Bayou Catholic Magazine March 2021

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Bayou

Catholic

The official magazine of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

By his wounds we are healed Isaiah 53:5

MARCH 2021 ~ VOL. 41 NO. 7 ~ COMPLIMENTARY


When It Comes To Matters of the Heart Only an Expert Will Do In the event you need heart care, your heart is in the right place at Thibodaux Regional. Combining expertise and the latest technology, our team of surgeons, cardiologists, nurses and technicians have performed thousands of life-saving procedures. • Specialized cardiac and peripheral vascular procedures – heart cath, angiograms, angioplasty and open-heart surgery • Cardiac rehabilitation program – physical, educational and emotional support for the best comeback after a heart incident • Heart education and prevention services – knowledge and resources to prevent health issues • WellFit cardiac care – customized nutrition and exercise plan For more information, call 985.493.4733.

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If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack, never delay getting medical help, call 9-1-1.


Contents

Features 26 Annual Bishop’s Appeal

By Janet Marcel

32

Chief Justice John Weimer

By Janet Marcel

Columns 8 Comfort For My People

By Bishop Shelton J. Fabre

12

Pope Speaks

Pope Francis I

13

Questions of Faith

By Father Joshua Rodrigue, S.T.L.

14

Readings Between the Lines

By Father Glenn LeCompte

41 Overtime

By Ed Daniels

In Every Issue 6 From the Editor 16 Scripture Readings 22 Heavenly Recipes 24 Youth In Action 29 Daily Prayer for Priests,

Deacons and Seminarians

Guest Columns 18 ‘Fratelli tutti’: Chaper 3

By Father Alex Gaudet

20

Office of Parish Support

By David Dawson

30

Lent ... It’s never too late

By Father Paul Birdsall

Announcements 34 Lenten missions in the diocese 35 Bishop’s Holy Week schedule 42 Financial Report On Our Cover

LAWRENCE CHATAGNIER/BAYOU CATHOLIC

We are now well into the season of Lent, a time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The Lenten season culminates with the Holy Triduum when we remember the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. During Jesus’ passion and death, a crown of thorns was woven and placed on his head. The words, “By his wounds we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5-6) give us hope for everlasting life.

March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 3


HELP

esus

IN DISGUISE

The collection will be held March 13 and 14, 2021 Thank you for your generosity.

SUPPORT THE CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES COLLECTION www.usccb.org/catholic-relief Copyright © 2020, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Photo: Phoonsab Thevongsa for CRS.


Dawn Sev

Dawn makes a:

LENTEN RECIPE 7

22

BayouTuna Ro Catholic INGREDIENTS:

2 cans cream of mushroom soup 1 pkg. frozen cut up broccoli How to reach us: 2 medium tomatoes, chopped BY PHONE:2(985) cans850-3132 tuna fish, lightly drained BY MAIL:1-1/2 P.O. Box 505milk cups Schriever, LAcan 70395 1 lg. French’s French fried o BY FAX: (985) 8 lg. 850-3232 tortillas cup shredded cheddar che BY 1-1/2 E-MAIL: bayoucatholic@htdiocese.org Seasonings to taste – salt, peppe

Dawn Sevin, a native of Chauvin and resident of Bourg, The Bayou Catholic is published monthly, for DIRECTIONS: shares her recipe for tuna rolls in this month’s heavenly the people of the Roman Catholic Diocese Combine milk and season Houma-Thibodaux by the H-Tsoup, Publishing recipe. Dawn has been employed by the diocese for of the Schriever, LAbroccoli, 70395. 3/4 cup ch Combine tuna, past 38 years. She worked at St. Joseph Catholic ChurchCo., in P.O. Box 505, Subscription rateonions; is $35 permix year.well. Add 1 cup of the Chauvin when she was a senior in high school. She says that tuna mixture and mix well. Spoon it was one of the cooks at St. Joseph Church who shared this The Bayou Catholic is a member of the Catholic tortillas and roll; place in greased p Press Association, the National Newspaper tuna recipe with her. “The church has been my life, other Association and Place an associate member of the chopped tomatoes into rema than doing a little babysitting and working at a pharmacy Louisiana Press Association. pour over rolls. Cover with foil and for a short time, I have always worked for the church. I on 350 degrees. Uncover and ad consider working for the church my second vocation. Being Lawrence Chatagnier and onions. Return to oven until ch that I am married, that is my first vocation. I also worked for editor and general manager

a short while at the Chancery when it was on Aycock Street April LeBouef in Houma in the Stewardship and Development Office. I then business manager went back to Chauvin when the secretary/bookkeeper Janet Marcel retired for health reasons. I stayed at St. Joseph for staff writer/administrative assistant 26 years.” During the time Dawn worked at St. Joseph Lisa Schobel Hebert graphic designer she worked under the direction of Msgr. Frederic Brunet. “I worked with Msgr. Brunet the entire Meridy Liner time I was at St. Joseph. He was a wonderful person accounts receivable/payable assistant to work for. He was very much like a father figure to me.” Dawn’s current position is bookkeeper support and property insurance specialist for the diocese. Dawn and her husband Nac, along with their son Scott, moved to Bourg 12 years ago after experiencing two feet of flood water in their Chauvin home from Like us on Facebook Hurricane Rita. “As a child I can remember flooding or and job. You can’t help but hav Findnot us ona the web multiple times in our home because of hurricanes and tropical www.bayoucatholic.org your faith and God. I feel working he storms. We didn’t move out of the bayou community because parishes are going through and assi that is our home.” Where people to find your Bayou Catholic in the parish. I enjoy helping p Dawn views her duties at the Pastoral Center as more Bayou ICatholic magazine can be foundaspect the p than a job. “I have always felt that my position is a ministry do miss the community

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Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux 22 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021 Financial Summary 2019-2020

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at all Catholic churches and Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. To pick up a copy, you may also visit the merchants who advertise in our issue. Those wishing to receive the magazine by mail can call Janet Marcel at (985) 850-3132 or write to Bayou Catholic, P.O. Box 505, Schriever, LA 70395. Subscription price is $35 annually. For the online edition, go to www.bayoucatholic.com

March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 5


From the Editor

We are all in this together While we are in the midst of a pandemic there are basic things we all should be doing. However, sometimes as simple or as practical as things may be, they are worth mentioning again and again. Please allow me to use this space to remind everyone of the importance of taking this pandemic seriously and following these suggested courses of action in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Wear a mask Social distance Avoid large gatherings Vaccinate when it’s your turn

Do your part ... We are all in this together!

Lawrence

Lawrence Chatagnier Editor & General Manager

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Special

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Bishop Shelton J. Fabre was the main celebrant of the Mass at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Thibodaux recently for the preservation of peace and justice in remembrance of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Msgr. Cletus (Frank) Egbi concelebrated. Deacon Martin Dickerson assisted.

Photos by Lawrence Chatagnier

March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 7


Comment

The Annual Bishop’s Appeal relies on your continued prayers and financial support

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre

At the beginning of each year, we embark on launching our Annual Bishop’s Appeal (ABA). The faithful of our diocese are invited to first and foremost join me in prayer for the ministries that financial gifts to the ABA support. In addition to prayer, we seek a sacrificial financial gift to support these ministries that serve our people every day. As a diocese, we rely on the prayers and financial support of our people. Understanding how your prayers and gifts offered in the ABA impact so many of our people is important to us. I want to share the areas of ministry that your prayers and financial gifts to the ABA support. Seminarian Education - The formation of our seminarians is incredibly important to me because I want priests who are joy-filled, holy, educated, and who are able to meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of our people. Formation in the seminary is the foundation of acquiring these qualities as a priest. Something is only as strong as the foundation it is built upon, which is why seminary formation is so important to me and to our diocese. It ensures we are forming a strong foundation in the mind and the heart of a man who will be holy, joyful and pastoral as a priest. We hope that the ABA first and foremost reminds our people to pray that more men and women will hear God’s call to priesthood and consecrated

life to serve the Lord and the church. The ABA also provides the financial assistance needed for us with funds necessary to educate our seminarians. It costs the diocese each year on average $45,000 per seminarian for their education and formation in the seminary, and this can be for anywhere from four to eight years. Thank you for your dedication to our future priests. Care for our Retired Priests Even though a priest may have retired from active ministry, in most instances he still very much continues to serve in ministry. The ABA helps us to meet our obligations as a diocese to our retired priests, including their retirement income and any responsibility we may have for their healthcare and health insurance. I have a great love for our retired priests. They have served extraordinarily well and have given a lifetime in ministry. Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support for our retired diocesan priests. Youth Faith Formation - Another focus of our ABA is our youth faith formation through the Office of Parish Support and the Catholic Schools Office. The Office of Parish Support oversees youth faith formation in our Parish Schools of Religion and the young people who are formed in faith in these programs. The Office of Catholic Schools has oversight of youth faith formation in all 11 of our Catholic schools. Our Catholic schools serve over 5,000 students, and provide youth faith formation in the classroom helping our children grow academically and spiritually. Faith formation, particularly of our young people, is very important to me as we help provide a strong foundation of their faith for many years to come. Thank you for helping to ensure our youth have the proper faith formation across our diocese.

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I invite you to visit our website to learn more about how your prayers and gifts have an impact each year. Please know of my great gratitude for the prayers and generosity of our people to the ABA. Financial gifts to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal can be made online at www.htdiocese.org/bishopsappeal. I encourage you to submit your prayer requests as well to bishopsappeal@ htdiocese.org. More information will be given in the future regarding a special Mass I will celebrate in gratitude for our prayerful and generous parishioners, as well as lifting up to God all prayer requests received. For more information about the appeal, please call (985) 850-3116 or email bishopsappeal@htdiocese.org. Many thanks for your prayers and financial gifts! We continue in the season of Lent, and I invite you to remain faithful to the spiritual discipline that you have embraced. The joy of Easter awaits those who fully embrace the call to prayer, fasting and almsgiving that Lent challenges us to undertake. Blessings and peace to you and we continue in the Lenten season! BC

Please know of my great gratitude for the prayers and generosity of our people to the ABA.

Comfort For My People


St. Francis de Sales, Patron Saint of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

Supporting the 2021 Annual Bishop’s Appeal ensures that men like Joseph will be able to faithfully answer God’s call to ordained service to the men and women who live within the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.

Your contribution to the 2021 Partners in Hope Annual Bishop’s Appeal provides essential operating support to the Office of Parish Support Youth Formation, ensuring Christ is the constant companion in our children’s journey of faith.

Your contribution to the 2021 Annual Bishop’s Appeal supports our Catholic Schools Office that directly ministers to the Catholic Schools within the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.

Your gift through the 2021 Annual Bishop’s Appeal supports all seventeen of our retired clergy through their supplemental retirement needs as well as health and long term care needs.

Ways to Give: Online: Visit our secure online giving site at www.htdiocese.org/bishopsappeal At your Parish: Place your envelope in the In-Pew collection on Sunday.

For more information on how your gift can make an impact to the Annual Bishop's Appeal please call 985-850-3122. Please make checks payable to Annual Bishop’s Appeal.

By Mail: Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Annual Bishop’s Appeal Office Post Office Box 505, Schriever, LA 70395


Comentario

La Campaña Anual del Obispo confía en tus oraciones y ayuda financiera continuas manera de cuatro a ocho años. Gracias por su dedicación a nuestros futuros sacerdotes. Cuidado de nuestros Sacerdotes Jubilados. Aun cuando un sacerdote se ha jubilado de su actividad ministerial, en la mayoría de los casos continúa sirviendo en el ministerio. El ABA nos ayuda a cubrir nuestras obligaciones como diócesis hacia nuestros sacerdotes jubilados, incluyendo su ingreso de jubilación y cualquier responsabilidad que tengamos para su aseguranza y cuidado médico. Les tengo un gran cariño a nuestros sacerdotes jubilados. Ellos han servido extraordinariamente bien y han dado su vida en el ministerio. Gracias por sus continuas oraciones y apoyo financiero a nuestros sacerdotes diocesanos jubilados. Formación de Fe para los Jóvenes. Otro enfoque de nuestra ABA es la formación de fe de nuestros jóvenes a través de la Oficina de Apoyo Parroquial y la Oficina de Escuelas Católicas. La Oficina de Apoyo Parroquial supervisa la formación de fe de los jóvenes en nuestras escuelas de religión parroquiales y los jóvenes quienes son formados en la fe con esos programas. La Oficina de Escuelas Católicas sirve más de 5,000 estudiantes y provee formación de fe en los salones de clase ayudando a nuestros niños a crecer académica y espiritualmente. La formación de fe, particularmente de nuestros jóvenes, es muy importante para mí ya que ayudamos a proveer una base sólida en su fe para muchos años por venir. Gracias por ayudar a asegurar a que nuestros jóvenes tengan una formación de fe propia en toda nuestra diócesis. Los invito a visitar nuestro sitio en la red para aprender más sobre cómo nuestras oraciones y donativos han impactado cada año. Sepan de mi gran gratitud por las oraciones y generosidad de nuestro pueblo para el

10 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

ABA. Los donativos monetarios en la Campaña Anual del Obispo se pueden hacer en línea en: www.htdiocese.org/ bishopsappeal. Los animo a hacer su petición de oraciones también a bishopsappeal@htdiocese.org. Se les dará más información más adelante sobre la misa especial que celebraré en agradecimiento a nuestros parroquianos orantes y generosos, así como también para ofrecer a Dios todas las peticiones de oraciones recibidas. Para más información sobre la campaña, favor de llamar al (985) 850-3116 o correo electrónico bishopsappeal@htdiocese.org. ¡Muchas gracias por sus oraciones y ayuda financiera! Continuamos con el tiempo de Cuaresma, y los invito a permanecer fieles a la disciplina espiritual que han abrazado. La alegría de la Pascua espera a aquellos que abrazan completamente el llamado a la oración, ayuno y limosna que la Cuaresma nos desafía a tomar. Bendiciones y paz para ti y continuamos en la tiempo cuaresmal. BC

Sepan de mi gran gratitud por las oraciones y generosidad de nuestro pueblo para el ABA.

