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Historic Dig: Artifacts of St. John’s Church & College Unearthed in Shreveport

by Jessica Rinaudo The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans has garnered much attention in recent months for the archeological dig they are conducting on Texas Avenue in Shreveport. There the dig team More »

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Bishop’s September Reflection: The Resurrection of the Body

by Bishop Michael Duca I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen. Most More »

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Classes and Podcast on Catholic Retrospective on the Anniversary of Protestant Reformation

by Dr. Cheryl White As the world prepares to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation on October 31, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans is using this More »

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New Christian Service Facility to Have September Grand Opening

by Jane Snyder The new Christian Service facility on Levy Street will have its grand opening on Wednesday, September 27, at 1:00 p.m. Please join Bishop Michael Duca and Mayor Ollie Tyler More »

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Catholic Charities Presents: Same Kind of Different as Me

by Lucy Medvec Catholic Charities of North Louisiana will be hosting private showings of the movie Same Kind of Different as Me in Shreveport and Monroe during the weekend of October 20-22.  More »

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St. John Berchmans Catholic School Welcomes Changes!

by Kelly Phelan Powell With the advent of a new school year, St. John Berchmans Catholic School in Shreveport is undergoing some exciting changes. Former principal Jo Cazes retired this year after More »

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Vocations View: God is Persistent: Being Accepted to the Permanent Diaconate Program

by Mike Van Vranken I had just turned 28 years old and was standing in the vestibule of St. Michael Church in West Memphis, Arkansas with my pastor.  Thumbing through a pamphlet More »

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Navigating the Faith: Spiritual Direction

by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship While our diocese does not have an abundance of lay spiritual directors, the number more than doubled in August as four more people completed two years More »

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Catholic Connection Wins Awards!

The Catholic Press Awards were held in Quebec on Friday, June 23, 2017, with Catholic publications from across North America competing in hundreds of categories. The Diocese of Shreveport’s Catholic Connection took More »

Protecting God’s Children Remains Shared Goal

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by John Mark Willcox

Since the 2002 initiation of our diocesan program designed to create a safe environment for our children and young people, our diocese has exposed thousands of church volunteers and employees to the Protecting God’s Children program and made our faith community much safer for these young members of our worshiping family.

Part of the success of this program is due to the facilitators of this learning module who have introduced the program to so many people over the past 15 years. In June, six more special facilitators underwent training to strongly carry on the tradition of creating safe environments within the Diocese of Shreveport.

These individuals represent Catholic parishioners from across our diocese, including JoAnn Beason and Ramel Fields, St. Joseph Parish – Mansfield; Jean Rains, St. John the Baptist Parish – Many; Lindy Brasher, St. Matthew Parish – Monroe; Cathy Wise, St. Patrick Parish – Lake Providence; and Rosalba Quiroz, Christ the King Parish – Bossier City.

“This challenge has not simply gone away,” commented program director Deacon Michael Straub.  “We still have new employees, teachers and church volunteers who have not been exposed to our VIRTUS® Safe Environment Program and we continue to be called to need each individual to go through our program. I am thankful that these newly trained facilitators have made themselves available to continue this ongoing training process.”

For the first time, this program will be offered to the faithful by a facilitator speaking in Spanish, thanks to Rosalba Quiroz completing her training.  She is ready to expand our VIRTUS® program to new audiences, commenting, “We are so happy to bring Protecting God’s Children to our Hispanic community in their native language so that we can ensure a safe environment for the many children and young people who make up our Latino worship family.”

Regular Protecting God’s Children sessions in English continue to be offered at the Catholic Center on the second Wednesday night of each month, as well as at selected sites and times throughout the diocese.

You will continue to receive information on this program through your Catholic Connection. For more information about a scheduled safe environment session in your area, call the Office of Human Resources at 318-219-7287, or visit our website, www.dioshpt.org.  •

Priest Changes and Assignments for the Diocese

•  Fr. Jerry Daigle, Jr., Chaplain, St. Frederick High School, Monroe, and Diocesan Vocations Director. He is relieved of his assignment at St. Jude Parish, Benton, effective August 1, 2017.

