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BIshop’s Reflection: Do You Accept?

by Bishop Michael G. Duca On June 10th, as I pulled into my garage after having just ordained Father Duane Trombetta as a priest for the Diocese of Shreveport in a beautiful More »

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A Decade with Bishop Duca

by Jessica Rinaudo, Editor, The Catholic Connection In December 2007, newly married and stepping into a budding career as a graphic designer and journalist, I was hired as the editor of The More »

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The Priest and the Bishop

by Father Rothell Price, Moderator of the Curia When I first saw Msgr. Michael Duca, he struck me as an affable fellow. He brought to mind this passage from ‘Twas the Night More »

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Remembering Bishop’s “Study Tour” to India

by Fr. Philip Pazhayakari, CMI, Pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Rayville & St. Theresa Church, Delhi While planning a visit to India, our bishop clearly mentioned to me that his intention was not More »

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Bishop Michael Duca Announced as Bishop-designate of Baton Rouge

by Bonny Van, The Catholic Commentator The sixth bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge was greeted with applause, smiles and hugs as he approached the podium for his introduction to the More »

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So Many Gifts to Share

by Deacon Mike Whitehead In his letter to parishioners on his new appointment in Baton Rouge, Bishop Duca said, “I am not clear about, ‘why me?’ I have to admit that I More »

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Mary’s House: Helping Mothers, Saving Lives

by L’Anne Sciba, Executive Director and Founder, Mary’s House  “I hope they… [people of the Shreveport Diocese] felt respected, I hope they feel they had a voice when they spoke with me, More »

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Catholic Charities of North Louisiana: A Bishop’s Legacy

by Lucy Medvec, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana  When Bishop Michael G. Duca arrived in 2008 as the second bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport, he was surprised to see that there More »

Following his ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Long blesses Bishop Duca.

Bishop Duca Altered My Priesthood Forever

by Father Matthew Long, Pastor, St. Joseph Parish On April 1, 2008, I arose to news that would alter my priesthood forever. A seminarian at that time, it was John Mark Willcox, More »

Domestic Church: The Freedom to Discover God’s Truth

by Katie Sciba

Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” Pope St. John Paul II’s wisdom was spoken directly to an American congregation during his October 1995 visit. In visiting the land of the free, he clearly articulated what true liberty is. In such a wealthy nation, most of us are able to do what we like. We have options in marriage, work and leisure; and while wonderful, this is not the makings of freedom. When that which the Lord compels us to do – what we ought to do – is unbarred by law, society, or even personal hesitation, then we know the bliss of freedom.

Discover what you “ought”

Our vocations are our life’s work – the call of God to love through being what He made us to be. Some callings are universal (and pretty obvious) because the Lord spelled them out in the Commandments; but God’s will for our lives is also revealed through the gifts and charisms He has given us individually. For example, my husband is blessed with visual creativity that makes him a fantastic video producer; my desire to live simply keeps our home hospitable to its sweet occupants. Another indication of how the Lord calls us is examining what could be called “holy unrest” within us. The injustices that make us want to jump up and act are the ones Jesus nudges us toward so we can bring His love and mercy. Causes as wide as the pro-life movement or as local as classroom bullying need us to diffuse the wrong.

Cut back on what doesn’t mesh

It’s a thrill to finally do what the Lord made us to do, and to be what He made us to be. Moving forward though, we can begin identifying what holds us back. If work imposes on our marriages, we can rearrange our schedules or cut back an hour or two. For teens who need less time online and more of a life lived to the fullest, switch them to a “dumb” phone, reduce social media and give more real life experiences. With the Lord’s help, we can give the boot to whatever stands between us and saying yes to God.

Embrace the grace

One of my favorite Gospel stories is The Rich Young Man. After accounting for his own faithfulness, a young man asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life. Jesus tells the man to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow him. For the rich young man, this feels impossible and he walks away feeling crushed. I wish so much that he would have stuck around and asked Jesus for help, for grace, to do what he felt he couldn’t. Whatever it is He desires for our lives – what we ought to do – Jesus is ready to shower grace upon grace for us to do it. The Lord doesn’t intend for us to proceed alone, and asking Jesus to be with us strengthens us to do what we otherwise couldn’t.