Al principio de cada año, nos embarcamos en el lanzamiento de nuestra Campaña Anual del Obispo (ABA por sus siglas en inglés). Los fieles de nuestra diócesis son invitados primera y principalmente a unirse conmigo en oración por los ministerios que apoya ABA con los donativos monetarios. Además de la oración, buscamos un donativo financiero oblativo para estos ministerios que sirven a nuestro pueblo cada día. Como diócesis, confiamos en las oraciones y apoyo financiero de nuestro pueblo. Entender cómo tus oraciones y donativo ofrecidos en el ABA impacta a muchas de nuestra gente es importante para nosotros. Quiero compartir las áreas de ministerios que tus oraciones y donativos monetarios apoya ABA. Educación para Seminaristas. La formación de nuestros seminaristas es increíblemente importante para mí porque quiero sacerdotes que estén llenos de alegría, educados, y que pueda cubrir las necesidades espirituales y pastorales de nuestro pueblo. La formación en el seminario es la base para adquirir estas cualidades como sacerdote. Algo es solo tan fuerte como el cimiento de este es construido, es por eso que la formación en el seminario es tan importante para mí en nuestra diócesis. Esto asegura que estamos formando una base sólida en la mente y corazón de un hombre quien será santo, alegre y pastoral como sacerdote. Esperamos que el ABA primero y principalmente recuerde a nuestro pueblo orar por más hombres y mujeres escuchen el llamado de Dios al sacerdocio y la vida consagrada para servir al Señor y la iglesia. El ABA también provee ayuda financiera necesaria para nosotros con fondos necesarios para educar a nuestros seminaristas. Esto le cuesta a la diócesis cada año un promedio de $45,000 por seminarista por su educación en el seminario, y esto puede ser de alguna


Binh luan bang loi

Gây Quỹ Giám Mục Hằng Năm đặt nền tảng trên cầu nguyện và lòng hảo tâm bốn tới tám năm. Tôi cảm ơn sự dấn thân mà anh chị em đã dành cho các linh mục tương lai. Săn Sóc các Linh Mục già yếu – Tuy rằng một linh mục sẽ nghỉ hưu toàn thời gian nhưng trong nhiều khía cạnh nào đó linh mục đó vẫn tiếp tục công việc mục vụ. Quỹ Giám Mục giúp chúng ta chu toàn nghĩa vụ đối với các linh mục hưu dưỡng, như lương hưu và bất cứ trách nhiệm nào về y tế và bảo hiểm y tế. Tôi có lòng thương cao quý với các cha về hưu. Các ngài đã tận tuỵ phụ vụ cả đời. Chân thành cảm ơn anh chị em tiếp tục cầu nguyện và giúp đỡ tài chính các cha già yếu. Rèn Luyện Giới Trẻ – Tầm nhìn khác mà Quỹ Giám Mục giúp là rèn luyện giới trẻ được thực hiện qua Văn Phòng Trợ Giúp Giáo Xứ và Văn Phòng Trường Học Công Giáo. Văn Phòng Trợ Giúp Giáo Xứ trông coi rèn luyện giới trẻ trong chương trình giáo lý và thiếu niên được huấn luyện đức tin trong các chương trình đã có. Văn Phòng Trường Học Công Giáo trông coi về đào tạo đức tin cho cả 11 trường Công Giáo. Trường Công Giáo của chúng ta giáo dục học sinh, và giúp các em về linh đạo trong lớp học để các em lớn lên trong sự hiểu biết và đạo đức. Rèn luyện đức tin, đặc biệt là giới trẻ, rất quan trọng đối với tôi vì chúng ta cho con em nền tảng đức tin vững chắc trong tương lai. Cảm tạ anh chị em đã đảm bảo giúp giới trẻ trong giáo phận có được đức tin vững chắc. Tôi mời gọi anh chị em vào trang nhà giáo phận để biết thêm về ảnh hưởng của sự cầu nguyện và tài chính mỗi năm. Hãy cảm nhận sự biết ơn của tôi dành cho lời kinh cùng sự giúp đỡ tài chính mà anh chị em dành cho Quỹ Giám Mục. Anh chị em có thể đóng góp tài chính qua mạng ở địa chỉ www.htdiocese.org/

bishopsappeal. Tôi khuyến khích anh chị em cũng gửi cho tôi ý chỉ cầu nguyện qua bishopsappeal@htdiocese.org. Chúng tôi sẽ cung cấp thêm trong tương lai liên quan đến Thánh Lễ đặc biệt mà tôi sẽ cử hành trong sự biết ơn anh chị em và dâng lên Chúa ý chỉ của anh chị em. Anh chị em muốn biết thêm chi tiết về gây quỹ xin gọi số (985) 850-3116 hoặc qua điện thư là bishopsappeal@ htdiocese.org. Rất cả̀m ta ̣ anh chị em vì các lời kinh và giúp đỡ tài chính! Chúng ta tiếp tục Mùa Chay, và tôi mời gọi anh chị em trung thành với đường thiêng liêng mà mình đã ấp ủ. Niềm vui Phục Sinh chờ đợi những ai hoàn toàn siêng năng cầu nguyện, ăn chay và làm phước cho người nghèo mà Mùa Chay kêu gọi. Ân sủng và ơn lành ở cùng anh chị em và chúng ta tiếp tục hành trình Mùa Chay! BC

Hãy cảm nhận sự biết ơn của tôi dành cho lời kinh cùng sự giúp đỡ tài chính mà anh chị em dành cho Quỹ Giám Mục.

Mỗi dịp đầu năm chúng ta tham gia vào chương trình gây quỹ Quỹ Giám Mục Hằng Năm (ABA). Trước hế ̉t và quan trọng nhất tôi mời goị anh chị em cùng tôi cầu nguyện cho những việc mục vụ mà số tiền Quỹ ABA giúp. Thêm vào đó, chúng ta nhìn vào sự hy sinh tài chính để giúp những công việc mục vụ có tầm ảnh hưởng lớn tới dân Chúa mỗi ngày. Là một giáo phận chúng ta sống còn là do cầu nguyện và hy sinh tài chính. Để hiểu được thế nào lời kinh và tài chính mà anh chị em dành cho Quỹ Giám Mục Hằng Năm mang lại ảnh hưởng đến nhiều người thì rất cần thiết cho chúng ta. Tôi muốn chia sẻ với anh chị em vài lãnh vực mục vụ mà anh chi em giúp đỡ Quỹ Giám Mục. Giáo Dục Chủng Sinh – Chương trình huấn luyện chủng sinh là tối ưu đối với tôi bởi vì tôi mong muốn các linh mục được vui mừng, thánh thiện, có kiến thức và là những linh mục đáp ứng được mục vụ và tu đức của giáo dân. Huyến luyện tại chủng viện là nền tảng để các linh mục tương lai trao dồi những tiêu chuẩn đó. Mà nền tảng giáo dục vững bền do chủng viện cung cấp nên đối với tôi rất quan trọng cũng như giáo phận. Nó đảm bả̀o rằng chúng ta gầy dựng nền móng vững chắc từ tư tưởng đến tâm hồn của một người để tương lai có lòng thánh thiện, niềm vui và mục vụ tốt do tiêu chuẩn linh mục đòi hỏi. Chúng ta mong rằng điều cần thiết nhất và tối ưu nhất mà Quỹ Giám Mục cần lưu ý là cầu nguyện cho nam nữ biết lắng nghe tiếng Chúa gọi làm linh và tu sĩ nam nữ để phục vụ Chúa và Giáo Hội. Quỹ Giám Mục cũng trợ giúp tài chính để chúng ta có tài chánh cần thiết giáo dục chủng sinh. Mỗi năm giáo phận tốn trung bình 40 ngàn đô để giáo dục một chủng sinh, về tu đức cũng như kiến thức, và chương trình thường kéo dài từ

March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 11


Comment

Pope Francis: Without liturgy, Christianity is without the whole of Christ The Pope Speaks

By COURTNEY MARES Vatican City, (CNA) Pope Francis said recently that it is essential for Christians to participate in the liturgy and the sacraments to encounter the Real Presence of Jesus. “Every time we celebrate a baptism, or consecrate the bread and wine in the Eucharist, or anoint the body of a sick person with Holy Oil, Christ is here. It is he who acts and is present as when he healed the weak limbs of a sick person, or when at the Last Supper, he delivered his testament for the salvation of the world,” Pope Francis said at his general audience recently. “A Christianity without liturgy, I would dare say is perhaps a Christianity without Christ, without the whole of Christ,” the pope said. Speaking via live-stream from the library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis underlined the necessity of the sacraments in the life of a Christian. “In Christian life, the corporeal and material sphere may not be dispensed with, because in Jesus Christ it became the way of salvation … Therefore, there is no Christian spirituality that is not rooted in the celebration of the holy mysteries,” the pope said, coughing as he spoke. He then quoted the Catechism, which states: “The mission of Christ and of the

Holy Spirit proclaims, makes present, and communicates the mystery of salvation, which is continued in the heart that prays.” In the history of Christianity, there has often been a temptation to emphasize one’s individual prayer over the spiritual importance of public liturgical rites, the pope explained. “Often this tendency claimed the presumed greater purity of a religiosity that did not depend on external ceremonies, considered a useless or harmful burden,” he said. However, the liturgy is the foundational act of the Christian experience, he said. “It is an event … it is presence; it is an encounter. It is an encounter with Christ.” “Christ makes himself present in the Holy Spirit through the sacramental signs: Hence the need for us Christians to participate in the divine mysteries,” Pope Francis said. When the first Christians worshiped, they did so by “actualizing the gestures and words of Jesus with the light and power of the Holy Spirit.” “St. Paul writes in the Letter to the Romans: ‘I therefore urge you, brothers, by the mercy of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God; this is your spiritual worship.’ Life is called to become worship of God, but this cannot happen without prayer, especially liturgical prayer,” he said. “This thought helps us all when we go to Mass: I go to pray in community, I go to pray with Christ who is present. When we go to the celebration of a baptism, for example, it is Christ there, present, who baptizes. ‘But, Father, this is an idea, a way of speaking?’ No, it is not a way of speaking. Christ is present and in the liturgy, you pray with Christ who is next to you.” The pope’s comments come at a

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time when public worship remains suspended

in

some

parts

of

the

world due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis noted that even during

times

when

Christians

experience

imprisonment or persecution, when

the liturgical rite is at its most bare,

“Christ makes himself truly present and gives himself to his faithful.”

“The liturgy, precisely because of

its objective dimension, asks to be

celebrated with fervor, so that the

grace poured out in the rite is not dispersed but reaches the experience of each one. The Catechism explains

very well: ‘Prayer interiorizes and

assimilates the liturgy during and after its celebration,’” he said.

Francis said that “certain forms

of spirituality can be found in the church which have not been able to

adequately integrate the liturgical moment.

Many

faithful,

although

assiduously participating in the rites, especially at Sunday Mass, have drawn

nourishment for their faith and their

spiritual life rather from other sources, of a devotional type.” He

decades,

continued: much

has

“In

been

recent done.

The constitution ‘Sacrosanctum

concilium,’ of the Second Vatican Council, represents a pivotal point

on this long journey. It reaffirms in a complete and organic way the importance of the divine liturgy for the life of Christians, who find in it that objective mediation required by the

fact that Jesus Christ is not an idea, not a feeling, but a living person, and his mystery, a historical event.” BC


Comment

Questions of Faith Father Joshua Rodrigue, S.T.L.

