Connection The Catholic
Vol. 26, No. 5 December 2016
of Saint John Berchmans Comes to the Cathedral Unique Relic Comes to Shreveport in Honor of Saintâ€™s 150th Anniversary of Miracle in Louisiana
December 2016 1
Connection The Catholic
Publisher Bishop Michael G. Duca Editor Jessica Rinaudo Contributors Bishop Michael Duca
Fr. Pat Madden
Mike Van Vranken
Fr. Rothell Price
John Mark Willcox
Jessica Rinaudo Editorial Board Kim Long Fr. Matthew Long Kelly Phelan Powell Dianne Rachal Christine Rivers Deacon Mike Whitehead John Mark Willcox Mission Statement The Catholic Connection is a monthly publication funded by your Diocesan Service Appeal; mailed to every known Catholic household in the Diocese of Shreveport. Our Mission is to advance knowledge and understanding of our Catholic Faith among the faithful. We seek to foster the application of Christ’s teachings and our Church’s mission in our daily lives and to encourage our sense of Catholic identity within our family, parish, and diocesan faith community. Subscriptions & Address Changes Contact: Jessica Rinaudo, Editor Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Write: Catholic Connection 3500 Fairfield Avenue Shreveport, LA 71104 Call: 318-868-4441 Fax: 318-868-4609 Website: www.thecatholicconnection.org
The Catholic Connection is a member of the Catholic Press Association.
The Diocese of Shreveport complies with Virtus’s Protecting God’s Children program. Classes are offered every second Wednesday of the month at the Catholic Center in Shreveport. To report child sexual abuse by a cleric or church worker in the Diocese of Shreveport, call Glennda Lawson. Hotline is 318-294-1031 and your local law enforcement agency.
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St. Mary of the Pines Parish
Thurs., December 1
St. Jude Parish
Tues., December 6
St. Pius X Parish
Wed., December 7
Holy Trinity Parish
Mon., December 12
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish
Tues., December 13
Mary, Queen of Peace Parish
Wed., December 14
St. Joseph Parish, Shreveport
Thurs., December 15
Christ the King Parish Sat., December 17
Sacred Heart Church, Shreveport
Mon., December 19
bishop’s december calendar DECEMBER 1-7 Trip to India DECEMBER 7 Bishop Desmond Assembly - 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Annual Christmas Dinner; 6:30 p.m. DECEMBER 8 Mass; Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, Shreveport; 5:30 p.m.
DECEMBER 13 Diocesan Liturgical Commission Luncheon; Shreveport; 12:30 p.m. DECEMBER 14 Heart of St. John Berchmans; Grant Coteau, LA
DECEMBER 9 Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops Meeting; Baton Rouge
DECEMBER 15 Altar Servers Mass; Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, Shreveport; 5:00 p.m.
DECEMBER 10 Transitional Diaconate Ordination of Fidel Mondragón; St. Mary of the Pines Parish, Shreveport; 10:00 a.m.
DECEMBER 18 Mass with Cardinal Edwin O’Brien; Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, Shreveport; 11:00 a.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas Parish 75th Anniversary Mass; St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Ruston; 5:00 p.m.
DECEMBER 25 Midnight Mass; Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, Shreveport; 12:00 a.m.
DECEMBER 11 Mass; Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, Shreveport; 8:00 a.m.
columns Create a Spiritual Center for Christmas by Bishop Michael Duca.......................... 4-5 Mikeâ€™s Meditations: God in Our Everyday Lives by Mike Van Vranken............... 6 In Review: Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed the Soul by Kim Long .............................................................................................................. 7 Faithful Food: The Extraordinariness of Christmas Eve by Kim Long.................... 8
Domestic Church: Celebrating Advent During Advent by Katie Sciba............ 9 From the Pope: Jubilee Audience: Mercy is Inclusive from Vatican Information Services...............................................................................10 Navigating the Faith: Relics - The Catholic Church's Earthly Reminder of Divine Mercy and Saving Grace by Fr. Rothell Price........................................11 Second Collections for Infirm Priests & Religious by Fr. Rothell Price ..................12 Vocations View: Seminarian Holds Special Devotion to Saint John Berchmans, Patron of Altar Servers by Kelby Tingle ........................................................................ 13 Kids' Connection: Saint John Berchmans .............................................................24
features The Heart of Saint John Berchmans Comes to the Cathedral Unique Relic Comes to Shreveport in Honor of Saint's 150th Anniversary of Miracle in Louisiana by Jessica Rinaudo ......................................................... 14-16
news Fidel MondragĂłn to be Ordained to Transitional Diaconate by Jessica Rinaudo ....................................................................................................17 St. Frederick's Dismuke Excels Nationally in Track and Field by Bonny Van ......18 St. Paschal Starts Blanket Ministry .........................................................................18 Msgr. Graef's Chalice and Paten Find Home in Uganda by Bonny Van...........19
17 on the cover
Free Course on the Gospel of Matthew on Diocesan Website by Fr. Pat Madden .....................................................................................................20 Give Christmas Blessings Through Catholic Charities by Lucy Medvec..............20 The Diaconate: A Life of Service by Deacon Mike Whitehead ............................21 2016 Annual Appeal Report by John Mark Willcox ................................................ 22 Hispanic News by Rosalba Quiroz ..........................................................................23 School News ...........................................................................................................25 Around the Diocese ...............................................................................................26-27 Across the Globe: Coming Together as Faithful Citizens for the Common Good;
Bishops Call Officials and Americans to Welcome Refugees & Immigrants Without Sacrificing Core Values, Security; Cardinal DiNardo Elected USCCB President, Archbishop Gomez Elected Vice President from the USCCB ....................................28
Mark Your Calendar ...............................................................................................30 December Calendar .............................................................................................31
The high altar relief, which resides in the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, depicts the saint right before his death. Also pictured is the reliquary that houses his heart.
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la reflexión Del Obispo por Obispo Michael G. Duca
El Centro Espiritual de la Navidad
ada año cuando se acerca la Navidad me vienen a la mente bonitos recuerdos de celebraciones familiares, fiestas Navideñas, de las reuniones de familiares, prendiendo la última vela de la Corona de Adviento familiar y la Misa de Medianoche. Estoy seguro que muchos de nosotros tenemos los mismos recuerdos de la reunión en familia y los rituales que crean un gozo profundo y espiritual y nos conecta de una manera única con la temporada de Adviento y Navidad. No importa que fuertes sean estos recuerdos pareciera que la conexión con el significado profundo y espiritual de la Navidad parece que se va borrando cada año y todas las ocupaciones de nuestras celebraciones navideñas parecen estar más y más desconectadas de las maravillas y el gozo que deberíamos sentir al celebrar el nacimiento de nuestro Salvador, Jesucristo. Durante mi crecimiento en la casa no había duda que todo lo que mi familia hacía en la Navidad estaba centrado en nuestra fe. Antes de Navidad decorábamos el árbol y poníamos el Nacimiento. En cada comida, por las cuatro semanas antes de Navidad, encendíamos la corona de adviento y todas nuestras celebraciones y comidas eran programadas de acuerdo a la Misa y a otros eventos religiosos en la Iglesia. Es tan fácil perder el verdadero significado del gozo espiritual en la Navidad porque lentamente, sin darnos cuenta, hacemos el itinerario de la familia para el Día de la Navidad y LUEGO decidimos cuando o si acaso tendremos tiempo para la Misa. Tal vez hace mucho tiempo hayan dejado de planear reservar tiempo para ir a confesase durante el tiempo de Adviento en preparación espiritual para la Navidad. Si las actividades Navideñas son separadas del centro espiritual nos volvemos frenéticos, exigentes y menos abiertos a hacer el tiempo para la oración, para la quietud y para nada que complique este itinerario. Por ejemplo, puede ser tanto el estrés que podemos decidir que no hay tiempo para invitar a nadie más a comer, especialmente a “ya-saben-quien” porque van a echar a perder nuestros planes. Para entonces ya podríamos ser comparados con los dueños del mesón que no le dieron posada a la Sagrada Familia. Nuestra celebración Navideña se vuelve tan egoísta que robamos el tiempo que es de nuestro Salvador. Pero si podemos cambiar. Hace pocos años mi familia decidió que estábamos comprando muchos regalos y la angustia de darles a todos un regalo estaba robándonos el gozo de la Navidad. Así que decidimos intercambiar nombres y solo comprar un regalo a la persona que nos toca. Después de eso podemos llegar el día de Navidad con calma y con más tiempo de reflexionar en las maravillas del amor de Dios. Si sienten que es demasiado pesado hacer todos los preparativos para la Navidad o estos preparativos los hacen gruñones, mejor tomen el tiempo para pensar en su fe y en lo que Cristo es en toda esta actividad. El primer paso es no cambiar lo que ya hacen, sino descubrir porque lo hacen. Cuando hayan re-descubierto a Cristo en el centro de todo entonces no solamente las cosas caerán en su lugar, sino que se sentirán dispuestos a hacer un espacio para lo inesperado. Tal vez hasta abran sus puertas al huésped inesperado o difícil y descubran 4 Catholic Connection
que no les estorba, sino más bien es EL CAMINO para actuar de manera amorosa y verdaderamente celebrar el significado de la Navidad, algo que el dueño del mesón nunca descubrió en Belén. Al adentrarnos en un profundo significado espiritual de la Navidad descubrimos que podemos encontrar esperanza y gozo aun cuando sea difícil. Para algunos no existen recuerdos buenos de las celebraciones Navideñas con su familia, para otros, el gozo de esta celebración ha sido quebrantada por la muerte o enfermedad de un ser querido. Para alguien que ha perdido su trabajo es difícil crear los buenos recuerdos que vienen de cenas navideñas y regalos para la familia. Sin embargo, especialmente es en estos momentos cuando el verdadero significado del amor de Dios se revela: que nuestro Salvador vino a estar con nosotros y nos da esperanza aun en estos momentos de oscuridad. Cuando estamos en la pobreza y con necesidad descubrimos nuestra fe más profunda y los regalos más hermosos que Jesús nos ofrece. Así que piénsenlo de esta manera. Si la noche anterior a la Navidad quitaran todas las decoraciones, las luces, el árbol y toda evidencia de la Navidad y cancelaran la reunión y la cena la mañana de Navidad, cuando se despertaran, ¿su corazón estaría aun lleno del gozo de la celebración del Nacimiento de nuestro Salvador? cuando la respuesta honesta a esta pregunta sea SI, entonces todo lo demás ha encontrado el lugar que le pertenece. Ruego a Dios que este Adviento y Navidad les sea tiempo de gracia y bendición. •
bishop’s REFLECTION by Bishop Michael G. Duca
Create a Spiritual Center for Christmas
very year as Christmas draws near, I call to mind good memories of family celebrations, Christmas feasts, the gathering of relatives, the lighting of the final candle of our family Advent wreath and midnight Mass. I am sure that many of us have these same kind of memories of family gatherings and rituals that create a deep spiritual joy that is uniquely connected to the Advent and Christmas season. Yet as strong as these memories are, it may seem that the connection with the deep spiritual meaning of Christmas seems to fade each year and all the busyness of our Christmas celebration seems to be more disconnected from the wonder and joy we should feel as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. When I was growing up there was never any doubt Bishop Duca for me that everything my family did for Christmas was centered on our faith. Before the Christmas tree was decorated, we put up the manger scene. At every dinner meal for the four weeks before Christmas we lit a family Advent wreath and all our celebrations and dinners were scheduled around going to Mass and any other religious event at the church. It is so easy to lose the heart of our spiritual joy at Christmas by losing the spiritual center of the season. Slowly, without realizing, we make our Christmas Day family schedule THEN we decide when or whether we have time for Mass. We may have long ago stopped planning to make time to attend an Advent penance service to prepare spiritually for Christmas. As the activities of Christmas become more separated from a spiritual center we become more frantic, demanding and less willing to make time for prayer, quiet and for anything that will complicate the schedule. For example, we may decide out of our stress, that there is no room for any one else for dinner especially for “you-know-who” because they will mess things up. At this point we might be accused of sounding like the innkeeper who told the Holy Family there was no room at the inn. Our Christmas celebration becomes so self-centered that we squeeze out a space for our Savior. We can change. A few years ago my family decided we were buying too many presents and the frantic rush to give everyone a gift was taking the joy out of Christmas. So we decided to choose names and only buy one gift for the one person whose name we chose. The next Christmas we were able to approach Christmas day with calm and more time to reflect upon the wonder of God’s love. If you feel you are losing it, or you are becoming a Christmas grouch, then take time to prayerfully consider where your faith in Christ is in all this activity. The first step is not to change what you do, it is to discover why you are doing it. When you have re-discovered Christ at the center then not only will everything find its place, but you will be free to make room for the unexpected. You might even open your door to the unexpected or difficult guest and discover they are not in your way, but they may be THE WAY to act in a loving manner and truly celebrate the meaning of Christmas, something
