Exploring the History of St. Matthew Church

By John Mark Willcox Exiting I-20 in downtown Monroe on Jackson Street you are met with a beautiful sight….the majestic spire of St. Matthew Church which has stood in downtown Monroe for More »

Discerning a Vocation in Elementary and Middle School

by Seminarian Raney Johnson It might seem too early to begin discerning a vocation in elementary and middle school. Yet, whenever I give a talk about vocations to young Catholics, I remind More »

Rite of Candidacy

A Q&A About the Rite of Candidacy with Seminarian Jeb Key Q: What is the Rite of Candidacy?  Candidacy is a rite in the Church that all people aspiring to receive the More »

Fr. Peter B. Mangum Addresses Thoughts on June USCCB Meeting and the Future of the Diocese

By: Fr. Peter B. Mangum   Dear People of Shreveport, I begin this article on Pentecost Sunday, preparing for the gathering of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Baltimore. More »

El padre Peter informa sobre la reunión del USCCB en junio y el futuro de la Diócesis

Querida Gente de la Diócesis de Shreveport Comienzo este artículo en Domingo de Pentecostés mientras me preparo para la reunión de la Conferencia Episcopal de los Obispos Católicos de Los Estados Unidos, More »

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

by Kim Long On the 15th day of August, we celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Body and Soul into heaven. The feast, which has a long More »

Holistic Catholic Education

By: Mike Van Vranken Almost forty years ago, I heard someone respond to the question “what do Catholics believe” with the confident answer: “We believe it all!”  Over the years, and often More »

The Life of Sister Maria Smith, D.C.

by Patti Underwood On Holy Thursday, we in the Diocese of Shreveport and beyond lost a rare treasure, Sister Maria Smith, D.C.  Sister Maria was Mother Superior of the Daughters of the More »

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 »

Purposeful Work with Meaningful People

The Catholic Charities of North Louisiana staff with Olah (front, third from left).

by Tiffany Olah, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana

Working at Catholic Charities of North Louisiana (CCNLA) means being part of a greater life experience. It is the opportunity to love others for who they are and not where they come from, understanding different cultural perspectives of those who have walked down different paths, and recognizing that no act of service is too small or meaningless.

The poor, the uneducated, the foreigner, the one whose native language is not the same as yours – all of these I have encountered while working at CCNLA. They are the clients, the fellow staff members and volunteers. I am surrounded by diversity ethnically, educationally and spiritually. Yet each and every person has a story to tell that is both fascinating and inspiring. At Catholic Charities, we not only lend a helping hand, but we make a difference every day to people from all walks of life. The impact of reaching out to others in service and in love can never be underestimated.

Imagine a man coming to CCNLA on an ordinary Tuesday morning. He is there to attend The Money School, a requirement for emergency rent or utility assistance. Imagine that same man, in hopelessness and despair, mentioning to the front desk receptionist that he probably would not be coming back. Ever. Now imagine that same receptionist is intuitive enough to be greatly concerned for this man’s emotional stability. She mentions to one of the case workers that the man needs some extra attention and care. Now, this case worker loves his job, understands his clients well and enjoys spending time with people and getting to know them. So then, imagine that the case worker establishes a rapport with the man, commits to checking in with him on a regular basis, visits him on the weekends at his home and even offers him contract work that gives the man purpose. Realize now that after spending time talking with the CCNLA case worker, the man admits that he tried to take his own life the very night before coming into Catholic Charities.

This man is just one of those whose life was changed by their encounter with Catholic Charities. Often CCNLA staff will encounter the tears of the mother of five who is so behind in bills she has lost all hope. We see the gratitude of elderly clients who need help applying for food stamps online because they don’t know how to use a computer. We even get the chance to celebrate with the man or woman who has been granted legal status and can finally see a path towards becoming a U.S. citizen. These are the reasons why working at Catholic Charities of North Louisiana is both gratifying and good for the soul.