•  Fr. Biju Kuriakose, CMI, Parochial Vicar, Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Monroe, effective July 1, 2017.

•  Fr. Joseph Martina, Jr., Pastoral Administrator of St. Clement Parish in Vivian, continuing as Pastor of St. Pius X  Parish, Shreveport, effective August 1, 2017.

• Fr. Andre McGrath, OFM, retired effective July 1, 2017.

• Fr. Fidel MondragÓn, Parochial Vicar, St. Joseph Parish, Shreveport, effective July 1, 2017.

• Fr. Jean Bosco Uwamungu, Pastoral Administrator, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish, Shreveport, effective July 1, 2017.

• Fr. Thomas John Vadakemuriyil, CMI, celebrates the Sunday Mass at St. Clement Parish, Vivian, continuing assignment as Chaplain in the Pastoral Care Department of CHRISTUS Highland Medical Center, Shreveport effective August 1, 2017.

CHRISTUS Donates Properties and Building to Diocese; Hospital & Office Buildings to Margaret Place Properties

Vicar General Fr. Rothell Price and CHRISTUS Senior Vice President, Group Operations Stephen Wright at a press conference announcing donations.

by Jessica Rinaudo

On July 12, 2017, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System held a press conference at the former CHRISTUS Schumpert Hospital on Margaret Place in Shreveport to announce two big donations to two organizations.

Stephen Wright, CHRISTUS Senior Vice President, Group Operations, said, “Today we are donating to the Diocese of Shreveport, really three different things. There are two pieces of property that we are donating… to the diocese. We are also donating the building that is at 902 Olive… that is where the Breast Imaging Center was.”

Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General for the Diocese of Shreveport, was present as the diocesan representative. He responded, “On behalf of Bishop Duca and the people of the Diocese of Shreveport, we are truly grateful for this donation from CHRISTUS Shreveport Bossier. We will use this donation to continue to serve the local community. So from these donations, we intend to continue the work that was done here in the healing ministry and in other forms of outreach. So on behalf of Bishop Duca, thank you very much.”

In the second part of the announcement, Wright said the hospital and several medical office buildings will be donated to a new nonprofit called Margaret Place Properties. This 501(c)(3) was formed to support LSU Health Shreveport through the management of donated property to provide an efficient, cost-effective and integrated health care campus for the residents of Northwest Louisiana. The donation includes the hospital facility, several adjacent medical office buildings and parking garage. In addition, CHRISTUS has offered a one-time monetary gift of up to $6.5 million over three years to defray the initial operating and renovation costs.

The donation was completed on June 30 and includes the 18-acre hospital campus, buildings at 1801 Fairfield Ave., 950 Olive St., the parking garage and several other free standing buildings surrounding the campus. CHRISTUS had previously sold the building at 865 Olive to the Martin Luther King Health Center at under fair market value and donated a parking lot on Margaret Place to Loyola College Prep.

More will be announced soon on the Diocese of Shreveport’s plans for these donations.

Catechetical Fairs: Family, The Missing Piece of Catechesis

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by Shelly Bole, Director of Catechesis

Saturday August 26, 9am-1pm, Catholic Center, Shreveport
Sunday August 27, 1:30pm-5:30pm  St. Paschal, West Monroe
Register Online at: www.dioshpt.org/ministries/catechesis

The 2017 Catechetical Fairs this year will focus on engaging families and parents in the faith formation of their children. Dr. Joseph White, sponsored by Our Sunday Visitor, will be the keynote speaker.  Dr. White will discuss some of the obstacles families face today as well as five ways in which catechists can involve parents in the formation of their child. Pope Francis reminds us that “families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity.”  (Amoris Laetitia #7)

This event is not only for catechists/parents of school-aged children, but for those who work with adults as well. When we think of “family,” our minds tend to go immediately to the picture of parents and children. Family is so much bigger than that. Family includes those non-biological children and adults in our lives who hold very special places, and our church family.