In all circumstances, what we ought to do is clear. As men and women made in the image and likeness of God, we ought to live fully, we ought to be channels of Jesus’ mercy by loving others and ourselves and we ought to follow the Lord’s call for our lives by asking for His grace.

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty
from USCCB.org

O God our Creator, from Your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have called us as Your people and given us the right and the duty to worship You, the only true God, and Your Son, Jesus Christ. Through the power and working of Your Holy Spirit, You call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.

We ask You to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of Your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all Your sons and daughters gathered in Your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome— for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us—this great land will always be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Faithful Food: Our Touchstones

by Kim Long

When my children were young and housework was sometimes overwhelming, if I could find one surface, counter top, end table or corner of a room, that was completely in order I was encouraged to go to the next spot and reclaim it in the name of orderliness. This exercise comforted and assured me that chaos was not the victor and kept me coping with a small home and four very busy little boys, a husband and many friends.

Years later I still “play this game,” finding the one space which is exactly as it should be, calmness ensues and then I can begin to clear away the clutter and chaos (inner and outer).

I called this space a touchstone.

Over the years I began to recognize other things as touchstones and they did not all have to do with cleaning my home.

I go to Mass when I travel. This has led me to some amazing experiences as well as some underwhelming ones. In both scenarios there are certain things which catch my attention and remind me that all really is well; the smell of a church anywhere in the world which is to me the fragrance of hope and faith, the priest intoning the phrase which settles us all in, “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” the calm which settles over me once I recognize this age old rhythm, these serve to calm me, to center me.

Touchstones.

On family vacation there is not so much a thing to which I can point but an energy which is felt by all present regardless of our differences (and believe me, we have them). We are a family, we share connections through telling family stories, listening to a song which coaxes a memory to surface and light, one of family togetherness, the feel of my oldest child’s arms around me, the way my grandson’s hand feels small in my own hand, even the shared pain of loss deepens our bond.

So it is with cooking. I admit there are times that I come home from work and am “starving,” but cast around in the pantry or fridge and nothing suits which really means I am hungry for something more, a touchstone waiting to reveal itself. This is when every single experience that surfaces brings an accompanying food. When I think of my grandmother, I remember the cake I made for her birthday, my mother and aunt brought their own dishes and my dad made delicious French toast.

A touchstone is defined as a foundation or quintessential part of a feature.

This passage from 1st Timothy 6: 18-19, speaks to our subject, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.”

Touchstones surround and enfold us if we choose to see, hear and, yes, even taste them. They help us build a foundation in this world and the more connected to God we become the more we see the foundation was always there, beneath us, supporting us all our days.

Here is my dad ’s delicious French toast recipe, that he prepared “when he had the time.” Recalling him with a dishtowel over his shoulder, whistling, and “rustling up some breakfast” is another touchstone, a piece of that foundation and it fills me with delight.

May your summer find you enjoying all the delights and navigating the challenges each day holds and bring you to a deeper connection to the One who holds us all together.

Daddy’s Leisurely French Toast

Ingredients:

• 1 loaf Texas toast

• 6 whole eggs

• whipping cream (1 to 2 pints)

• 1 tsp cinnamon

•  ½ tsp. cloves

• 1 tsp. vanilla

•  butter (unsalted)

Directions:

1) In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended well.

2) Add whipping cream, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla extract.

3) Soak several pieces of the bread in the egg and cream mixture. Let bread soak in mixture one or two slices at a time. Bread will become saturated but don’t leave in so long it is falling apart.

4) Place slices on hot buttered griddle and brown to your taste on each side.

6) Enjoy with your choice of toppings, syrup, preserves, powdered sugar or whipped cream!

Note: Use real butter on the griddle and monitor the temperature closely to prevent scorching of the butter. (If, however, butter is something you need to omit – substitute 1 tsp. of butter flavored extract in the batter itself and use non stick pan spray).