the innkeeper never discovered in Bethlehem. By grounding ourselves in the deeper spiritual meaning of Christmas you are able to find hope and joy even when it is hard. For some there are no warm memories of Christmas celebrations with their family. For others, the easy joy of this year’s celebration has been broken by the death or illness of a loved one. For someone who has lost their job it is difficult to create the memories that come with Christmas dinners and gifts for the family. Especially in these moments the truest meaning of the love of God is revealed: that our Savior came to be with us and give us hope even in these darkest moments. When we are poor and in need we discover our deepest faith and the most profound gifts that Jesus offers. So in the end think of it this way: If on Christmas Eve you took away every decoration, light, Christmas tree and evidence of Christmas and cancelled every gathering and dinner, on Christmas morning, when you awoke, would your heart still be filled with the joy of celebrating the birth of our Savior? When the answer to this is honestly YES, then everything else you do will find its proper place. I pray your Advent and Christmas will be a time of grace and blessing. • December 2016 5
mike’s meditations by Mike Van Vranken
God in Our Everyday Lives
ur seasons of Advent and Christmas run together as if they are one experience. As hard as we try to keep them separate; trying to live them as two independent occasions, we end up engaging them as one season of hope and joy. Lasting around 45 days, a little longer than Lent, we find ourselves mostly preparing for the Christ child by buying gifts, attending parties and trying to cram more activities in each day than is actually possible. We eventually slump with fatigue and ask: “How did such a spiritual time become so secular?” Van Vranken But why are we so surprised? This spiritual event is actually very historical – very human. Oh yes, it all began when the God of the universe chose to burst into our earthly realm in the form of a man – a human being. We call this the Incarnation; God made man. We’ve spent 2,000 years trying to explain it. But it’s a mystery. It’s supernatural. We believe it by faith. But then, it happened in the physical. It is very real – very earthy. So, it’s no wonder we get caught up in the worldliness of it all. After all, it is where we live: in the world. Yet, we still try to keep it spiritual. We want to remember the reason for it all. That God promised to send us an anointed savior. He pledged that this savior would free us from sin and offer us the gift of living with Him forever. We know this in faith. But for now, we experience this savior – the one we call Jesus – in our everyday lives. And in our busyness, it is very difficult to be aware of the Jesus within us – and within those around us. So how do we participate in this spiritual/ physical miracle we call Advent and Christmas? Fr. Karl Rahner once wrote that “the great experiences in life” are “gifts of God and God’s mercy, yet they tend to be mostly given to those who are prepared to receive them.” We ask ourselves at this time of year: “Am I prepared for this grace, this gift of God to celebrate Jesus with all of the awe and purpose that he deserves?” “Have I taken the time to slow down, anticipate his coming, receive him as the Christ child, and encounter him in both a human and spiritual way?” “Have I ever taken the time and effort to even know what that means?” It can begin when we become silent. Again, quoting Father Rahner, “Take courage to be alone.” Alone with God. This, of course, is the reality we are talking about. Our physical body in our physical world being alone with our spiritual God. It may be difficult at first, but we know we must maintain our silence and remain with it. We use our memories, understanding and imagination. We stay silent. And eventually, in the darkness of our silence, in the depths of our hearts, we understand the Advent/Christmas message: God is near – God is here! He came to us. He is with us – Emmanuel. Fr. Rahner concludes: “Only the experience of the heart allows one to truly grasp the faith message of Christmas: God has become human.” And for us, it means He understands our daily lives. He understands our heartaches and frustrations, our joys and our hopes, our trials and 6 Catholic Connection
our sorrows. He doesn’t just try to imagine them. He loved us so much that He came and experienced them just like we do. He knows your feelings, so in the silence, you can talk to Him because He is really present. The Jesus we long for in Advent becomes eternally present within us at Christmas. It’s not a mirage or a dream. It is real and true and it is the manifestation of God’s indescribable love for us. •
MONTHLY REFLECTION Offer God the gift of your silent attention every day this Advent and Christmas. Sit with him in preparation of His coming during the Advent season. Thank Him for the promise of a savior. Thank Him for the promise of eternity with Him. Clean out the clutter in your heart wherever it is needed. It may be forgiving someone, feeding a hungry person, visiting with someone who is lonely. Sit silently with God and He will show you what to do.
Mike is a writer, teacher, and co-author of the book, Faith Positive in a Negative World. You can contact him at www.mikevanvrankenministries.org
in REVIEW by Kim Long
Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed the Soul by David Brazzeal
s a woman who loves to cook I admit from time to time I find myself in a rut, stuck you might say. My menu rotates and the same meals show up like clockwork. It feels a bit boring, unsatisfying, even unsavory. When this happens I branch out and try a new recipe which may or may not eventually find its way onto the menu rotation. Prayer can be a lot like my rotating menu. Certain times of the year I have “go to prayers,” certain situations have their own “recipe”and after a time these prayers can seem a bit stale, unsatisfying. These are the times I cannot taste my desire for communication with God. I have always been told that books come to us when we are ready. Enter Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed the Soul. This is a sort of cookbook for feeding the spirit. Using the format of a cookbook, the author takes us through several categories of spiritual nourishment. As a cookbook offers suggestions for table settings, menu planning and troubleshooting this book does for prayer. Brazzeal contends that prayer can be just as nourishing as a multi-course dinner. An early quote states “Maybe your most intimate moments with God are akin to grabbing a cheap frozen dinner and tossing it in the microwave: bland, monotonous, predictable and uninteresting.” That may sound a bit drastic, but would one really serve God a microwave dinner? Brazzeal reminds us that an intimate meal can become an encounter with the Divine. I really enjoyed the section on lamenting. Here he says, “There are times when you need to allow yourself to be sad, when it is appropriate to lament. Instead of fighting that urge,
encourage it, and not only encourage it but decide to do it well – intentionally create a time and space to lament. Keep in mind though lament is healthier when propped up by prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving.” In another section on intersession, Brazzeal says, “Intercession provides a natural way to add just a smidgen of spiritual salt in just about any secular environment, even hostile ones. By offering to pray for a difficult situation, you let the other person know who to turn to when they really need prayer.” He continues “It gives us a chance to have a long-term impact on somebody’s life by interceding for them on a regular basis.” Not every meal we eat will be a gourmet meal. Not every prayer we pray will be all encompassing. Sometimes we just need a “bite” of something. Brazzeal addresses that in the third section. He leads off with a quote from Origen, “He prays unceasingly who combines prayer with necessary duties and duties with prayer. Only in this way can we find it practicable to fulfill the commandment to pray always." Some possibilities include to set an intention before exercise, to offer short thank yous throughout the day, and I really like this one, “as I pause with my hand on the doorknob, ‘Your Spirit will remain with me throughout the day.’” This book was fun to read since I enjoy preparing and eating food, but if you have never fried an egg or baked a pie, don’t despair, this book is for you too. This is not a book for women only! It is a fun and thought provoking journey through various types of prayer and its nourishment for the soul. In Corinthians 10:31 we are reminded that whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. •
“Intercession provides a natural way to add just a smidgen of spiritual salt in just about any secular environment, even hostile ones.” – David Brazzeal in Pray Life a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed the Soul
Pray Like a Gourmet is available for purchase from Amazon.com and Paraclete Press. It can be borrowed from the St. Mary of the Pines Parish Library. There is also a blog by the same name where you can find short videos of the author.
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faithful FOOD by Kim Long
The Extraordinariness of Christmas Eve
y siblings and I had a regular childhood for the time. No sojourns to Wal-Mart, no gifts lavished on us except on Christmases and birthdays. Our days were taken up with school, homework, chores, going Long to church and playing outside a good portion of the time. The exception to the ordinary in our family was Christmas Eve, for which my grandmother’s home went through a magnificent transformation. By December 22, my grandmother’s house was operating at a fever pitch. She was finishing the last touches on the long dresses for my sister and myself, snipping threads and taking last minute measurements. The house was completely transformed into something beyond our regular mundane and lovely world. There was glitter, candles, tapers and bayberry, and Christmas towels hung in the bathroom. Her china, crystal, silver and linen came out. All was polished within an inch of its life. For months she had been scanning the
pages of Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens for new recipes that would be just for us to feast upon on Christmas Eve. No ingredient proved too exotic, no produce to costly. She was a planner and her family was frugal for 11 months, but they would feast this night. The women wore cocktail attire, my father donned a suit and tie and my baby brother’s suit was a miniature of his. My sister and I wore beautiful velvet dresses with black patent leather shoes. Immediately before the relatives assembled, every candle in the house was lit. In the kitchen my grandmother poured the eggnog into the chilled bowl and whipped cream floated on the surface in pillowy mounds over which she grated nutmeg. I can still see her hands, one on the box grater and one holding the hard brown nutmeg, and a powder of exotic fragrance drifted over the stark creaminess. My sister and I were allowed to serve eggnog in tiny demitasse cups from a small punchbowl. As we carefully ladled out the heavy sweet concoction, I felt as
Verviers Bread Ingredients: • 1 tbsp. active dry yeast • 1/4 cup lukewarm water • 1/4 cup granulated sugar • 1 cup milk • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) • 2 eggs slightly beaten • 4 1/2 cups flour • 1 cup of small sugar cubes Directions: 1) Sprinkle yeast in lukewarm water with 1 tsp. sugar. 2) Scald milk and add rest of granulated sugar. 3) Add stick of butter to melt in the milk. 4) Add salt. Let stand until lukewarm. 5) Blend yeast with milk mixture.
