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Voting as a faith-filled citizen

Posted October 21, 2020 at 12:00 am

This past week early voting began for the presidential election of 2020. Those who are already voting have made up their minds about the best choice for president, but there are many who continue to struggle with how and for whom they should vote. I’d like to present a few reflections on the principles that will help us make an informed and faith-filled decision as Catholics and disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

First, we must affirm that in this election we are foremost voting to choose the candidate to fill the office of PRESIDENT of the United States. We are looking for the candidate who best embodies the skills and virtues necessary for leadership both domestically and internationally. We are looking for a candidate whose policy and vision of what

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    World Youth Day Lisbon unveils 2023 logo

    ROME (CNA) – World Youth Day Lisbon launched its website and unveiled its logo Oct. 15 as Portugal prepares to host the world’s largest gathering of Catholic young people in August 2023.

    The logo, featuring the Blessed Virgin Mary in front of a cross, was selected in an international contest with hundreds of participants from 30 countries by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

    It was designed by Beatriz Roque Antunes, a

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    Bishop Duca’s message regarding Phase 3

    (The following is a letter Bishop Michael G. Duca wrote to priests in the Diocese of Baton Rouge regarding Louisiana moving into Phase 3 of Louisiana’s pandemic response.)

    This week (Sept. 14) we entered “Phase III” of our social pandemic response.  I have been working to formalize a response to how that will affect our current diocesan guidelines and the prevailing practices in Diocesan parishes. I

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    Diocese raising funds for disaster relief

    I am grateful to God that the people of our diocese were mostly spared the ravages of Hurricane Laura. However, Hurricane Laura inflicted devastating and long-lasting damage to the people of the southwest and northwest areas of Louisiana, particularly those living in the Diocese of Lake Charles. In response, the Diocese of Baton Rouge will be joining other dioceses, groups and individuals to offer assistance in this time of need in the following ways:    

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    Vatican: Laity have role, but most parishes must be led by priests

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy issued a new instruction on pastoral care that specifies the role of lay men and women in the church’s mission of evangelization and offers guidance in parish reforms and restructuring.  

    The 22-page document, titled “The pastoral conversion of the parish community in the service of the evangelizing mission of the church,” was released by the Vatican July 20.  

    While it does not introduce

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    Bishop Michael G. Duca’s Sacrament of Confirmation 2019 Winter Schedule

    Friday, Jan. 18                      7:00 PM                 Immaculate Conception,
    Denham Springs

    Monday, Jan. 21                    7:00 PM                St. Theresa of Avila, Gonzales

    Tuesday, Jan. 22                   7:00 PM                St. Mark, Gonzales

    Thursday, Jan. 24                7:00 PM       

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    Continuing Formation Days upcoming

    Dear People of God of the Diocese of Baton Rouge,

    The upcoming annual Continuing Formation days for our priests are Jan. 14-17. These days represent an important occasion for our priests’ renewal and growth in intellectual and spiritual formation, emotional maturity and physical well-being. Since these days are offered once a year and is a commitment by the diocese for their on-going formation, participation by our active priests is mandatory. 

    With the guidance of the Diocesan

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    Bishop Duca asks for prayers during difficult times

    It has been just ten weeks since I was received at St. Joseph Cathedral as the sixth bishop of Baton Rouge. As bishop, I would have liked my first column in The Catholic Commentator to be on a less serious subject but this moment in our lives as Catholics demands a different kind of reflection.

    On August 14, the “Grand Jury Report on the Sexual Abuse of Children in Six Dioceses in Pennsylvania” was published and once again cast world-wide

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    Pope canonizes new saints

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Carrying Pope Paul VI’s pastoral staff and wearing the blood-stained belt of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, Pope Francis formally recognized them, and five others, as saints of the Catholic Church. 

    Thousands of pilgrims from the new saints’ home countries – Italy, El Salvador, Spain and Germany – were joined by tens of thousands of others Oct. 14 in St. Peter’s Square to celebrate the universal recognition of the holiness of men and women they already knew

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    Chilean priests say they felt welcomed, listened to by pope

    VATICAN CITY (CNS)  – After meeting with Pope Francis for more than four hours, a Chilean priest who suffered abuse and a priest whom ministers to survivors said they felt comforted and hopeful for the church’s future in their country.

