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Society aims to develop community among young Catholics

Posted August 2, 2019 at 12:00 am

By Debbie Shelley

The Catholic Commentator  

The early church practices of disciples living in community and forming other disciples is the model the Society of St. John will implement to meet the needs of today’s young Catholics, according to West Giffin, associate director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Baton Rouge. The society, which will provide an opportunity for deep faith formation and intentional community for high school juniors and seniors in the diocese, will be launched this fall.  

Giffin pointed out that with the growing number of young people disaffiliating themselves from the Catholic Church, those affiliated with the church need community to retain their Catholic identity and evangelize the culture.  


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    God’s Work

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator 

    “We are made for greatness” was the mantra of youth who worked, played, prayed and evangelized in the Inspirational Service Camp June 25 – 29. 

    Youth prepare and served food at the soup kitchen run by the Missionaries of Charity at St. Agnes Church in Baton Rouge. Photos provided by Peggy Champagne | Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Maringouin, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church in Livonia and St. Joseph

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    Holy Ghost School in Hammond held its kindergarten closing ceremony with the theme “What a Wonderful World.” Students sang songs and received awards that recognized their hard work and talents during the school year, including Logan Griffin who was presented with the “Awesome Author” award. Photo provided by Cindy Wagner | Holy Ghost School 

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    Band camp helps get summer off on the right note

    By Bonny Van

    The Catholic Commentator  

    With his left hand in the air, snapping his fingers for a beat, Dr. Kevin Andry, known as “Doc Andry,” counts the musical notes for a song from the popular movie “Moana.”  

    Band director “Doc” Andry leads students during a session of band camp at St. Michael the Archangel High School in Baton Rouge.  Photos by Bonny

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    St. George principal chosen Distinguished Principal

    The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has selected Jack Nelson as one of the 2019 NAESP National Distinguished Principals. NAESP honors outstanding administrators for setting high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for the students, families and staffs in their learning communities. Nelson will be recognized at the 2019 program and awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in October.


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    Bishop Michael G. Duca celebrated the May Crowning Mass with Catholic Elementary School of Pointe Coupee. Bishop Duca also visited the classrooms and spoke with. Photo provided by Megan Girlinghouse | Catholic Elementary School of Pointe Coupee 

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    Fourth-graders at St. Thomas More School in Baton Rouge created book trailers using iMovie for their favorite books they read in library class during the school year. The trailers will be used to promote those books to other students.  Photo provided by Sara Wisdom | St. Thomas More School  

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    Students at St. Aloysius School in Baton Rouge participated in the national education contest sponsored by the Catholic Daughters of America. Eighth-grader Abigail Duplessis placed first in the essay competition while eighth-grader Corinne Claire Ellis placed first in poetry competition while. Pictured, from left, are Duplessis, religion coordinator Edie Boudreaux and Ellis. Photo provided by Edie Boudreaux | St. Aloysius School  

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    Holy Ghost School in Hammond chose Child Advocacy Services for its May project.  Students donated more than $900 to CAS, a nonprofit agency providing services with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and other services supporting its mission to give voice, healing and security to children.  Pictured, front row from left, are Liza Fagan, Sal DeMarco and Jillian Bodden.  Pictured, back row from left, are Charlee Raborn, Olivia DiCicco and Ana Ard. Photo provided by Cindy Wagner

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    St. Peter Chanel School in Paulina celebrated the feast day of its patron saint with numerous activities. Kindergarteners pretended to visit France, the place St. Peter Chanel was born. Third- and fourth-graders participated in a scavenger hunt on St. Peter Chanel’s life and created a timeline with their clues. Middle school students worked in groups to fill out a biography sheet on St. Peter Chanel. Students wrapped up the celebration by feasting on cake. Photo provided by Sandi Waguespack | St. Peter

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    Serra Club announces essay winners

    Cassandra Boudreaux, a student of the Holy Family Homeschoolers Association, was announced as the Serra Club of Baton Rouge’s grand prize winner of its annual essay contest. Boudreaux was presented with a check for $250 and an inscribed plaque. The assigned topic was “Whispers From God.” Her essay was selected from essays sent in from Catholic diocesan schools and the Holy Family Homeschoolers Association. 