Book Review: Feast Days and Holidays

Feast Days & Holidays
by Joan Marie Arbogast

Reviewed by Jessica Rinaudo

 Feast Days and Holidaysby Joan Marie Arbogast is a teaching tool for Catholic parents and teachers to not only share the significance of the Catholic faith and the life of the saints with children, but to also provide activities and prayers to help make those lessons memorable.Published in a spiral bound format, Feast Days and Holidays is organized in sequential order for the year. For each feast day and holiday in the book, there are pages that can be reproduced for handouts, crafts, puzzles, recipes and activities. There is also information about the particular feast day, liturgical season or holiday, explaining what it is, incorporating both scripture and the saints to explain why it’s important in the life of the Church.

To me, one of the best parts of this book is that it takes holidays that aren’t necessarily Church holidays, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day and Earth Day, and extrapolates a message of love and social justice that ties in with the mission of the universal Catholic Church.

The activities in the book can easily be adapted for different age groups, and most can be done with items found around the house. Activities encourage children to be humble servants, as well as teach them about solemnities and liturgical colors.

I know that as a mother, I often find myself struggling for the best ways to teach the faith – and all that entails – to my children. I appreciate that Feast Days and Holidays provides some concrete tools to do that, as well as help me incorporate things separate from the Church into our faith lives.

I recommend this book to catechists, teachers and especially parents who find it challenging to teach the faith and help little ones remember the message. I found that by going through the book with my children, I even learned a few things along the way. •

 

Mike’s Meditations: Reaction vs Response

by Mike Van Vranken

Have you ever found yourself excited after a great Sunday homily? Or, maybe you’ve heard a religious leader say something that confused you or even made you mad. And of course, there is that way-too-common reaction when we hear some moral message and think to ourselves: “I sure hope … (fill in the blank) heard that sermon. In other words, we can react in many diverse and varied ways. But we have this human tendency to think most good preaching is meant for someone else and not for us.

A recent sermon on love, watched and heard by over 48 million people in the U.S. and U.K. alone, provoked an array of reactions that can make one wonder if we all watched and listened to the same preacher. One person convincingly said it was a “message for the ages.” Another sarcastically tweeted that the preacher selfishly made his comments all about himself. Many were excited to proclaim the message as “what the world needed to hear.” And, many more decried it as “too long.” One even confessed how bored he felt listening to the “lecture on love.”

In each of these examples, we are talking about reactions. These are the feelings that well up within us when we see or hear something that moves us in such a way that we become emotionally changed – at least for the moment. But the real question we sometimes fail to ask ourselves is: “How will I respond?” This question inspires us to look within; to confront the person in the mirror; to search our very heart and ask: “What am I being called to do as a result of hearing this teaching?” And if we choose to do nothing, then nothing is our response.

St. Paul said it this way: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” Romans 12:2. I think he’s telling us to listen to God’s words through preaching or reading, and whatever our reactions are, (joy, boredom, relief, peace, impatience, confusion… ), take those feelings to God and find out how He wants us to be transformed; to change; to be different.

If we go back to our example of the sermon on love, we can feel all rosy inside thinking about how the world would be if everyone loved everyone. Feeling rosy would be our reaction. But then the real work comes. To look within my own heart and ask: “How loving am I?” Paul doesn’t tell us to transform other people. He says to transform ourselves. I have to honestly and courageously take my own “love inventory” and see (Jesus loves healing the blind), where I am missing the mark. (By the way, did you know that the Greek word for sin in the New Testament means: “to miss the mark?”)

Let me make this suggestion: every time we read a scripture; every time we hear a sermon or homily; every time we read a spiritual document or attend a Christian teaching or presentation; besides listening intellectually, let’s then experience the message internally. We do this by identifying our reactions, our feelings, those sensations and emotions calmly moving or even raging within us, and take them to God; asking him to vividly and explicitly show us where these reactions are coming from and how he wants us to specifically and even radically change our lives. How does God want me to respond? Once we have discerned God’s will (Romans 12:2), then we can respond with: “Yes, Lord, I will be transformed according to your will.” Or, “No, Lord, I will not change, even for you.” Either way, that’s our response.

Does this seem difficult? At times, it will be. I think that’s what Jesus meant when he said: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” Matthew 16:24. And I also believe it’s what he meant when he told Paul that his grace was sufficient for Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9). We can and should pray constantly for God’s grace to sustain and even empower us. Your Spiritual Director can very reverently and gently help you with this practice as well.

