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Artist paints beautiful portrait of Our Lady for OLMC

Posted January 5, 2018 at 12:00 am

The Catholic Commentator 

The joy-filled, heartwarming eyes of the Christ child and serene, tender gaze of the Blessed Mother beckon you to accept the gift of the scapular and Mary’s maternal protection they offer in the painting “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel” by Blair Gordy Piras, say those who have viewed the divine portrait. The painting was unveiled Dec. 17 at Piras’ home church, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in St. Francisville, which has played an important part in the artist’s life. 

Father Cary Bani blesses the “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” painting by Blair Gordy Piras, as Piras prayerfully looks on, following the unveiling of the painting.

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    Connecting through music

    The Catholic Commentator

    Walking down the long hallway toward the chapel at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge on a recent morning, the sound of sweet, angelic voices could be heard, greeting the faithful as they found their places in the pews. All eyes were on the choir as their beautiful song filled the room.

    Music teacher Angela Sneed leads

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    Christmas Time Is Here!

    The Catholic Commentator 

    From pre-K to 12th grade, Catholic school students throughout the Diocese of Baton Rouge entertained family and friends with the sights and sounds of the Christmas season. The message of the coming of Jesus was portrayed through plays and songs. What a joyful time of year for the faithful of all ages! The season of Advent is one of anticipation and hope. Here are some

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    Raise Your Voices, Lift Your Hearts


    Choir members of the St. Theresa Middle School in Gonzales perform their Christmas concert Dec. 12.  Photo provided by Teresa Landry | St. Theresa Middle School 

    Catholic High School/St. Joseph Academy in Baton Rouge assistant choir director Mark Primeaux directs members of the CHS/SJA Schola Cantorum for A Candlelight Christmas concert Dec. 13. The performance also featured the Wind Ensemble.  

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    Movie Reviews


    The eccentricities of a notorious self-funding filmmaker (James Franco, who also directed) and the story of the friendship (with Dave Franco) that led to the making of his famously bad 2003 movie “The Room” provide steady laughs but will also touch viewers’ hearts as the relationship at the center of this fact-based comedy endures through numerous strains. The humor occasionally goes astray, particularly in scenes playing male nakedness for laughs, and the dialogue is overstuffed with vulgarity. But adults willing to overlook such flaws will find this study

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    The Catholic Commentator  

    The past year was one of transition, new beginnings and saying farewell for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, with two church parishes unveiling stunning new structures, three parishes closing and Bishop Robert W. Muench, as required by canon law, submitting his letter of resignation to the Vatican on Dec. 28, the day of his 75th

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    No fear for Holy Land pilgrims

    The Catholic Commentator  

    A peace that can only be experienced walking in the foot steps of Jesus was pierced on the morning of Dec. 7 for Mary Acosta and 35 other pilgrims from the Diocese of Baton Rouge.  

    President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that the intended to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv

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    Donations increase during #iGiveCatholic day

    The Catholic Commentator

    Momentum continued to build in the second year of the Diocese of Baton Rouge’s participation in the #iGiveCatholic fundraising day. 

    St. Mary of False River Church in New Roads raised $8,045 during the recent #iGiveCatholic fundraising campaign. The funds will be used to help pay for a new sound system in St. Francis Chapel, above. 


    Not only did

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    The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Department teamed with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to distribute more than 1,000 meals to the Hispanic community and others as well at St. Pius Church X in Baton Rouge on Dec. 21. Officials of the Hispanic Apostolate said more than 200 Hispanic families left with all of the ingredients for a full Christmas dinner, complete with a turkey, dressing mix, fresh vegetables and even dessert. EBRSO officials said the day was part of a larger effort for their

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    Bishop Robert W. Muench, as St. Nicholas, was all smiles as he distributed gifts donated to Society of St. Vincent de Paul for children of families in need at the SVDP Dining Room on Dec. 23. People were lined up around the block to receive the gifts. SVDP President and CEO Michael Acaldo expressed his appreciation to the bishop, who sent in his obligatory letter offering resignation from his office to Pope Francis on his 75th birthday Dec. 28. Acaldo said the Christmas gift distribution was one of

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    In Rome and abroad, pope urges unity, care for poor

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis spent much of 2017 preaching and teaching about the need to value differences rather than fear them, and he adopted legislation that would allow more room for diversity within the Catholic Church. 