Fear of confession

I have always had a fear of going to confession. I get so scared that I just say the first thing that comes to mind just to get it over with. Our pastor knows everyone and that’s part of the problem. I’ve tried to go to another parish, but that didn’t help. I don’t feel like I’ve ever really made a good confession in my entire life. Can Jesus forgive me for this? I don’t think most people like going to confession in the first place. I don’t have people doing cartwheels coming into the confessional, and most people are normally a little anxious before going. Even as a priest, my heart starts to beat a little faster when preparing to make my regular confession. That nervousness is a good indication that we are taking the sacrament seriously. And yet, all of us need to pray for an increase in the virtue of fortitude to enter the confessional. Fear, embarrassment, pride and other vices try to convince us to stay away from the peace and joy we receive from the Lord’s compassionate forgiveness. A proper preparation with an examination of conscience can help us make a good confession. There are a number of them found on the internet or even apps that can be downloaded to a smartphone to help. I even recommend a daily examination of conscience so that

a person can better recognize his or her “favorite sins,” or in other words, the sins that seem to occur regularly. Then when it is time to go to confession, a person is familiar with his or her sinfulness. Take time also to examine your conscience and write them down if you are afraid to forget them. I have heard some priests say that they hate the “grocery list” confession because they question the person’s true contrition; however, I see it differently. I see it as people taking the time to examine their conscience and wanting to make a thorough and sincere confession. That paper can then be given to the priest afterward to destroy or you can do it yourself. While people have spent time tallying up their sins before entering the confessional, when the time comes for them to celebrate the sacrament, suddenly there is the moment of “confession amnesia” as we priests hear, “Father, I had all these things I wanted to confess, but now I can’t remember them.” Don’t panic. The priest can walk you through the commandments, the deadly sins, or ways in which you have failed to love God, your neighbor or yourself. Fear is the greatest deterrent. If you are afraid to go because you

can’t remember an Act of Contrition, often there is one posted in the confessional, or the priest can help you. And if the fear is going to your pastor for confession, then know you are allowed to go anonymously behind a screen to him and do not have to go face to face. Even if you go face to face, keep in mind that the priest hears many confessions, so don’t think that your sins are so special that he will remember them. Actually in the end, the difficult part of the sacrament is not so much going to confession but once we leave the confessional. Will I go back to my old ways or become the person God wants me to be? Remember, the more regularly you practice going to confession, the more comfortable you will become. Do not let fear keep you away; the peace afterward is worth being a little nervous before. BC

Readers are encouraged to send their questions to our local Bayou Catholic columnists by email to bayoucatholic@htdiocese.org.

March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 13


Reflections

Mark’s Passion Narrative and the question of Jesus’ identity Readings Between the Lines Father Glenn LeCompte

When we celebrate Palm Sunday this month, we will read Mark’s Passion Narrative. The Passion and Resurrection Narratives bring Mark’s story of Jesus to its climax and drives home the point Mark wants to make about Jesus’ identity. A significant task for Mark is to explain the apparent anomaly that Jesus, whom he identifies as Messiah and Son of God (1:1) ends up crucified. For Mark, Jesus’ crucifixion and death are the point at which human understanding of both his destiny and identity finally becomes possible. In Mark’s story the greatest challenge human characters face is to come to an understanding of Jesus’ identity. Demons readily perceive him to be, e.g., “the Holy One of God” (1:24) or “Son of the Most High God” (5:7). Human characters, however, for the most part perceive him to be a great healer and proclaimer of God’s word (1:27-28), but do not perceive the deeper aspect of his identity (4:41; 6:2-3, 52, 8:14-21). A breakthrough occurs at 8:29, when Peter, speaking for the group of apostles, identifies Jesus as the Messiah, whereupon Jesus enjoins silence upon them. When Jesus responds to Peter’s confession with a prediction of his passion and declaration that his followers must also take up their crosses, Peter is confused. His subsequent attempt to prevent Jesus from heading toward his passion and death earns him a rebuke from Jesus (8:32-33). The reader is surprised here! Why should Jesus

suffer and die if he is the Messiah? And why should Peter be rebuked for trying to rescue his master? In addition, beginning with Jesus’ declaration that the sins of a paralyzed man are forgiven (2:5), he finds himself in conflict throughout Mark’s story with the Jewish religious leaders. If Jesus is who Mark says he is, why should the religious leadership of Judea seek his demise? Mark answers these questions with his Passion Narrative. As Mark’s dramatic presentation of Jesus’ passion begins (14:1) he characterizes the religious leaders’ plot to arrest Jesus as devious, and thus contrary to God’s ways. In order to see how Mark resolves the questions and conflicts in his story through the narration of Jesus’ suffering and death, the reader must recall certain elements of the earlier story. As mentioned above, Jesus predicts his passion, not once, but three times within the course of the story (8:31; 9:30-32; 10:32-34). Even as he predicts what will happen to him outside of the Passion Narrative, he also does so within it. At the Last Supper he predicts that one of the Twelve will betray him, all will abandon him and Peter will deny him (14:17-21, 2631). These predictions demonstrate Jesus’ control of the events, rather than being a passive victim. Jesus is accomplishing a divine purpose by throwing himself headlong into his passion. After the third passion prediction, Jesus corrects James’ and John’s

14 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

ambition regarding esteem in the kingdom Jesus is establishing. He tells the disciples they must seek to be servants, even as he did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (10:45). The verse just quoted is key to how Mark brings forth Jesus’ identity through the narration of this passion. Jesus is the righteous sufferer depicted in Psalm 22 and he fills the bill of the suffering servant of Isaiah 52:1353:12. By heading into his passion and death, Jesus is effecting the fulfillment of Scripture. Also, while the religious authorities seek Jesus’ death out of malice, they are ironically playing right in to the divine plan which Jesus is carrying out. This fact is evident especially in Jesus’ reinterpretation of the Passover meal. With his pronouncement to the disciples gathered at table with him that the Passover bread is his body and the cup of blessing is his “blood-of-thecovenant which will be shed for many” (14:22-24), Jesus declares himself to be the one in whom the covenant is newly and definitively established. He sacrifices his body and blood for the salvation of “the many” (as opposed to the few). As I mentioned earlier, the unveiling of Jesus’ true identity is key to the main point Mark is trying to make to his intended reader. The question of Jesus’ identity comes to a dramatic climax at 14:61-62. When the high priest asks Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” he echoes

a


Reflections

the narrator’s assertion in the very first verse of the Gospel, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. The ultimate question of Jesus’ identity is now ironically brought to the fore by the high priest as he interrogates Jesus. In reply, Jesus affirms, “I am; and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Jesus’ “I am” here is more than an affirmative reply to the high priest. He is invoking the divine name (see Exodus 3:14). When Mark identifies Jesus as Messiah and Son of God at the very beginning of the Gospel, the intended reader would have had a conventional understanding of that truth, but not the understanding Mark wants to convey. Jesus establishes his identity as God’s Anointed One and his divine Sonship (which was reiterated at his baptism, 1:11 and in the transfiguration scene 9:7) by suffering and dying and achieving salvation

for the mass of humanity. Just as Jesus’ “Messianic Secret” is exposed, the assembly of chief priests, elders and scribes declare him deserving of death, and thereby ironically and unknowingly play right into God’s plan! The climax comes when the centurion at the foot of the cross, at the moment Jesus dies, identifies him as “The Son of God” (15:39). Interestingly, the first human character in the Gospel, other than Jesus himself, to state Jesus’ identity correctly is a Gentile centurion, a character with whom Mark’s Gentile readers can identify. By suffering, Jesus not only took the consequences of our sins onto himself, rather, he turned the experience of suffering into an instrument of salvation, and thereby deprived both suffering and death of the power to destroy us. We still experience suffering and tribulation in our lives, but united to Jesus in his suffering, we share the victory over death with him.

And that victory is confirmed when the divine messenger at Jesus’ tomb says to the women on Easter Sunday morning, “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here” (16:6). BC

Reflection Questions v What practical implications does your belief in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God have in your life? v In a world which promotes dominance and power, how do we understand Mark’s implication that being a suffering servant enables us to share in Jesus’ victory? v Mark depicts Jesus as not being overwhelmed by the treachery and suffering he faces. How can we prevent the tribulation we experience in life from overwhelming us?

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March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 15


March Scripture Readings and a listing of Feast days and saints

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

1

2

3

4

5

6

Lenten Weekday Isaiah 1:10, 16-20 Matthew 23:1-12

Lenten Weekday Jeremiah 18:18-20 Matthew 20:17-28

Lenten Weekday: Day of Abstinence Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Lenten Weekday Micah 7:14-15, 18-20 Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

9

10

12

13

Lenten Weekday Daniel 9:4b-10 Luke 6:36-38

7

8

Lenten Weekday Third Sunday of 2 Kings 5:1-15ab Lent Luke 4:24-30 Exodus 20:1-17 1 Corinthians 1:2225 John 2:13-25

14

15

Lenten Weekday Fourth Sunday of Isaiah 65:17-21 Lent 2 Chronicles 36:14- John 4:43-54 16, 19-23 Ephesians 2:4-10 John 3:14-21

21 Fifth Sunday of Lent Jeremiah 31:31-34 Hebrews 5:7-9 John 12:20-33

28 Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord Mark 11:1-10 Isaiah 50:4-7 Philippians 2:6-11 Mark 14:1—15:47

22 Lenten Weekday Daniel 13:1-9, 1517, 19-30, 33-62 John 8:1-11

29 Monday of Holy Week Isaiah 42:1-7 John 12:1-11

Lenten Weekday Daniel 3:25, 34-43 Matthew 18:21-35

16 Lenten Weekday Ezra 47:1-9, 12 John 5:1-16

23 Lenten Weekday Numbers 21:4-9 John 8:21-30

30 Tuesday of Holy Week Isaiah 49:1-6 John 13:21-33, 36-38

16 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

Lenten Weekday Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9 Matthew 5:17-19

17 Lenten Weekday Isaiah 49:8-15 John 5:17-30

24 Lenten Weekday Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95 John 8:31-42

31 Wednesday of Holy Week Isaiah 50:4-9a Matthew 26:14-25

Lenten Weekday Jeremiah 17:5-10 Luke 16:19-31

11 Lenten Weekday Jeremiah 7:23-28 Luke 11:14-23

18 Lenten Weekday Exodus 32:7-14 John 5:31-47

Lenten Weekday: Day of Abstinence Hosea 14:2-10 Mark 12:28-34

19

Lenten Weekday Hosea 6:1-6 Luke 18:9-14

20

Lenten Weekday Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Jeremiah 11:18-20 Blessed Virgin Mary John 7:40-53 2 Samuel 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16 Romans 4:13, 1618, 22 Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a

25

26

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10 Hebrews 10:4-10 Luke 1:26-38

Lenten Weekday: Day of Abstinence Jeremiah 20:10-13 John 10:31-42

27 Lenten Weekday Ezra 37:21-28 John 11:45-56


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March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 17


Special

‘Fratelli tutti’

Pope Francis issues social encyclical calling people to care for one another as brothers and sisters

Guest Columnist Father Alex Gaudet

Would you like to know what Pope Francis, Gandalf and Hermione Granger have in common? Pope Francis titles the third chapter of Fratelli Tutti “Envisaging and Engendering an Open World.” I hope to show what Pope Francis envisions as an open world and how that can be engendered. Pope Francis establishes eternal truths as principles and then encourages us to apply these principles in creative ways. The principles are human nature, the centrality of love, human dignity, solidarity, and the universal destination of goods. Pope Francis begins by establishing an important piece of logic that frames everything that follows. In Scripture we hear that “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Pope Francis echoes Vatican II in saying that “Human beings are so made that they cannot live, develop and find fulfilment except ‘in the sincere gift of self to others.’ Nor can they fully know themselves apart from an encounter with other persons” (87). Couched in this teaching is the centrality of love

or charity. St. Thomas defined love as willing the good of another. Pope Francis synthesizes this tradition by saying, “Our affection for others makes us freely desire to see their good” (93). If love is to will the good of the other, and we are made to live in a sincere gift of self, then we are made for love. To make it even more clear, love is always concrete because we love persons not ideas” (115). From this definition of what a human being is, the church has derived another principle, the dignity of the human person. We have a dignity that is inviolable. No one, once conceived until their death, ceases to be human under any conditions. Further, Pope Francis clarifies that “People have this right even if they are unproductive or were born with or developed limitations. This does not detract from their great dignity as human persons, a dignity based not on circumstance but on the intrinsic worth of their being” (107). He speaks about hidden exiles in those who are disabled or elderly who are members of communities, but are treated as if they were outsiders (98). Applying the principle of human dignity, Pope Francis reaffirms the call to solidarity. “Solidarity means much more than engaging in sporadic acts of generosity. It means thinking and acting in terms of community” (116). In solidarity we see those who are poor, weak, infirm, disabled, elderly, abandoned or different as important and equal parts of our community. He