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6) Stir in 2 eggs and add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until dough is smooth. 7) Add the sugar cubes to dough and turn on a floured board, adding more flour if dough seems sticky. Knead a couple of minutes to incorporate sugar cubes. 8) Place dough in a large buttered bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for an hour, until doubled in bulk. 9) After dough has doubled, knead a few minutes and divide into two equal pieces. 10) Butter two round 8 inch cake pans and shape the dough into pans. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise again in a warm place for 45 minutes. 11) Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
though I were presenting a gift to royalty so arrayed were we. The nativity set was set up on the buffet and I passed it many times during the season. At home we didn’t put baby Jesus in the creche until we got home, but here he was swaddled, dressed for our party, a welcome guest. She made her family feel like royalty that one night each year. We were special in a way no ordinary day could bear. This was Christmas Eve. We were not spoiled nor petted over much, but on this night we were transfigured; we were sure of ourselves and we thought life would always be warm, exotic and special. Santa Claus always played second chair to this experience. Presents were fun and I liked them, but this evening, this atmosphere, was a pure gift. I don’t know if I can recreate it, but I am shaped by it and transfigured with each passing year. There are ordinary days aplenty, and the appreciation and joy I feel for them are shaped by a night 40 years ago in a house on a corner lot when heaven came down. Here I share with you a dish for your Christmas Eve table – a bread whose origins lie in Belgium, the home of St. John Berchmans. • Kim Long is the Director of Religious Education at St. Mary of the Pines Parish in Shreveport.
domestic CHURCH by Katie Sciba
Celebrating Advent During Advent
t was a couple of years ago that we started putting effort toward celebrating Advent during Advent and waiting for Christmas to deck our halls. Truly waiting for Christmas cultivated my sense of liturgical seasons within the Catholic Church, and on a superficial level I found I wasn’t tired by December 25th as with Christmases of yore. Sciba Did you know that the Christmas Feast lasts until Epiphany and the Christmas season until the Baptism of the Lord? And there are some perks to celebrating Advent during Advent and Christmas during Christmas. Advent Decor in Church Doesn’t Throw You Off Usually our home was streamed with whites and reds right after Thanksgiving, but then we’d walk into church each Sunday of Advent and see modest decor with purple and rose candles, a gentle reminder that we were slightly off in our celebrations. There hasn’t been much liturgical discord between our parish and house in recent years, which has really added to our feeling of… Appreciation Focusing on Advent during Advent and abstaining from Christmas celebrations until Christmas ups my appreciation. The carols in Mass are more joyful. It’s exciting to see the church and my own house covered in poinsettias and evergreens and the nativity on display; the liturgical readings are richer and the overall sense of joy is almost tangible. It’s easier to be immersed in Christmas spirit and humbled by the the Incarnation. Major Discounts Putting up the fake tree on Christmas Eve, we saw it was ruined by exposure to southern elements. We didn’t have a tree Christmas Day, but the rest of our festive
Being Pr esent in Advent Giving due observance to both Advent and Christmas will change your holiday season experience.
Deck Your Halls Put up the tree, but leave it bare or use Jesse Tree ornaments (Pinterest and Etsy are great sources for them) during Advent. On the 24th, take the Jesse Tree ornaments down and hang your Christmas ones. Put out more greenery and add Jesus to the nativity. Turn up your favorite Christmas music to kick off the long season.
decor made up for it and I was able to buy a new tree for a song on the 26th instead of paying well over $100 beforehand. Ideal for Procrastinators & Perfectionists Preparations don’t have to send your blood pressure sky high. The heavenly host glorified God proclaiming “peace and good will,” not “anxiety and fatigue.” My holiday food plans consist of breakfast casserole, an egg nog family recipe and crockpot hot chocolate. I now take advantage of the whole season for my to-dos. I send cards after the 25th (they’re still on time!). My menu is spaced over several days instead of crammed into one, because part of the gift in any home or culinary preparation is the peace with which its presented. While the whole experience of giving due observance to the Advent and Christmas seasons was fantastic, it was a challenge to hold off on what was habitual not only for our family, but for society at large. Knowing that what we were doing was simultaneous with what the Catholic Church as a whole was doing made it fun and a goal worth striving for. •
Pray through Salvation History Read the daily Mass readings during Advent and follow salvation history and prophecies from the Old Testament. The Israelites waited generation after generation for the Messiah to come and simply reading about it enhances our understanding of who Jesus is and why his coming was and is so celebrated.
Celebrate the WHOLE Chr istmas Season Send your cards out later. Keep playing Christmas music. Read the story of the Birth of Christ in your family. Keep the tree up. Make your favorite dishes over the course of a couple of weeks instead of cramming it into one day. The coming of the Messiah is something to savor in heavenly peace instead of rush through.
Katie Sciba is married to Andrew and together they have four children (with another one on the way!). She is the author of thecatholicwife.net.
December 2016 9
from the POPE from Vatican Information Services
Mercy is Inclusive
he final Saturday Jubilee audience, which took place on November 12, 2016, was dedicated to an important aspect of mercy: inclusion, which reflects the action of God, Who does not exclude anyone from His loving plan of salvation, but Pope Francis instead wishes to include all people. “We Christians are invited to use the same criterion,” said Pope Francis. “Mercy is that way of acting, that style, with which we seek to include others in our life, to avoid becoming wrapped up in ourselves and our selfish insecurities.” It is the invitation Jesus made in the Gospel of Matthew, read that morning before thousands of faithful in St. Peter’s Square: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ No-one is excluded from this appeal, because Jesus’ mission is that of revealing the Father’s love to every person. It is up to us to open our heart, to trust in Jesus and to welcome this message of love that has enabled us to enter into the mystery of salvation.” Francis explained that this aspect of mercy is expressed by opening our arms to welcome all without exclusion, “without classifying others on the basis of social condition, language, race, culture, religion: before us there is only a person to love as God does. The person I find in the workplace, in my neighborhood, is a person to love, as God loves him or her. ‘But he is from that country, that other country, this religion, another one… He is a person who God loves, and I must love him.’ This is including, and this is 10 Catholic Connection
inclusion.” “How many weary and oppressed people we meet today, too! On the street, in public offices, in medical clinics. Jesus’ gaze falls on every one of these faces, also through our eyes. And our heart, what is it like? Is it merciful? And our way of acting, is it inclusive? The Gospel calls on us to recognize in the history of humanity the plan of a great work of inclusion, that fully respecting the freedom of every person, of every community, every people, calls on all of us to form a family of brothers and sisters, in justice, solidarity and peace, and to form part of the Church, which is the body of Christ.” “How true Jesus’ words are, when He invites those who are weary and burdened to go to him to find rest! His open arms on the cross show that no-one is excluded from his love and his mercy, not even the greatest sinner: no-one! We are all included in his love and mercy. The most immediate expression by which we feel welcomed and integrated in him is his forgiveness. We all need to be forgiven by God, and we all need to meet brothers and sisters who help us to go to Jesus, to open ourselves to the gift he made to us on the cross. Let us not obstruct each other! Let us exclude noone! On the contrary, with humility and simplicity, let us be an instrument of the inclusive mercy of the Father. The Holy Mother Church extends in the world the great embrace of the dead and risen Christ. This square too, with its colonnade, expresses this embrace. Let us take part in this movement of the inclusion of others, to be witnesses to the mercy with which God welcomed and welcomes each one of us.” •
“Yet if there is one thing typical of the saints, it is that they are genuinely happy. They found the secret of authentic happiness, which lies deep within the soul and has its source in the love of God. That is why we call the saints blessed. The Beatitudes are their path, their goal towards the homeland.” (Mass at Swedbank Stadium, 11/1/16) “To bow down with compassionate love before the weak and needy is part of the authentic spirit of religion, which rejects the temptation to resort to force, refuses to barter human lives and sees others as brothers and sisters, and never mere statistics. To draw near to all those living in situations that call for our concern, such as sickness, disability, poverty, injustice and the aftermath of conflicts and migrations: this is a summons rising from the heart of every genuine religious tradition. It is the echo of the divine voice heard in the conscience of every person, calling him or her to reject selfishness and to be open.” (Audience with Members of Different Religions, 11/3/16) “Hope is a gift of God. We must ask for it. It is placed deep within each human heart in order to shed light on this life, so often troubled and clouded by so many situations that bring sadness and pain. We need to nourish the roots of our hope so that they can bear fruit; primarily, the certainty of God’s closeness and compassion, despite whatever evil we have done. There is no corner of our heart that cannot be touched by God’s love. Whenever someone makes a mistake, the Father’s mercy is all the more present, awakening repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.” (Mass at the Jubilee of Prisoners, 11/6/16)
navigating the Faith by Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General
Relics – The Catholic Church’s Earthly Reminder
of Divine Mercy and Saving Grace
he relic of the heart of Saint John Berchmans will be brought to the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans on December 8. The arrival of the heart presents us with a wonderful opportunity to look more devotedly at the presence of relics in the life of our holy Catholic faith. We Judeo-Christians have a long history with sacred objects that help us be mindful of the presence of God and rightly offer Him praise and worship. For our Jewish ancestors, the Ark of the Covenant was their most important sacred object constantly linking them with God, their Creator and Liberator. Later, the Temple in Jerusalem became their most sacred object where they connected with God through various forms of sacrifice. The Scrolls of the Torah are the central sacred object today uniting them to God in devotion. For Catholics and our Protestant brothers and sisters, some form of the cross is our commonly held sacred object. As the Holy Apostle Paul said, “But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ….” Galatians 6:14. Catholics have a great devotion to the crucifix, while Protestants have a great devotion to the cross. A crucifix is a cross with the corpus or body of Jesus on it. A cross does not include the body of Christ. A crucifix may contain Jesus still alive in his final agony, or the lifeless body of Jesus after commending his spirit into the hands of the Father. The fish or ICHTHYS is another symbol of Jesus shared by Catholics and Protestants. Relics are the body, a portion of the body, or some item intimately connected with a saint that is reverently kept and displayed for the spiritual encouragement of the Christian faithful. The religious tradition of venerating the relics of saints began with the custom of solemnly burying and caring for their graves. (Catholic Customs & Traditions: A Popular Guide, 113). This veneration was extended to the exhumed clothes, dust taken from their graves, and objects that touched the body of saints. The Church goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of relics and greatly discourages items of legend as well as superstitious practices associated with them. The first relics in the Church were the bodies and graves of the martyrs. The Christian faithful retrieved the bodies of slain Christians from the Circus Maximus, Coliseum and other sites of persecution and execution. They began to build altars over the interred remains of the martyrs, or incorporated the container holding the body in the base of the altar. At a later time a portion of the bone from a martyr was incorporated into the mensa, or top of the altar. On your next visit to your parish church, reverently go to the altar, lift up the white cloth covering the top of the altar to see if there lies an altar stone. A relic of the saint of that church may be visible in a small metal case with a glass top, or, you may see a small circular spot where the relic has been placed inside the altar stone. If needed, ask your priest or someone from the office for assistance. Someone once posed to me a stimulating question: “How are relics different from the remains of a cremated person a family has placed in an urn or divided into lockets?” I can give you several differences. One, a relic is of a saintly person as so declared by the Church as distinct from the beloved remains of a cherished loved one. Two, the relic of a saint is intended for the spiritual encouragement of all the Christian faithful in their devotion to
Relic of Blessed Margaret Castello at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Columbus, Ohio
God, rather than individual encouragement. Three, a relic serves the purpose of inciting a person to prayer and praise rather than consoling remembrance of a deceased loved one. Four, venerating the relic of a saint reaffirms our belief in the communion of saints, the saints in heaven, joined to the saints on earth, joined to the saints in purgatory, not just the life of this one beloved individual. Five, venerating a relic animates a person to imitate a particular saint in their love, service and witness to Jesus Christ. There are three classes of relics in the Church: First class relics are the actual and authenticated body or part of a body of a saint. Second class relics are articles of clothing or some other article used by a saint. Third class relics are any object(s) touched by a first class relic. As the heart of St. John Berchmans comes to our Cathedral named to the glory of God in His honor, may this first class relic move us to a greater devotion to Our Lord, a more ardent love for His holy people who are the Church, and greater witness to the Father’s mercy that gives us life. May God be praised in His saints. • December 2016 11
second COLLECTIONS by Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General
Second Collections for Infirm Priests & Religious
Retired priests Fr. Kenneth Williams and Fr. Richard Lombard with Bishop Michael Duca.