    Each school selected its top three essays to submit to the judging committee who then awarded first place

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    Ponchatoula student earns Woman of Excellence award

    By Bonny Van

    The Catholic Commentator  

    What do you get when you cross a chef with an animal lover along with an actress, a singer, a gardener, a humanitarian, an artist, a crafter, an award-winning public speaker and an honor roll student? You get Gabriella Cietutat, the 2019 Young Woman of Excellence winner in Tangipahoa Civil Parish.  

    Gabriella Cieutat, a student at St. Joseph School in Ponchatoula,

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    Catholic Elementary of Pointe Coupee School in New Roads faculty and staff recognize students each quarter for possessing the qualities of a variety of virtues. The following students were recognized for the virtues of gentleness and self-control: Emmy Constantine, Grant Carriere, Alaina Wagley, Cason Lemoine, Ava Knight, Colton Lacour, Brynlee Jarreau, Gray Langlois, Jalynn Jeansonne, Sarah Courville, Gemma Fulmer, Emma Nguyen, Isaac Gaspard, Victoria Bergeron, Reid Soulier, Olivia Vosburg, Avery Gunter, Zane Sonnier, Ella Doucet, Lyla Johnson, Cara Lemoine, Abby Vallet, Anna Wells, Erin Moore,

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    Nine students from the 7th- grade American History class at Holy Family School in Port Allen participated in various social studies categories at the Regional Social Studies Fair held at the LSU Lab School. Seventh-grader Blake Weber won second place with his project on the Vietnam War. Photo provided by Annette Fitzgerald | Holy Family School

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    Catholic Elementary of Pointe Coupee’s physical education teacher, Starr Grizaffi, received a grant through the Eat, Move, Grow Foundation during the 2017-2018 school year. Grizaffi teamed up with first-grade teacher, Megan Girlinghouse, and purchased several pieces of kinesthetic furniture with the grant. The furniture was used in Girlinghouse’s classroom and has helped aide in the growth of her students. The furniture, purchased through Action Based Learning, gives the students a new, fun way to learn. Photo provided by Megan

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    Members of the middle school math team at Holy Family School in Port Allen competed in St. Joseph’s Academy Math Tournament and walked away with four awards. Holy Family principal Michael Comeau said involving students in math competitions is an important part of the math program. Pictured, clockwise from left, are team relay winners Weston Miller, Baleigh Tanner, Hunter Distefano and Brein Ledford. Photo provided by Annette Fitzgerald | Holy Family School



    St. Michael the Archangel High School in Baton Rouge student council representatives, from left, Ben Messina, Morgyn Gauthier and Abby Button, attended the Leadership Experience and Development (LEAD) Conference in Chicago. Students attended workshops on improving leadership skills, problem solving, project planning, fundraising, team building, idea sharing and networking. Gauthier said the best part of the event was meeting new people and learning new ideas and skills that you can share with your school. “I learned a lot about how to better myself as a person and a

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    On Friday, March 29, Bishop Michael G. Duca visited St. Jean Vianney School in Baton Rouge and concelebrated Mass with Father Tom Ranzino, pastor of St. Jean Vianney Church. Bishop Duca also toured the campus and spoke with students in their classrooms. Photo provided by Abby King | St. Jean Vianney School  

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    Students at Holy Ghost School in Hammond perform a lyrical interpretation of “Hail Mary, Gentle Woman” during a May Crowning ceremony. Photo provided by Cindy Wager | Holy Ghost School

    Bishop Michael G. Duca joins students at Most Blessed Sacrament school in Baton Rouge for a May Crowning ceremony. Father Philip Spano center, pastor of Most Blessed Sacrament, is pictured next to the bishop right, and Deacon Donald

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    Seventh-graders at Holy Ghost School in Hammond culminate science studies by dissecting frogs. Students learned about body systems and how they interact with each other. Pictured, from left, are Claire Chauvin, Maggie Elkins and Jennie Gay.  Photo provided by Cindy Wagner | Holy Ghost School 