18 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

says that this is not to choose a bland universalism that flattens out the rich diversity of human creativity (100) or an abstract and ineffective declaring of equality that is never lived out (104). Finally, all the goods of the Earth are a gift from God to all of humanity. “The world exists for everyone, because all of us were born with the same dignity” (118). Pope Francis explains that the good of private property is not absolute but is an organizing principle necessary for human society. These two principles are in tension but are not mutually exclusive. The limit of my private property is the needs of those around me. We should see this not so much as a demand that all things be shared but as a principle of justice. Pope Francis refers to the story of the good Samaritan who saw in the assaulted stranger an image of himself and was moved to help him from his own goods (101). Pope Francis then affirms that business activity is “a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world” (123). Pope Francis couches human business endeavors as one of God’s gifts to us. In a way, business is part of our stewardship of the goods of the Earth. Through it the human community thrives and the goods of the Earth increase. Properly ordered, the art of business and industry serve humanity, not the other way around. Now we can put together these four principles to see what Pope Francis envisions as an open world. He

a


Special

Chapter Three says, “There is an aspect of universal openness in love that is existential rather than geographical. It has to do with our daily efforts to expand our circle of friends, to reach those who, even though they are close to me, I do not naturally consider a part of my circle of interests” (97). An open world is not one without borders that dissolves the many peoples into an amorphous mass (100). Instead, open persons strive to expand their circle of care for those around them. Likewise, an open society strives to expand the circle of other communities that they care about. Love is part of human nature, but we cannot love ideas, only

other persons. All humans share in the same common human nature which demands a high level of dignity. We see in each other through our shared human nature a brother or sister, and when that person is in serious need, I see my brother or sister in serious need. Pope Francis advocates for changes in systems that hinder or prevent the full flourishing of persons. Whether it is the demoralizing structure of racism (97), dismissal of inefficient persons (98), merely associate relationships (102), or crushing foreign debt (126), there can be no real fraternity if these flaws continue to exist. What exists is a caricature, a farce that masquerades as “freedom, democracy or fraternity” (110). How then do we engender this open world that Pope Francis envisions? Pope Francis does not spell out a precise plan to establish these changes. This is not what the Catholic Church does. The church is the authority on matters of faith and morals. Pope Francis has laid out eternal truths that are the principles that are applicable to the issue of an open society. It is now up to the lay faithful to apply these principles to the concrete situations of our daily lives to sanctify the temporal order (Apostolicam Actuositatem 2). When we move to the concrete steps of what should be done, we have moved out of the realm of ideas and eternal

truths and into the practical world of legitimate compromise. No definitive decision can be given because whatever the best course of action is will change based on the circumstances. The best way forward for our small slice of South Louisiana will by necessity be different from the best way forward even for our neighbors within our state, much less for larger groups of people on the far corners of the world. What Pope Francis, Gandalf and Hermione Granger have in common is that they all share a special care for those who are weak and discredited in their societal context. Gandalf forms deep friendships with the hobbits who are the most dismissible of the halflings. They have a special dignity that is easy to overlook. Hermione has special concern for the magical creatures who were so badly treated by her new adopted society. She sees herself in them as an outcast. She uses her power to protect these creatures that are mistreated because they are weak. Throughout the Scriptures, we see that God has a special love for the poor and the weak, so much so that Jesus Christ directly connects the salvation of Christians to this love (Matthew 25). (Father Alex Gaudet is currently serving as pastor of Christ the Redeemer Church parish in Thibodaux.) BC

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Parish Life

LAWRENCE CHATAGNIER/BAYOU CATHOLIC

Office of Parish Support staff are from left, Father Patrick Riviere, Sunday experience specialist; Joe Klapatch, logistics specialist and event coordinator; David Dawson, director and major life moments specialist; Rebecca Abboud, youth formation specialist; and Stephen Estes, adult and young adult formation specialist.

Office of Parish Support team accompanies pastors and parish leaders by listening and praying to know God’s will as a team Guest Columnist David Dawson

When I heard a couple of years ago how the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux was courageously restructuring their ministerial offices to focus all of their energy on what happens at the ground level, in their parishes, I was seriously impressed. It gave me great hope that a diocese would be willing to move in that direction with such conviction,

and though I never thought I would be personally involved in the project, I hoped and prayed that it would be successful. Having worked in a number of parishes and dioceses, I was familiar with most of the typical obstacles to progress in the church’s mission of making disciples. One of the main obstacles is a felt sense of isolation among the clergy and parish ministry leaders, and this can often lead to discouragement, self-doubt, and a lack of focus. So, when I heard that an Office of Parish Support was being developed to provide each parish with their own diocesan liaison for longterm, personalized accompaniment, I knew that God was doing something

20 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

big in this part of the world. It wasn’t until the summer of 2020 that I had any idea that God might be calling me and my family to be a part of what he was doing down here. I assumed that I would learn a few things from the outside that might be useful for my work in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Even when someone mentioned to me that there was an opening for the position of director of the Office of Parish Support, I never thought I would be the one to get involved. However, in typical fashion, God is full of surprises, and he gave us clarity in prayer that this was to be our next step and that we needed to prepare for the transition. And, though it’s been a wild ride and

a


Parish Life

only a few short months, God has already provided overwhelmingly for my family, especially through the amazing people he has allowed us to encounter here. In my short time in the office, I have already been given so much hope for what a diocese can potentially do to support its parishes well. The structure of most dioceses includes ministerial offices, such as youth ministry, marriage and family life, religious education, etc., each of which provides parishes with their expertise in their particular field of ministry. This often makes it difficult for pastors, though, in that they end up being the only ones who can see the big picture of what’s going on in their parish and how each of its individual offerings fits into the whole. However, the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux has worked and prayed hard through a long strategic planning process to come up with a structure that would provide pastors and their leadership with someone who is in their corner and who has expertise, but who also understands the whole dynamic of their particular parish and has the time to walk with them in the messiness of all of the details. Instead of offices having separate fields of expertise, the Office of Parish Support has gathered a team of people with different experiences of parish and diocesan ministry, and each member is assigned as a liaison to a small number of parishes so they can spend time with them and provide encouragement, support, clarity, focus and discernment

for all of their ministerial efforts. The liaisons’ full-time responsibility is to spend time with each pastor and their parish leadership so they can best pray for and with them, and accompany them on the path that God is providing. Each member of the team also brings a level of expertise in particular fields of ministry (youth, adult formation, marriage and family), so they are able to provide each other with up-to-date information for best practices and strategies for parish ministry. Our new structure is centered on the principle of accompaniment. Any real progress in faith, for an individual or a community, only really happens in the context of long-term human relationships rather than just programs, events or presentations. Though programs, events and presentations can certainly play a major role in the process of our becoming true disciples, the effects of them are typically shortlived without solid relationships in which to develop what we experience in those programs. Each of us, regardless of our level of spiritual maturity, needs companionship, accountability, and to intimately experience what it looks like for God to do real things in the lives of other people. In order for a pastor and his parish leadership to provide the kind of accompaniment and intimate community necessary for their people to be formed as disciples, they will need to have experienced it themselves. The liaisons are meant to provide them with not only a reminder of this

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but also an ongoing experience of it. In order for the liaisons to be solid witnesses to the benefits of this, they also have to be experiencing that same kind of healthy accompaniment together as a team. For this reason, our office has made it a priority in the structure of the week to connect with one another, pray together, and process what we are experiencing in our work and in our lives as a whole. This is done through focused, one-onone meetings with each team member and myself as well as setting aside one day each for formation and prayer. We have also regularly scheduled down time together. My children know the team well, and they love hanging out with them! The “work” of accompanying, listening, praying to know God’s will together as a team, with the pastors, and with parish leaders has been more fulfilling than I could have imagined. I know I don’t just speak for myself when I express my deep gratitude to God and to all those who have worked and prayed to make this new structure a reality. We ask for your prayers that God may continue to bring to completion the work that he has begun in the Office of Parish Support, that our pastors and parishes might receive the great gift of accompaniment for a beautiful and fruitful journey. (David Dawson is the diocesan director of the Office of Parish Support.) BC

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March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 21


Heavenly Recipes

Dawn Sevin

Dawn makes a:

LENTEN RECIPE Story and Photos by Lawrence Chatagnier

Dawn Sevin, a native of Chauvin and resident of Bourg, shares her recipe for tuna rolls in this month’s heavenly recipe. Dawn has been employed by the diocese for the past 38 years. She worked at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Chauvin when she was a senior in high school. She says that it was one of the cooks at St. Joseph Church who shared this tuna recipe with her. “The church has been my life, other than doing a little babysitting and working at a pharmacy for a short time, I have always worked for the church. I consider working for the church my second vocation. Being that I am married, that is my first vocation. I also worked for a short while at the Chancery when it was on Aycock Street in Houma in the Stewardship and Development Office. I then went back to Chauvin when the secretary/bookkeeper retired for health reasons. I stayed at St. Joseph for 26 years.” During the time Dawn worked at St. Joseph she worked under the direction of Msgr. Frederic Brunet. “I worked with Msgr. Brunet the entire time I was at St. Joseph. He was a wonderful person to work for. He was very much like a father figure to me.” Dawn’s current position is bookkeeper support and property insurance specialist for the diocese. Dawn and her husband Nac, along with their son Scott, moved to Bourg 12 years ago after experiencing two feet of flood water in their Chauvin home from Hurricane Rita. “As a child I can remember flooding multiple times in our home because of hurricanes and tropical storms. We didn’t move out of the bayou community because that is our home.” Dawn views her duties at the Pastoral Center as more than a job. “I have always felt that my position is a ministry 22 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

Tuna Rolls INGREDIENTS: 2 cans cream of mushroom soup 1 pkg. frozen cut up broccoli 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 2 cans tuna fish, lightly drained 1-1/2 cups milk 1 lg. can French’s French fried onions 8 lg. tortillas 1-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese Seasonings to taste – salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.

DIRECTIONS: Combine soup, milk and seasonings and set aside. Combine tuna, broccoli, 3/4 cup cheese and 1/2 can of onions; mix well. Add 1 cup of the soup mixture to the tuna mixture and mix well. Spoon tuna mixture into tortillas and roll; place in greased pan seam side down. Place chopped tomatoes into remaining soup mixture; pour over rolls. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees. Uncover and add remaining cheese and onions. Return to oven until cheese is melted.

and not a job. You can’t help but have a stronger bond with your faith and God. I feel working here I can relate to what parishes are going through and assist them. I do miss the people in the parish. I enjoy helping parishes as a whole, but I do miss the community aspect the parish offers.” BC


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Youth

in action Samuel Wagespack School: St. Genevieve Catholic School Grade: 7th Church parish: St. Genevieve, Thibodaux Describe your family unit: Ashley, mother; Mark, father; William, brother; Patrick, brother; Jacob, brother; Andree, sister Favorite Hobby: Drawing Favorite Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean Favorite T.V. Show: Friends Favorite Genre of Music: Country

What are some things you can do to make this Lenten season more meaningful? Lent is a time for us to get closer to God. It is a time to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us when he suffered and died for us. Lent gives us 40 days to get ready for Easter and remember his death and resurrection. Three things that can be done during this time to make this Lenten season more meaningful are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The first thing that would make this Lenten time more meaningful is prayer. Prayer helps us to get closer to God and to build our faith. During prayer, we can think

about the bad things we have done and ask for forgiveness. We can also think about the good things we have not done and ask God for help to do better things. There is a lot of time to pray during Lent. Another thing that would make the Lenten time more meaningful is fasting. Fasting is to give up or do with less of something in order to get closer to God. This helps us to think about what it is like to suffer. It helps us to get closer to God because it helps us understand the sacrifice his son, Jesus, made for us. When things

24 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

are given up that are normally enjoyed, we embrace the sacrifices Jesus made for us. The final thing that would make the Lenten time more meaningful is almsgiving. Almsgiving is making the needs of others our own, especially the needy of our world. For example, donate food items and clothing to needy people. This act will not just help us; it will help all of the people that you donated to. Lent is a time for us to get closer to God. We are called to fast, give alms, and pray during this season. BC


Seminarian Education Burses What is a seminarian burse/endowment fund? A seminarian burse/endowment fund is an invested sum of money where the interest is used in perpetuity to help fund the education of men to the priesthood in the Diocese of HoumaThibodaux. How does someone establish a seminarian burse/endowment fund? Very simply, a burse/endowment fund may be established and

named for anyone you choose, be it family, friend, bishop, priest, deacon, religious, etc. Who do I contact to contribute to or establish a fund? To contribute to or establish a burse/endowment fund, send funds to the Pastoral Center, Attn: Catholic Foundation, P.O. Box 505, Schriever, LA 70395 or contact the Catholic Foundation office at 985-850-3116 or aponson@htdiocese.org for more information.

All completed Seminarian Education Burses can be viewed online at www.htdiocese.org/vocations. January 2021 Endowment/Burse Contributions CFSL Seminarian Fund .....................$1,200.00 Claude & Lucy Mahler Family .......$1,000.00

Giardina Family Foundation Fund ........................... $10,000.00

Anne-Marie Hebert Ardoin Seminarian Fund ............................ $15,000.00

Fr. Patrick Riviere Fund .................. $25,000.00

Open Burses/Endowment Funds with Balance as of January 31, 2021*

*Please note that balances may not reflect full investment interest as of January 31, due to the timing of investment statements received. Donald Peltier Sr. No. 4 ..............................................$13,000.00

Mr. & Mrs. Galip Jacobs ...............................................$3,060.00

Richard Peltier No. 2 ..........................................................$300.00

Joseph Strada Memorial ............................................$12,642.63

St. Jude ................................................................................$3,000.00

Mr. & Mrs. George C. Fakier .....................................$12,000.00

Diocesan Knights of Columbus No. 2 .....................$2,894.62

Claude Bergeron .................................................................$250.00

Msgr. Raphael C. Labit No. 2 ...................................$11,680.00

Rev. Peter H. Brewerton ...............................................$2,600.00

Joseph Waitz Sr. ............................................................$11,500.00

Willie & Emelda St. Pierre ............................................$2,000.00

Claude & Lucy Mahler Family ...................................$12,400.00

Rev. John Gallen ..............................................................$1,950.00

Harvey Peltier No. 31 ...................................................$10,486.91

Rev. H.C. Paul Daigle .....................................................$1,900.00

Clay Sr. & Evelida Duplantis No. 2 .........................$10,000.00

Deacon Connely Duplantis ..........................................$1,700.00

C. Remie Duplantis No. 2 ...........................................$10,000.00

Alfrances P. Martin .........................................................$1,650.00