RETIREMENT FUND FOR RELIGIOUS Announcement Dates: November 27th & December 13th Collection Dates: December 10th & 11th ur first opportunity to show mercy in the new liturgical year is to “Please give to those who have given a lifetime.” That phrase remains the theme for the Retirement Fund for Religious. Today, many senior religious continue to be vessels of mercy, serving in a wide range of volunteer and prayer ministries. Others are frail and need our assistance. Most older religious ministered for small stipends, leaving a substantial gap in their retirement savings. With the ever-rising cost of healthcare and an increased number of those needing care, many religious communities struggle to provide for aging members. Please give to those who have Price given a lifetime. Your gift to the Retirement Fund for Religious collection provides vital support for medications, nursing care and more. It also helps religious communities implement long-term retirement strategies that ensure both quality eldercare and continued service to the people of God. One of the lessons we gratefully learned from this past Year of Mercy is that these women and men religious, through their service and witness, modeled the compassionate love of Jesus and showed us that we can also be instruments of peace and mercy. Thank you for your participation in the Retirement Fund for Religious.
DIOCESAN INFIRM PRIESTS’ FUND Announcement Dates: December 11th & 18th Collection Dates: December 24th & 25th ur second opportunity to show mercy in this new liturgical year is to donate joyfully to our Diocesan Infirm Priests’ Fund. The story and needs of our infirm diocesan priests is similar to that of retired women and men religious.
12 Catholic Connection
They have been steadfast models of the compassionate love of Jesus. Continuing the work of mercy beyond the Jubilee Year is to live out and demonstrate God’s gracious care for our infirmed priests. The Diocesan Infirm Priests’ Fund collection blesses us with the opportunity to show generous mercy in the care of the priests of our diocese who have so lovingly served us. This year, we honored with Christian burial two of our retired priests, our beloved Father Roger McMullen and our beloved Msgr. Franz Graef. With great love, wisdom, kindness and mercy they lived out their priestly vocations close to the Lord Jesus and perfumed with the odor of their flocks. In their senior years, they and their loved ones constantly expressed gratitude for the love, attention and assistance they were given. Our remaining retirees, Fr. Walter Ebarb, Fr. Richard Lombard, Fr. Joseph Puthuppally, Fr. John Kennedy, Fr. Patrick Scully and Fr. Kenneth Williams are depending on us. A few of our active priests struggle with medical issues as well. Whether it is long or short term maladies, or the natural decline which is part of the aging process, the infirmed priests of the Diocese of Shreveport are strengthened by our prayers and assistance. Your participation in our Diocesan Infirm Priests’ Fund collection is that ongoing Spiritual and Corporal Mercy that brings strength and joy to them. Thank you for your participation in the Diocesan Infirm Priests’ Fund Collection. • Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General, is the Director of Second & Special Collections.
vocations View by Kelby Tingle, Seminarian
Seminarian Holds Special Devotion to Saint John Berchmans, Patron of Altar Servers
Seminarian Kelby Tingle and Fr. Peter Mangum, Rector of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans at the tomb of St. John Berchmans in Rome.
efore entering seminary, I spent four years as an altar server at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, the patron of altar servers. What I experienced and learned there has been invaluable to my discernment to the priesthood, and I am most grateful. Of these experiences, many involve our Cathedral’s patron, St. John Berchmans. His story is one of love and holiness, obedience and prayer. His desire to so deeply love God was evident to all who got even a glimpse of him. During his life, many people had a deep admiration and respect for the saintly youth who answered God’s call to serve Him as a priest. Even today, he continues to inspire people to strive for
holiness and to find a relationship with God. Saint John continues to be, for me, an inspiration and role model. I remember with fondness our annual weeklong altar server leadership camps that taught us more about reverently serving at the altar of God. Time was always devoted to teaching the younger servers about the life of St. John Berchmans because not only is he our Cathedral patron, but he is the patron of altar servers as well! To know how readily and faithfully our patron served at the altar inspired us all to worship God well as we serve at His altar. Indeed, before every Mass at the Cathedral, the altar servers ask St. John Berchmans to intercede for them
as they prepare to serve at God’s altar. To this day, I still ask him to intercede for me when I serve at the altar and as I study for the priesthood. I pray that like him, I may have a beautiful relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary, a strong love for the Eucharist and be conscientious concerning the ordinary things of life. When I think of St. John Berchmans, I think of a young man, close to my age, who selflessly loved God and so longed to do all things for the great glory of God. During the summer of 2015, while on a pilgrimage to Rome, I prayed at the tomb of St. John Berchmans and visited the room where he lived during his formation. How overwhelming and spiritually rewarding this was for me! In his room, I remember thinking that this is where my role model, who I ask to intercede for me quite often, actually lived. I will cherish the opportunity to pray before his tomb, stand in his room, and to serve in the chapel where he professed his first vows. In a few days, we will have the most joyful opportunity to welcome to our diocese the heart of St. John Berchmans, the very heart that loved and desired God so fully. How awesome and providential that the heart arrives at the Cathedral on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, whom he so loved! I pray that by seeing and venerating this most holy saint’s heart, our own hearts will be greatly inspired and continue to grow in love for God and His Church. • Interested in a vocation to the priesthood or religious life? Contact Fr. Matthew Long, Director of Vocations, 318-868-4441, or email@example.com.
December 2016 13
of Saint John Berchmans Comes to the Cathedral Unique Relic Comes to Shreveport in Honor of Saint’s 150th Anniversary of Miracle in Louisiana by Jessica Rinaudo
n December 8, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans will host a unique and exciting historical and spiritual event when a rare Catholic relic – the literal heart of Saint John Berchmans – makes its way from Belgium to Shreveport. This special event coincides with the 150th anniversary of the apparition and miracle of St. John Berchmans that occurred in Louisiana. The presence of this relic in our diocese is uniquely special because this is the first time the heart has ever traveled outside of its homeland, modern day Belgium. Accompanied by the pastor of the church where Saint John Berchmans was baptized, the heart will make its way to the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport, the only cathedral in the world named for this saint. Once it arrives, it will stay at the Cathedral from December 8 – 18, except for one day, December 14, when it will travel to Grand Coteau, Louisiana, the site of the apparition and miracle. During the
heart’s stay at the Cathedral, there are scheduled times for veneration and for Mass, as well as a series of events and talks related to the saint and relics that are free and open to the public.
Who was Saint John Berchmans?
John Berchmans was born in 1599 in Diest, which is modern day Belgium. In 1615, at age 16, John enrolled in a newly opened Jesuit college. There he felt called to join the Society of Jesus despite his father’s wishes to the contrary. In 1616, he entered the Jesuit 14 Catholic Connection
novitiate. John was known for his kindness and endearing personality and he wished to become an army chaplain after being ordained and in hopes of being martyred on the battlefield. He was known for valuing little, ordinary things and for his special devotion to Mary. All those who knew him, and even those who only glimpsed him, called him “the Angel” for his purity and ability to chase away sadness. After making his first vows in Antwerp, he was sent to Rome to study philosophy. He penned the Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception, which is still prayed today. In 1621, he succumbed to “Roman fever,” and on August 13, 1621, at the age of 22, he died. Many stories of miracles have arisen since his death, but the one that led to his canonization took place in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. At the convent of the Sacred Heart, novice Mary Wilson had fallen gravely ill. She and a group of sisters prayed a novena for healing through the intercession of the recently beatified Blessed John Berchmans. On the ninth and final day of the novena, he appeared to her in her sickness and she was immediately and completely healed.
The Heart of Saint John Berchmans
Relics are an integral part of our rich faith tradition. “The veneration of relics is a communion with the heroes of our Christian faith, asking for their powerful intercession,” said Fr. Peter Mangum, Rector of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans. “Many people have reported outstanding blessings and conversions through this ministry, and many have reported healings.” “The earliest of churches were built over cemeteries because that’s where the body was,” he continued. “These are the people without whom the faith would not be passed down to the next generation. Even to this day, a little tiny relic is placed into each altar where we place the Body and Blood of Christ. We no longer build churches over cemeteries, so in a sense we bring the cemetery, or we bring part of the relic to the church,” he added. “Relics are important,” Fr. Mangum continued, “and the relics we normally see are just little fragments of clothing, a habit or something of the saint, even a part of the body. And for us in the United States, we may see a fragment of the bone, almost the size of a splinter. In other areas of the world, especially if a saint is from
there, you’ll see perhaps an entire bone intact.” Why his heart was saved after his death is a subject of curiosity for some, but something that is easily explained. Before Berchmans died, he was already well known for his spirituality and sanctity. Fr. Mangum likened him to modern day Mother Teresa. People knew they were seeing a living, walking saint. People would go to Mass to see him serve. At the time of John’s death, there was a postmortem examination and his heart was noted to be in good condition. “He died in the city of Rome in 1621. They couldn’t take his body and cross the Alps, and go all the way back to his home in now modern day northern Belgium,” said Fr. Mangum. “One of the Flemish Jesuit priests was returning to his homeland and that’s when the decision was made to take his heart. And as he went home – a two and a half months’ journey – the priest stayed at Jesuit houses along the way and the other Jesuits venerated Berchmans’ heart, on bended knee.” Since that time the heart, under attentive and proper care, has remained relatively incorrupt and now resides in a beautiful reliquary that has remained in Belgium.
