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CLERGY PRAYER SERVICE

Posted November 18, 2020 at 12:00 am

Priests gathered at St. George Church on Nov. 6 for a Morning Prayer of the Church led by Bishop Michael G. Duca. Bishop Duca blessed the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick and consecrated the Chrism. Clergy members also renewed their priestly promises. Photo provided by Father Chris Decker  

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    BLESSING OF THE GRAVES

    Father Charlie Landry, pastor at St. Gabriel Church in St. Gabriel, blesses the graves following Mass on Nov. 1. Clergy members throughout the Diocese of Baton Rouge blessed graves on All Saints Day.  Photo provided by Rozalyn Duplantis | Catholic Life Television 

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    Our only hope

    The liturgical year, Cycle A, concludes with the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, as the new liturgical year, Cycle B, begins with the First Sunday of Advent. The Sunday Mass readings fill us with the light of the kerygma (pronounced ke-rig-ma), the first proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ, namely “that in Jesus Christ, who was crucified, died and rose, salvation is offered to all people as a gift of God’s grace and mercy” (“Mission of the

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    Retirement Fund for Religious scheduled Dec. 12-13

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator  

    In a trend that mirrors society, religious communities face tremendous challenges in elder care and retirement that have been magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    The National Retirement Fund for Religious collection, Dec. 12 – Dec. 13, will help replenish diminished funds available for retired religious.  Photo provided by the National Religious Retirement Office 

     

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    TROOP BLESSING

    Bishop Michael G. Duca speaks with members of the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Brigade Combat Team during a prayer service at Baton Rouge Airport on Nov. 12. Bishop Duca blessed the Tiger Brigade, which deployed almost 2,000 soldiers to the Middle East. Photo provided by Father Jamin David | Episcopal Vicar for Strategic Planning, Diocese of Baton Rouge

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    Celebrating Advent with a twist in unusual year

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator  

    The coronavirus pandemic will likely impact the way people observe the Advent season as they turn more to online resources and virtual events. 

    Technology tends to have a reputation of creating “busyness” and “distractions” but priests and lay leaders in the Diocese of Baton Rouge say technology can be an asset in preparing meaningfully for the Christmas season.  

    “Technology really is a

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    Forever a child of the light

    A few weeks ago, my home church parish remembered the men and women of our faith community who passed away this year. As I perused the list of names in our bulletin, four were elderly people who had consistently attended weekly Bible studies I served for six years. 

    A sense of loss moved me to think, “When did we last talk? What did we say? Did they know how much inspiration they shared? Did they know how much they were loved?” 

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    Fertile and fruitful

    The fertility of good soil in March produces the fruitful blossoms of July. So, too, is our life in Christ. The fertile ‘good soil’ of our heart provides bountiful fruit on this pilgrimage to everlasting life. The Mass readings for the 14th and 15th Sundays in Ordinary Time illuminate the abundanct life in the Spirit of God as we strive to be fertile and fruitful disciples of Jesus.  

    Fertile rest  

    The prophet Zechariah shares a

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    Spirit of truth

    “The spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord; and you also will testify” (Jn 15:26-27).  

    The solemnities of the Most Holy Trinity and the Body & Blood of Christ early in June remind us, as we step into the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, that our life as living missionary disciples is anchored by the Spirit of truth. It is the truth of Jesus Christ we respond to in prayer, word and deed by the power and grace of

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    Mother, daughter welcomed into the church

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator  

    Her broad smile veiled behind a mask, her emotions silently crooning with joy, Lisa Lee approached the altar at Immaculate Conception Church in Denham Springs, steps away from receiving the Eucharist for the first time.  

    Lisa Lee, director of Disaster Operations for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, and her daughter, Madison Guylette, were confirmed and received first Communion on May 31

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    Messenger: ‘Ready to go to work’ as deacon

    ­­­­(Six new permanent deacons are scheduled to be ordained Aug. 8 at St. Joseph cathedral in Baton Rouge. This is the third of a series on each of the deacon candidates.) 

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator  

    Billy Messenger

     

    Retirement … time to travel the world, bask in “a job well done” and relax. But Billy Messenger said a life of ease is not for

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    Spiritual renewal coming out of isolation

    Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator

    Emerging into the sunshine from “cocoon-style” lives forced by the coronavirus-related restrictions, people are resuming favorite activities – dining in their favorite restaurant, going to the ballpark – leaping for joy like calves let out to pasture.