    The pope met June 2 with five priests who the Vatican described as being “victims of abuses of power, of conscience and of sexual abuse.”

    Two priests who have accompanied the survivors “in their juridical and spiritual journey” and “two laypeople involved in this suffering” also were invited by Pope Francis. They were all

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    Chile’s bishops offer resignations

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Every bishop in Chile offered his resignation to Pope Francis after a three-day meeting at the Vatican to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

    “We want to announce that all bishops present in Rome, in writing, have placed our positions in the Holy Father’s hands so that he may freely decide regarding each one of us,” Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz of San Bernardo said May 18 in a statement on behalf of the country’s bishops.

    The unprecedented decision was made on the final day of their meeting May 15-17 with Pope Francis.

    Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos Perez of

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    Pope, Christian leaders condemn use of violence against Syria

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) –Sharply criticizing a failure to find nonviolent means of bringing peace to Syria and other parts of the world, Pope Francis appealed to world leaders to work for justice and peace.

    “I am deeply disturbed by the current world situation, in which, despite the instruments available to international community, it struggles to agree on joint action in favor of peace in Syria and other regions of the world,” he said after praying the “Regina Coeli” with people gathered in St. Peter’s Square April 15.

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    Bishop Muench’s Chrism Mass homily

    I begin this homily with a renewed call for prayer, respect for and dialogue with fellow citizens of our community as well as those responsible for ensuring security for us. In this regard I acknowledge the conscientious efforts of our Diocesan Racial Harmony Commission. At the Last Supper, Jesus said: “This is my commandment: Love one another, as I love you.”(Jn 15:12).

    For this annual Chrism Mass we joyously assemble, representing the church in and of Baton Rouge in microcosm, through the unity and diversity of our

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    Bishop Muench’s statement on the Sterling decision

    After a 10-month state department of justice investigation into the shooting death of Alton Sterling, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced that no charges would be brought against the two Baton Rouge Police Department officers involved. This morning’s announcement follows a similar finding by the United States Department of Justice last May. BRPD Chief Murphy Paul indicated his department is continuing an internal audit and administrative review of the case, and the results will be announced Friday.Let us take time during this Holy Week to pray for healing for all who have been wounded

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    Confession offers ‘good feeling’ that can last for weeks

    Many years ago the Diocese of Baton Rouge was one of the first to follow a Lenten initiative begun in the Archdiocese of Washington entitled The Light is ON for You. It involves opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) to be available. Since then countless people have taken advantage of this venture. A list of places and times in our diocese where it will be specially celebrated this Lent is available (in this issue of) The Catholic Commentator Lent pull-out section. Materials and videos to assist you

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    Bishop Robert W. Muench’s 2018 Winter Schedule

    Sacrament of Confirmation  

    Saturday, Jan. 13 | 4:00 PM St. Anne/St. Anthony, Sorrento  

    Thursday, Jan. 18 | 7:00 PM St. John the Baptist, Brusly  

    Friday, Jan. 19 | 7:00 PM Immaculate Conception, Denham Springs  

    Saturday, Jan. 20 | 4:00 PM Ascension/St. Francis/Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Ascension/Donaldsonville  

    Monday, Jan. 22 | 7:00 PM St. Theresa of Avila, Gonzales 

    Tuesday, Jan. 23 | 7:00 PM

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    Moved by Faith

    The quickness with which some patients are up and walking so soon after their surgical procedures never ceases to amaze. A perfect way to avoid troubling complications, movement proves essential in a patient’s recovery. It also serves as a simple corrective to the less active lifestyle so common in our age. The popularity of step counting devices like the Fitbit and similar smartphone apps suggest we recognize the need to be more intentional in even the most conventional of our daily activities.

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    Nativity scenes bring joy to hardened hearts

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square is not getting rave reviews: The backdrop does not look like a stable and the characters in need, hungry, naked, dead, imprisoned, don’t exactly evoke a silent night when all was cozy, calm and bright.

    Franciscan Father John Puodziunas said he didn’t like it at first.

    In addition to Mary and Joseph – baby Jesus will appear only on Christmas – the scene includes figures of people who illustrate

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    Bishop Muench’s annual Christmas message

    Dearest Sisters and Brothers in the Lord, 

    “Say to those who are frightened: Be strong fear not! Here is our God, he comes to save us” (Is 3:4). 