It is also why leaving CCNLA in May will be so bittersweet. On one hand, my family and I have decided that after nine years in Shreveport, it is time for us to move back home to Florida and be closer to all of our family. On the other hand, I feel that I am leaving my CCNLA family too soon, leaving an organization that makes such a positive impact in people’s lives. I hope whoever joins Catholic Charities in my place will feel the same joy and satisfaction of being part of such a wonderful organization   •

Humanitarian Award Presented to Sister Martinette

by Mary Ann Van Osdell

Sr. Martinette Rivers, OLS, 82, has dedicated her life to serving others around the world. On March 26, she received the first Humanitarian Award from the Sabine Hall of Fame at its 22nd annual banquet in Many.

Seventy years ago she left Zwolle to follow her dream of religious life. She has been a Sister of Our Lady of Sorrows for 66 years.

“I have done many things, but I suppose the highlights of my life’s work would be working in Bangladesh from 1988 to 2002 with Muslims, Hindus and Christians,” she said.

From the seminary, to the poorest villages, Sr. Martinette has lived her life helping the last, the least, the lost and the lowest of all peoples. Rather than see their children die of starvation, Sr. Martinette saw the people of Bangladesh give them up. This meant she brought six of those babies to the United States to be adopted by her friends. Those children have become well educated, adult citizens.

Sr. Martinette also opened a clinic and a school for the poor and begged for money to build them homes after the 1998 flood in Bangladesh. More than 200 homes were built for Muslims, Hindus and Christians from her efforts. In her honor, community members built a school, college and hospital, all which bear her name.

“Poor people don’t care where one studied or what degrees you have, but only how much you love them,” Sr. Martinette said. He motto is living the Gospel message of love and service, spreading His loving concern for others, and loving as Jesus did.

Sr. Martinette met Mother Teresa many times, as well as several popes. Slowing down is not in the picture for her as she continues to remain active in body and spirit. She has lived the seasons of her life very well. In her acceptance speech she said that she hopes to dazzle everyone she meets.

On August 29, 1936, Joan Martinette Rivers was born in Shreveport to Thomas Rivers, descendant of Richard Rivers, and Elizabeth Ebarb. She remembers growing up in Zwolle, riding a wagon to church and pretending to be a religious sister by wearing a towel on her head. She knew at an early age that she wanted to become a sister and go out to help the poor and disadvantaged.

In 1947, her teacher, Mr. Mulkey, told his class to think about how they could make a dent in society. After class, she hurried up to speak to the Sisters at St. Joseph School for information. She was known as a rascal, but they encouraged her to pursue her dream. Her dad left to study at Mississippi College and the family followed, but Sr. Martinette went to San Antonio, TX, to go to high school and later to pursue a vocation to become a Missionary Sister.

After finishing Little Flower High School in 1952, Sr. Martinette entered the convent and continued her education at Incarnate Word University and St. Mary’s University before traveling to Mexico City as an exchange student to study art and architecture. As a young sister, she learned eight languages and ended up at the university in Monterrey, Mexico, studying advanced Spanish and prose and poetry. She later studied at the Gregorian University in Rome, returning to the U.S. to teach for eight years before heading back to Rome to study Bangla and missionary spirituality to prepare for going to Asia. Before she departed, she was garlanded by Saint Pope John Paul II.

In Asia she taught theology at the National Major Seminary in Bangladesh, where she remained for many years. There she helped young women discern their call to sisterhood.

In 2002, Sr. Martinette returned to America from Asia and decided to go back to school at the age of 66, studying gerontology in St. Louis, MO. She finished her studies in 2005 and began working as a gerontologist and geriatric counselor at Azalea Estates Assisted Living, teaching their seniors how to age gracefully with happy hearts.

She is part of a facility where she is loved and respected. She sings, plays the piano, loves to dance, teaches, tells jokes, paints, cooks, does music and grief therapy, or whatever the needs there are at the moment, keeping the residents on their toes and happy. She is teaching one older man to speak Italian and  has arranged violin lessons for another resident.

