether they’ve seen pornography? “It’s big differences within the child’s temperament that act as indicators,” says Dr. Bowman, such as if a child is suddenly aggressive when he usually isn’t, or moody and disconnected when she’s more often even-tempered and engaging. Is there a loss of interest in what usually draws them? “Sudden changes in a kid’s own ‘norm’ should alert parents. It may not be pornography, but something’s not right.” Exposure at any young age can lead to depression, anxiety, anger, frequent porn “use” or the inclination to mimic the behaviors seen.

This is why a conversation on pornography has to be initiated by parents, and with child exposure on the rise, moms and dads are taking a stronger initiative to arm their children. “It’s necessary because if we aren’t our kids’ primary source of information, the world will be,” says Jennifer Davis, wife and mom of eight. She and her husband Matt are turning over a new cultural leaf by having open, age-appropriate dialogue with their children.

The Davises are just one family who’ve found a prize in Good Pictures, Bad Pictures. Designed to be read by parents with their children as young as five years, the book broaches the subject of porn without corrupting a child’s innocence, and has been a helpful tool in navigating what many consider a daunting conversation. “Because this is all new to them, we realized the awkwardness was entirely on our side and by approaching the subjects of pornography and sexuality with confidence, we show them there’s nothing to fear,” says Davis.

Having open dialogue on pornography with teenagers is paramount to their safety as well, especially since so many are immersed in social media. Apps and sites like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, make accessing pornography easy, even by accident. “Parents shouldn’t be surprised if their teen has already been exposed,” says Fr. Sean Kilcawley, theological advisor of Integrity Restored.com. “Ask when they first saw it, how it made them feel. Say, ‘I’m sorry that happened to you,’ and tell them you’ll do your best to protect them.” Following through by establishing parental controls at home and having routine conversation will help them feel safe.

“If your child comes forward, reinforce their vulnerability,” Fradd advises. “Thank you for telling me. I’m so proud of you. It wasn’t your fault.” The more open the dialogue, the less room there is for emotional and psychological damage, and the more potential there is for recovery.

Regardless if a child is exposed or a teen is struggling with addiction, both are victims in need of their parents’ concern and compassion.

Fradd also advises that parents be apprehensive about equipping their kids with devices. “If it’s necessary, it has to come with boundaries. Safe places to charge it at night, a safe browser or Internet filtering.” Dr. Bowman and his family utilize a “device basket” where all kids – their own as well as friends – place their phones and other Internet enabled electronics during visits. Disabling downloads, turning off wifi during desired hours, or using routers with parental controls like OpenDNS (free), KoalaSafe or HomeHalo are ways to control Internet access, too.

It’s important to note that pornography addiction can be avoided. Though preventing exposure may seem impossible, the fallout can be minimized with open, receptive conversation and boundaries.

Resources – Books
•  Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. by Kristen Jenson (for ages 3-6)
•  Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing by Kristen Jenson and Dr. Gail Poyner
•  Angry Birds & Killer Bees by Dr. Todd Bowman
•  Integrity Restored: Helping Catholic Families Win the Battle Against Pornography
•  Every Parent’s Battle: A Family Guide to Resisting Pornography by Dan Spencer, III
•  Wonderfully Made Babies by Ellen Giangiordano
•  Beyond the Birds and the Bees by Gregory & Lisa Popcak

Resources – Online
CovenantEyes.com for Internet filtering and accountability

Celebrating 60 Years of Priesthood, Msgr. LaCaze Continues to Serve


by Kelly Phelan Powell

“I can’t imagine the number of people this tireless priest and faithful steward of the mysteries of God has touched, inspired and profoundly impacted in his years of zealous service, especially in Shreveport-Bossier,” said Fr. Peter Mangum of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, and indeed, it’s impressive to see Msgr. Carson LaCaze still in action after 60 years in the priesthood.

Ordained May 25, 1957 by Cardinal Cicognanni at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH, the Natchitoches native has been writing his reflections on his life as a priest, and they are inspiring, surprising and even a touch humorous. “He brings a seriousness and reverence when called for and laughter and joy with all,” said Fr. Peter.

One very surprising (and extremely impressive) fact: In his six years at the Pontifical College Josephinum, he studied philosophy, moral theology, dogmatic theology, canon law, Old Testament and New Testament. All classes were taught and all exams were given in Latin. As his education took place prior to the Second Vatican Council, students never left the campus except for medical reasons.

In an excerpt from his reflections, Msgr. LaCaze writes about receiving his first priestly assignment. “On June 28, [1957], I and the other 13 newly ordained priests for the Diocese of Alexandria received our first appointments in Bishop Greco’s office. As Hurricane Audrey was bending the trees outside the office windows, the rain pounding on the windows, Bishop Greco lectured us on the behavior of the newly ordained. Then the bishop invited us to his dining room for lunch (we were so nervous and anxious, that we hardly ate).  The bishop, after eating in a hurry, gulping his food down, speedily announced each priest’s assignment in alphabetical order and then hastily headed out a side door as he needed to be at Maryhill where he had 415 youth for summer camp.” He was assigned to serve as Assistant Pastor of St. Mary’s Assumption Church in Cottonport, LA, a small, French-speaking town.