Reactions are our way of emotionally receiving any stimuli. Responses are what we do about it. If we always seek God’s will before we respond, we will realize transformation on a daily basis.

Preparing for June Ordinations: Q&A with the Candidates

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KEVIN MUES

What are you most looking forward to about being ordained to the Transitional Diaconate?
The transitional diaconate is a period of about a year. A man is ordained to the diaconate before priesthood. Every priest still retains his diaconal ministry once he’s ordained, but the diaconal ministry is really a call to service. It’s a call to serve at the altar and assist. As deacon you’re supposed to serve. It’s a beautiful ministry. I’m really excited. To me the image of the servant is the most important image, at least in my experienced reality, for the priests. So the role of the deacon, stepping into that role of service at the altar, is going to be the first step.

What moments in seminary or summer assignments have helped prepare you to be a deacon and a priest?
For the last two years I’ve had an assignment outside of school here in New Orleans where I taught CCD. Being a part of that classroom setting, helping the ninth graders have that first encounter with Christ, being able to teach the faith to kids who may or may not want to learn, but being able to teach them the faith, has been really beautiful. It’s really put me in that mind set of someone who will one day teach and preach from the ambo, from the pulpit.

When I was at St. Ben’s [St. Joseph Seminary College], we went on a mission trip to Guatemala and then in our first year here at seminary we went to Nicaragua. I got to see both of those countries and the people there that had encountered the faith. It impressed on me more of the need to learn Spanish. So I’ve been working on that, too.

This past semester I did volunteer hours at the nursing home that’s connected to our campus. I visited the people. It was my first encounter with knocking on the door of a stranger and going in there and seeing where they’re at spiritually. It better prepared me for the summer when I worked in a hospital for two months and I got to be with families in very dire situations – be with them in times of death, in times of mourning and loss. To some extent, it was a beautiful thing to learn because I’d encountered death before, but I hadn’t walked with a family through that process and it was a real eye-opening experience of how God works even in tragedy.

Has there been a moment that has helped you discern that becoming a priest is God’s plan for you?
During Holy Week this year, when I served at Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish (Monroe), I got to be around the families. The altar society was helping get the altar ready and the other groups were the active side of ministry, preparing for the liturgy, and participating in the liturgy with the altar servers. The choir was singing, and I was amazed by the whole action of the Church during the Triduum. It really made me realize that there’s nothing else I feel like I’m called to do and that I feel like I’d be happy doing, other than serving at the altar of God as a priest one day.

DEACON DUANE TROMBETTA

Are there any particular moments of seminary that have helped you discern that priesthood was the right path for you?
The process of developing a healthy life of prayer and spirituality has been the primary factor in my priestly discernment. However, I call to mind one distinctly academic factor that played a part as well. During my first year of theology studies at Notre Dame Seminary, I received an assignment to draft a model letter to an incoming seminarian, giving an introduction to seminary life, and offering guidance on how to rightly align academic studies toward effective pastoral leadership. That assignment was challenging, but rewarding. It compelled me to consider those principles in my own seminary studies and priestly discernment. Since then, I have occasionally referred back to that assignment, and found myself reassured that my early advice was well worth following. That memorable assignment played a small but influential role in my discernment that priesthood was the right path for me.

What moments in your ministry or missionary work have stood out for you?
Of all the works of ministry I have experienced, some of my most memorable have occurred during my summer assignments. For example, during my 2013 summer at Holy Trinity Parish in Shreveport, I learned the diversity of works of parish priests, including sacramental ministry, hospital visits, home visits and prison ministry. During my 2014 summer at the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, I learned the unique spirituality of diocesan priesthood. During my 2015 summer at Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish in Monroe, I experienced the dynamic workings of Christ in the young and old. During my 2016 chaplain internship at Florida Hospital in Orlando, I experienced the grace of God from the moment of birth to the moment of death. And during my 2017 diaconate internship at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, I experienced the dynamics of a lively parish that features a grade school, a college prep next door, and a diverse array of ministries.

What does being ordained to the priesthood mean to you?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that through the Sacrament of Holy Orders and by the Anointing of the Holy Spirit, priests are signed with a special character and are configured to Christ in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ, the head. What an awesome responsibility! To me the priesthood is a gift, an opportunity and truly a vocation.