Sr. Martinette is very involved with the interfaith groups in Shreveport-Bossier. The world religion group is her favorite. She writes for The Catholic Connection, is a religious adviser for Catholic women, a diocesan spiritual director, retreat director, and hopes to finish her own book on “The Delights of Aging” one day. She is a speaker on aging spirituality. “No matter how old one becomes, one can still learn,” she says.  •

Living Out the Love to Which Jesus Calls Us

by Mary Ellen Foley

How do you define love? No dictionary can capture the essence of love. The same is true of our understanding of words like justice, solidarity and compassion. Before I experienced JustFaith, my understanding of justice and my definition of solidarity were dictionary definitions. So inadequate! Such understandings must be formed in relationships. For me, solidarity and justice came to life through our small group sharing and the relationships we formed during the JustFaith program.

In this program, we reflected on the lives of those who hunger for justice, compassion and understanding. We struggled with our preconceived notions; we challenged conventional wisdom. We visited with people in need, “the least of these.” We began to view their situation through their eyes. Through these experiences we began to develop the compassion that Jesus wants us to have for the poor. And we learned how justice and charity, the two aspects of love in action, go hand in hand.

The JustFaith program explores the long-standing social doctrine of the Catholic Church. From the early church fathers right up until our present time, the church has expressed concern for the poor and the laws and social conditions that lead to poverty. Pope Leo XIII responded to the working conditions of the Industrial Revolution with his famous 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum. Since that time the popes of the 20th and 21st centuries have responded to the conditions of their times with major messages concerning social justice. It is now up to us, the people of God, to read, experience and reflect on the principles of justice proclaimed by the Church for the last 130 years.

St. Joseph Parish, Shreveport, will offer the JustFaith experience this coming fall and spring, on Thursday evenings, beginning September 19, and ending in April. This experience uses the adult learning model to help us fully understand the principles of justice that the Church holds dear. We dialogue as a faith-sharing community to deepen our faith and our solidarity with our neighbors. We will explore today’s issues and engage in dialogue around those issues in the light of Catholic social teaching. The program is open to anyone who would like to participate.

“Thirteen years ago I participated in the JustFaith program. The program was a great learning experience in Catholic Social Teaching. The program challenged me to become more active in my faith. It allowed me to form deeper friendships with the other participants. Since that experience we have all been involved in more actively living out the love to which Jesus calls us.”  – Fr. Mark Watson.

“In 2007, St. Joseph Church offered the JustFaith program to people in our community who were interested in learning more about social justice in a small community setting. When I joined, I had no idea how powerful this experience would be for me. I learned to view the world with new eyes, seeing it from the heart of those who were less fortunate than me, and responding in a new compassionate way to those who are different from me. The JustFaith experience was truly life changing.” – Jane Snyder

For more information, contact Mary Ellen Foley at me.foley@comcast.net, or 318-869-1120.  •

The Catholic Cemetery Tradition & Revitalizing St. Joseph Cemetery

from The Catholic Parish Cemetery & Randy Tiller

Catholic cemeteries trace their roots back to the Jewish practice of providing separate burial grounds for community members. The early Christians continued this practice, both because it was a familiar tradition, and also because it was a statement of faith about the dignity of the human body in death and the reality of Jesus’ resurrection.

At death we focus on Baptism and the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, nourished at the Eucharistic table. Rooted in that recognition, we remember our beloved and give thanks for the life we shared. When we visit the burial sites of our loved ones, we experience the same Eucharistic dynamic. Oftentimes we recognize the need for reconciliation with our beloved dead and prayer

at the cemetery is an effective approach toward healing.

Catholic cemeteries manifest the “now/not yet” status of the Kingdom of God. We are now a people of history, a people redeemed but still in pain and sorrow. This is why we pray as Jesus did, “Thy Kingdom come … ”

We are a people who visit our cemeteries to be reminded of our history, our Catholic beliefs and practices, and our parish community/ family. We, as a community, profess our beliefs and value system … even in the silence of the grave.

In the Catholic parish cemetery, our deceased relatives and friends are laid to rest among members of the same faith community who preceded them into eternal life, and professed the same sure conviction that one day the body will be reunited with the soul in glory to be with the Risen Lord. Then the kingdom of God will be fully realized.