In October of 1968, Bishop Greco named Msgr. LaCaze Pastor of Christ the King Church and school in Bossier City. It was there that, four years later, in 1972, he gave Fr. Peter his First Holy Communion. Later, in the early ‘90s, Fr. Peter served as his Associate Pastor at St. Mary of the Pines parish, and for the last 12 years, Msgr. LaCaze has been Fr. Peter’s associate at the Cathedral.

In 2000, Msgr. LaCaze had to decide whether to retire or remain active in the priesthood, and thankfully, he decided to remain active in the priesthood without administrative duties. According to Fr. Peter, he hasn’t slowed down. “I can give eyewitness testimony to his constantly being on the go, doing all the things you can imagine a priest doing (and then some) for his current parishioners and plenty of others from his past and anyone in need, especially the sick, and always covering for priests without hesitation when they are on vacation, sick or on retreat, going to another Knights of Columbus Convention or Interchurch Conference [and] out and about in the evening at some restaurant where he could be with more people,” he said.

“To minister to God’s people through the Sacraments has been most rewarding,” writes Msgr. LaCaze. “How God uses our humanity to administer the divinity – to baptize, to absolve, to feed the soul, to counsel, to join two in marriage and to anoint the weak are rewarding moments. Thank you, Lord, for 60 years of priestly service. May the Lord grant me many more years of service to His people.”  •

Fr. Andre McGrath to Celebrate 50th Anniversary


by Deacon Mike Whitehead

From his birth, Fr. Andre McGrath was dedicated to God. The family never wanted to put pressure on Fr. McGrath, but they were pleased when he entered the seminary. Now, 50 years later, Fr. McGrath is celebrating his jubilee year as a Franciscan priest.

“My father’s father had a belief that the first born son of a first born son should be ordained,” Fr. McGrath said.

Fr. McGrath was heavily influenced by the spirituality of the Franciscans early in life. His mother and father were working for the Franciscan sisters in Albuquerque, NM, and one Sunday a month, a Franciscan priest would come to say Mass. After extensive training at the Franciscan’s Cincinnati seminary, Fr. McGrath was ordained in June of 1967. Fr. McGrath then earned a master’s degree in English literature.

He taught for a year in Indiana and was then sent to study for a doctoral degree in moral theology. He studied at Catholic University, then went to Germany and studied at Tübingen University.

“We had a professor there by the name of Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI,” Fr. McGrath said.

In 1973, Fr. McGrath returned to the United States and taught once again. That teaching experience then led him back to Catholic University where he studied the philosophy of John Donne Scotus. He completed his doctorate degree in 1978. For several years, he taught at the seminary.

The next stop for Fr. McGrath was Cleveland, OH, and that decision would change his life in a dramatic way. That’s when he met Bishop James Lyke, who would serve as Fr. McGrath’s mentor, friend and spiritual director.

“Bishop Lyke was the first true African-American friend I ever knew,” Fr. McGrath said. “Before he became an auxiliary bishop in Cleveland, [then Fr. Lyke,] was a pastor at St. Benedict’s at Grambling.”

Fr. McGrath and Bishop Lyke met under most unusual circumstances. Fr. McGrath became quite ill during a time when the seminary was empty during a semester break, and Bishop Lyke was the only other person there at the time. Responding to Fr. McGraths need for help, their first encounter would lead to six years of a growing respect and admiration between the two men.

“I would make popcorn and sit with Bishop Lyke many evenings,” Fr. McGrath said. “He would give me books to read and tell me his thinking. I would help him with his writing, and that is what we did for the next six years.”

On the 800th anniversary of St. Francis, Fr. McGrath made a decision to serve in Africa. It was there that Fr. McGrath, and others, established the Lyke Community in Nairobi, Kenya. That was 1993. Named for Fr. McGrath’s good friend, the Lyke Community is a Catholic congregation of priests and brothers that follow the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi.

Fr. Francis Kamau and Fr. Mike Thang’wa are two of the priests from the Lyke Community currently serving in our diocese. “God brought this great man into my life when I needed him most,” Fr. Kamau said, “and I am the person I am today because of that association with him.”

Fr. Thang’wa agreed, “Fr. McGrath has been a shining example to me and to all the brothers who have encountered him. From the get go, I really admired his wisdom and spiritual guidance. I took, and still continue to take, every opportunity to learn from him.”

Eventually, Fr. McGrath came to Shreveport to work with the Greco Institute. And for the past 17 years, he has served as pastor of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Shreveport. “Since he became pastor, I have witnessed his love for all the parishioners and our church, and the love our church family has for Fr. McGrath,” Deacon Charles Thomas said.

For the last 41 years, Fr. McGrath has kept a journal. He has never missed a day –– that’s almost 15,000 entries. As he moves forward to his 51st year, Fr. McGrath has not written the final chapter of his life. And for that, we are blessed. •