The Saint’s Heart in Shreveport
This extraordinary event is garnering a lot of excitement and anticipation. The Cathedral has been contacted by Jesuit groups across the south, and has already scheduled groups to see the planned exhibit on Saint John Berchmans, which will be displayed in the parish hall, as well as have the opportunity to venerate the heart. The exhibit will include documents from the original canonization process. They haven’t been opened since the late 1800’s, but will be brought to the Diocese of Shreveport by the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ chief archivist, Emilie Leumas. There will also be extra parish Masses in the evenings and on Saturday morning in addition to their regularly scheduled ones, during which the heart will be present and parishioners and pilgrims alike will have the opportunity to come forward, as individuals or as a family, to venerate the heart and honor the saint, praising the holiness of God. Of particular note, Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, an American who lives at the Vatican, will be on hand for a public talk and Mass. Fr. Carlos Martins, of Treasures of the Church, will bring relics of many other saints and will speak of the importance of relics. Comic strip artist Andrew Thomas, who has drawn the life story of St. John Berchmans, will offer a public talk and will also speak with the nearly 700 Since 1621, under students of Loyola and St. John Berchmans attentive and proper care, Cathedral School. “Thomas will evangelize the youth by means t ohn erchmans of art,” said Fr. Mangum. “They’re looking at heart has remained this scene, they’re hearing about his life. He’s relatively incorrupt and going to teach and encourage the people to follow the example and the virtues of this now resides in a beautiful reliquary young saint.” that has remained in Belgium. St. John Berchmans was once a well-known and beloved saint – one of only 21 that Pope Leo XIII canonized during his long papacy. But with time and the canonization of more saints, the knowledge of John and his sanctity has faded. Fr. Mangum hopes that bringing this
December 2016 15
The heart will be present at all scheduled parish Masses, as well as additional evening and weekend Masses. For a full schedule of Masses, Chaplets of the Immaculate Conception, veneration times and speaking events, visit
www.sjbdevotion.org/calendar-of-events Thursday, December 8 Immaculate Conception Heart Arrives
Parish Masses with Heart present at 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (with Bishop Duca).
Sunday, December 11 Gaudete Sunday
Dr. Cheryl White, “Theology of Relics,” 9:15 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. Graphic artist Andrew Thomas has created a comic book on the life of St. John Berchmans and will give a special presentation for students and the public.
relic to the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans will shine light on him once again. “My hope is that people will come to know, yet again, about him … appreciate him, his life, his times and have a greater personal devotion and want to follow his example of obedience, chastity, his love of Mary and the Blessed Sacrament, doing all things, even the smallest of things, very, very well. If you’re asked to do something, then do it and put your whole heart into it,” said Fr. Mangum. The schedule of events, including Masses, speakers and veneration times, is available at www. sjbdevotion.org. Individuals are welcome to all events, but groups should call the Cathedral’s office at 318-221-5296 before coming. • Canonization documents for St. John Berchmans will be on display during the heart's time at the Cathedral. 16 Catholic Connection
Procession with Heart after 11:00 a.m. Mass Traditional Latin Mass, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 14
150th Anniversary of Apparition and Miracle Heart in Grand Coteau, LA
Thursday, December 15 Heart Returns to Shreveport
Mass with Bishop Duca, 5:00 p.m. Andrew Thomas, “New Evangelization Using Comics to Spread the Gospel Messages to Our Youth,” 6:30 p.m.
Friday, December 16
Fr. Carlos Martins, “Exposition of Sacred Relics,” 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 17
Fr. Carlos Martins, “Exposition of Sacred Relics,” 9:00 a.m. Emilie Leumas, “Presentation and Exhibition of Archival Material from SJB Canonization Proceedings,” 10:00 a.m. Fr. Peter Mangum, “The Heart of St. John Berchmans,” 11:00 a.m.
Sunday, December 18 Fourth Sunday of Advent
Heart’s Last Day at Cathedral Mass, 8:00 a.m. Mass with Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, 11:00 a.m. Final Veneration until 2:30 p.m.
Fidel Mondragón to be Ordained to Transitional Diaconate by Jessica Rinaudo
n December 10, 2016, seminarian Fidel Mondragón will be ordained to the transitional diaconate, one of the final steps a seminarian takes before being ordained a priest. After this ordination, he will serve as a deacon until his priestly ordination in 2017. A native of Mexico, Fidel has been a welcome addition to our seminarian pool, especially as the Diocese of Shreveport experiences a rise in our number of Hispanic Catholics. Meeting their needs is key to helping them sustain their Catholic faith. Raised the son of a farming family in Mexico, Fidel’s parents put great stock in their family’s Catholic faith, saying the Rosary together every night. Just making it to Mass was difficult for the family who owned no car, so together they would make the one hour trek to the nearest church, either on horse or on foot. Fidel would sit on the floor of the church, directly in front of the priest with the other children. “Since I was a little child, I felt I wanted to be a priest, since I was 11 or 12 years old, before I finished my elementary
school,” said Fidel. “When I went to Mass with my mom, I saw the priest celebrating the Mass and I said, ‘When I grow up and get older, I want to be a priest.’” Fidel’s path to the priesthood has been a long and winding one. When he first approached the seminary at age 17, he realized he wasn’t prepared to leave home or his father’s farm yet. A year later he moved to the United States with his brother, where he worked in the Dallas area for nine years. At one point, Fidel thought his vocation might be to marriage and family, but after a retreat with the Piarist Fathers, he applied to pursue priesthood through their religious order and was accepted. Over the next two years, Fidel attended seminary in Miami, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The Piarist Fathers primarily worked in the classrooms teaching, a worthy vocation, but not one that spoke to Fidel. “When I was in the classrooms, I wanted to be a diocesan seminarian. I talked to my spiritual director… I said, Father, it is very good the work that you do, that you all do, but I want to be a diocesan priest.” Despite wanting to return to his home diocese in Mexico, a priest from the Diocese of Dallas convinced Fidel that priests were needed in the United States to assist the growing Catholic Mexican population. “Don’t be in the place that you want to be,” the priest told him, “You be in the place that the people need you.” The Diocese of Dallas supported Fidel for four years while he attended seminary in Mexico. After completing his fourth year, Dallas made many changes in their vocational program and decided to no longer support seminarians in other countries. With the help of the seminary rector in Mexico, Fidel began to seek another diocese to join. They looked at
WITH PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING TO ALMIGHTY GOD THE DIOCESE OF SHREVEPORT ANNOUNCES WITH GREAT JOY THE ORDINATION OF
Mr. Fidel Mondragon Gonzalez TO THE Transitional Diaconate THROUGH THE IMPOSITION OF HANDS AND THE INVOCATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BY HIS EXCELLENCY MOST REVEREND MICHAEL G. DUCA BISHOP OF SHREVEPORT ON SATURDAY, THE tenth of December TWO THOUSAND AND sixteen AT TEN O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING St. Mary of the pines catholic church 1050 Bert kouns industrial loop SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA A reception TO FOLLOW AT Vandegaer Hall
CON ALEGRIA Y AGRADECIMIENTO A DIOS TODOPODEROSO, la Diócesis de SHREVEPORT Anuncia CON GRAN GOZO la Ordenación de
Sr. Fidel Mondragón González AL DIACONADO Transitorio CON LA IMPOSICION DE MANOS E INVOCACION AL ESPIRITU SANTO POR SU EXCELENCIA
Reverendo MONSEÑOR MICHAEL G. DUCA OBISPO DE SHREVEPORT Sábado DIEZ DE DICIEMBRE DEL DOS MIL DIECISEIS A LAS DIEZ DE LA MAÑANA EN LA PARROQUIA DE StA. María DE LOS pinos 1050 Bert kouns industrial loop SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA CEREMONIA EGUIDA POR LA recepción EN EL SALON PARROQUIAL
several dioceses, but Fidel knew Fr. Rogelio Alcantara who teaches at the seminary and often visits the Diocese of Shreveport. Fr. Rogelio made introductions for Fidel with the Diocese of Shreveport. Vocations Director Fr. Matthew Long traveled to visit the seminary in Mexico to meet Fidel. Together, and with permission from Bishop Duca, they agreed that Fidel would become a seminarian for the Diocese of Shreveport. • December 2016 17
St. Frederick's Dismuke Excels Nationally in Track and Field by Bonny Van
Alyssa Dismuke competes nationally in shot put while maintaining good grades and working in her community.
magine a schedule filled with activities including piano, basketball, church choir and a nationally ranked track athlete. Next, imagine that you are also a full-time straight-A student, and a member of the science club and the debate team. Now, imagine this: you are only 12-years-old. That is the life of St. Frederick High School 7th grader Alyssa Dismuke, who is ranked number 14 in the country in her age group for the shot put. Alyssa’s career in track and field began when she was 9-years-old. “I took her to the track at Bastrop High School to get her walking,” says her mother, Adrin Williams, “And, there were two dads and a group of kids doing track. I asked if Alyssa could join and they just took it from there.” One of those dads is Mark Moore, of Bastrop, who coached Alyssa into championship form. “When I first saw her, I knew right away that she could do the shot put,” he says. “You can recognize a strong work ethic with her. She does everything extra.” Since taking to the field, Alyssa has competed nationally at competitions in North Carolina, Florida and Texas. 18 Catholic Connection
In July, she competed at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, CA. “I like challenges,” says Alyssa,
who seems ready and able to conquer all. One of those challenges is simply getting to school everyday. Alyssa and her mom drive 25 miles from their home in Bastrop to Monroe, so that Alyssa can attend St Frederick High. “She’s a great student both on and off the field,” says St. Frederick religion teacher Stephanie Hay. “Alyssa is a true leader in her class.” So, what’s in the future for this amazing young lady who distributed 195 homemade Halloween goody bags to a local nursing home? “I want to be a neurologist after I graduate from Princeton,” Alyssa says, without hesitation. “She’ll do it, too!” says Moore. “Alyssa has a strong mind. I haven’t met a kid with her frame of mind.” And, that is a lesson she learned on the track. “I’ve learned how to be thankful for the little things,” says Alyssa. “And, I always know I did my best.” •
St. Paschal Starts Blanket Ministry
oris Fandal has started a new prayer blanket ministry at St. Paschal Parish in West Monroe. With the blessing of pastor Fr. Frank Coens, they held their first volunteer meeting on October 27 at Doris’ home. Together the ladies quickly assessed their talents, “The ladies all chose what they wanted to do to help make the blankets. We had some who cut and pinned the blankets. We had some who pressed the wrinkles out of the blankets. And we had ladies who sewed the blankets together,” Doris said. As they meet to make the prayer blankets, volunteers say prayers for the person who will receive the blanket. The blankets will be given to anyone in the church who calls and requests one for an illness. After its initial kick off, volunteers
quickly came together and have already made 19 prayer blankets, all from donations from parish members. To request a blanket, contact Doris Fandal, 318-397-9735 or dorisbfandal@ comcast.net. •
Msgr. Graef's Chalice and Paten Find Home in Uganda by Bonny Van
Father Gregory Owor uses Msgr. Franz Graef's chalice and paten in Uganda.
very Sunday, when Fr. Gregory Owor lifts his chalice during the Eucharistic prayer at a village church in Uganda, he is not only blessing the Blood of Christ, he is saying a special prayer for a former Louisiana priest. That’s because the chalice he is raising once belonged to that priest, Msgr. Franz Graef, whose gift is allowing the African priest to share eternal life with thousands of others. Graef died in June while visiting family in Heidelberg, Germany. He was 85-years-old. “Years ago, Franz said he wanted his chalice to go to someone or a church who couldn’t afford one,” said long-time friend Christie Weeks. “He had a great concern for people who were disadvantaged. It was another part of his ministry.” Msgr. Franz Graef grew up in Heidelberg, Germany, attending Mass with his family at the U.S. army base. “He got to know the priest at the base who was from the Diocese of AlexandriaShreveport,” says Weeks. “So, Franz decided he would study to become a priest for the Alexandria Diocese.” The journey of the gold-plated chalice
and paten began in 1957, when Fr. Graef took Holy Orders while studying at the Collegium Canisianum in Innsbruck, Austria. To commemorate the event, his family commissioned a silversmith from the Heidelberg region to make the set. It was housed in a velvet-lined carrying case.