Remember the saying, “It takes a village?”  The Catholic Church believes the parish/church is that village and that we all share responsibility in encouraging the faith in our young as well as each other.  Please join us as we embark on this important conversation.
Books from specific publishers will be available for purchase and/or preview.

For more information, visit http://www.dioshpt.org/ministries/catechesis/  

Catechetical Fair Includes Session for Parents/Catechists for Persons with Special Needs

Recently, I was visiting with some parents who have children with special needs which either limited or prohibited their participation in traditional PSR/Faith Formation and sometimes the Sacraments.  I shared with them some of the initiatives publishers have taken to assist catechists and parents in forming persons with special needs or disabilities. They had no idea these resources were available, and I had no idea that they weren’t aware of them!  These two moms, Renita Scott and Wendy McDearmont, decided the three of us were going to do something about this huge void in our church ministries.

Our first initiative is to invite parents of and catechists for special needs children/teens to the Catechetical Fairs.  Following the theme of the Fairs: “Families, the Missing Piece in Catechesis,” we will be offering a special breakout session for parents and catechists, presenting the different resources/initiatives that are now available and how to use them both in faith formation settings and at home.

If you are a parent of a special needs child/teen or know someone who desires their special child to know Jesus, please join us at the Catechetical Fairs.  You may register at  http://www.dioshpt.org/ministries/catechesis/  or contact Shelly Bole at 318-219-7302, sbole@dioshpt.org.  All are welcome: grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, spiritual companions, Catholic and non-Catholic. Pre-registration is required.  $15 registration fee.

Vocations View: Discerning Marriage

by Raney Johnson, Seminarian

In encouraging others to discern a vocation to the priesthood and religious life, sometimes those called to married life might not experience the same encouragement. However, it can be difficult to go about telling someone to discern the married life. There are no marriage seminaries or monasteries where people go to meet their spouses. Those discerning married life have to live day to day in the secular world with many voices influencing them not to get married. Then how do the Catholic men and women who discern married life each day determine whether or not God is calling them to the vocation of Holy Matrimony?

My goal is not so much to offer advice to those who are single, rather I want to offer some advice in discerning married life to Catholics who are dating. First, always put God first. The ultimate goal of married life is for spouses to get each other to heaven, so the first place Catholics can start in discerning married life is determining whether or not the person they are discerning married life with is leading them closer to God.

A husband and wife are each other’s spiritual strength and should always encourage each other to grow in holiness. Couples discerning marriage can pray the rosary together, go to Mass together and attend adoration together to ask God if He is calling them to married life. Couples can also seek the help of the saints by choosing patron saints for their discernment such as the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph or St. Therese of Lisieux’s parents, Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin.

Second, find a priest to tag along on the journey. Men and women discerning vocations to the priesthood and religious life are always encouraged to find a spiritual director to help guide them in knowing if they should join the seminary or a religious order, so I think the same should be encouraged for couples discerning married life. The priest does not have to be a spiritual director per se, but could be a wise voice to offer encouragement and guidance in learning God’s will.

Third, if preparing for a proposal, have the engagement ring blessed. An engagement is always an exciting moment and what better way to start it off than by going to a deacon or priest and asking him to bless the ring before ever saying those special words, “Will you marry me?”
The fourth point is similar to the third, ask a deacon or priest to bless the engagement, which might include using the ceremony for blessing an engagement found in the Book of Blessings.

An argument might be brought up to these points that some Catholics date people who belong to other Christian denominations or who are not Christian at all. My answer to this argument is that these suggestions for those discerning the married life can help slowly and respectfully introduce the Catholic faith to a non-Catholic who is dating a Catholic, which could save the non-Catholic in the couple from any awkwardness he or she might experience on the first day of marriage prep with a priest.

In conclusion, one might wonder why a seminarian is offering advice to couples. I have two reasons. The first is that discerning married life is as exciting and important as discerning the priesthood or the religious life. The second is that the future priests of the Church receive their first formation in the homes of faithful couples, whether both parents are Catholic or only one parent is Catholic. It is not far-fetched to say that more faithful marriages will provide more faithful priests.