Marie Elise Duplantis No. 2 .......................................$10,000.00

Judge Louis & Shirley R. Watkins .............................$1,650.00

Maude & Edith Daspit No. 2 ....................................$10,000.00

Msgr. Francis J. Legendre No. 2 ................................$1,645.00

Fr. Brett Lapeyrouse Fund ............................................$3,000.00

Msgr. George A. Landry .............................................$10,000.00

Rev. Robert J. Sevigny ...................................................$1,600.00

Fr. Patrick Riviere Fund ...............................................$57,423.51

Msgr. William Koninkx ..................................................$9,000.00

Jacob Marcello .................................................................$1,600.00

Grant J. Louviere Fund ......................................................$100.00

Catholic Daughters .........................................................$7,260.00

Rev. Hubert C. Broussard .............................................$1,550.00

Rev. Victor Toth ...............................................................$7,000.00

Msgr. Emile J. Fossier .....................................................$1,545.00

Harold and Gloria Callais Family Fund .................$71,310.35

Msgr. Francis Amedee ..................................................$6,850.00

Ronnie Haydel ..................................................................$1,535.00

Deacon Nick Messina ........................................................$250.00 Rev. Michael Finnegan ......................................................$200.00 Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Naquin ...............................................$150.00 Deacon Pedro Pujals ..........................................................$100.00 Rev. Warren Chassaniol ....................................................$100.00 Deacon Eldon Frazier ..........................................................$50.00 Dean J. Chiasson Fund ..................................................$2,175.00

James J. Buquet Jr. Family Fund ..............................$58,592.67 Jane & John Dean Fund .............................................$17,237.89

Rev. Gerard Hayes ..........................................................$6,686.00

Dr. William Barlette Sr. ..................................................$1,525.00

Brides of the Most Blessed Trinity ............................$6,598.00

Deacon Robert Dusse’ ..................................................$1,450.00

Rev. Guy Zeringue ..........................................................$6,300.00

Rev. Anthony Rousso ....................................................$1,300.00

Rev. Peter Nies .................................................................$6,000.00

Msgr. John L. Newfield .................................................$1,200.00

Mr. & Mrs. Love W. Pellegrin .....................................$5,000.00

Rev. Joseph Tu Tran No. 2 ...........................................$1,094.00

Anonymous No. 2 ...........................................................$5,000.00

Msgr. John G. Keller .......................................................$1,050.00

Mr. & Mrs. Caliste Duplantis Family No. 4 ...........$5,000.00

Bishop Warren L. Boudreaux No. 4 ..........................$1,000.00

Parker Conrad Fund .....................................................$15,000.00

Rev. William M. Fleming ...............................................$5,000.00

Edna W. DiSalvo ..............................................................$1,000.00

Paul and Laura Duet Fund ...............................................$825.00

Mrs. Ayres A. Champagne ...........................................$5,000.00

Bernice Harang ................................................................$1,000.00

Rev. Clemens Schneider Fund ....................................$1,125.00

Rev. Kasimir Chmielewski ............................................$4,839.00

Deacon Willie Orgeron .....................................................$900.00

Joseph “Jay” Fertitta .......................................................$4,450.00

Ruby Pierce ...........................................................................$800.00

Richard Peltier Fund .....................................................$52,292.65

Rev. Henry Naquin .........................................................$4,311.00

Deacon Roland Dufrene ...................................................$750.00

Lena “Bobbie” Sere’ Fund ................................................$550.00 Leon ‘Ponoke’ & Marlene Champagne Fund .......$2,800.00 Mary and Al Danos Fund ...........................................$95,068.92 Mary Timothy Everett Fund ............................................$500.00 Mr. & Mrs. Joseph J. Cefalu Sr. Fund .......................$5,000.00

Society of Joseph, Husband of Mary Fund ...............$100.00 The Peltier Foundation Fund ....................................$69,749.00

Anawin Community .......................................................$4,200.00

Deacon Raymond LeBouef ..............................................$750.00

Harry Booker No. 2 ........................................................$4,138.00

Juliette & Eugene Wallace ...............................................$700.00

Msgr. James Songy ........................................................$4,075.00

Deacon Edward J. Blanchard ..........................................$700.00

Preston & Gladys Webre .............................................$3,900.00

Paul & Laura Duet ..............................................................$550.00

Kelly Curole Frazier .........................................................$3,610.96

Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Cannata .........................................$500.00

Mr. & Mrs. John Marmande .......................................$3,500.00

Robert Walsh ........................................................................$500.00

J.R. Occhipinti ...................................................................$3,400.00

Anne Veron Aguirre ...........................................................$380.00

Anne-Marie Hebert Ardoin Seminarian Fund .....$15,000.00

Warren J. Harang Jr. No. 2 ...........................................$3,100.00

Deacon Harold Kurtz .........................................................$300.00

CFSL Seminarian Fund ..........................................$4,117,380.93

Viola Ann Wallace Vosbein Memorial Fund .........$1,000.00 Bishop Sam Jacobs Fund ...........................................$36,131.65 Giardina Family Foundation Fund ..........................$14,772.31 Msgr. Amedee Fund .................................................$338,893.83 Harry and Karen David Fund ....................................$11,359.59

TOTAL Open Burses/Endowment Funds: $5,296,044.42 March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 25


Feature

The Annual Bishop’s Appeal directly impacts the formation of seminarians through funding for education Story by Janet Marcel ~ Photos by Tyler Neil Once a year, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre makes a direct plea to the people of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux to support certain diocesan ministries through their prayers and financial contributions to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal (ABA). One of the ministries supported by the 2021 Appeal is seminarian education. Bishop Fabre says he hopes the Appeal will remind everyone to pray that more young men will hear the call to serve the Lord as diocesan priests, and additionally that those who are able will consider making a financial gift to support the education of our seminarians. “The ABA directly impacts the formation of our seminarians because it provides us with some of the funds that are necessary to educate our seminarians,” says Bishop Fabre, who adds that it costs the diocese around $45,000 a 26 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

year for each of four to eight years to educate a young man who desires to be a diocesan priest. Bishop Fabre says that seminaries were established so that those men who were being prepared to be ordained as deacons and eventually as priests would receive the necessary formation to serve the Lord as a priest, if that is their calling. He goes on to explain that there are four pillars of that formation. The first pillar is intellectual formation where they are being educated in Scripture studies, church teachings, church history, and things such as that. The second pillar is spiritual formation where they learn to answer questions such as: What does it mean to live my life as a man of prayer? What does it mean to have my relationship with Jesus Christ as the focus of my life?

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What does it mean to live as a celibate? The third pillar is pastoral formation where they examine questions like: What does it mean to be a minister for the Lord? What does it mean to minister as a priest? How do I responsibly do that? How do I care for those in my pastoral charge? The fourth pillar is human formation where they explore questions such as: How do I face those aspects of my life that are very human. How do I interact with groups of people? What does it mean to live your life as a human being and to do that as a priest? “The formation of our seminarians is very important to me as a bishop because I want priests that are joy-filled, competent, holy, and who are able to meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of their people, and the seminary is the foundation for acquiring priests with those qualities,” says Bishop Fabre.

Ryan’s Story Seminarian Ryan Thibodaux, who is currently in his third year of formation at St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, says he is looking forward to being a priest for the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. Thibodaux is a native of Larose and a parishioner of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Larose. He attended Holy Rosary Catholic School in Larose and South Lafourche High School in Galliano. He also studied at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux for one year. “I grew up in a small town where everybody knows everybody else. My whole family lived here, my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. It was nice to see everyone on a regular basis. My family brought us to church a lot. I spent a lot of my childhood at my home parish of Holy Rosary; we were a part of the church community,” says Thibodaux. “Family and church – that’s Larose! It made me

feel like I belonged to something. I belonged to my family and I also belonged to my church family. Growing up I just related that to God and being loved by God.” Thibodaux remembers following his parents’ lead when it came to his Catholic faith. “I remember going to adoration with my mom. It was just silence and I really didn’t know how to pray because I was little, so I would just do what she did,” says the seminarian. “I also remember following my dad’s lead. During Lent, we would pray the rosary together as a family with my dad leading us. Following his lead was very inspiring to me. I thought if he was praying, then we should also pray … because he was the leader of the household.” Thibodaux says that moments like that with his mom, dad, and his friends just made him go deeper into his relationship with God. He felt like if he had all of those people looking at him and seeing Christ in him, then he needed to be more like Christ. “I want to be a priest because God gave his life for me and he has given everything to me, so I feel like it’s only fair for me to give everything back to him. I feel like he has constantly shown me that this is the way he wants me to give my life to him,” says Thibodaux. And, just like God has given everything to him, says the seminarian, the diocese has given so much to him and he wants to give back by serving its people. “All of my experiences of what the priesthood is have been shown to me in my community, so I want Ryan Thibodaux to give back to them because they’ve helped me to be the man I am today,” says Thibodaux. “So I’m saying ‘yes’ to God about who he wants me to be and where he wants me to be.” Davis’ Story Seminarian Davis Ahimbisibwe is a third year theology student at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He is a native of Kabale in southwestern Uganda who has three sisters. He says he is very close to his family and that his parents worked very hard and made great sacrifices for him. Ahimbisibwe says he went to the best Catholic schools in Uganda. He attended St. Paul’s Seminary for high school. “I loved being at the seminary. The spiritual life helped me encounter God more. I went to the seminary for high school because my mother wanted that for me. As a teenager I was afraid of that because it was a stricter life, but it is something I will forever be grateful for. It gave me the seed that would blossom later.”

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March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 27


Feature

He explains that in his first year of high school he wanted to be a priest. Then he realized he was really good in biology, chemistry and physics, so he thought he would make a good doctor … a doctor who loved and served God. He left the seminary and went to a Catholic university for two years, and then to medical school for five years. He graduated as a general practitioner, did a one-year internship at his hometown hospital and worked two years in a health center that was also in his hometown. “God created medical doctors to restore the physical health of man and priests to restore their spiritual health,” says Ahimbisibwe. “I really loved treating my patients. Being a doctor, I got to be a witness of the miracles God does; I saw the power of God every day. I treated my patients as a whole person, the physical and the spiritual. They would talk to me about their spiritual needs and that was one of the things I loved, as well, because sometimes I was able to see their spiritual faith enlightened.” Over the course of time, Ahimbisibwe began to realize he had kind of just “told” God he wanted to be a doctor. He eventually came to understand that whatever his vocation would be was a gift from God that he had to accept with love and generosity. “I had to converse with God and see how he wanted me to serve him best,” he says. “I had to ask him ‘what do you want me to do for you? I want to know you, serve you and love you all my life … how are you inviting me to do that?’ And that lead me to serving God through the priesthood.” Ahimbisibwe explains that as a medical doctor, treating people is a temporal reality. A medical doctor treats a body; but finally there is a point where the body can no longer be treated, and as a doctor you’re helpless at that point. “So I started focusing on what is necessary … an eternal reality. Spiritual health is always superior to physical health, so I began to think what if I treated the spiritual and helped this person to have life for eternity. And through that I began to see that medicine is good and medical doctors do a lot of good work that is to be commended, but priests, as spiritual 28 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

doctors, deal with the eternal. Priesthood prepares someone for a life without end and because of that it is a higher calling.” Ahimbisibwe says there are three things that helped the seeds of his vocation grow: His family, prayer before the Eucharist, and his relationship with Mary. He is most looking forward to being a priest so that he can make God known and loved through the Scriptures and through the sacraments. Those who wish to contribute to the 2021Annual Bishop’s Appeal can choose to make a one-time gift or use the pledge system in Davis Ahimbisibwe which they can make monthly or quarterly contributions. Donations can also be made on-line by visiting www.htdiocese.org/bishopsappeal. For more information about the Annual Bishop’s Appeal, call (985)850-3122. BC


March Daily Prayer for Priests, Deacons and Seminarians

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

1

2

3

4

5

6

Rev. James Thien Van Nguyen

Very Rev. Mark Toups, V.G.

Very Rev. Mike Tran, V.F.

Rev. Joseph Tregre

Rev. Josekutty Varghese

Deacon Douglas Authement, retired

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

Rev. Shenan Boquet

Rev. Thomas Bouterie

Rev. Stuart King

Rev. Joshua Rodrigue

Rev. Domingo Cruz, retired

Seminarian Ryan Thibodaux

Rev. Wilfredo Decal, retired

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

Rev. Scott Dugas, retired

Msgr. Donald Ledet, retired

Rev. P.J. Madden, retired

Rev. Roch Naquin, retired

Deacon Daniel Bascle, retired

Rev. Ty Van Nguyen, retired

Rev. Charles Perkins

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

Rev. Amang Santiago, retired

Rev. Caesar Silva, retired

Rev. Wilmer Todd, retired

Seminarian Ian Verdin

Rev. Jerry Villarrubia, retired

Bishop Emeritus Sam G. Jacobs

Deacon Gerald Belanger, retired

28

29

30

31

Very Rev. Jay Baker

Rev. Paul Birdsall

Seminarian Zachary Howick

Rev. Rusty Bruce

Daily Prayer for Clergy and Religious Lord Jesus, hear our prayer for the spiritual renewal of bishops, priests, deacons, brothers, sisters, lay ministers and seminarians of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. We praise You for giving their ministry to the Church. In these days, renew them with the gifts of Your Spirit. You once opened the Holy Scriptures to Your disciples when You walked on this earth. Now renew Your ordained and chosen ones with the truth and power of Your Word. In Eucharist you gave Your disciples renewed life and hope. Nourish Your consecrated ones with Your own Body and Blood. Help them to imitate in their lives the death and resurrection they celebrate around Your altar. Give them enthusiasm for the Gospel, zeal for the salvation of all people, courage in leadership and humility in service. Give them Your love for one another and for all their brothers and sisters in You. For You love them, Lord Jesus, and we love and pray for them in Your Holy Name, today especially for _______________________. Amen.

