Faithful Step Up in Wake of Tornado Devastation

by Walter Johnson On April 25, the city of Ruston found itself reeling from an EF3 tornado that blew into the area in the early hours of Thursday morning. The vicious storm More »

Fr. Kevin Mues Ordination to the Priesthood

A Q& A with the Diocese of Shreveport’s Newest Ordained Priest During your time in seminary, what are some of the moments that have encouraged your vocation? The things that have been More »

Reflection on Minor Seminary

by Seminarian Kelby Tingle Four years ago I graduated from Loyola College Prep in Shreveport and, feeling a call to discern a vocation to the priesthood, I made the prayerful decision to More »

CCNLA and SVdP: Side by Side and Hand in Hand

by Tiffany Olah, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana At first glance, it may appear that there is a duplication of services in what the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) does More »

Pro-Life Oratory Contest Winners Announced

T he Shreveport-Bossier Pro-Life Oratory Committee has announced the local winners of its high school oratory contest. Kaiden Odell, a senior at Word of God Academy in Shreveport, won first place with More »

Pope Exhorts Young People to Be Courageous; Encounter Christ on the 56th Annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations

from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops The 56th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations was celebrated by the Catholic Church on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 12, a More »

One Last Time: Rinaudo Bids Farewell After More Than a Decade as Connection Editor

by Jessica Rinaudo As I began to work on this, my final issue of The Catholic Connection, I looked back and counted the number of issues I’ve put together over the past More »

The Beauty of Parish Life

by Kim Long Recently I began to reflect on what God used to get my attention over 30 years ago when “becoming Catholic” began to go from a wild exotic notion to More »

On the Trail of History: France and the Priest-Martyrs of 1873

by Fr. Peter B. Mangum As many are aware, I have been working on a project over the last two years to explore and raise awareness of the lives of five remarkable More »

James Named National Merit Scholarship Finalist

St. Frederick student Julian James was named as a National Merit Scholarship Finalist for the 2018-19 school year. Julian is one of only two students from the northeast Louisiana area to be named in this prestigious competition. About 1.6 million students in some 22,000 high schools enter the National Merit Scholarship competition annually when they take the PSAT/NMSQT their junior year. This serves to screen program entrants, measuring critical reading ability, mathematics problem solving ability, and writing ability, rather than just existing knowledge. Students qualifying as finalists must also have an outstanding academic record and be endorsed and recommended by a high school official. They must also submit an application that includes high school courses and grades, extracurricular and volunteer activities, and a self-descriptive essay. All finalists receive a Certificate of Merit in recognition of their outstanding performance in the competition. It is such an honor calling Julian part of our Warrior family, and we are so proud of his many accomplishments!

Loyola College Prep Excels at District Literary Rally

Loyola College Prep placed first in sweepstakes for Division 3 at the Literary Rally held in late February.

Eighty students were sent to Natchitoches to compete in over 25 subject tests and a drama performance. Drama had to earn a superior rating to qualify for the state level, and only a limited number of students from each district and division qualify to move on in the subject areas.

Twenty-four students qualified for state, and eight students earned medals as top scorers in a particular subject.

The State Literary Rally will be held on Saturday, April 6, at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Congratulations Flyers!

Medal Winners:
• Algebra I – Robyn Ford
• Biology II – Jonathan Okereke
• Civics – Grant John
• Environmental Science – Andrew Atkins
• Geometry – Sikai Liang
• Government – Andrew Meyer
• Health – Lauren Warren
• Spanish IV – Chloe Dean
State Qualifiers:
• PreCal – Mary Rose Desautels
• Algebra I – Robyn Ford
• Biology I – Caroline Henry
• Biology II – Jonathan Okereke
• Calculus II – Emma Michael
• Chemistry – Stafford Yerger
• Civics – Grant John
• English I – Emma Cate Dailey
• English II – Embeth Coyle
• English IV – Luke Jackson
• EnvSci – Andrew Atkins
• French I – Lauren Romero
• French II – Claire Scott
• French III – Jinsy Hardison
• Geometry – Sikai Liang
• Govt – Andrew Meyer
• Health – Lauren Warren
• Psych – Mary Elise Stari
• Spanish I – Declan Chmielewski
• Spanish II – Leslie Johnson
• Spanish IV – Chloe Dean
• US History – Hannah Johnson
• World Geography – Elliott Scott
• World History – Anna Avallone

Black History Month at Our Lady of Fatima School

Third grade students at Our Lady of Fatima School in Monroe participated in the school’s Black History Month program.

St. Joseph School Teacher Wins Endowment

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities has awarded SJS Middle School ELA teacher Hallie Franks a $1,000 endowment for her idea for incorporating the study of Louisiana musical legends into the classroom. LEH launched the contest in September 2018, and in addition to a $1,000 prize, the winning teacher from each region will be invited to help develop a short educational video and lesson plan to be hosted on the 64 Parishes site.