Interested in a vocation to the priesthood or religious life? Contact Fr. Jerry Daigle, Jr., Director of Vocations, 318-868-4441,
or jdaigle@dioshpt.org.

Diocese of Shreveport Hispanic Ministry Collection

Bulletin Dates: August 6th & 13th
Collection Dates: August 19th & 20th

The Diocese of Shreveport Hispanic Ministry Collection helps the priests and laity of our diocese bring the joy of the gospel to our Spanish-speaking Catholics under our pastoral care. We are so grateful to Lord Jesus, that we have three native Spanish speaking priests in our diocese: Fr. Rigoberto Betancurt at Christ the King in Bossier City, our newly ordained priest, Father Fidel Mondragón at St. Joseph and at Saint Mary of the Pines in Shreveport, and Fr. Juan Garcia offering Mass at St. Joseph in Mansfield.  We also rejoice in the ministry of Spanish-as-a-second-language priests in our presbyterate, Fr. Al Jost, OFM, Fr. Mark Watson, Fr. Joseph Howard, Fr. Francis Kamau, FMH, Fr. John Paul Crispin, FMH, Fr. Joseph Kallookalam, CMI, Fr. Pat Madden and myself.  Bishop Duca also celebrates the Sacraments in Spanish, much to the delight and spiritual edification of our Spanish-speaking Catholics.

Pope Francis calls all Catholics to be “missionary disciples.”  Like the Blessed Virgin Mary who was the first missionary disciple bringing the joy of the Gospel to Elizabeth and the child in her womb, so too in our own day and time are we. The Diocese of Shreveport Hispanic Ministry Collection is our concrete work of mercy bringing Christ’s joy, hope and salvation to those among us who have left family and homeland under dire circumstances to find here, in “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” the great gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  We receive all who come looking for these “inalienable rights” as surely as we would have received Jesus, Mary and Joseph who were also forced to leave their family and homeland.

Your participation in the Diocese of Shreveport Hispanic Ministry Collection ensures that our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters remain devout Catholics.  Your gift makes it possible for parishes and our diocese to provide: faith formation for children and adults, sacramental preparation, liturgical, leadership and pastoral ministry training, other forms of outreach and retreats.

Your donation goes a long way.  It glorifies God and brings salvation to His people.  The second collection for the Diocese of Shreveport Hispanic Ministry Collection allows our Spanish–speaking Catholics to continue to live out their vibrant Catholic faith and strong devotion to the Lord and His Saints in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  They have as much to offer us as we have to offer them.  This mutual exchange mirrors and echoes in our own time the exchange of spiritual grace between the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Child, and Elizabeth and her child. Your generosity ensures that all of us are abundantly blessed by the divine favor of God.  This is what it means to be a “missionary disciple:” to go out with and like Jesus and Mary to the peripheries. Whatever you can give will help the Church to announce that the kingdom of God is at hand. Your donation, no matter what the size, makes a difference.  Please participate as generously as you are able.

Navigating the Faith: Queenship of Blessed Virgin Mary

by Dianne Rachal, Director of Worship

Two important Marian feasts are celebrated in August.  Most are familiar with the holy day of obligation of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15.  Lesser known is the obligatory memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated on the octave—eight days later on August 22.

Mary’s queenship has its roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever.  At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “mother of my Lord.”  As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus:  her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship.

For centuries Mary has been invoked as the Queen of Heaven.  In the fourth century St. Ephrem of Syria called Mary “Lady” and “Queen” because of her maternity: she is Mother of the Lord, of the King of Kings.  Mary points to Jesus as our life, salvation and our hope. Later Church fathers and doctors continued to use the title.  Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen:  Salve Regina (Hail Queen), Ave Regina Caelorum (Hail, Queen of Heaven), Alma Redemptoris Mater (Loving Mother of Our Savior) and Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven). These four ancient Marian antiphons are prayed in the Liturgy of the Hours at different times of the year.