Msgr. Franz Graef
After graduation in 1958, with chalice and paten in hand, Graef immigrated to the U.S. and began his ministry. Over the years, his appointments included pastoring at churches throughout north and central Louisiana; teaching posts at Maryhill Seminary (Pineville), Notre Dame Seminary (New Orleans) and
Centenary College (Shreveport); and, director of religious education for the diocese. In 1989, he was named an Honorary Prelate of the Holy Father with the title of Reverend Monsignor. While at Notre Dame, Fr. Graef met student Deogratias Ekisa of Uganda. “He was a good teacher. He wanted us to apply deep theology to people’s daily lives,” recalls Fr. Deo, who now teaches the same courses once taught by Fr. Graef. It was that friendship that led to the final journey of the chalice and paten. Christie Weeks, along with her husband Bill, took care of Fr. Graef for more than two decades as friends, neighbors and surrogate family members. Christie was named executrix of Fr. Graef ’s property. “Franz always thought a great deal of Fr. Deo,” says Christie. “So, after the Memorial Mass at St. John’s Cathedral, I told him that Fr. Graef wanted him to take the chalice and paten and give it to a church in need.” In August 2016, Fr. Deo took the precious gift to Uganda and presented it to Fr. Gregory Owor, who was ordained August 6th and serves in Fr. Deo’s home parish in the Archdiocese of Tororo. Fr. Deo says it’s very “helpful” for a priest in that part of the world to have his own chalice. “There are so many churches, priests go to a village once every two months,” he says. Fr. Gregory sent his heartfelt appreciation for the set in an email to Fr. Deo: “…thanks to your generosity, (I) am now comfortably celebrating Mass for the people of God here in Dabani Parish on (a) daily basis using this chalice and also praying for Msgr. Franz Graef. I used to ask myself where could I get a chalice to celebrate Mass for the people, but now, although I do not have a full Mass kit, in my bag I proudly pack the chalice and reach out to the people with ease. Yours in Christ, Fr. Gregory Owor.” • December 2016 19
Free Course on the Gospel of Matthew on Diocesan Website by Fr. Patrick Madden
Christmas Blessings through
Catholic Charities of North Louisiana
A Christmas Blessing was given in your name to Catholic Charities of North Louisiana from (your name here) Merry Christmas and blessings for a Happy New Year!
hat would our Christmas season be without the story of the Magi and the Star? These narratives, along with the annunciation to Joseph of our Savior’s birth, are found only in Matthew. Only in Matthew do we learn of the plans of the wicked King Herod to kill the infant Jesus, and of the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt until the danger was over. For the past year, most of the Sunday Gospel readings have been from St. Luke. Beginning on November 27th, most of the Gospel passages for the next year will be from the Gospel of St. Matthew. It is impossible to calculate the effect of the Gospel of Matthew on our Catholic spirituality. The Lord’s Prayer is found in both Matthew and Luke. However, while even priests and bishops have a hard time reciting Luke’s version from memory, most Catholics who are 5-years-old can say Matthew’s version! Luke’s Gospel has four Beatitudes; Matthew’s has eight Beatitudes. I'll bet the catechism you learned from was based on Matthew! We Catholics have a special love for St. Peter, whose ministry continues to be exercised through Pope Francis. Matthew has stories about Peter that are 20 Catholic Connection
especially beloved to Catholics. Only in Matthew do we have the story of Peter walking on the water to go to Jesus, and the story of Peter finding a coin the fish’s mouth to pay the Temple tax for Jesus and for himself. The words of Jesus, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church,” are found only in Matthew. Other stories unique to Matthew include the Sermon on the Mount and the apparition of Jesus to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee after he rose from the dead. The great Parable of the Last Judgment, where the glorious Son of Man separates the sheep from the goats is found only in this Gospel. The Office of Catechesis and Greco Institutes has prepared a four-week overview of the Gospel of Matthew. This series of lectures by Fr. Pat Madden is available on our diocesan website (www.dioshpt. org) and Facebook page (Diocese of Shreveport). It is designed for catechists, for lectors and other liturgical ministers, for deacons, and for any Catholic who wants to learn a little bit more about this great spiritual treasure of our faith. Why not spend the four weeks of Advent becoming more familiar with the Gospel of Matthew? •
his Christmas season, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana invites you to honor your family members, friends and coworkers with a Christmas Blessing donation. For a donation of $15 or more per person, we will send a personalized card to people on your Christmas list acknowledging your gift. All proceeds received from the Christmas Blessing campaign will go towards the many programs that serve the thousands of clients every year. To purchase your Christmas Blessing cards, please send a minimum gift of $15 per card to CCNLA, 331 E. 71st Street, Shreveport, LA 71106 (ATTN: Christmas Blessings). You can email your list of names to lmedvec@ ccnla.org. Online donations can be made through our website at www. ccnla.org. Each name on your list will receive a personalized card with your name in a hand-addressed envelope. For more information, please contact Catholic Charities at 318-865-0200, ext. 101. •
The Diaconate: A Life of Service Reflections from Deacons Across the Diocese by Deacon Mike Whitehead
he call to the Permanent Diaconate is centered on one thing –– a ministry of service. Deacons serve the community in many ways, including word, sacrament, charity and pastoral governance. Here are the personal reflections of three of the 32 deacons now serving our diocese.
Deacon Tom Deal: The Power to Comfort Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Monroe
After I was ordained, it did not take long before I was called to serve at a funeral. The funeral home called and informed me the family of a 33-year-old man killed in a car accident had requested I do a wake service on Friday, as well as a funeral outside of Mass and graveside rite on Saturday. Although the timing wasn’t the best for me, I couldn’t say no when they told me the young man had been one of my daughter’s classmates at Jesus the Good Shepherd. When I hung up the phone, I began to pray. I was overwhelmed by three things –– the power of the Holy Spirit to comfort us; the beauty of our funeral rites; and just how families like this, at times like these, need and rely on their faith and their church. I can’t tell you what I said in my welcome remarks or in my reflection that day at the wake service, or the next day at the funeral, but the family said it was perfect. Here is the point – it wasn’t me, it was the Holy Spirit.
Deacon Bill Kleinpeter: I Claim You for Christ St. Joseph Parish, Mansfield & St. Ann Church, Stonewall
I had the privilege to officiate at four baptisms this year. The first was at the Sunday Mass, the second and third were two 6-yearold girls and the fourth was at St. Edmund’s in Lafayette. They were all special to me, but the first and fourth were two of my newest granddaughters, born this year. After ordination, I began really paying attention to the words that are spoken at Mass and in the sacraments. At Baptism, after the parents and godparents proclaim their willingness of accepting the responsibility of raising the child in his or her faith, the priest or deacon says these awesome words, “My dear children, the Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its name I claim you for Christ our Savior by the sign of his cross.” I have discovered during the last few years as a deacon that the words in our liturgy have profound beauty and meaning. I challenge each of us to really pay attention at Mass and the sacraments and I will guarantee that you will increase your understanding and appreciation of the Church’s liturgy.
Deacon Jack Lynch: A Crooked Path Made Straight St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Shreveport
In April of this year, I officiated at the wedding of one of my stepdaughters in Texas. Getting her to the altar that spring day was accompanied by a few challenges. Going to the Engaged Encounter was not a problem, and Sarah’s future husband, Brian, who was raised in a non-denominational church, agreed to be married in the Catholic Church. The next step for them was to go through the Marriage Preparation classes, which they also completed. However, this is where bumps in the road began to occur. The priest who took them through the marriage prep was transferred and also went on sabbatical and could not be reached. Another priest from another parish had to be contacted in order to complete the paperwork and submit it to the archdiocesan offices in Austin. A couple of days before the wedding, a package from Austin finally arrived with the necessary documentation. During this time, it was also discovered that Brian did not have a baptismal certificate. So, two weeks before the wedding, Brian attended a church where he was baptized. The wedding was held at Sacred Heart Church, a historic Czech country church. It was a beautiful ceremony with the groomsmen in their tux tops and blue jeans and the bridesmaids with their lavender chiffon dresses and cowgirl boots. •
The Diocese of Shreveport is launching a new formation for Permanent Deacons beginning in September of 2017. For more information on this new formation, please contact Deacon Clary Nash, director, at 318-868-4441, or go to www.dioshpt.org/ministries/permanentdiaconate.
December 2016 21
2016 Annual Appeal Report
by John Mark Willcox, Director of Development
ur Annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal has fought hard during the 2016 campaign and despite a ragged economy, the faithful donors of our diocese have still managed to pledge nearly $1.3 million dollars in support of Appeal ministries, programs and outreach. Check out this year’s Appeal statistics below and take special note of those worship locations that achieved their pledge goal for this year and those that came very close to doing so.