Sponsored by:

of the Word 506 Cardinal Drive, Thibodaux, LA • marianservantsoftheword@gmail.com

March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 29


Lent

It’s never too late to enter fully into Lent Guest Columnist Father Paul Birdsall

I hate lent. Wait … What? How could you, a priest, say such a thing? Lent is a sacred time in which we Catholics journey with Christ through the desert until we arrive at his passion and glorious resurrection. Allow me to clarify myself. I love the potential graces one can receive during Lent. I love that Lent provides a clear designated time to increase one’s spirituality. I love the fruits that come from fasting, sacrifice, and increased prayer life. And I love the fact that all Catholics are unified in increasing holiness during the Lenten season. However, what I hate about Lent is the inevitable reality that midway through I know I will face extraordinary temptation, bitterness toward fasting and sacrifice, and a guilty desire to quit all matter of personal goals and Lenten promises. If you are like me, Lent is fine and dandy for the first couple of weeks: Good choices, solid prayer, a little pain (the good kind); but come the halfway point? Forget it! All I want is for Lent to end. What seemed like small sacrifices feel like impossible hurdles; prayer is all but repetitive and stale; and Easter

can’t come fast enough. If this fits your description, I have a secret to tell you … Welcome to the club!!! Before you despair and toss in the towel midway through this Lenten season, let me first offer you some words of encouragement: 1) You are not alone. Remember that Jesus Christ himself was tempted in the desert as well while he was tired, hungry and thirsty. 2) It’s never too late; one can enter fully into Lent at any point (beginning or end) and still achieve a greater holiness and deeper relationship with Christ. 3) You can do it! It may take some adjustments, but trust me if I can, you can. There are typically three scenarios that lead to a declining Lenten experience: 1) Doing nothing (may seem obvious, but you have to start somewhere). 2) Choosing the wrong penance or biting off more than you can chew (it’s the Lenten season, not self-destruction season). 3) No direction (this includes both spiritual direction, but also the direction of personal goal setting and intercession), a.k.a., what are you Lenting for? Allow me to address these three scenarios with you with a few tips I’ve picked up over the years in my own spiritual journey and deepening appreciation of Lent. 1) Doing nothing. Are you in the same boat again? We are halfway through Lent and you still haven’t made any choices to enter into the Lenten season? Might as well wait until next year, too late now, right? Wrong!!! It’s

never too late to hop on the Lent wagon and receive some special graces and deepen your relationship with Christ. Need some inspiration? What about the good thief crucified next to Jesus? Was it too late for him to repent and be welcomed into paradise by Christ? It was pretty last minute, but not too late. Lent is not just a sad floppy Filet-OFish from McDonalds on Fridays, it’s so much more. Lent is about PSI (not air in tires) Prayer, Sacrifice and Intercession. Start by setting some small goals for yourself; perhaps add 10 minutes a day to personal prayer, maybe fast for one extra meal a week, or intercede for a sick friend or family member. The absolute best place, however, to start on the right path is by making a good confession. I can’t tell you how important it is to receive God’s forgiveness prior to entering into a fruitful Lent, dare I say almost impossible to enter a fruitful Lent without first being in a state of grace. These small steps can make transitioning into Lent easy and fruitful. Be motivated, last minute or not, because we all want to end up like the good thief. 2) Choosing the wrong penance or penances. Every year around Mardi Gras I play in my mind a list of things I can give up for Lent: Sweets, sodas, hot water, snooze button, coffee, condiments, fast food, etc.; the list goes on and on. While all of these things are luxuries and fine examples of things I can give up, I often temporarily

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Keith Kellum, M.D. Nano Zeringue, M.D. Jody Simon, M.D. Janie Tran, O.D. 446 Corporate Dr., Houma, LA 70360 | Fax: (985) 868-4190 | Email: tlevron@southerneyeinst.com 900 Canal Blvd., Suite 3, Thibodaux, LA 70301 | Fax: 985-448-1276 | Email: tlevron@southerneyeinst.com 30 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021


Lent

forget that Lent is not just about losing, it’s about gaining. By this, I mean part of Lent is not just about giving up things to make a sacrifice; it’s also about gaining virtue. What virtues do you seek? Humility? Prudence? Patience? Charity? All of the above or something else entirely? Consider what virtue you’d also like to gain when making a choice of penance. Does your choice aid you in gaining a corresponding virtue? Or will it hinder you? Let me give you a personal example. Anyone that knows me knows that I am sorely addicted to diet coke, no joke, for real. Many people may immediately jump on this and say, “Well that’s exactly what you should give up. It’s not healthy. It’s a burden in your life. You should get rid of it, no more perfect time to do so than Lent.” This may sound like a good choice for me, but in reality I know myself and it’s not (or at least wasn’t at the time). I gave it up a long time ago before I was ready to, and throughout Lent I found myself bitter,

rude, irritable and just short of turning green and smashing things. Does this sound virtuous? Certainly not. It wasn’t until a spiritual director I once had made things clear to me. He told me, “Paul, you picked the wrong penance. Never give up addictions cold turkey or something you are not prepared to for Lent; always choose something that hurts just enough that you can feel it all the time, but is soothed by the virtues you receive from doing without it.” The moral of this story is don’t pick the hardest penance you can imagine just for the sake of the sacrifice or health benefits, choose a penance that both heightens sacrifice in your life, but also increases virtue. 3) No Direction. This is perhaps the biggest reason in my opinion why so many struggle with Lent. What are you Lenting for? In answering this question, step one is quite simple: Find yourself a spiritual director. Talk to a priest you trust with your personal spiritual matters about what inspirations you

have for the Lenten season. Tell your director your goals, what you hope to achieve, what you plan to sacrifice, how much you plan to fast, etc. Having exterior spiritual help is key to having a productive, uninterrupted Lenten season. Lastly, don’t let the sacrifices, fasting, and increased prayer fade into oblivion. Utilize your prayers and sacrifices for specific reasons: for example, personal holiness, the souls in purgatory, health of family and friends, our country, peace in the world, you name it. Lent without direction becomes stale quickly. Many times in my life I realized I was beginning to fail in my Lenten practices because I was doing them only for the sake of doing them, not for specific goals and requests. Direction gives reason, and reason gives motivation. God Bless you the remainder of this Lenten season. (Father Paul Birdsall is the associate pastor of St. Bernadette Church parish in Houma.) BC

March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 31


Feature

Administering the oath to Chief Justice Weimer is Attorney Danny Cavell. Also pictured are Chief Justice Weimer’s wife Penny, and their daughters Jacqueline, Katherine and Emily.

Thibodaux native sits atop state’s highest court Story by Janet Marcel Thibodaux native John L. Weimer recently took the oath of office as the 26th Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court at an investiture ceremony in New Orleans. Chief Justice Weimer explains that they were originally planning a rather robust ceremony beginning with Bishop Shelton J. Fabre celebrating Mass at St. Joseph CoCathedral in Thibodaux with the investiture following at Nicholls State University. But because of COVID-19, they had to have a virtual swearing-in ceremony. Chief Justice Weimer says he is really grateful for the kindness extended to him by Bishop Shelton J. Fabre and Father Vic DeLa Cruz, V.F., pastor of St. Joseph CoCathedral. “Bishop Fabre, who is a very eloquent, spiritual and holy man of God, was kind enough to attend my investiture in New Orleans and give the invocation.” Bishop Fabre says it was an honor for him to offer the invocation prayer and to be present for Chief Justice Weimer’s investiture ceremony. “I came to know Chief Justice Weimer through casual 32 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

conversations with him when I would encounter him after Mass on various occasions. It was clear to me from my interactions with him that he is a man of great dedication to his Catholic faith and to his family. It has always been a joy to be in his presence. My involvement in his investiture as Chief Justice enabled me to get to know him also from the perspective of his responsibilities as a justice on the Louisiana Supreme Court. It was clear from those who spoke at the investiture that Chief Justice Weimer is very dedicated to his responsibilities in this regard, as well,” says Bishop Fabre. “Chief Justice Weimer will serve the Louisiana Supreme Court very well. I am certain that he will seek after and administer justice, serve the common good, and, as a person of great faith, have the guidance and assistance of the Holy Spirit with him. I pledge my prayers for him in this great honor and responsibility placed upon him,” adds the bishop. Chief Justice Weimer says his faith keeps him grounded. “My wife’s family had a deep Catholic faith and they have

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Feature

been a major influence on my life. My faith has influenced my belief that those who hold public office are servants.” At his investiture, Chief Justice Weimer referred to the Scripture reading 1 Kings 3:5, where God offered to Solomon anything he wished. “Solomon did not ask for riches or a long life, instead Solomon requested from God … Give your servant an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong,” says Chief Justice Weimer. “In closing, I asked for people’s prayers that all judges have an understanding heart and that they be good servants as they toil in the vineyards of justice.” Chief Justice Weimer says he recalls his family frequently attending St. Luke the Evangelist Church parish in Thibodaux when he was child. They became parishioners of St. Genevieve in Thibodaux when it was established in 1959. He says he remembers attending Mass in a large warehouse on St. Mary Hwy. that had been converted into a church and attending the first Mass that was celebrated in the parish’s newly built church on Barbier Ave. He was also a first grader in the first group of students that attended St. Genevieve Elementary School when it opened in 1960. Chief Justice Weimer graduated from Thibodaux High School, and was an academic honors and Hall of Fame graduate of Nicholls State University, where he served as student body president twice. He received his juris doctorate from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and went into private practice in Thibodaux from 1980-1995. Prior to taking the bench, Chief Justice Weimer was a full-time faculty member at Nicholls State University (1982-1997) as a professor of business law and ethics. Chief Justice Weimer says he knew he wanted to study law before he went to college because he perceived that the skills he needed to be an attorney matched to some extent the skills the Lord had blessed him with: The desire to help people, wanting to be of service, enjoyment of reading, analyzing problems, writing and speaking. “My decision was reinforced by a lot of wonderful people that came in and out of my life. Judge Randy Parro did business with my father at his service station where I used to help out as a teenager. I asked him once what it would take to become an attorney. We ended up practicing law together and he was the one who convinced the Supreme Court to appoint me to serve as a district judge while he was serving on the Court of Appeals. Later, I was elected to the Court of Appeals where we served together again. Other people like Congressman Billy Tauzin that I worked with in the Legislature, former Speaker of the House and General Hunt Downer, and my cousin Deacon Dan Borné were all very influential in my career, also.” He adds that he and his classmates Danny Cavell, an attorney from Thibodaux; Billy Stark, an attorney from Houma; John Perry, an attorney from Baton Rouge; Roy Willis, an attorney from Houma; and the late Jimmy Dagate and Jerry Herman, attorneys from Houma, were undergraduates together; all went to law school at the same time, and have remained good friends after all these decades. Chief Justice Weimer has been married to Penny Hymel,

a former elementary school teacher, for 33 years, and the couple has three daughters: Jacqueline, 30; Katherine, 27; and Emily, 24; and one grandchild, with another one on the way. After he met his wife, they attended Christ the Redeemer Church parish in Thibodaux and took their children there; he also served as a member of the parish’s pastoral council for over 20 years. Now, he says his children take him and his wife to St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Thibodaux. Being an attorney, judge and now chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court has been a time-consuming career. Chief Justice Weimer says as much as he could, he always tried to work around his children’s schedules, even if it meant bringing his laptop to their sporting events. “After our second daughter was born, my wife and I made a conscience decision that she would leave teaching and be a full-time mom, and she has been absolutely remarkable and outstanding. Penny is very supportive and understands the demands on my time. She has been able to balance multiple schedules and tasks over the years. She really took care of her family. I am blessed!” Chief Justice Weimer began his judicial career serving as Judge pro tempore, Division D, of the 17th Judicial District Court in 1993 following an appointment by the Louisiana Supreme Court. In 1995, he was elected to serve as Judge, Division A, of the 17th Judicial District Court and re-elected in 1996 without opposition. He was elected to serve on Louisiana’s First Circuit Court of Appeal in 1998. His service on the Supreme Court began in 2001 when he was elected to serve as an associate justice, District 6, which is comprised of the parishes of Assumption, Iberia, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, and a portion of the west bank of Jefferson, which includes Grand Isle. He was re-elected to consecutive 10-year terms without opposition. Chief Justice Weimer has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Victims and Citizens Against Crime Outstanding Judicial Award, the Crimefighters, Inc. Outstanding Jurist Award; the Outstanding Alumni Award and the 50th Anniversary Golden Graduate Award from Nicholls State University, the Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence and was also named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. In 2006, he was named as one of the leading judges in America by The Law Dragon, a national publication. He formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Center for Law and Civic Education, frequently teaches at schools throughout the district he serves, reestablished and coordinates the Lafourche Parish Student Government Day Program, and was recognized for his significant assistance in establishing the Lafourche Parish Drug Treatment Court. Chief Justice Weimer also serves as a volunteer in the Thibodaux Volunteer Fire Department, Fire Company No. 1, and is an award winning self-taught amateur painter whose donated works have raised thousands of dollars for countless charities. BC March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 33


Announcements

Lenten missions in the diocese Holy Cross, Morgan City “40 Days: A Lent Encounter” Date: Wednesdays, Feb. 24, March 3, 10, 17, 24 Time: 6:30—8:30 p.m. Speaker: Father Brice Higginbotham Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Golden Meadow Date: Sunday, March 7 Time: Following 10 a.m. Mass Speaker: Father Patrick Riviere Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Houma Date: Tuesday, March 16 Time: 6 p.m. Speaker: Father Billy Velasco Our Lady of the Rosary, Larose Date: Wednesday, March 3 Time: 6 p.m. Speaker: Father Duc Bui

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Announcements

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre’s Holy Week schedule Palm Sunday Sunday, March 28 Good Shepherd Chapel, diocesan Pastoral Center 9 a.m.