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    Noah Deshotel, an eighth-grade student at St. Elizabeth School in Paincourtville, places a garland on a statue of Mary during a May Crowning ceremony. Photo provided by Kathleen Herpich | St. Elizabeth School

    With May representing the month of Mary, students at Mater Dolorosa School in Independence crowned the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 13 during a May Crowning event. First Communion students led the student body toward a

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    Kindergarten students at St. Peter Chanel School in Paulina used their creative skills to make an edible tomb in which Jesus rose from the dead. The class celebrated Easter by having a “He is Risen” party the day students returned from the break, with activities to help them learn more about Jesus’ Way of the Cross and resurrection. Students used a graham cracker as the ground, half a donut to represent the tomb and a small vanilla cookie to show the movement of the rock in

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    Eighth-graders at St. Alphonsus School in Greenwell Springs took a tour of the Gulf Coast visiting sites such as the USS Alabama in Mobile, Alabama; Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi; and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. Students also participated in a service project at the Hancock County Food Pantry in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and attended evening retreats and eucharistic adoration at St. Augustine Retreat Center in Bay St. Louis.  Photo

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    Students at Catholic Elementary of Pointe Coupee in New Roads celebrated Grandparents’ Day. The halls were filled with hundreds of grandparents, great-grandparents and special guests. Students enjoyed showing off their artwork, religion fair projects and classrooms. Photo provided by Megan Girlinghouse | CESPC



    The St. Vincent de Paul Society distributed 3,700 Easter baskets to children in need for Easter. Of that number, 1,473 were distributed to children in the East Baton Rouge Parish Head Start Program. The remainder were distributed at the giveaway at the SVDP Dining Room on April 13, on Easter Sunday in the Easter Store in the parking lot of St. Vincent de Paul and to children throughout the parish that otherwise would not have received a basket. 

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    Our Lady of Mercy School in Baton Rouge. Photo provided by Darlene Aquillard

    Most Blessed Sacrament School in Baton Rouge. Photo provided by Bonnie Acardo

    St. John Primary School in Prairieville. Photo provided by Melissa Heroman

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    SJV students gather to pray before class

    By Bonny Van

    The Catholic Commentator 

    One by one, sometimes three and four young students at St. Jean Vianney School in Baton Rouge bound into the classroom of third-grade teacher Frances Thompson. Dropping their backpacks and lunch sacks on the floor, the children, ranging from pre-K to fourth grade, found seats on the floor or at tables facing a Smart Board with lyrics of songs of worship and joined in the chorus. It’s a scene repeated every

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    Catholic Elementary of Pointe Coupee was filled with hundreds of dads, grandfathers, uncles, and special guests earlier this year as they celebrated Donuts with Dad. The students were excited as they were able to spend quality time with their guests before beginning the day. Some students shared their school work, some played games and some even built with Legos as their guests helped. First -grader, Waylon Elliott, said “Donuts were a treat, but spending time at school with dad was the best!”

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    Members of the girls’ powerlifting team at Ascension Catholic High School in Donaldsonville won their fifth consecutive state championship at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Powerlifting meet at the Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria. Nydia Cooper won the state title in the 181-pound weight division and Madison Tripode won in the 132-pound division. Pictured, front row from left, are Tripode, Marie Ceily Grisaffe, Cooper, Miranda Landry and Layne Melancon. Pictured second row from left, are head coach Janelle Leonard, Catherine Rome, Mckenzie Marroy, Julia Lemann, Charlee Griffin and

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    English 1 students at Holy Ghost School in Hammond participated in a traditional English tea after completing a drama unit on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Pictured clockwise are Ashtyn Sledge, Averi Gagliano, Kamryn Hecker, Olivia Brouillette, Claire Hidalgo, Kathryn Huggett, Brody Doan, Blayne Schilling, Sophie Geisler, Carli Anderson, Katy Potrament, Sophia Pray and Hailey Gauff. Photo provided by Cindy Wagner | Holy Ghost School

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