St. Joseph Students Present Living Museum

The Living Museum is an event 4th grade students have participated in for the past six years. Students are given at least six weeks to work on the project. Each student randomly draws a name out of a bucket. Once the student is assigned a historical figure or monument, they research, write a paper, create a board and make a costume. The student presents to the class and then celebrates their work on Living Museum day. The entire school supports the 4th grade classes by viewing their presentations.

Teacher Appreciation at Jesus the Good Shepherd School

Jesus the Good Shepherd School celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week, February 25 – 28. Teachers were provided daily meals, sweet treats and goodies donated by JGS families, friends, parishioners and local businesses. On Thursday, the teachers enjoyed an off-campus meal at The Warehouse #1 Restaurant. It was a truly wonderful week! The teachers and staff of JGS are thankful for the love and support of their JGS families and community.

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishes Revised Translation of the Rite for Blessing the Holy Oils

from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—The publishing division of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has recently made available a revised translation of the rite for blessing the holy oils, entitled the Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism.

The book is used at the Chrism Mass, which is one of the highlights of the year in a diocese, normally held on Holy Thursday morning or on an earlier day of Holy Week. At that Mass the bishop, surrounded by a great number of clergy, religious, and faithful, blesses new holy oils for the coming year. The oils will be used for various ceremonies, such as for the preparation and celebration of baptism and for the celebration of the sacraments of confirmation, holy orders, and the anointing of the sick. They are used in some of the most majestic Catholic ceremonies, such as the dedication of a new church, and also in some of the simplest, like an anointing in a hospital room.

“USCCB Publications has produced an attractive book that is worthy of a ceremony as important as the Chrism Mass. The use of the holy oils is a striking part of the Church’s prayer in various moments of a person’s life and in important moments in the life of a parish,” explains Father Andrew Menke, executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship. “All of these ceremonies throughout the diocese are linked together through those oils blessed by the bishop.”

The Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism is intended primarily for bishops in the United States and for their diocesan worship offices, but will also be a useful reference for seminaries, theological libraries, and for those interested in the Roman liturgy. It may be ordered online.

Additional books and resources pertaining to marriage and family life, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Vatican, ministry and more can be found by visiting the USCCB’s online bookstore at https://store.usccb.org. •

Bishop David Talley Named Bishop-Elect of Memphis

from the USCCB

The Most Reverend David Prescott Talley, J.C.D., M.S.W., Bishop of Alexandria in Louisiana, has been named as the bishop-elect of the Diocese of Memphis in Tennessee by His Holiness, Pope Francis. The appointment was announced in Rome on March 5, 2019. Bishop Talley will serve as Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Alexandria until his installation as Bishop of Memphis in on April 2 at 2:00 p.,. in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. At that time the See of Alexandria will become vacant and the College of Consultors will have eight days in which to elect a Diocesan Administrator.

Bishop Talley was ordained to the episcopacy on April 2, 2013, as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He was appointed as coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria on September 21, 2016, and took possession of the diocese as its twelfth bishop upon the resignation of Bishop Ronald Herzog on February 2, 2017.
In all things Bishop Talley fostered a spirit of unity and hope in planning for the future of the diocese while building on its long history.

Digital Trends Research Project

by John Mark Willcox, Director of Development

Key Takeaways to Improve Results at Your Parish!

Nic Prenger of the Prenger Solutions Group, in partnership with eCatholic, surveyed 188 parishes in January of 2019. The sample size included parishes from across the country, both large and small. Prenger was kind enough to share the eye-opening results.

1. Parishes should engage their parishioners on Facebook:
a. Parishes that are active on Facebook boasted an average household giving that was 6.4% higher than parishes that aren’t on Facebook.
b. Parishes that posted on Facebook at least once a day reported average household giving 44% higher than parishes who posted less than once a day.
c. Parishes with a high percentage of parishioner “followers” (measured as at least one follower per registered household) reported an average offertory increase of 10% from 2017 to 2018. All other parishes in the study reported a 1% decline, on average.

2. Parishes should promote online giving
a. Parishes saw growth in online giving (defined as a 10% or more increase in online giving from 2017 to 2018) saw their total offertory increase by an average of 9%.
b. Parishes that did not make a leap in online giving saw their offertory decline by an average of 2%.
c. Analysis: The data shows that we aren’t just transitioning donors from one method to the other. Online giving is helping parishes to raise more money overall.

3. The value of an email address:
a. Parishes with fewer than 30% of their parishioners’ emails on file reported annual, per-household giving of $589.
b. Parishes with between 30% – 70% of their parishioners’ emails on file reported annual, per-household giving of $597.
c. Parishes with more than 70% of their parishioners’ emails on file reported annual, per-household giving of $716.

4. The value of sending a regular e-newsletter
a. Parishes that sent a weekly, monthly or quarterly e-newsletter saw a 4% increase in 2018 offertory.
b. Parishes that did not send an e-newsletter saw a 1% decline in 2018 offertory.

Feel free to take this information and adapt your digital giving program where you worship so that your parish can enjoy these new forms of Stewardship!  •

Kids’ Connection: Triduum

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