DIOCESAN GOAL: $1,500,000 Pledge Amount: $1,291,397 (86%) Amount Paid: $1,218,684 (94%)
Serving in the Year of Mercy
CHURCHES ACHIEVING 2016 APPEAL PLEDGE GOAL Total Number of Donors: 2,979
CHURCHES ACHIEVING 2016 APPEAL PLEDGE GOAL WESTERN DEANERY St. John Berchmans Cathedral St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish St. Mary of the Pines Parish St. Pius X Parish St. Clement Parish St. Margaret Church
PLEDGED % OF GOAL DONOR % $154,305 103% 28% $132,079 100% 28% $62,506 114% 36% $53,105 109% 33% $11,801 103% 38% $6,810 105% 44%
EASTERN DEANERY Jesus the Good Shepherd St. Paschal Parish St. Theresa Church
PLEDGED % OF GOAL DONOR % $90,430 100% 26% $43,052 127% 27% $7,300 104% 20%
SOUTHERN DEANERY St. Joseph Parish, Zwolle St. John the Baptist Parish
PLEDGED % OF GOAL DONOR % $65,690 109% 22% $20,679 118% 35%
CHURCHES ACHIEVING ACHIEVING 90% or BETTER OF APPEAL PLEDGE GOAL PARISH PLEDGED St. Patrick Parish Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church St. Ann Church, Ebarb St. Lawrence Parish Sacred Heart Parish, Oak Grove
% OF GOAL $10,285 $8,686 $14,260 $6,839 $6,360
98% 97% 92% 91% 91%
DONOR % 60% 49% 34% 33% 33%
Congratulations to these 16 places of worship for their efforts on behalf of our Annual Appeal and may God bless all of the faithful donors to our 2016 Annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal. Our 2017 Appeal begins on Sunday, February 26, 2017, so take time to mark your calendars now and begin considering your pledge to our upcoming Annual Appeal campaign. • 22 Catholic Connection
hispanic NEWS por Rosalba Quiroz
l diaconado transitorio es el último paso para llegar a ser sacerdote. Este paso es también un requisito canónico (norma o ley de la Iglesia) el cual consiste en servir como diácono antes de ser ordenado sacerdote. Para recibir el Sacramento de La Orden Sacerdotal, un joven necesita primeramente sentirse llamado por Dios para ese ministerio y una vez que recibe guía de un director vocacional, comienza su camino como seminarista. Debe pasar por años de preparación comenzando, generalmente por un año que se llama introductorio, por lo
regular después de la preparatoria. Este es seguido por tres años de universidad aprendiendo Filosofía, (Ciencia que estudia el conocimiento natural del fin de las cosas y tiene tres divisiones principales, la Lógica, la Metafísica y la Ética), otros cuatro años de universidad aprendiendo Teología, (Ciencia que estudia las cosas de Dios) y en muchos casos uno o dos años más en servicio pastoral. Esto es lo que ha recorrido Fidel Mondragón, quien después de diez años de estudio, ha cumplido todos los requisitos para ser ordenado, como diácono transitorio y en unos meses más como sacerdote. Por esta razón el 10 de este mes de diciembre del 2016, la diócesis se complace en invitarnos a festejar este gran logro, Fidel será Ordenado Diácono transitorio. Que hermosa temporada para este conmemorable momento donde Fidel será ordenado Diácono y convertido oficialmente Clero de la Iglesia Católica, específicamente para servir en nuestra diócesis. Entre las celebraciones de San Juan Diego, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y el Nacimiento de Jesus nuestro Salvador, tenemos mucho que celebrar. Este año, el nacimiento de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo viene a la diócesis de Shreveport con el gozo de saber que
Calendario del Mes de Diciembre 8 Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepción. Centro católico cerrado 10 Ordenación al Diaconado Transitorio de Fidel Mondragón. Ver Artículo e invitación. 11-12 Celebraciones de la Virgen de Guadalupe (checar su calendario local para detalles) 16-24 Posadas y Novena del Nacimiento de Nuestro Señor 24-31 Centro Católico cerrado por vacaciones de Navidad
tendremos un sacerdote más en la diócesis. Un sacerdote que ya conoce las comunidades hispanas, es alguien a quien ya queremos como nuestro y por quien oramos para su vocación sacerdotal y por su vida. Los esperamos a celebrar con él en la parroquia de Santa María de Los Pinos, junto con el obispo Michael G. Duca, sacerdotes y diáconos de la diócesis y con su familia que viene también a festejar con nosotros.
Ref.: Diccionario Católico en Ingles por, Donald Attwater Editor General, TAN Books. 2010 •
MINISTERIO HISPANO CATÓLICO - DIÓCESIS DE SHREVEPORT Rosalba Quiroz, Directora 1-800-256-1542, Ext. 265; o (318) 219-7265; firstname.lastname@example.org Gabriela Willis, Secretaria (318) 219-7257; email@example.com Fidel Mondragón, Apoyo Pastoral (318) 751-1661, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cristo Rey, Bossier City
425 McCormick Street Misa: Domingos 3pm Lunes, Martes, Jueves y Sabados 7pm Ricardo Rivera (318) 572-7629
Santo Tomás Aquino, Ruston
810 Carey Avenue Misa: Domingos 2:30 pm
Nta Sra del Perp. Socorro Farmerville
600 E. Water Street Misa: Sabados 7:00 pm Claudia Wade (318) 282-9971
Sagrado Corazón, OakGrove
San Pascual,W. Monroe
201 Purvis Street Misa: Domingos 5pm Feliciano y Rosa Alviso (318) 428-2137
711 N. 7th Street Domingos 2:30 pm Lorena Chaparro, (318) 267-4018
San José, Mansfield 305 Jefferson Street
Sta María de los Pinos Shreveport
1050 Bert Kouns Ind. Loop Misa: Domingos 11:30 am Carmen Bradford (318) 455.2300
Sacerdotes: Bossier - P. Rigo Bentacurt (318) 754-6104; Farmerville/W. Monroe - P. Luis Jost (318) 243-0115 Oak Grove - P. Mark Watson (318) 559-1276; Ruston - P. Blane O’Neill (318) 255-2870 December 2016 23
This Month We Learn About saint john Berchmans
who was he?
John was born in 1599 in what is now Belgium. At 16 he entered a Jesuit college where God called him to join the Jesuit priests. He was known for his kindness and joyful personality, as well as valuing all things and his special love for Mary. He died young, at the age of 22, but his holiness affected all who knew him. The miracle that led to his canonization as a saint took place in Louisiana when novice Mary Wilson, who was very sick, prayed for his intercession. St. John appeared to her and she was completely and instantly healed.
Word Find ALTAR SERVERS
24 Catholic Connection
• St. John Berchmans’ feast day is August 13. • He is the Patron Saint of Altar Servers. • When John entered seminary, he hoped to be made a chaplain and be martyred on the battlefield. • The Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport, LA is the only Cathedral named for the saint in the world!
Veterans Day at SJB
Students Share Dia de los Muertos
n honor of Veterans Day, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans School hosted its first Red, White and Blue Celebration for students and distinguished guests. This was a special program honoring veterans, active duty service members and first responders.
he St. Frederick High School Spanish IV class visited Jesus the Good Shepherd School on November 4 to teach the 5th and 6th grade students about the Hispanic holiday, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. The group explained that the Day of the Dead falls on November 1 and 2, coinciding with the traditional Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. They explained that “Dia de los Muertos” originated centuries ago in Mexico and is a holiday for remembering
and honoring our loved ones that have passed away. The students talked about the different ways to celebrate and demonstrated how to make an altar for their loved ones that includes a photo, favorite foods, items representing favorite hobbies or pasttimes, bright yellow flowers, candles, traditional breads and colorful sugar skulls. They also explained the meaning of every item placed on the altar. The JGS students were given handouts with information and color sheets of sugar skulls.
JGS Hosts OLF for a STREM Project
esus the Good Shepherd and Our Lady of Fatima 5th/6th grade students participated in their first STREM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering and Mathematics) project hosted by JGS. The students worked in unison to create a zip line apparatus with everyday household products. The goals of this project were to accomplish the task through teamwork and to make new friends in the process. Next month OLF will select the STREM project and host the JGS students on their campus. This cooperative learning project will continue throughout the remaining school year.
OLF All Pro Dads
n October 19, Our Lady of Fatima School held its first 2016 - 2017 All Pro Dads meeting. In attendance were 42 dads and 47 kids. Just like last year, the dads and kids were eager to kick off this year. Meetings are held every third Wednesday of the month.
SJS Operation Gratitude
t. Joseph School students participated in Operation Gratitude – a project that gathers Halloween candy and sends care packages to troops serving overseas. Students collected 636 pounds of candy for the soldiers. December 2016 25
around the DIOCESE Br. Mike Ward, OFM Celebrated 20th Anniversary of Vows
Balloon Rosary at St. John the Baptist Parish
n honor of the Blessed Mother and the month of the Holy Rosary, adults and children of St. John the Baptist prayed a Living Rosary followed by the release of a helium balloon rosary on October 19th.
Knights Honor Founders
r. Mike Ward, OFM made his first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on June 6, 1996. To celebrate his 20th anniversary, both resident and student parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas hosted a party after the 7:00 Mass on October 2. The Men’s Club cooked the meat, the Women’s Guild provided the sides and the college students provided desserts. Over 100 people partook in the celebration. At the Mass, Br. Mike’s homily encouraged the congregation to NOT quantify their faith as the apostles did by asking, “Lord, increase our faith.” Rather, Br. Mike challenged each person to be the “kindest person he/she knows.” To do so requires an individual to see their own goodness as each of us is 26 Catholic Connection
created by God. The congregation was asked to stand together as one body, the body of Christ and repeat the phrase, “I am a good person, created and loved by God, getting better every day.” This phrase was paired with the words of St. Francis to his brothers, “Let us begin, for up to now we have done nothing.” With a healthy sense of oneself and knowing that only a mustard seed of faith is necessary, the congregation was challenged to partake in great things in the name of Christ. After the homily, pastor Fr. Frank Folino, OFM invited representatives from each segment of the parish to bless Br. Mike for his 20 years of service as a friar.
n November 5, the Knights of St. Peter Claver had a breakfast at Golden Corral in honor of their order’s founders day. It was established on November 7, 1909 in Mobile, AL.
Tech Students Party
he Halloween Dance Party has become a yearly tradition for Louisiana Tech students. Fr. Frank Folino, OFM, the pastor of St. Thomas, was the DJ for the night.
Faustina Production at Catholic Center
austina, a live multimedia drama, brought a modern message of mercy on October 26, to a packed house of over 600 people at the Catholic Center. Maria Vargo portrayed Saint Faustina and is pictured here with Bishop Michael Duca.
Zwolle Father and Mother of the Year
n September 17, St. Helenâ€™s Circle announced their Father and Mother of the Year. Honorees were James Stanley Garcia and Juanita Sepulvado, both of St. Joseph Parish in Zwolle.
St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport Celebrated Together
embers of St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport, enjoyed pancakes, sausage and a chance for community on Sunday, October 16. Proceeds will help support the Parish School of Religion program and profits from a candy sale went to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. Confirmation students were among the many volunteers. A raffled custom made fire pit was won by parishioner, James Barnard.
Fr. Jerry Celebrated Festival at St. Jude
r. Jerry Daigle concentrates on which board to pull out of the stack in the giant Jenga game during the annual St. Jude Feast Day Celebration at St. Jude Parish in Benton.