The Catholic faith states as a dogma that Mary was assumed into heaven and is with Jesus Christ, her divine Son.  Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood of Jesus Christ, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of eternal salvation.  Mary was chosen as Mother of Christ so that she might help fulfill God’s plan in the redemption of humankind.  The Queenship of Mary is commemorated in the last of the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary—the Coronation of the Virgin as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

The feast of the Queenship of Mary is of recent institution, though of ancient origin and devotion.  The Venerable Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1954 with his encyclical Ad caeli Reginam. Pope Pius XII stated that Mary is Queen above every other creature because of the elevation of her soul and the excellence of the gifts she received.  She never ceases to bestow all the treasures of her love and care on humanity.  Originally the feast was celebrated on May 31. With the post-Vatican II reform of the liturgical calendar, the Queenship of Mary is now celebrated on August 22, eight days after the Solemnity of the Assumption, in order to emphasize the close bond between Mary’s queenship and her glorification in body and soul next to her Son. Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church, declares that, “Mary was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be more fully conformed to her Son.” (LG 59)

Pope Paul VI, in his 1974 apostolic exhortation Marialis Cultus, points out that “In the Virgin Mary everything is relative to Christ and dependent upon him.  It was with a view to Christ that God the Father from all eternity chose her to be the all-holy Mother and adorned her with gifts of the Spirit granted to no one else.” (n. 25)

This is the root of the feast of the Queenship of Mary:  Mary is Queen because of her unique association to her Son, both during her earthly journey as well as in heavenly glory.  The kingship of Christ is not about power and riches, but is interwoven with humility, service and love. Jesus is a king who serves his servants, and the same is true for Mary. She is queen in God’s service to humanity. She is the queen of love, who lives out her gift of self to God in order to enter into His plan of salvation for man.  To the angel she responds: Behold the handmaid of the Lord (Luke 1:38).  In the Magnificat she sings: God has looked upon the lowliness of His handmaid (Luke 1:48).  Mary helps us.  She is queen precisely by loving us, by helping us in every one of our needs.

Mary exercises her queenship of service and love by watching over us, her children.  We are the children who turn to her in prayer, to thank her and to ask her maternal protection and her heavenly help.  In times of serenity or in the darkness of life we turn to Mary, entrusting ourselves to her continual intercession, so that from her Son we may obtain every grace and mercy necessary for our pilgrimage through life.

The feast of the Queenship of Mary helps us to understand that the Holy Virgin Mary, as our Mother next to her Son Jesus in the glory of Heaven, is always with us in the daily unfolding of our lives. The title Queen is therefore a title of trust, of joy and of love.  We know that what Mary holds in her hands for the fate of the world is good. She loves us and she helps us in our difficulties.

Mary is the Queen of heaven who is close to God, but she is also the Mother who is close to each one of us and who listens to our voice.

From the Pope: Christian Hope as the Strength of Martyrs

from Vatican Information Services

Today we reflect on Christian hope as the strength of martyrs. When, in the gospel, Jesus sends His disciples on their mission, he does not delude them with mirages of easy success; on the contrary, he warns them clearly that announcing the Kingdom of God will always face opposition. And he even uses an extreme expression: “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Mt 10: 22). Christians love, but they are not always loved. From the very beginning Jesus places this reality before us: to a greater or lesser degree, the confession of faith takes place in a hostile environment.

Christians are therefore “counter-current.” It is normal: since the world is marked by sin, which manifests itself in various forms of selfishness and injustice, he who follows Christ walks against the current. Not out of a polemic spirit, but out of faithfulness to the logic of the Kingdom of God, which is a logic of hope, and translates into a style of life based on Jesus’ indications.

And the first indication is poverty. When Jesus sends His disciples on the mission, it seems as though he takes greater care to “denude” them than to “dress” them! Indeed, a Christian who is not humble and poor, detached from the wealth of power and above all detached from the self, does not resemble Jesus. The Christian walks his path in this world with the essentials for the journey, but with the heart full of love. The true defeat for him or for her is to give in to the temptation of revenge and violence, responding to evil with evil. Jesus tells us: “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Mt 10: 16). So, without teeth, without claws, without weapons. The Christian must instead be prudent, at times shrewd: these are virtues accepted by the evangelical logic. But violence, never. To defeat evil, one cannot share the methods of evil.