Painful as it might be, family and friends are encouraged to return to the burial places to find there, in the presence of those mortal remains, people joined with the Communion of Saints. The church invites you to unite in prayer for their eternal rest. In the stillness of the cemetery, may you connect with that great prayer of the early Church, “Marana tha!”

“Lord Jesus, come!” •

Article originally published in The Catholic Parish Cemetery,
Vol. 1, Issue 3. Reprinted with permission.

 

Revitalizing St. Joseph Cemetery

by Randy Tiller

Having celebrated Lent and the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I cannot help but reflect on my life and turn my thoughts to my death, salvation and resurrection. Burials and cemeteries are an inherent part of our passing through this life. Thus we are all called upon to not only consider our days in the tomb, but those loved ones, those faithful and those communion of saints who have gone before us.

There is a commitment to revitalizing St. Joseph Cemetery and we need your help. Whether or not you one day will be laid to rest there, whether you have laid to rest family members, or friends; or whether you are just one of those people that find peace and consolation at the cemetery as I do, it is our responsibility to care for the dead, to respect the dead and to pray for the repose of their souls.

Please help us continue the work with your prayers, your talents and your treasure.

Msgr. Earl V. Provenza will be offering Mass at St. Joseph Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 27, 2019, at 10:30 am. If there is inclement weather, we will have Mass in the chapel Mausoleum. We look forward to celebrating with you.  •

From the Pope: Forgive Us Our Trespasses

from the Vatican Press Office

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

After asking God for our daily bread, the Lord’s Prayer enters into the field of our relations with others. Jesus teaches us to ask the Father, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Mt 6: 12). Just as we need bread, we need forgiveness. Every day.

The Christian who prays asks first and foremost that God forgive our trespasses. This is the first truth of every prayer: even if we were perfect people, even if we were also crystalline saints who never deflect from a life of good, we always remain children who owe everything to the Father. The most dangerous attitude of every Christian life is pride. It is the attitude of those who place themselves before God, thinking that they always have their accounts in order with Him. Like that Pharisee in the parable, who thinks he prays in the temple but in reality praises himself before God. On the contrary the publican, a sinner despised by all, stops at the threshold of the temple, as he does not feel he is worthy of entering, and entrusts himself to God’s mercy. And Jesus comments, “This man, rather than the other, went home justified before God” (Lk 18: 14), and is therefore forgiven, saved.

There are sins that are seen and sins that are not seen. There are egregious sins that make a noise, but there are also sly sins that lurk in the heart without us even realizing. The worst of these is pride, which can even affect people who live an intense religious life. It is the sin that divides fraternity, that makes us presume we are better than others, that makes us believe we are similar to God.

And instead before God we are all sinners, and have a reason to beat our breast, like the publican at the temple. Saint John, in his first Letter, writes: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1: 8).

We are trespassers, debtors, first and foremost because in this life we have received so much: our existence, a father and a mother, friendship, the wonders of creation. Even if all of us have difficult days, we must always remember that life is a grace, it is the miracle that God extracted from nothing.

Secondly, we are debtors because, even if we succeed in loving, none of us is able to do so with his own strength. None of us shines with his own light. There is a “mysterium lunae,” not only in the identity of the Church, but also in the history of each one of us. If you love, it is because someone, external to you, smiled at you when you were a child, teaching you to respond with a smile. If you love it is because someone next to you reawakened you to love, making you understand that in it there resides the meaning of existence.

Let us try to listen to the story of someone who has made a mistake: a prison inmate, a convict, a drug addict. Without prejudice to responsibility, which is always personal, you ask yourself sometimes who should be blamed for his mistakes, if only his conscience, or the history of hatred and abandonment that some carry with them.

It is the mysterium lunae: we love first and foremost because we have been loved; we forgive because we have been forgiven. And if someone has not been illuminated by the sunlight, he becomes frozen like the ground in winter.