    The virus has made us wiser in a physical sense – don’t forget to wash those hands and cover that cough – but what have we learned spiritually during the pandemic? How do we apply those nuggets of wisdom we’ve gained?

    “Our lives have changed. The foundation lessons learned as a

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    Video rosary honors Mary

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator

    Priests, deacons, men and women religious and even lay staff members of the Diocese of Baton Rouge recently participated in a video rosary honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Nicole Jones, coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Programs for the diocese, said Sarah Fox, the youth minister at St. Joseph Church in Ponchatoula, shared her idea of making a video of St. Joseph parishioners praying the rosary to post on social media during a video meeting of diocesan youth ministers.

    “I just imagined how amazing it would be

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    Unity & salvation

    We are entering a new season. The first day of summer is two weeks away. The days of Phase 2 reopening are potentially eminent. The new liturgical season begins. Ordinary Time opens with two solemnities celebrated on these coming Sundays: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity and the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. We reflect on the love of unity and the path of salvation as manifested in the Trinity and the Eucharist.  

    The Sign of

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    St. Faustina feast day Oct. 5

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator 

    A beacon of hope shone for a world straining under the effects of the coronavirus when Pope Francis marked St. John Paul II’s 100th birthday May 18 by celebrating Mass at the altar where the Polish pope is buried in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  

    At Our Lady of Mercy Church in Baton Rouge, people expressed various signs of reverence when venerating the first-class relic

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    Mass attendance encouraging

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator  

    As many churches in the Diocese of Baton Rouge reopened the weekend of May 16-17, pastors were not sure what to expect.  

    Small bottles of holy water, missalettes and armbands that say “Pray Louisiana!” on one side and “Heal Our Land” on the other were distributed after all Masses at St. Patrick Church in Baton Rouge the weekend of May 23-24. The parish requested

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    Mississippi group spreading pro-life message to diocese

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator 

    In a world where messaging has taken over smartphones, computers and other electronic devices to remind us to stay safe, wash our hands and keep our distance, one ministry at a small Catholic church in Gulfport, Mississippi is joining the crowd, albeit by billboards on a busy stretch of Interstate 10.  

    This pro-life billboard is located along I-10 in Baton Rouge visible near

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    Go out!

    The Easter Season is nearing the end as the easing of the stay-at-home orders created by the coronavirus pandemic begins. It is quite providential that within this printing the Sunday celebrations are focused on the Ascension of the Lord and Pentecost Sunday. It is the time of the “Lord, the giver of life,” the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises the apostles they are to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and be his witnesses. We are called to the same, as we safely transition once again into

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    Call to serve leads to diaconate program

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator  

    Alexander Campbell has walked a winding vocational discernment trail, but its end will find him making history.  

    Alexander Campbell

     

    He will be part of the first class to be ordained permanent deacons since the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University entered a partnership to provide formation through FranU’s theology program.  

    Campbell,

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    Fearless, fruitful and fervent

    We continue to celebrate Easter as the resurrected Lord remains by our side. The present-day quarantine may restrict our communal gatherings yet we, as a church, “step out” creatively and share faith, hope and love we have in our Lord, Jesus Christ. God is not bound by physical space, and neither are we as fearless, fruitful and fervent disciples on a mission. The apostles and early disciples witnessed such demeanor. The Mass readings for the Fifth and Sixth Sundays in Easter take us to incredible moments in

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    Our Lady’s Tigers fighting for CTK through prayer

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator 

    Intercessory prayer is like the heart pumping blood to the rest of the body of Christ, the Catholic Church, so it can carry out its Gospel mission, according to Father Andrew Merrick, pastor of Christ the King Church and Student Center at LSU. 

    Attendees of an Our Lady Fighting Tiger’s meeting in early March pray the rosary.  Photo by

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    SJV ‘faces’ comforting to Father Ranzino

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator 

    On a recent March day, Father Tom Ranzino walked into St. Jean Vianney Church in Baton Rouge with the expectation of celebrating daily Mass in front of pews and pews of emptiness.  