In what ways has your time as a transitional deacon prepared you for priesthood?
During my year as a transitional deacon, I experienced such a wide array of spiritual, pastoral and sacramental ministries. I believe the Sacrament of Holy Orders truly imparts the graces necessary to reach and help Christ’s faithful. Last summer, I particularly enjoyed serving as an ordained deacon for the Diocese of Shreveport’s “Mission Possible” outdoor adventure retreat at King’s Camp in Mer Rouge, Louisiana. Throughout the school year, I was honored to minister at many churches in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, including St. Rita Parish, Mater Dolorosa Parish, and the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France. Most recently, I enjoyed serving during the Masses and special services of Holy Week 2018 “back home” in the Diocese of Shreveport. I believe that each of these uniquely contributed to my preparation for receipt of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and ordination to the priesthood.

President of USCCB Welcomes Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation on Holiness in the Contemporary World

from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is welcoming the release of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), subtitled “On the Call to Holiness in the Contemporary World.” In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo expresses his deep gratitude to the Holy Father for the exhortation and the call for each Christian to “acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be.”

In the introduction to the exhortation, the Pope emphasizes that the goal of his exhortation is to “repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities.”

An apostolic exhortation is considered the second-highest form of papal teaching after an encyclical letter. Since his election, Pope Francis has issued two other exhortations: Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel) in 2013 and Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) in 2016.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement on Gaudete et Exsultate follows:
“I want to personally express my deep gratitude to the Holy Father for his powerful, straightforward words in Gaudete et Exsultate. In this exhortation, Pope Francis is very clear – he is doing his duty as the Vicar of Christ, by strongly urging each and every Christian to freely, and without any qualifications, acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be – that is ‘to be holy, as He is holy’ (1 Pet 1:15). The mission entrusted to each of us in the waters of baptism was simple – by God’s grace and power, we are called to become saints.

‘Do not be afraid of holiness (no. 32).’ These words of the Holy Father jumped out at me when I first read them. In a way, each one of us has a fear of striving for holiness – a fear that we would be mocked, ignored, or even hated by others because we would stand out. Yet that is what the Lord has called each and every person to! Pope Francis calls us out: A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for ‘this is the will of God, your sanctification (I Thess 4:3) (no. 19).’

The Holy Father describes how holiness comes through the daily struggles each of us face. In the ordinary course of each day, the pope reminds us, ‘We need to recognize and combat our aggressive and selfish inclinations, and not let them take root’ (no. 114). Yet, he says, this ‘battle is sweet, for it allows us to rejoice each time the Lord triumphs in our lives’ (no. 158).

One paragraph in particular points out the continuing need we have for civility in all our interactions, especially in the media. ‘Christians too,’ the Holy Father writes, ‘can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication.’ This can be true even in Catholic media (no. 115). ‘Even in our heated disagreements with one another, we always need to remember that it is God who judges, not man (James 4:12).’

In the light of Easter joy, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, I encourage every Christian to rekindle their baptismal call to be holy by reading this wonderful exhortation by Pope Francis, especially the beautiful section on the Beatitudes. Through an exploration of the Beatitudes, and by offering examples of how to live out our call to holiness in everyday life, the Holy Father has given us a wonderful tool for renewing our love for God and for each other.”

The USCCB has made the exhortation available for order online at http://store.usccb.org/rejoice-and-be-glad-p/7-599.htm.
The Vatican has also posted the exhortation online at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20180319_gaudete-et-exsultate.html.

Kids Connection: Saint Florian

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

Loyola’s Villalba Brings Faith to Life

by Lisa Cooper

Often referred to as the happiest place on campus, the classroom of religion teacher Marcos Villalba is where freshman Flyers are learning to ARISE. An acronym Villalba has taught his students from their first day, it represents the life and conduct of a true follower of Christ. Each day, Villalba inspires his students to Aspire for greatness in all they undertake, offering each thought and deed to the Lord; Respect the dignity of all by treating each other as divinely created and worthy of that honor; Interact with courage and joy by heartily participating in class discussions without fear of criticism; Serve out of love by helping each other and completing service hours in the spirit of humility and charity; and Edify one another in Christ, serving as a witness of Christ by building each other up instead of tearing others down.