How can we not recognize, in the chain of love that precedes us, also the provident presence of God’s love? None of us loves God as much as He has loved us. It is enough to stand before a crucifix to grasp the disproportion. He has loved us and always loves us first.

So, let us pray. Lord, even the most holy among us never ceases to be in debt to You. O Father, have pity on us all!  •

Navigating the Faith: Titles of Our Lady

May is the month of Mary, a time when we bring the Rosary to the forefront, have May crownings and make special time to pray through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. Mary is represented under a number of different titles. Here are a few you may not be as familiar with.

 Click to download and view this graphic!

Second Collections for May & June

by Father Rothell Price

 DIOCESAN RETIRED PRIESTS’ FUNDCollection Dates: May 4th & 5th 

As we move toward the climax of the Easter Season, I wish you every spiritual blessing from Heaven. I especially wish you a new and transforming encounter with the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. May the grace of Christ’s resurrection from among the dead lead you to a heartfelt and generous support of our Diocesan Retired Priests’ Fund. Make a simple and dignified life possible for our retired diocesan priests who have given all to Jesus Christ and his mission of salvation. These are priestly men you know and love. You can personally vouch for their good name and character. You can truthfully testify to their inspired labor among the people of God. So again, I thank you for opening your heart and your resources to the men who have faithfully served the Risen Lord Jesus and the People of God in north Louisiana with heart and soul.

Our Diocese of Shreveport Retired Priests’ Fund supports good and faithful priests you know and love. One hundred percent of this collection remains in our diocese to cover the care of your loving shepherds in their retirement years: Fathers Kenneth Williams, Pike Thomas, Patrick Scully, Joseph Puthuppally, Phil Michiels, Patrick Madden, James McLelland, John Kennedy and Msgr. Earl Provenza. You know them, love them and can bear witness to their good work. Our active priests, who are such a spiritual help and joy to you, will one day reach the reward of retirement age. I thank you for helping us take care of our current and future retirees. Please give generously to our Diocesan Retired Priests Fund collection.  •

 

CATHOLIC COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGN

Announcement Dates: June 1st & 2nd 

Collection Dates: May 19th & 26th  

My father, Robert, was the strong silent type. He wasn’t shy and retiring, nor was he a wall flower. He said little, but did much. He reminds me so much of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father and guardian of our Lord Jesus Christ.

St. Joseph and my father, Robert, communicated profound wisdom in his sparsity of words and largess of action. Their fatherly examples express something of essence and power of our second collection for the Catholic Communication Campaign. This second collection gives our nationwide Catholic family the opportunity to receive and spread the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Jesus communicated to us what he heard and learned from his Father. The Apostles communicated what they heard and learned from Jesus. We, the Church today, communicate to each other and the society around us what we have heard and come to believe. Our words and actions continue those of Jesus and the Apostles through the Catholic Communication Campaign.

I hope this “communication” campaign comes to mind each time you profess your faith in “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Half the funds collected in the Catholic Communication Campaign remain in our diocese so that we can reach souls through the internet, television, radio, print and social media. The various departments at the Catholic Center share the Good News with you in many forms. Be part of this “campaign” to spread the Gospel message. Please generously support the Catholic Communication Campaign.  •

Domestic Church: The Take-Aways

by Katie Sciba

How do you begin a conclusion? When I started writing for The Catholic Connection over eight years ago, I had a two-year-old marriage and a one-year old son. My lofty theories on how the domestic church – the family – should function had yet to be tested in the School of Experience, but I was eager. Sitting here in Nebraska, hundreds of miles away from where I penned my first column, my babies aged 9 down to 2 sleep while their youngest sibling waits for us in Heaven. Andrew, my husband of nearly 11 years, and I have had our share of storms both together and even against one another. We’ve been blessed by friendships with other married couples living their lives for Christ. I’ve been humbled and honored to win six Catholic Press Awards in as many years, and my writing became a springboard for my work as a national speaker. I’m so incredibly grateful, but, my friends, the Lord is calling me away from The Catholic Connection, so I’m writing this last time to bid farewell and offer my prayers for your families.