St. Mary of the Pines Youth Made Pilgrimage to Holy Door
t. Mary of the Pines PSR students completed a seven week unit of study on mercy which culminated with a trip to the Holy Door. Fifty students and their catechists and some parents enjoyed the tour Fr. Peter gave, and then Fr. John Paul Crispin led the group through the Divine Mercy Chaplet before the Blessed Sacrament. The following week the group attended Mass to fulfill the requirement for their plenary indulgence. At that Mass the students presented a check for $138, which they donated to Food For the Poor. December 2016 27
across the GLOBE from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Let us not see each other in the divisive light of Democrat or Republican or any other political party, but rather,
let us see the face of Christ in our neighbors, especially the suffering or those with whom we may disagree. – Archbishop Kurtz
Coming Together as Faithful Citizens for the Common Good
ASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement regarding the election of Donald Trump as President-Elect. Full statement follows. The American people have made their decision on the next President of the United States, members of Congress as well as state and local officials. I congratulate Mr. Trump and everyone elected. Now is the moment to move toward the responsibility of governing for the common good of all citizens. Let us not see each other in the divisive light of Democrat or Republican or any other political party, but rather, let us see the face of Christ in our neighbors, especially the suffering or those with whom we may disagree. We, as citizens and our elected representatives, would do well to remember the words of Pope Francis 28 Catholic Connection
when he addressed the United States Congress last year, “all political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity.” On November 8, millions of Americans who are struggling to find economic opportunity for their families voted to be heard. Our response should be simple: we hear you. The responsibility to help strengthen families belongs to each of us. The Bishops Conference looks forward to working with President-elect Trump to protect human life from its most vulnerable beginning to its natural end. We will advocate for policies that offer opportunity to all people, of all faiths, in all walks of life. We are firm in our resolve that our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees can be humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security. We will call attention to the violent persecution threatening our fellow Christians and people of other faiths around the world, especially in
the Middle East. And we will look for the new administration’s commitment to domestic religious liberty, ensuring people of faith remain free to proclaim and shape our lives around the truth about man and woman, and the unique bond of marriage that they can form. Every election brings a new beginning. Some may wonder whether the country can reconcile, work together and fulfill the promise of a more perfect union. Through the hope Christ offers, I believe God will give us the strength to heal and unite. Let us pray for leaders in public life that they may rise to the responsibilities entrusted to them with grace and courage. And may all of us as Catholics help each other be faithful and joyful witnesses to the healing love of Jesus. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishops Call Officials & Americans to Welcome Refugees & Immigrants Without Sacrificing Core Values, Security
ALTIMORE—On the first day of the Fall General Assembly, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked his brother bishops to support a post-election statement given by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle,
Washington, and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, repeating the words to our brothers and sisters who come to the country seeking a better life: “We are with you.” Below is the original statement issued November 11, and now supported by the body of bishops. We would first like to congratulate President-elect Donald J. Trump and give our support for all efforts to work together to promote the common good, especially those to protect the most vulnerable among us. I personally pledge my prayers for Mr. Trump, all elected officials, and those who will work in the new administration. I offer a special word to migrant and refugee families living in the United States: be assured of our solidarity and continued accompaniment as you work for a better life. We believe the family unit is the cornerstone of society, so it is vital to protect the integrity of the family. For this reason, we are reminded that behind every “statistic” is a person who is a mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother and has dignity as a child of God. We pray that as the new administration begins its role leading our country, it will recognize the contributions of refugees and immigrants to the overall prosperity and well-being of our nation. We will work to promote humane policies that protect refugees and immigrants’ inherent dignity, keep families together, and honor and respect the laws of this nation. Serving and welcoming people fleeing violence and conflict in various regions of the world is part of our identity as Catholics. The Church will continue this lifesaving tradition. Today, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, the need to welcome refugees and provide freedom from persecution is more acute than ever and 80
of our dioceses across the country are eager to continue this wonderful act of accompaniment born of our Christian faith. We stand ready to work with a new administration to continue to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans. A duty to welcome and protect newcomers, particularly refugees, is an integral part of our mission to help our neighbors in need. We pray for President -elect Trump
and all leaders in public life, that they may rise to the responsibilities entrusted to them with grace and courage. And may all of us as Catholics and Americans remain a people of solidarity with others in need and a nation of hospitality which treats others as we would like to be treated. Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration:
Cardinal DiNardo Elected USCCB President, Archbishop Gomez Elected Vice President
ALTIMORE— are elected by a simple Cardinal Daniel majority from a slate of 10 N. DiNardo of nominees. If no president Galveston-Houston, or vice president is chosen was elected president of after the second round of the U.S. Conference of voting, a third ballot is a Catholic Bishops (USCCB) run-off between the two during the annual fall bishops who received the General Assembly in most votes on the second Baltimore. Cardinal ballot. DiNardo has served as vice Cardinal DiNardo Cardinal DiNardo president of the USCCB was born May 23, 1949, since 2013. Archbishop and ordained a priest of Jose Gomez was elected as Pittsburgh on June 16, USCCB vice president. 1977. He previously served Cardinal DiNardo as bishop of Sioux City, and Archbishop Gomez Iowa, from 1998-2004 are elected to threebefore being appointed year terms and succeed to coadjutor bishop, then Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz archbishop, of Galvestonof Louisville, Kentucky, Houston. Pope Benedict and Cardinal DiNardo, XVI named him a cardinal Archbishop Gomez respectively. The new in 2007, making him the president and vice president first cardinal from Texas. terms begin at the conclusion of the Archbishop Gomez was born December General Assembly on November 15. 26, 1951, in Monterrey, Mexico. He was Cardinal DiNardo was elected ordained a priest on August 15, 1978. president on the first ballot with 113 He was appointed auxiliary bishop of votes. Archbishop Gomez was elected Denver in 2001, and in 2004, he was vice president on the third ballot appointed archbishop of San Antonio. by 131-84 in a runoff vote against He was appointed coadjutor archbishop Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New of Los Angeles in 2010, and was Orleans. installed as archbishop of Los Angeles in The president and vice president 2011. • December 2016 29
mark your CALENDAR 12/3
A Marriage Workshop A marriage workshop on the new Marriage Rite will take place from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Catholic Center for priests, deacons, music directors, wedding coordinators and marriage preparation ministers. The Catholic Center is located at 3500 Fairfield Avenue, Shreveport. For more information, contact Dianne Rachal at 318-868-4441, or email@example.com.
Bioethics Conference - A Clinical Ethics Workshop at University Health, Shreveport Clinical healthcare involves an interface of clinical decision making, which includes scientific and technical, as well as value aspects of healthcare. On occasion, values and perspective about what is “the good” may conflict, leading to distress for all parties. The practice approach to ethical decisions in clinical care to be introduced in this workshop offers an effective strategy for identifying ethical dimensions of care and for analyzing and resolving ethical problems. The purpose of this workshop is to introduce a practical method for clinicians to use to identify, analyze and resolve ethical problems that arise in providing everyday care. The physician (and multidisciplinary) learner will be provided with a structured practical approach to address the often confusing and distressing ethical aspects of taking care of patients everyday. This workshop is sponsored, in part, by the Diocese of Shreveport. To register, go to www.lsuhsfoundation.org/cme
Transitional Diaconate Ordination of Fidel Mondragón Seminarian Fidel Mondragón will be ordained to the transitional diaconate at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary of the Pines Parish, located at 1050 W. Bert Kouns Industrial Loop in Shreveport. All are welcome! For more information, contact the church office at 318-687-5121.
Rudolph Run 5k for St. John Berchmans Cathedral School Join St. John Berchmans School for their annual 5k run and Pancake Breakfast with Santa. Race tickets get you entry to the race, include breakfast and a race t-shirt. Santa Claus will be on hand for photos and there will be crafts and fun for children. The race begins at 8:15 a.m. at St. John 30 Catholic Connection
Berchmans School, located at 947 Jordan Street and winds through the historic Highland neighborhood. Go online to www.sjbcathedralschool.org and click the link to register!
Diocesan Advent Lessons and Carols at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans This annual festival of song features the St. Cecilia Choir - a diocesan choir formed by members of many parishes and the Cathedral Treble Choir. Directed by Robert Cruz and Aaron Wilson, this event will take place on Tuesday, December 13, at the Cathedral beginning at 6:30 p.m. It is located at 939 Jordan St. in Shreveport. For more information, contact the parish office at 318-221-8076.
Lessons and Carols at St. John the Baptist Parish, Many On Sunday, December 18, St. John the Baptist Parish will present its annual Candlelight Lessons and Carols. The choir will be composed of singers from both St. John the Baptist and St. Terence Church and joined by the choir of the First United Methodist Church of Many and celebrants, Fr. Michael Thang’wa and Deacon Michael Sullivan. The choir will also perform at St. Terence Church on Thursday, December 15 at 6:30 p.m. and at Sabine Retirement and Rehabilitation Center on Saturday, December 17 at 10:00 a.m. Everyone is invited to attend and celebrate this event as we anticipate the wondrous birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. For more information, contact the parish office at 318-256-5680.
Pro-Life Oratory Contest The Diocese of Shreveport is looking for Junior and Senior students to participate in an Oratory (speech) contest this coming February! The Diocese of Shreveport Pro-Life Oratory Contest strives to promote the ability of high school juniors and seniors to share their pro-life views with others. Although speaking ability is important, this contest also seeks to help teens organize and express their pro-life views. We also strive to give the contestants an opportunity to meet other pro-life teens. The contest winner will receive $500! For more information, contact maryshouse.sport@ gmail.com. Visit the diocesan website at www.dioshpt.org to download contest guidelines.
SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY
27 28 29 30 1 2 3 St. Andrew, apostle
The First Sunday of Advent
Marriage Workshop, Catholic Center, 10am St. Francis Xavier, priest
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION / DEC 8
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 The Second Sunday of Advent
St. Nicholas, bishop
St. Ambrose, bishop & doctor of the Church
Immaculate Conception of Mary
St. John Berchmans Heart Arrives at Cathedral
Deadline for January Catholic Connection
Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops Theology on Tap, Meeting Buffalo Wild Wings, Bossier City, St. Juan Diego 6:30pm
Transitional Diaconate Ordination of Fidel Mondragรณn, St. Mary of the Pines, 10am St. Thomas Parish 75th Anniversary Mass, 5pm
SJB Heart to Cathedral/ Dec 8
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 2nd Collection: Retirement Fund for Religious
Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Third Sunday of Advent
Theology on Heart Returns to Protecting God's Tap, Monago Children, Catholic Cathedral of St. Field House, John Berchmans Center, 6pm Monroe, 6:30pm Heart of St. John Advent Lessons Berchmans Goes and Carols, to Grand Coteau Cathedral, 6:30pm St. John of the Cross, priest & St. Lucy, virgin & doctor of the martyr Church
OrDInation to Diaconate/ Dec 10
18 19 20 21 22 23 24 The Fourth Sunday of Advent
St. John of Kanty, priest
St. Peter Canisius, priest & doctor of the Church
Last Day of St. John Berchmans Heart at the Cathedral
Christmas Eve 2nd Collection: Diocesan Infirm Priests Fund
INFIRM PRIESTS COLLECTION / DEC 24 & 25
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 CHRISTMAS DAY 2nd Collection: Diocesan Infirm Priests Fund
St. Stephen, the First Martyr
St. John, apostle & evangelist
The Holy Innocents, martyrs
St. Thomas Becket, bishop & martyr
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph
New Year's Eve St. Sylvester I, pope
Christmas Day / dec 25 December 2016 31
Connection The Catholic
DIOCESE OF SHREVEPORT 3500 Fairfield Ave.
Shreveport, LA 71104
Photo of the Month 120 Hispanics have started a Laity Diocesan Certification Program; they will have 8 all-day classes per year for three years at the Christ the King Parish in Bossier City. A generous donation from Catholic Extension will cover all expenses for this program.
32 Catholic Connection