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Not all in same boat: Some communities ‘sink more easily,’ archbishop says

Posted July 29, 2020 at 1:18 pm

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted humanity’s vulnerability and interdependence, as well as serious social and economic inequalities, the Pontifical Academy for Life said in a new document.  

The eight-page reflection, “‘Humana Communitas’ in the Age of Pandemic,” details a number of key and “untimely meditations on life’s rebirth” in the face of a global health, environmental and economic crisis. They are “untimely” or “old-fashioned,” Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, academy president, said in a written statement, because such reflections do not seem to be a popular or “fashionable” part of the current debate.  

“At a time when life seems suspended and we are struck by the death of loved ones and the loss of reference points for our society, we cannot limit

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    Bishop Duca, governor discuss pandemic

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator

    Bishop Michael G. Duca and Gov. John Bel Edwards discussed balancing fear with faith during the nationally syndicated radio program “Catholic Connection” on July 22 on Catholic Community Radio.

    Host Teresa Tomeo said in regard to the coronavirus pandemic there is a sense of fear across the country that even “good Catholics” can succumb to. Noting that Edwards recently called for three days of lunch fasting and prayer, she asked the bishop and the governor how that can be an answer to the fear gripping the nation. 

    Edwards

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    Schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge are scheduled to open in early August

    Start dates for all diocesan, parochial and private schools which are part of the Catholic schools district are listed on the Catholic Schools Office website at csobr.org.

    Schools began communicating this week with faculty, staff and parents outlining the specifics of each school’s plan to open.

    Protocols are being tailored to each school’s individual needs. There is no “one size fits all” protocol, though all schools must follow guidelines set by the Louisiana Department of Education. These include the maximum number of people in a classroom to assure proper space for social

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    Bishop Michael G. Duca issues statement supporting Gov. Edwards’ call for fasting and prayer

    As Bishop of Baton Rouge,  I encourage all Catholics to faithfully embrace Governor Edwards’ call for fasting and prayer Monday through Wednesday of the coming week.  God’s people have turned to fasting and prayer throughout their journeys of faith to remind themselves of their dependence on God, to focus on his grace and to seek deliverance during times of great trial and tribulation. May our prayers include all those who have been stricken by the virus, those who care for them and those whose livelihoods have been threatened by this vile pandemic. May

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    Schools planning for unusual year

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator

    Schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge are scheduled to open in early August, with principals using the month of July to tweak protocols, according to Dr. Melanie Palmisano, Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

    Palmisano emphasized protocols will be tailored to each school’s individual needs, but the health and safety of all students and faculty remain the top priority.

    “One size fits none,” she said. “To make one policy that would affect all 30 schools would not be useful.”

    Schools must follow guidelines set by the Louisiana

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    FOOD PANTRY

    St. Alphonsus parishioners give back

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator

    On a hot, sunny, June morning cars lined up in front of the St. Alphonsus food pantry off Frenchtown Road in Greenwell Springs.  

    Loading a vehicle with food are, from left, Mark Legendre, Melba Hanks, Juanita Beard and Mike Turuett. Photos by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator

     

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    Wedding prep going virtual

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator

    While many things are put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Office of Marriage and Family Life of the Diocese of Baton Rouge is moving forward by providing virtual retreats to help engaged couples fulfill diocesan requirements before their wedding day.

    Beginning in July the OMFL is planning to offer the Called to Love retreat for engaged couples online.

    “The retreat is part of the larger plan for marriage preparation,” said Darryl Ducote, director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life. “We felt couples

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    El miedo a la incertidumbre puede generar ansiedad durante el aislamientoj

    Por Richard Meek

    El comentarista católico

    Las órdenes de quedarse en casa y estar en cuarentena han sido una bendición para muchos, ya que finalmente han podido terminar esos proyectos domésticos, desempolvando libros parcialmente leídos y tal vez incluso fortaleciendo los lazos familiares al pasar tanto tiempo juntos. Otros, sin embargo, no han sido tan afortunados. El aislamiento ha creado ansiedad y, en muchos casos, depresión, según Darryl Ducote, director de la Oficina de Matrimonio y Vida Familiar de la Diócesis de Baton Rouge.