To wrap up, here are the take-aways – the hopes I have for our families and some lessons I’ve learned in my time as a wife, mother and writer. I pray they will bring our hearts closer to Jesus, so we can see with more clarity that He is actually with us and calling us to eternal life.

1. Go to Mass – The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith; there is no greater way to pray than to participate in the Mass, to receive the God of the universe in the form of a simple host, and to reflect Jesus’ love to others.

2. Be real with Jesus - Once I told Bishop Duca that, in the wake of my father’s passing, I was too angry to pray. “Why don’t you tell God?” Bishop asked me, “He can take it. He’s big enough.” In showing Jesus just how angry I was, I consequently opened my heart and let him in. Following Bishop Duca’s advice saved my faith.

3.  Keeping in touch with God is ESSENTIAL – We are made in the image of God, which means that we’re called to imitate Him. Have you ever tried to imitate someone you hardly know? It doesn’t work out too well. When we are in touch with the Lord through prayer – Mass, Confession, reading scripture, etc, the more spot-on our imitation will be.

4.  Mom and Dad are a kid’s first teachers - Our kids do what we do, say what we say (sometimes to our horror and humiliation), and they will consider Jesus and their Catholic faith as important as we do. Whether we like it or not, kids are the ultimate copycats. So parents, take hold of your faith, pray with each other and keep Catholic families among your friends.

5.  Pornography destroys family - I wrote a column series on pornography’s effect in 2017. Pornography consumption easily leads to addiction in a short period of time, causing anxiety, depression, isolation and shame for the consumer. Spouses of pornography users often develop a deep sense of rejection, as well as Betrayal Trauma or PTSD. The average age of exposure to pornography is 8-years-old, and because children don’t have the cognitive ability to process it, pornography effects unusual behaviors in children, including isolation and depression. For help, go to addorecovery.com and bloomforcatholicwomen.com.

6.  Minimalism is a way to imitate Christ - The idea of minimalism involves cutting distractions in favor of what deserves our full attention. It’s clearing physical clutter to reveal hidden beauty; it’s freeing a calendar of activities not conducive to the life God desires for us, the life we hope to have. It’s finally seeing possessions as just things and recognizing people as more deserving of our time and attention. Giving our best to Jesus and others becomes easier and more joyful.

7.  There’s more than one way to be a faithful Catholic - I know good, holy parents who pray the Rosary with their kids every night and I know good, holy parents who haul their rambunctious kids to Mass only to leave early because of a temper tantrum. The Lord asks for our love and our best; offer Him that and give others the benefit of the doubt.

8.  We have an audience of One – The point of all of the above? To please God; to become fully aware that He is with us and encouraging us to Heaven.

Thank you Jessica Rinaudo, my dear friend and editor, for your confidence in me; and thank you to you, dear readers, for your support and encouragement over my time here at the Domestic Church column. Please pray that I do what the Holy Spirit wills, and know that your families are in my prayers. God bless you. •

Faithful Food: Power in a Word

by Kim Long

Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies. Proverbs 20:15

There is an old story in which a penitent seeks forgiveness for gossip (read here words that hurt or offend whether intentional or not). The priest forgoes a traditional penance of prayer instead charging the penitent with these instructions: cut open a feather pillow and shake it out and gather all the feathers to refill it. This lesson can be applied anytime speech goes awry.

Recently, this happened to me with my daughter-in-law. No malice aforethought, no anger, just one person trying to be helpful and the help – which was offered in kindness – was not received as intended. The path from brain to mouth to ear is not always straightforward, often the route is fraught with nuances, tone and points of reference to which the involved parties are not always privy. This can run the best of intentions afoul. God speaks creation into being and with His help, repair can occur.

Once my offer of help was uttered it took a moment to see that it wasn’t helpful at all. I saw my daughter-in-law struggle, become upset and then suddenly she was very busy, too busy, and brightly cheerful. Always a bad sign. I was ready to throw my bags in the car and leave, my rode home paved with cowardice, escape my sole aim, good intentions all but forgotten.