The only force for the Christian is the gospel. In times of difficulty, one must believe that Jesus stands before us, and that he never ceases to accompany His disciples. Persecution is not a contradiction of the Gospel, but forms part of it: if they persecuted our Master, how can we hope to be spared this struggle? However, in the midst of the whirlwind, the Christian must not lose hope, thinking he has been abandoned. Jesus reassures his own by saying, “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Mt 10: 30). As if to say that none of the man’s sufferings, even the most minute and hidden, are invisible to the eyes of God. God sees, and surely protects; and will give His redemption. There is indeed in our midst Someone who is stronger than evil, stronger than mafias, than obscure networks of those who profit from the skins of the desperate, those who crush others with arrogance … Someone who has always listened to the voice of the blood of Abel shouting from the earth.

Christians must therefore always place themselves on the “other side” of the world, the one chosen by God; not persecutors, but persecuted; not arrogant, but meek; not peddlers of smoke, but submissive to the truth; not imposters, but honest people.

This faithfulness to the style of Jesus – which is a style of hope – unto death, was given a beautiful name by the first Christians: “martyrdom,” which means “witness.” There were many other possibilities offered by the dictionary: it could have been called heroism, or abnegation, or self-sacrifice. And instead the Christians of the earliest times gave it a name with the perfume of discipleship. Martyrs do not live for themselves, they do not fight to assert their own ideas,  and they accept the duty to die only through faithfulness to the gospel. Martyrdom is not even the supreme ideal of Christian life, because above it there is charity, understood as love of God and of one’s neighbor. The Apostle Paul says so clearly in his hymn to charity: “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not loved, I gain nothing” (1 Cor 13: 3). Christians are repelled by the idea that suicide bombers can be called “martyrs”: there is nothing in their aim that can be considered close to the attitude of children of God.

At times, reading the stories of the many martyrs of yesterday and of today – who are more numerous than those of the earliest times – we are astonished by the fortitude with which they faced the test. This fortitude is a sign of the great hope that inspired them: the certain hope that nothing and no-one could separate them from the love of God given to us in Jesus Christ (cf Rm 8: 38-39).

May God always give us the strength to be His witnesses. May He let us live Christian hope especially in the hidden martyrdom of carrying out our everyday duties well and with love.

Thank you.

Domestic Church: Finding Stability in Change

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by Katie Sciba

I sat across the table from a dear friend. Most of our chats were cheerful and fun, but this one was laden with stress. “We’ve packed up so many times,” she told me. “I don’t know how I can make the kids leave another place they love.” After crossing paths briefly at our small college in Kansas, my friend and I were reunited in Shreveport when the Air Force brought her husband to Barksdale. She was just days away from another move, and certain that many more lay ahead in her husband’s career. “The kids start over all the time. New schools. New friends. It’s fun, but it’s so hard to watch their hearts break over and over.”

It was the fall of last year when my family uprooted as well. A sudden move back to my hometown of Omaha brought change for not only our marriage and kids, but also for my mom and stepdad who graciously shared their home with a young family of seven plus a dog. Our new living arrangement was unconventional, but my husband and I were blown away by how happy and well-adjusted our kids were. Our whole environment was unfamiliar to them, but we held on to what we knew could stay the same. Andrew and I prayed with them and went to Mass with them. We spent time as a family and kept these things up as we moved yet again into our own house. Their world stayed the same in spite of shifting sands.

We learned in a real way that what anchors us is faith, and practicing it with our family held us fast in a whirlwind of transitions.

Changes in life are inevitable. Regardless if the Lord beckons us to new places every few years or if we’re born and die in the same town, there’s little we can count on to remain safely predictable. And though there’s a thrill to newness and adventure, it can take a toll on our hearts when we have to let go of what is familiar.