Good Friday Friday, April 2, Passion and veneration St Joseph Co-Cathedral, Thibodaux 3 p.m.

Holy Thursday Thursday, April 1, Chrism Mass Cathedral of St Francis de Sales, Houma 10:30 a.m.

Easter Vigil Saturday, April 3, St Joseph Co-Cathedral, Thibodaux 8 p.m.

Holy Thursday Thursday, April 1, Mass of the Lord’s Supper Cathedral of St Francis de Sales, Houma 7 p.m.

Easter Sunday Sunday, April 4, Good Shepherd Chapel, diocesan Pastoral Center 9 a.m.

All liturgies will be livestreamed. Visit htdiocese.org/ holyweek to watch these liturgies.

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March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 35


Announcement

Catholic Charities opens Caritas Food Pantry in East Houma Story by Janet Marcel Photos by Lawrence Chatagnier Catholic Charities Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux’s Caritas Food Pantry, East Houma opened its doors to the public recently. The Food Pantry is located at 131 Rosary St. in the old school building next to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Houma. Twenty-five households consisting of a total of 76 individuals were served on the first day. Recipients are screened and eligibility is incomebased. We are excited to be able to expand our feeding ministries to East Houma,” says Nicole M. Bourgeois, Ph.D., LMFT, executive director of Catholic Charities. “The people of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church parish and the Knights of Columbus Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Council 16362 have been extremely helpful through physical donations and time in helping us convert two classrooms into the food pantry. We are excited to bring this crucial ministry to East Houma in an effort to better serve people throughout the community.” Initial donations were received from the T-Caillou Lion’s Club, Houma Elks, Bayou Community Foundation, and through #iGiveCatholic. The Food Pantry is affiliated with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Second Harvest Food Bank of New Orleans. Initially, the Caritas Food Pantry will be serving clients on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month by appointment. Those in need can call (985) 746-5280 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to be screened and schedule their appointment for the day of the distribution. BC

36 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021


Announcement

COVID-19 vaccines arrive Father Mike Bergeron receives the COVID-19 vaccine at the Homestead Assisted Living facility in Houma where he regularly celebrates Mass with the residents. Walgreens Pharmacy administered 80 vaccines to the staff and residents of the facility on that day. Looking on is B.J. Jennings, administrator of the Homestead.

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Vatican

Vatican: Institutionalization of elderly a mark of ‘throwaway culture’ By COURTNEY MARES Vatican City, (CNA) The Vatican called for a rethinking of elder care in a document arguing that the elderly are best cared for in an environment more like a family home than a hospital. The Pontifical Academy for Life published the 6,000word document Feb. 9 on the need to improve social and pastoral care for the elderly, particularly after the devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic on retirement homes across the world. “During the first wave of the pandemic, a considerable part of the deaths from COVID-19 occurred in institutions for the elderly, places that should have protected the ‘most fragile

part of society’ and where instead death has struck disproportionately more than in the home and family environment,” the document said. The pontifical academy called for a “profound change of mentality and approach” to care for the elderly, pointing to the disproportionate number of coronavirus-related deaths as an example of a failure of the widespread “institutionalization of the elderly” and calling it a manifestation of “throwaway culture.” “The institutionalization of the elderly, especially of those most vulnerable and most alone, proposed as the only possible solution to look after them, in many social contexts manifests a lack of concern and

38 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

sensitivity towards the weak, for whom it would rather be necessary to use means and financing to guarantee the best possible care to those who need it most, in a more familiar environment. Isolating the elderly is an obvious manifestation of what Pope Francis has called the ‘throwaway culture,’” it said. The pontifical academy highlighted the family home as the best environment to respect the “full dignity of the elderly,” whose lives are often marked by suffering. “Already in the years when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis stressed that ‘the elimination of the elderly from the life of the family and of society represents

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Vatican

the expression of a perverse process in which there is no longer any gratuitousness, generosity, that wealth of feelings that make life not just a give and take, that is a market … Eliminating the elderly is a curse that our society often inflicts on itself,’” the document said, quoting a 2013 statement from Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio before he became pope. The document also acknowledged that there are many people who lack the support of the ideal family environment and therefore it called for another framework connecting different generations. “Nursing homes should be redeveloped … i.e. offer some of their services directly in the homes of the elderly: Hospitalization at home, taking care of the single person with low- or high-intensity assistance responses based on personal needs, where integrated social and health care and home care services are the pivot of a new and modern paradigm,” it said. The document also called for changes to cities to make them more habitable for the elderly. It said: “The data tell us that the elderly population is growing faster in urban areas than in rural areas and that the concentration of older people in them is higher … According to data from the World Health Organization, in 2050 there will be two billion over-60s in the world: therefore, one in five people will be elderly. It is therefore essential to make our cities inclusive and welcoming places for the elderly and, in general, for all forms of fragility.” The Pontifical Academy for Life asked dioceses, parishes and religious communities to reflect more attentively on pastoral care for the elderly. “The aging man is not approaching the end, but the mystery of eternity; to understand it he needs to get close to God and to live in relationship with him. Taking care of the spirituality of the elderly, of their need for intimacy with Christ and sharing of faith is a task of charity in the church,” it said. The document quoted St. John Paul II’s 1999 “Letter to the Elderly”: “It is urgent to recover the right perspective from which to consider life as a whole. And the right perspective is eternity, for which life is a significant preparation in every phase. Old age also has its role to play in this process of progressive maturation of the human being on his way to eternity. If life is a pilgrimage toward the mystery of God, old age is the time in which we most naturally look at the threshold of this mystery.” Pope Francis recently proclaimed the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, to take place each year in July. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said that the pope’s institution of the new annual day in the church was “an invitation to believers to grow in them and around them a new sensitivity and care toward grandparents and the elderly.” “It is the church’s responsibility,” Paglia said at a Vatican press conference on Feb. 9. “We owe it to our elders, to all those who will become so in the years to come. The level of civilization of an era ... is measured by the way we treat those who are weaker and more fragile.” BC

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Dr. Nicole Bourgeois, LMFT nbourgeois@htdiocese.org 985-876-0490

March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 39


Announcement

Retrouvaille weekend experience scheduled for March 5-7 in Baton Rouge A Retrouvaille weekend experience is scheduled for Friday, March 5 through Sunday, March 7. Retrouvaille (pronounced retro-vi with a long i), a ministry of help that offers the tools needed for couples seeking to heal and renew their marriages and rediscover a loving marital relationship, is a threephase program consisting of a weekend experience, a series of six post-weekend sessions over 12 weeks, followed by monthly small-group support meetings. Retrouvaille has helped tens of thousands of couples at all stages of disillusionment or misery in their marriage, and the program can help you, too. For confidential information or to register for the upcoming program beginning with a weekend on March 5-7, call (985) 232-5963 or email: retrovibrcomcoor@gmail.com or visit www.HelpOurMarriage.com. BC

Outreach Line In response to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux is offering an Outreach Line (formerly known as the Child Protection Contact Line). The Outreach Line is an effort to continue the diocesan commitment to support healing for people who have been hurt or sexually abused recently or in the past by clergy, religious or other employees of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. The Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Outreach Line operates from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A trained mental health professional responds to the line. Individuals are offered additional assistance if requested.

The Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Outreach Line Telephone number is (985) 873-0026 or (985) 850-3172

Línea de Comunicación Diocesana

Con el fin de cumplir con las Políticas de Protección de Niños y Jóvenes de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Los Estados Unidos, la Diócesis de Houma-Thibodaux ofrece una Línea de Comunicación (antes Línea de Contacto para la Protección de los Niños). La Línea de Comunicación es parte del esfuerzo diocesano de comprometerse con el mejoramiento de aquéllos que han sido lastimados o abusados sexualmente recientemente o en el pasado por miembros del clero, religiosos u otros empleados de la Diócesis de Houma-Thibodaux. El horario de la Línea de Comunicación de la Diócesis de Houma-Thibodaux es de 8:30 a.m. a 4:30 p.m., de lunes a viernes. El encargado de esta línea es un profesional capacitado en salud mental. Se ofrece asistencia adicional al ser solicitada.

Línea de Comunicación de la Diócesis de Houma-Thibodaux Número de teléfono (985) 873-0026 o (985) 850-3172

Ñöôøng daây ñieän thoaïi Cöùu giuùp Giaùo phaän

Bayou Catholic

Ñeå höôûng öùng Hieán chöông Baûo veä Treû em vaø Giôùi treû töø Hoäi ñoàng Giaùm muïc Hoa kyø, Giaùo phaän Houma-Thibodaux ñang chuaån bò ñöôøng daây ñieän thoaïi Cöùu giuùp (luùc tröôùc laø ñöôøng daây lieân laïc baûo veä treû em). Ñöôøng daây ñieän thoaïi Cöùu giuùp laø moät söï coá gaéng cuûa giaùo phaän nhaèm cam keát haøn gaén naâng ñôõ nhöõng ai ñaõ bò toån thöông hoaëc bò laïm duïng tính duïc hoaëc gaàn ñaây hoaëc trong quaù khöù bôûi giaùo só, tu só hoaëc caùc coâng nhaân vieân cuûa Giaùo phaän Houma-Thibodaux. Ñöôøng daây ñieän thoaïi Cöùu giuùp Giaùo phaän hoaït ñoäng töø 8:30 saùng ñeán 4:30 chieàu, thöù hai ñeán thöù saùu. Moät nhaân vieân chuyeân nghieäp veà söùc khoûe taâm thaàn traû lôøi treân ñöôøng daây ñieän thoaïi. Nhöõng caù nhaân seõ ñöôïc trôï giuùp naâng ñôõ theâm neáu caàn.

40 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

Ñöôøng daây ñieän thoaïi Cöùu giuùp Giaùo phaän Soá ñieän thoaïi: (985) 873-0026; (985) 850-3172


Sports

Overtime Ed Daniels

Saints and Brees, right organization, right quarterback, a perfect match The greatest definition of any leader is that he served those around him. Saints quarterback Drew Brees did that. He also made those around him better. Teammates saw maniacal preparation as part of the Brees work ethic. At his retirement, Saints tackle and now radio play by play voice Zach Strief said he used to text Drew a menu for dinner on Thursday night. “We knew Drew’s work day lasted four hours longer than ours,” said Strief. Lance Moore struggled to make an NFL roster as a free agent in 2005. He wasn’t very big, or fast, but he was an incredibly hard worker and a quick study. In 2008, his third season with Drew

Brees, Moore caught 79 passes, 10 for touchdowns. Moore’s story is a great one. He literally scratched and clawed his way into the NFL. He found the right organization, and the right quarterback. He ends his career with a Super Bowl ring and is enshrined in the Saints Hall of Fame. He earned every dime he earned, and every reception, with an assist to Drew Brees. Seventh round pick Marques Colston impressed his quarterback and head coach Sean Payton at a broiling hot training camp in Jackson, MS. Colston would catch 70 passes, eight for touchdowns as a rookie. One year later, he caught 98 passes, 11 for touchdowns. His 72 touchdowns are a Saints franchise record. Colston was quiet, the total antithesis of today’s all about me receiver. But, he was as cerebral as the day was long. In the Saints locker room one day, a reporter asked him what drove him. “I like the life I have now,” said Colston. “And, I am not going back.” Right organization, and right quarterback. Saints tight end Jared Cook came to New Orleans two years ago. He had never played in a playoff game. He set a career high in yards per reception at 16.4, and had nine TD receptions in 2019. The previous four seasons, Cooks had

nine touchdown receptions. Right organization, right quarterback. In 2004, the Saints drafted Devery Henderson in the second round out of LSU. Henderson held out in training camp that year, clearly irking head coach Jim Haslett. Would Devery Henderson ever be a quality NFL receiver? In 2006, Henderson maxed out his production per reception. Of his 32 catches, 28 were for first downs, five for touchdowns. Henderson averaged a mind boggling 23.3 yards a reception. Years later, he had a chance to play elsewhere. Nope. “I know my quarterback,” said Devery. Smart man. Right organization, right quarterback. When he retired from the NFL, Strief noted that he played in front of Drew Brees for eight seasons. Then, Strief gave Brees the biggest compliment anyone can ever get. As Strief fought back tears, he uttered the following. “My biggest drive as a player was that I never wanted to let you down.” Right organization, and right quarterback. A quarterback that gave his head coach, general manager, teammates, coaches, everyone in the building, and every Saints fan something that is very difficult to attain. That is consistent excellence, and for lagniappe, a Super Bowl ring. BC