    As Christmas 2017 nears, we again approach in awe and wonder the manger of Bethlehem and the presence of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Comprehending the mystic truth of the Word becoming Flesh and living among us (Jn 1:14) requires us to realize Jesus is the third word of God;

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    Special collection set to benefit St. Joseph Abbey

    St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary College in Covington, have had a profound influence on the life of the Catholic Church in the Deep South. For over 125 years the monks of the abbey have been educating and forming young men as candidates for the priesthood. This has been their primary mission and their lasting legacy. Most of our own diocesan priests studied there.

    The monks began this ministry in 1889 at the invitation of the newly installed Archbishop of New Orleans,

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    Planting seeds today for the future

    A single millimeter amounts to little more than the head of a pin, the tip of a ballpoint, a lower case “o” in this size print. It is the diameter of a typical mustard seed. And yet, in the words of Jesus, faith no greater than that yields a harvest worthy of heaven. “I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you”

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    Parish priests to attend Fall Retreat

    Dear people of God of the Diocese of Baton Rouge,

    Your pastor will be attending a mandatory Priest retreat from Monday, Oct. 2, through Thursday, Oct. 5. The September retreat at the Louisiana Priests Convention, held every four years, will take the place of the Diocesan Annual Priests’ Formation Days held in January. The October retreat is the Clergy Fall Retreat mandatory every other year.

    I know this may affect certain regular ministries, such

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    Parish priests to attend two upcoming retreats

    Dear people of God of the Diocese of Baton Rouge,

    Your pastor will be attending two mandatory Priest Retreats from Tuesday, Sept. 19, through Thursday, Sept. 21, and Monday, Oct. 2, through Thursday, Oct. 5. The September retreat is the Louisiana Priests Convention held every four years which will take the place of the Diocesan Annual Priests’ Formation Days held in January. The October retreat is the Clergy Fall Retreat mandatory every other year.

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    Liturgical reform ‘irreversible,’ pope says

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Catholic Church must continue to work to understand the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and why they were made, rather than rethinking them, Pope Francis said.

    “After this magisterium, after this long journey, we can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible,” Pope Francis told participants in Italy’s National Liturgical Week.

    The pope’s speech to the 800 participants Aug. 24 was the longest and most systematic talk he

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    Bishop Robert W. Muench’s 2017-2018 School Year

    Confirmed Reconciliation Services & Annual Visits  

    School/Reconciliation Sevices
    St. Michael High School  

    Wednesday , Sept. 6 

    Thursday, Sept. 7  

    St. Joseph’s Academy 

    Monday, Sept. 11  

    Tuesday, Sept. 12  

    Catholic High School  

    Thursday , Sept. 14  

    Friday, Sept. 15  

    School/Reconciliation Services 2nd semester 

    St. Joseph’s Academy  

    Monday, Jan. 29  

    Tuesday, Jan. 30

    Catholic High School  

    Thursday , Feb. 1  

    Friday , Feb. 2  

    St. Michael High School 

    Monday, Feb. 5  

    Tuesday, Feb. 6  

    School/Annual visits  

    Catholic High Point Coupee School  

    Monday, Oct.

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    Bishop Muench’s statement on Charlottesville tragedy

    I join my brother bishops throughout the United States and our Diocesan Commission on Racial Harmony in condemning the shameful display of racism that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    I embrace the words of the Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Frank Dewane, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development:

    “We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism. At the same time, we stand

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    Reformed churches sign doctrine agreement

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Signaling a turning point in ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church, the World Communion of Reformed Churches signed an agreement on a key issue that divided Catholics and Protestants for centuries.

    In an ecumenical ceremony July 5 in Wittenberg, Germany, the city where Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” that marked the beginning of the Reformation, the Reformed churches adopted the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.

    The agreement, which explains how people are justified in God’s

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    Bishop Muench praises deacons during homily

    This morning a spirit of joy, excitement and enthusiasm pervades this cherished house of God, more precisely, a Holy Spirit whose special solemnity of Pentecost we celebrated last Sunday. I extend heartiest greetings to all, especially our candidates for the diaconate, wives, children, other family members and friends, as well as all clergy, religious and lay faithful. Particular acknowledgment is made to Father (Jamin) David, Diaconate Formation Office Director, Deacon (John) Veron, Diaconate Ministry and Life Office Director, Dr. (Tina) Holland, Our Lady of the Lake College president and

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