Each semester, classes vote and award five students with an award for those who best exemplify the virtues of ARISE. To help each student on this journey, Villalba uses the YouBible and YouCat daily, having students read, take notes, and, most importantly, ask and answer questions.

The innovation and inspiration in Villalba’s classroom don’t stop there. He has instituted a class-ranking system through which classes compete against each other for the highest average in order to win a pizza party at the end of each semester.
“I knew that to get guys involved, there must include some level of competition,” says Villalba, “and I wanted a way to get the students to work together for the greater good of them all.”

In addition to the class average, students compete for the highest number of golden crosses. “Just like a teacher may put a golden star on a paper, I put golden crosses on the tests of students who make 100 percent.” The winning class gets a dessert party at the end of the semester. A glance at the board where class rankings and golden crosses are listed indicates that students have enthusiastically embraced this challenge.

What may be most impressive about Villalba’s teaching style is his ability to take even the mundane tasks like cleaning up the classroom after each period and infuse them with purpose. Each class gets a participation grade, and any student who leaves books out of place or trash on the floor loses points for his class. What’s more is that the Bibles in Villalba’s class are treated with particular honor.

“By ensuring that they are never left under other books or on the floor,” Villalba says, “I can use even a small thing to teach students to respect God’s word.”

The students’ favorite perk of Villalba’s class is his willingness to recognize their ideas and input on how to make the class engaging. “Every class has a president and vice president that they elect,” Villalba explains. “They are responsible for coming up with ideas about how we can learn God’s word without having to be confined to the classroom.”

His students have participated in potluck Bible studies, gone together to see Paul, Apostle of Christ at the theater, and enjoyed class at various locations on and off campus. Students also participate in a unique way by contributing to a class music play list that Villalba allows during certain times during class. During Lent, students opted to give up their play lists to learn more about the saints – a practice that has been so well received it has continued through Easter. Instead of their music, students eagerly listen to audio-dramas depicting the lives of the saints in real stories about their lives.

Villalba’s credits his love for Christ and his desire to communicate that love to students for his success in the classroom, and students recognize and appreciate his passion. Finding freshmen who are eager to talk about how much they are learning from Villalba is easy, but one statement reoccurs among them all: “We just love Mr. Villalba – he’s the best.”

Community Members Share Professions at SJS Career Day

Dr. Steven Boniol, Oncologist/Hematologist at CHRISTUS Cancer Treatment Center, shows students some of the imaging he uses to diagnose and treat patients.

On April 6, St. Joseph middle school students spent their morning learning about various careers. Doctors, dentists, construction managers and bankers – to name a few – were on hand to present to groups of students, giving them a glimpse into the life of each presenter.

“Our students loved the career day event. We are so grateful to all the community members who took time to be here and open our students’ eyes to so many potential careers,” said Principal Dr. Judith McGimsey. “It is important that middle school students are thinking about the future and planning for the path they want to take.”

Students rotated to different stations; at each they were informed about the education requirements, day-to-day tasks, and some interesting things about each career. The adults encouraged students to ask questions, and many brought props that students enjoyed. Dr. Angela Cush-John, pediatrician at Mid-City Pediatrics in Shreveport, brought x-rays of a broken arm. Dr. Jennifer Henley, D.D.S., walked students through the rigors of dental school and showed off several tools and instruments she uses in her daily practice.

SJS is so thankful to all the professionals who were there to share their specialties with our students.

Dismuke Selected for Summit at John Hopkins University

St. Frederick High School student, Alyssa Dismuke, has been selected to participate in a Student Leadership Summit at John Hopkins University this summer. Alyssa was nominated by Mr. Dan Lindow because of Alyssa’s academic dedication and interest in neurosurgery. Alyssa was 1 out of a 140 plus students selected from around the world to attend this summit.

Recently, Alyssa won an Oratorical Speech contest hosted by the City of Monroe. Alyssa was invited by Mayor Jamie Mayo to recite her speech at a Black History Month Program in Monroe. Her award winning speech is titled, “Stop the Violence.”