    “Depende de cómo interprete la orden de quedarse en casa”, dijo

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    Nursing home volunteers miss their ‘family’

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator  

    Nursing home residents miss the smiles, hugs and talks with visitors as they continue to be isolated because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

     

    Making gift bags for residents at Flannery Oaks Guest House in Baton Rouge are, from left, clockwise, Sylvia Hunt, Jan Arnold, Susan Sevario and Mildred Stroderd.  Photos by Maddie Toler 

     

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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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    Blue Cross grant aids St. Vincent de Paul Society

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator

    Funding from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation is a welcome contribution that will allow the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to continue to be one of the area’s leaders in providing assistance to the homeless and needy during the coronavirus pandemic, executive director Michael Acaldo said.

    Along with the $50,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Acaldo also announced fast food chain Chick-fil-A donated 10,000 sandwiches to help supplement the agency’s Grab n Go meal program. The fast food company began donating 400 sandwiches

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    FOOD DISTRIBUTION

    St. Margaret Queen of Scotland Church in Albany partnered with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to distribute food for 800 families. The food includes cold and dry goods. Photo provided by Father Brad Doyle | St. Margaret Queen Scotland Church 

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    Virus devastates families

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator  

    As families grapple with the death of one or more loved ones because of the coronavirus pandemic, church parishes in the Diocese of Baton Rouge are putting their arms around them in a way that transcends social distancing by meeting them at the foot of the cross.  

    April Dunn, left, is pictured with Melanie Washington, who was her colleague in the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs. Dunn

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    ‘RESILIENT GROUP’

    Cristo Rey  graduates  first class

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator  

    Where flood waters once threatened to wash away dreams, hope emerged under a brilliant sun seemingly beaming its approval.  

    Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School celebrated its inaugural graduating class with an outdoor ceremony. Smiles were evident as the

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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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    GRAB & GO STUDENT MEALS EXPANDING

    The Diocese of Baton Rouge Child Nutrition Program (CNP) is expanding its free breakfast and lunch curbside pickup service for all students in the Baton Rouge area beginning Monday, June 1, 2020.

    This service is for all students 18 years of age and younger regardless of school enrollment.

    The CNP is partnering with with City Group Hospitality to provide meals at five more schools in the Baton Rouge area. This is in addition to the Monday meal service that will continue at four other locations.

    Packaged meals will be distributed at participating sites on a first-come/first-served basis.

    Drive-thru meal service will be provided at

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    Clergy adapt to changes

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator

    Seating charts.

    Social distancing.

    Mask patrol.

    A single entrance door.

    Issues perhaps never addressed in the seminary but relevant today as pastors in the Diocese of Baton Rouge reopen churches after being shut down for two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Many churches reopened the weekend of May 16-17, with the remainder scheduled to open May 23-24. Bishop Michael G. Duca announced the reopening of churches May 11 shortly after Gov. John Bel Edwards announced he was rescinding the stay-at-home order and entering into

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    Cristo Rey’s first graduation

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator

    Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School is planning a celebratory drive-in ceremony for its inaugural graduating class.

    The event is scheduled May 23 at 1 p.m. at the school, where a stage will be set up across from the school’s office. Each graduate will be allowed to have one car with their family, and they will be directed to a parking spot in front of the stage.

    Graduates will be able to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas from principal Claire Willis and president Eric

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    DIPLOMA DELIVERY

    Garrison Landry, a senior at Ascension Catholic High School in Donaldsonville, tosses his cap in the air as his parents, Kristen and Brent Landry look on. Principal Sandy Pizzolato delivered diplomas to each graduate. Photo provided by Michael Tortorich  

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    CHURCHES REOPEN

     

     

     

     

    Bishop Michael G. Duca distributes Communion at St. Joseph Cathedral on May 17. Photo by Bonny Van | The Catholic Commentator  

    St. Joseph Cathedral was one of many churches to reopen in the Diocese of Baton Rouge the weekend of May 16-17, with the remainder of the churches opening the week of May 18.  Photo by Bonny Van | The Catholic Commentator  

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    Schools find unique ways to celebrate graduates

    By Bonny Van

    The Catholic Commentator 

    From drive-bys to drive-throughs, home visits to virtual videos, graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 have taken on a variety of forms.  