Thankfully, I abandoned my first instinct. Speaking a second time I allowed God’s loving kindness to guide me, reminding me of the love I feel for her, gratitude for the happiness she brings my son, and her goodness to my grandchildren. Those feelings come from a deep reservoir of Divine Love, available and waiting for us when we are ready. Understanding between the two of us was spoken into being that late Friday night with much help from God.

You would think as a writer awareness of the power of words would be second nature for me, but not always.

Beginning with a blank page, a sentence, or a scrap of memory, we as writers weave something around these fragments in an effort to make them whole and complete and, by extension, ourselves. That text holds us accountable. With spoken words carelessness is almost second nature, and calling those words back to us is impossible. Words have the power to build up and tear down sometimes in the space of a few moments; take care with them.

Like most of us, whether intentional or not, I have feathers I am chasing, but when kind or cheerful words lead me to respond rather than react, I believe I am refilling my pillow that way, too. With God’s help, I pray that I think before I speak and that when I must give chase He will guide my steps.

With 66 references in both testaments enjoining the wise use of speech, and 56 references about honey and its benefits, this offering combines the two. Here is a little prayer before you begin: “Lord guide my hands as I create this dish both for your glory and the nourishment of those who will eat it. May we always be mindful of what is offered and how we receive it. AMEN.”

Psalm 119:103 “How sweet are your words, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”

Milk and Honey Kugel

Ingredients:

• 16 oz package of egg noodles

• ½ cup butter

• ½ cup honey

• 2 teaspoons salt

• 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

•  ½ cup cream

• 5 large eggs

• ½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Boil and drain noodles and return to pot.

3) Add butter, honey, salt and vanilla sugar.

4) Mix well and add eggs and cream.

5) Pour into a buttered casserole dish and bake for about an hour, or until kugel is golden brown and firm to touch. Serves 8-10.

This unusual dessert should make for some good conversation since your words are already sweetened! Enjoy!

 (from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner, published by Skyhorse Publishing copyright 2013)


Bidding Farewell to Longtime Connection Columnist

by Jessica Rinaudo

While every issue of The Catholic Connection is dear to me, this one, in particular, will always hold a special place in my heart. After more than eight years of column and feature writing, longtime columnist Katie Sciba has penned her last Domestic Church column in this May issue.

I’ll never forget when Katie first tentatively contacted me about writing for The Catholic Connection. Unbeknownst to her, she reached out to me at just the right time. I was in the middle of completely overhauling the format of The Catholic Connection, working to give it more of a “feature magazine” feel. Part of this reimagining meant that I would need regular columnists. Through conversations with my editorial board and while chatting with friends in the local Catholic community, I learned that there was an overwhelming desire for information on how to better bring the Catholic faith into the home, especially to children. And, fortunately, as a newly minted wife and mother, Katie was up to the challenge. Thus, the Domestic Church column was born.

Working in print media, readers often reach out to tell me what we did wrong, or how we infuriated them. I’ve discovered that we only really hear when we’re doing a good job through secondary sources, or, on occasion, people will joyfully call or email if a piece really knocks it out of the park. To this day, however, I still regularly hear from people who enjoy Katie’s column on family life. I know a mom who pulls out her Domestic Church column each month, laminates it, and places it on her fridge as a spiritual reminder!

I’ve always known Katie’s writing was special – partly because as a young mother myself I found her writing so encouraging – but also, because her column brought home a Catholic Press Award to our magazine for the first time in many, many years. And that was only the beginning. Katie’s column, feature writing as well as her in depth series on the harm of pornography, continued to rake in the awards in the years that followed.

I watched her grow from a tentative budding writer to a confident author, willing and able to share her own vulnerabilities to help others with the pains and struggles in their own lives.

I am so grateful Katie reached out to me that day more than eight years ago. Not only did she play an essential role in raising the quality of The Catholic Connection, but she became a dear friend and an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your time and talent with the people of the Diocese of Shreveport, Katie. May God bless your future endeavors.