But our Catholic faith remains. In change, hurt or transition we can cling tightly to Jesus knowing he’s not going anywhere. He’s there speaking in Sacred Scripture, extending grace in the sacraments and the prayers of every Mass in the world. He comes into us as the summit of faith itself, the Holy Eucharist. And what soothes the soul is understanding concretely that we are made not for this ever-altered world, but for heaven; and so it’s the things of heaven we should invest in. As the primary educators of our children by our words and examples, we have to bring them along, not shielding them from external changes, but showing them what is sure and staid in life. Take your kids along to Confession. If they’re moving on to college, help them find the Catholic church on campus or in town. Read books from modern Catholics. Soak in the wisdom of the saints.

St. Augustine wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord. And our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Throwing our souls into the certainty of faith will be the strongest consolation we’ll ever need.  •

Faithful Food: Getting Back to Basics

by Kim Long

A word gets in my head and then as my grandmother would say, “there’s nothing for it,” meaning I will have to confront or examine whatever it is. This is often how I think God communicates with me. The word on my mind now is “deconstruction.” And while there are several definitions, this one fits the work of my summer months: “to reduce something to its constituent parts in order to reinterpret it.”

Now is one of the two times a year I clean or “deconstruct” my office, my head, my heart, my spiritual life – really taking it down to the bare bones.  There is the obvious and immediate effect of cleaning away the paper and attacking the piles of stuff. The tidiness of my bookshelf, which just last week was stuffed full of everything one can envision, gives me an immediate sense of encouragement so I am energized to get to the next layer.
I don’t know about you, but there are times I feel too busy to pray, and I’m quite successful in convincing myself that my life and my busy-ness are really a type of prayer. Yea, maybe… but in these weeks of July when things have slowed way down, I realize I need a more vital, basic and recognizable way to pray.

As I have cleared out my head I hear a second word – someone’s name. In this summer of cleaning I have the time to hold that person in prayer, and it feels good, purposeful and right. Words which normally clothe, protect and guide me almost seem useless in these moments.

Family dinner is a weekly event for us and everyone makes an effort to show up. I look forward to it, but I must confess I am, at times, tired of thinking of a menu that will wow them each week. Summertime has helped with a fresh perspective. I have deconstructed here as well. Salad is a staple for these dinners, but in the summer I like to change things up a bit. I take the tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions and slice and arrange them on a platter along with some other choice ingredients -  all common ingredients in the salad bowl – and let everyone choose what they want on their plate. I call it a deconstructed salad.

My grandmother liked to eat fresh tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper with some mayonnaise on the side. She could delicately spear a tomato, a “cuke,” a bit of red onion and manage to pick up a tiny bit of mayo on the very end of her fork. It balanced there with precision, then in an economical and elegant motion she neatly disposed of a dripping forkful of summer salad.

Along with our deconstructed salads I decided to try homemade mayonnaise, something which intimidated me. A woman I knew, a truly good cook, told me if you had anything on your mind, “do not make mayo.”

My food processor and my momentarily uncluttered mind gave me courage. As I set the table last week, along with the plate of salad vegetables was a bowl of firm, tasty, homemade mayo.

I am certain that in October when the pace picks up again, I won’t be deconstructing anything. For now though, I am enjoying the change. As for prayer, I go forward in hope that the changes in this area of my life remain intact and “reconstructed.”

Homemade Mayo

Ingredients:
• 1 large egg, room temperature
• 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
• 1 cup neutral flavored oil (I used plain old vegetable)
• ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:
1)  Dump everything into your food processor EXCEPT the oil, and process for 20 seconds. Stop. Scrape down sides.

2)  Begin to S-L-O-W-L-Y add the oil as the processor is running. Go slowly! Once a quarter of the oil has been incorporated you don’t have to be quite as strict, but don’t dump it in.

3)  Once it is firm you can taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste. I added a tiny amount of liquid crab boil because I like spicy, but next time I am adding some fresh basil and a small amount of tomato. Enjoy!