    Ascension Catholic High School in Donaldsonville principal Sandy Pizzolato delivered diplomas to seniors for graduation, including her daughter Katie. Photo provided by Sandy Pizzolato  

     

    For more than two months, students finished their

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    Good neighbor: St. Paul the Apostle

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator  

    Cars lined Gus Young Avenue as St. Paul the Apostle Church in Baton Rouge dished out jambalaya lunches seasoned with faith, hope and charity to some of the area’s poorest residents on May 8.  

     

    Volunteers and staff were busy handing out and receiving words of thanks from drivers as they pick up jambalaya lunches at St. Paul Church in Baton Rouge on May

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    ORDINATION DATE SCHEDULED

     Bishop Michael G. Duca announced the ordination of Deacon Mathew Dunn to the priesthood and Taylor Sanford as a transitional deacon is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 1 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge. Deacon Dunn, right, made the announcement at the end of Mass on May 16 at St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Maurepas. He was raised in the French Settlement/Maurepas area. The ordinations of Deacon Dunn and Sanford were originally scheduled May 23 but delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic which forced the

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    WELCOME HOME

    Bishop announces reopening of churches  

    To the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese of Baton Rouge:  

    For several weeks now, Catholics have been unable to participate physically in the celebration of Mass. Despite the empty pews in our parish churches, our local clergy are to be commended for continuing the mission and for bringing the good news to others in new and various ways!   We also thank our Governor John Bel Edwards

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    To the Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Baton Rouge

    For several weeks now, Catholics have been unable to participate physically in the celebration of Mass. Despite the empty pews in our parish churches, our local clergy are to be commended for Continuing the Mission and for bringing the Good News to others in new and various ways! We also thank our Governor John Bel Edwards and our local leaders for their clear communication and effective measures to slow the progress of this virus that have made the Phase One changes possible.

     

    With restrictions slowly being eased, it is incumbent upon the Catholic Church to offer the sacraments and begin a

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    Al Clero, Religiosos y Fieles Laicos de la Diócesis de Baton Rouge

    Durante varias semanas, los católicos no han podido participar físicamente en la celebración de la misa. A pesar de los bancos vacíos en nuestras iglesias parroquiales, nuestro clero local debe ser elogiado por Continuar la Misión y por llevar las Buenas Nuevas a otros en nuevas y diversas ¡formas! También agradecemos a nuestro Gobernador John Bel Edwards y a nuestros líderes locales por su comunicación clara y medidas efectivas para frenar el progreso de este virus que han hecho posibles los cambios de la Fase Uno.

     

    Con las restricciones que se van aliviando lentamente,

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    Tips for seniors during pandemic

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator

    Keeping the body, mind, and soul engaged is an important step for the elderly to reduce their vulnerability to the coronavirus, said clergy and parish health nurses in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

    Senior citizens still living at home should heed the advice of staying home as much as possible, according to Stephanie Gaudin, parish nurse at Immaculate Conception Church in Denham Springs. Before they go to the grocery store or run other errands, senior citizens should make lists so they can complete their tasks as quickly as possible.

    But staying

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    St. Jude Food drive

    Teachers and faculty at St. Jude the Apostle School in Baton Rouge hosted a drive-through canned food drive on April 25, collecting 1,653 pounds of food for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Photo provided by Emily Davis 

    Faith stronger during virus

    WASHINGTON (CNS)  – Two separate polls show that Americans are relying more on their faith to help persevere through the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Pew Research Center, in a survey released April 30, showed that nearly one-fourth of all Americans say their faith has grown stronger during the pandemic, while only 2% said it had grown weaker.

    Catholics, according to Pew, are very much in line with the overall survey results. Among Catholic respondents, 27% said their faith had grown stronger with 2% saying it had gotten weaker. In addition, 63% said their faith had not

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    In times of crisis, become godlike

    My son was having trouble graphing an equation for his algebra class so he had to ask me for help. Poor kid. As I struggled to remember my eighth-grade algebra, he wondered aloud when he would ever use this stuff in “real life.”  

    At that moment, I couldn’t help but think of the dozens of graphs I have seen dotting news articles and social media feeds over the past several weeks.  

    Coronavirus case counts, death rates,

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