    St. Jean Vianney Church in Baton Rouge pastor Father Tom Ranzino, left, and Deacon Dan Borné bless the more than 200 photos of families and couples that have been placed in the vacant pews.

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    The path of life

    The path of life is the pilgrim’s journey of faith. Some days the path is well known. Some days the path is unforeseen. We presently trod an unanticipated path, one without expectation, yet with hope. Here we are, together on the same path. Strange how all paths have converged onto this road. Bishop Michael G. Duca compares this time to the first Holy Saturday and those lived since: quiet, still, prayer-filled, oneness, unknowing what is to come. And guided by faith, we shall confidently continue to walk

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    Parishes tapping into technology to reach parishioners


    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator  

    Church parishes have been creative in reaching out to their parishioners – livestreamed Masses, video messages from the pastors, social media posts, online resources, emails, virtual meetings, phone calls or grocery deliveries – to say “we miss you, we love you and we can’t wait until we come together again and celebrate the Eucharist.”  

    St. Benedict the Moor Church in Bertrandville reprinted the

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    Missionary beacon of light for intercessory prayer

    By Debbie Shelley

    By The Catholic Commentator 

    Intercessory prayer is the most powerful way of praying for others because God responds and infuses light and healing in their lives and our own, said Catholic missionary Kevin McCall. 

    Kevin McCall

     

    McCall talked about life-changing experiences as his prayer life evolved during a March 11 meeting of Our Lady’s Fighting Tigers at Christ the King Church and Catholic Center

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    St. Helena brought to life in vibrant icons

    By Debbie Shelley 

    The Catholic Commentator 

    St. Helena emerged from the vaults of Catholic history in an array of creative expressions through the power of prayer and paint in a five-day Byzantine icon workshop featuring the saint at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens in Baton Rouge on Feb. 10. 

    Icons of several other saints were on hand to inspire students making their icon of St. Helena in a Byzantine icon workshop at the LSU Botanic Gardens. Photos by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator 

     

    St. Helena was the mother of Constantine and empress of the Roman Empire. She visited the Holy Land and had churches constructed at sites considered the place of Jesus’ birth, ministry, passion and death.  She is believed to have

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    Christ my hope is arisen

    “Speak, Mary, declaring, what you saw, wayfaring. ‘The tomb of Christ, who is living, the glory of Jesus’ resurrection; bright angels attesting, the shroud and napkin resting. Yes, Christ my hope is arisen…’ ”

    The powerful first stanza of the Easter Sequence is sung as we raise our eyes and hearts to God with renewed hope and trust. Despite the extreme Lenten path trodden, today we sing from our homes, domestic monasteries of a sort, and place our hope which rests in the

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    Lean on our faith 

    It is truly Lent. The step into the desert started with foreheads brushed with ash and solemn penitential posture happened a month ago. Now we kneel before the Lord, hearts and heads bowed for the mercy of God to alleviate mankind from this virus, a physical invasion fueling fear and welling angst because of illness and the unknown.  But always with God, there is hope, tremendous hope in the Lord. There is a silver-lining in this crisis. Clearly the way we do things has sparked an underlying reality: people are indeed prayerful and faithful to God.  Even though the CDC recommends socially distancing at least six feet apart, we have discovered a way to be close spiritually and offer prayer, support, comfort, reassurance, resources and peace.  

     On the surface, our new hand-washing routine is now specifically synced with an Our Father,

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    Thirst and darkness

     

    By Dina Dow

    The midpoint of Lent is here.  Hopefully a new pattern of prayer, fasting and almsgiving has been established. If not, it is perfectly permissible to begin again. Remain steadfast with hope in the Lord and trust in his grace. Speaking of grace, the Sunday Mass readings for the Third and Fourth Sundays in Lent reveal the depth of trust when it comes to times of thirst and darkness. These are the moments when, by his grace, we lean upon faith and hope. 

    Thirst 

    The Third Sunday of Lent begins with the Israelites’ desert journey with little to no water. Be

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    Keeping faith in the face of mortality

    By Michael Thompson

    Special to The Catholic Commentator 

    From murders, suicides and opioid overdoses to sexual assaults and preventable infant deaths – many people would struggle to cope with the barrage of human suffering that East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark sees daily.  

    Dr. Beau Clark has been coroner for East Baton Rouge Parish since 2012. He said he uses his faith to find effective

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