March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 41


Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Financial Summary 2019-2020 Brothers and Sisters in Christ: I am pleased to continue the practice of sharing with you the annual financial report for our diocese here in the Bayou Catholic. Again this year, we are publishing an accounting of the financial operations of the diocese, which are taken directly from the Audits of Consolidated Financial Statements of the Central Administrative Offices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, offices and institutions – fiscal year July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. These are independently audited financial statements, performed again this past year by LaPorte CPAs & Business Advisors. The report indicates that our current financial position is stable, continuing a positive trend with proper controls in place to effectively monitor, manage and report on the financial health of our diocese. In the opinion of the auditor, our financial statements “present fairly our financial position, change in net assets and cash flows for the years ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.” This particular report is just one element of the accountability and transparency that the diocese strives to practice on a continuing basis. Whether it be the construction of our operating budget, monitoring our progress and/or properly controlling our expenses, I would like to assure each of you that our diocesan staff is committed to the most ethical and prudent fiscal management of the resources to which you have entrusted us. I once again ask for God’s blessing on each of you in this Lenten season. Thank you once again for your ongoing, generous support of our bishop and our Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Toups Chief Operating & Financial Officer Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

42 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021


Diocese remains secure amid COVID-19 Pandemic Church Parishes Because of the statewide public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a Stay at Home Order in Louisiana on March 23, 2020, that included a ban on all gatherings of over 10 people. Consequently, this order prohibited the faithful of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux to gather together for the public celebration of Mass. During this unprecedented time, the priests of our diocese stepped up with many resourceful ways to keep in touch with their parishioners including livestreaming Masses, daily prayer sessions, adoration and Q&A sessions on Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms; offering drive-by confession opportunities, drive-in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and more. Catholic Charities Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux staff worked hard to try to help meet the needs of those people who were food insecure in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, by teaming up with Second Harvest Food Bank of New Orleans, Second Harvest Food Bank of Acadiana and Cannata’s Market locations in Houma and Morgan City for six drivethrough food distributions throughout the diocese during May and June 2020. Nicole M. Bourgeois, Ph.D., LMFT, executive director of Catholic Charities, reports that these six distributions provided a total of 4,824 families with 135,984 lbs. of food. Catholic Schools Governor John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation that closed all public K-12 schools from Monday, March 16 until Monday, April 13, prompting Catholic Church officials follow suit and close all parochial schools statewide for 30 days. In the diocese, Catholic school administrator-ministers and teacher-ministers immediately begin preparations for distance learning. Schools stayed closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. In mid-June 2020, a task force comprised of Catholic school

administrators, medical health professionals, parents, school board members, and diocesan leadership, began working on a “Return to School Plan,” to help navigate the return to inclassroom instruction in schools for the 2020-21 school year so that employees, students and families could feel safe; and to identify and implement the most efficient ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Looking Ahead Mary’s Manor, a gift from the Mary & Al Danos Family Foundation continues to provide a dual purpose for our priests: A vacation or weekend getaway and a social hub, but is also reserved as a retirement location, when applicable. In the future, after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted, expect the home to be further utilized as a center for many social, recreational and fun events for our priests. Diocesan officials have been working closely with archival experts nationally to improve, digitize and conform diocesan records to current standards, and have completed Phase I of the project. The improvements will not only greatly assist the diocesan Archives and Historical Research Center housed on the Nicholls State University campus, but provide much needed assistance to church parish and school staffs. Through the generosity of the Mary & Al Danos Family Foundation’s $150,000 grant, the diocese recently purchased and is implementing a new financial management system, NetSuite, which will assist pastors, bookkeepers, finance councils, school presidents and administrator-ministers throughout the diocese. The diocesan Office of Vocations recently announced that it is implementing a new concept in the diocese with the opening of a House of Formation where men who desire to study for the priesthood will begin their journey before going to the seminary for academic and priestly formation. The new formation house is located in Thibodaux, just a couple of blocks from Nicholls State University.

Learn more about the work of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Visit www.htdiocese.org March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 43


2019-2020 Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Financial Statements for the year ended June 30, 2020 Assets Cash and Investments Accounts Receivable and Other Current Assets Property and Equipment, net of Depreciation Other Assets Total Assets

$ 63,917,687 932,293 10,633,254 4,513,764

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Assets

Parish loans, $1,765,763

Property, plant & equipment, net, $10,633,254

$ 79,996,998

Liabilities and Net Assets (Deficit) Liabilities

Cash and investments, $63,917,687

Accounts Payable and Other Current Liabilities Central Finance Deposit Liabilities Postretirement Benefit Liability - Priests Other Liabilities

$ 3,532,978 58,803,637 16,095,548 495,702

Total Liabilities

78,927,865

Net Assets (Deficit)

With Donor Restrictions Without Donor Restrictions

Total Net Assets (Deficit)

Total Liabilities and Net Assets (Deficit)

$ 6,992,284 (5,923,151) 1,069,133 $ 79,996,998

Revenues and Other Support: Cathedraticum Donations and Grants Investment and Royalty Income Insurance Premiums Other Program Income Net Assets Released From Restrictions

Total Revenues and Other Support

Without Donor Restrictions $ 2,185,202 3,807,268 3,802,252 9,699,675 3,267,728 32,223

With Donor Restrictions $289,286 61,225 (32,223)

22,794,348

318,288

Expenses: Program Expenses: Formation Ministries Social Ministries Clergy and Religious Expenses Administration Ministries General and Administrative Expenses Stewardship Expenses

1,858,152 2,078,238 2,267,779 11,998,394 1,070,493 219,498

-

19,492,554

-

(2,428,212)

-

$ 873,582

$ 318,288

Total Expenses

Postretirement Plan Changes

Change in Net Assets

44 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

Some notes regarding the diocese's assets:

Some notes regarding the diocese’s assets: The diocese’s assets are comprised primarily of investments and property, plant and equipment. The source of the invested funds stems mainly from the diocesan Central Finance program. Deposits and endowments in the Central Finance program account are included in investments. Property, plant and equipment includes property received from the Archdiocese of New Orleans upon the formation of the diocese in 1977. Also, it includes the cost of fixed asset additions made since the formation of the diocese (exclusive of replacements), net of depreciation.

The diocese's assets are comprised primarily of investments and property, plant and equipment. The source of the invested funds stems mainly from the diocesan Central Finance program. Deposits and endowments in the Central Finance program account are included in investments. Property, plant and equipment includes property received from the Archdiocese of New Orleans upon the formation of the diocese in 1977. Also, it includes the cost of fixed asset additions made since the formation of the diocese (exclusive of replacements), net of depreciation.

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Liabilities

Central finance deposits, $41,102,576

Priests' postretirement benefits liability, $16,095,548

Insurance program reserves, $495,702

Endowments held for others, $17,701,061

Accounts payable and other current liabilities, $3,532,978

Some notes regarding the diocese’s liabilities and accruals: Seventy-five (75) percent of the liabilities of the percent diocese result from inclusion of Seventy-five (75%) ofthethe deposits in the diocese's Central Finance program and endowments in the liability liabilities of the diocese result from the category. The liability for priests' postretirement benefits other than pensions (mainly inclusion of deposits in the health insurance and long-term care) have historically beendiocese’s paid and will be paid in the future through the diocese's normal annual budgetary process. Central Finance program and endowments in the liability category. The liability for priests’ postretirement benefits other than pensions (mainly health insurance and long-term care) have historically been paid and will be paid in the future through the diocese’s normal annual budgetary process. Some notes regarding the diocese's liabilities and accruals:

Other Increases (Decreases) in Net Assets

Other assets, $2,748,001

Other current assets, $932,293


Financial Summary Diocesan Finance Council

Expenses by Office/Department

The Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux is grateful to the members of the diocesan finance council. These individuals play an important consultative role in the fiscal management of the diocese. The diocesan finance council members are:

Formation Ministries: Pilgrimage to March for Life Worship Catholic Schools Religious Education Parish Support Evangelization Communications Bayou Catholic ABA Grants to Parishes and Schools

$ 101,661 66,075 416,355 521 493,588 157,184 179,980 326,014 116,774

1,858,152

Father Michael Bergeron Angelique Barker Philip McMahon Robbie Naquin Quint Ocker Tim Robichaux Craig Stanga Consultants: Jon J. Toups April M. LeBouef Ex-Officio Members: Bishop Shelton J. Fabre Very Rev. Simon Peter Engurait, V.G.

The Audit and the Auditor’s Opinion The financial statements were audited by an independent certified public accounting firm. Diocesan management chooses to hire these auditors to help fulfill its role as good and responsible stewards of the generous funds contributed by its parishioners. The auditors expressed an “unmodified” opinion on the diocese’s financial statements. An “unmodified” opinion means the financial statements are fairly presented, in all material respects, in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. The complete audited report is available to all on the diocesan website, www.htdiocese.org. Click as follows: Offices, Administration, Finance, then Documents.

Total Formation Ministries

Social Ministries: Catholic Charities Hospital Chaplain Assisi Bridge House St. Lucy Childcare Center Disaster Services Catholic Housing Micro-Enterprise (C.E.N.T.S.) Foster Grandparent Food Banks

Total Social Ministries

421,133 104,501 392,796 359,070 45,378 46,383 31,925 273,665 403,387 2,078,238

Clergy and Religious: Seminarian Formation Vocations Permanent Diaconate Continuing Education Office of the Bishop Mary’s Manor Pension and Postretirement Benefits

481,149 41,103 262 59,158 219,034 72,893 1,394,180

Total Clergy and Religious

2,267,779

Administration Ministries: Computer and Technology Support Construction Archives Tribunal Cemeteries and Cemeteries Trust St. Joseph Cemetery Property and Casualty Insurance Human Resources and Employee Benefits Central Finance Lumen Christi

182,459 56,291 53,434 62,997 364,910 315,366 3,519,590 6,646,182 483,570 313,595

Total Administration Ministries

Total Program Expenses

11,998,394 $ 18,202,563

March 2021 • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • Bayou Catholic • 45


46 • Bayou Catholic • Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux • March 2021

-

(814,332)

Excess (deficiency) of revenues over expenses

-

Telephone 1,858,152

-

Emergency assistance and disaster relief

Total expenses

-

35,622

116,774

Central finance interest expense

Depreciation

Contributions and grants

-

87,254

Papal quota and Catholic Conference

32,120

Copying and printing

-

Occupancy expenses

Other operating expenses

-

4,745

Insurance

6,861

Maintenance and repair

503,543

Supplies

Program expenses

5,186

38,007

Conference and travel

54,348

Business allowance/reimbursement

-

147,764

47,346

Pension and benefits

Group insurance - retired priests

Group insurance

Payroll taxes

654,831 123,751

Salaries - lay personnel

1,043,820

-

397,257

Salaries - religious

Expenses:

Total revenues

Net assets released from restrictions

Program service and other income

-

Oil and gas royalties

646,563 -

$

$

$

$

(70,428)

2,078,238

25,513

357,355

-

70,785

-

-

152

65,355

77,371

28,292

73,152

43,436

230,208

32,536

32,345

36,627

-

175,441

54,117

47,193

728,360

2,007,810

-

752,365

-

12,164

1,243,281

-

Ministries

Ministries

Investment income

Donations and grants

Cathedraticum

Revenues:

Social

Formation

$

$

-

(1,154,169)

2,267,779

2,116

-

-

53,847

1,900

-

2,950

17,449

14,330

12,820

28,047

14,684

427,933

38,737

66,362

6,172

1,319,275

95,112

5,647

76,353

84,045

1,113,610

-

15,695

-

26,439

1,071,476

Religious

Clergy and

Program expenses

$

$

-

3,216,977

11,998,394

-

-

483,570

81,612

-

-

-

97,527

75,801

-

67,334

41,710

1,178,048

18,202,563

27,629

357,355

483,570

241,866

118,674

-

90,356

212,451

167,502

41,112

173,278

106,691

11,069,218

9,907,534

148,396

139,699

1,319,275

585,779

167,413

267,297

2,403,053

19,380,611

32,223

12,903,383

-

3,471,536

2,973,469

81,949

$

$

Total Program

5,490

11,682

42,552

-

167,462

60,303

20,000

935,817

15,215,371

32,223

11,738,066

-

3,432,933

12,149

-

Ministries

Administration

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Unrestricted Revenues and Expenses Year Ended June 30, 2020

Unrestricted Revenues and Expenses for the year ended June 30, 2020

General and

$

$

1,560,822

1,070,493

10,987

-

-

250,080

4,909

55,129

33,273

135,570

50,886

-

66,304

16,042

27,588

14,571

18,429

13,762

-

61,531

17,498

13,243

280,691

2,631,315

-

64,020

330,716

-

51,377

2,185,202

Adminsitrative

$

$

562,924

219,498

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

187,551

-

-

1,342

-

3,788

1,832

-

24,985

782,422

-

-

-

-

782,422

-

Stewardship

$

$

3,301,794

19,492,554

38,616

357,355

483,570

491,946

123,583

55,129

123,629

348,021

218,388

41,112

239,582

122,733

11,284,357

96,520

166,825

154,803

1,319,275

651,098

186,743

280,540

2,708,729

22,794,348

32,223

12,967,403

330,716

3,471,536

3,807,268

2,185,202

Total

Schedule A

Schedule A


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