    In his frequent comments about migration and on most of his foreign trips, the pope also tried to convince political, civic and religious leaders that being welcoming, respecting differences and being willing to listen to another’s point of view

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    Diocese issues statement concer ing allegation of sexual misconduct against Fr. Eric Gyan

    On Nov, 8, 2017, the Diocese of Baton Rouge received from a woman in her thirties a written allegation of sexual misconduct against a priest of this diocese, Father Eric Gyan, currently pastor of St. Theresa of Avila Parish in Gonzales. The misconduct was alleged to have occurred in 1996 when the woman was a minor and Father Gyan was pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Brusly. This is the only such complaint the diocese has ever received about Father Gyan.

    The diocese’s victim assistance

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    Fifth-grade students at St. Peter Chanel Interparochial School in Paulina recently designed their own writer’s notebooks. The notebooks are used to record the students’ favorite quotes, dreams, idea and experiences. Photo provided by Paula Poche | St. Peter Chanel School

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    The Catholic Commentator 

    Henry Blanchard goes home twice a year. 

    Father Joseph Vu, administrator of St. Anne Church in Napoleonville, greets his congregation after celebrating Mass at Immaculate Conception Chapel on Dec. 10. Mass is celebrated at Immaculate Conception on All Saints Day and the Sunday closest to the to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Photos by

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    Movie Reviews



    A young Mexican lad’s (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) quest to follow in the footsteps of his hometown’s most famous son (voice of Benjamin Bratt) by becoming a world-renowned musician takes a supernatural turn on the Day of the Dead when he is mysteriously transported to the afterlife as depicted in the folklore associated with the pre-Columbian aspects of that celebration. There, a good-hearted but slippery character (voice of Gael Garcia Bernal) becomes his guide and agrees to help

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    Youth eager for annual March for Life pilgrimage

    The Catholic Commentator 

    Want to take a trip that can include struggling with brain fog because of lack of sleep, being outside in freezing temperatures, bouts of restlessness during “technology free zone” times on a seemingly endless ride on a bus, which may break down – while being admonished to “offer it up with prayer and sacrifice” and “we’re pilgrims – not tourists”? The first impulse is most likely to run away from such

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    Why did two evangelists give us Christmas?

    St. Mark, who was the first disciple of Jesus to write a Gospel in the late 60s of the first century, chose to begin with St. John the Baptist calling his fellow Jews to prepare for the coming of the kingdom of God by being baptized as a sign of repenting their sins. The Messiah, John said, whom God through the prophets had promised in the Old Testament, would soon appear and baptize them with the Spirit of God himself.

    St. John

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    Burial of unbaptized/ Role of deacon

    Q My son passed away recently at the age of 35. We held a memorial service for him since we could not have a funeral Mass. (He was not baptized as an infant, which was my decision, of course, not his.) 

    I have been a Catholic all my life, have followed Christian principles and have raised my children with those same values. My parish priest is saying that since my son was never baptized, he cannot be buried in our church’s Catholic cemetery

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    The Christ-Child of the year

    Every year Time magazine recognizes someone as “Person of the Year.” The recognition isn’t necessarily an honor; it’s given to the person whom Time judges to have been the newsmaker of the year for good or for bad. This year, instead of choosing an individual to recognize as newsmaker of the year, it recognized instead a category of persons, the Silence Breakers, namely, women who have spoken out about having experienced sexual harassment and sexual violence.  

    Part of the challenge of Christmas is

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    Catholic Daughters of St. Jean Vianney Church in Baton Rouge collected quarters throughout the year at their m onthly meeting to give to the 17 seminarians from the Diocese of Baton Rouge who are studying at St. Joseph Seminary in Covington and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. Each seminarian received $25. Photo by Bonny Van | The Catholic Commentator

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    Father Jason Palermo’s Christmas village is celebrating its 25th anniversary, as it is on display at St. Joseph Church in French Settlement. Father Palermo, pastor at St. Joseph, said he built an addition to the rectory at St Joseph to be able to display the village in one room. He said his mother has made some of the houses, and he also used showed his creative and artistic

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    Understanding faith, science critical to suicide prevention

    The Catholic Commentator  

    Integrating evidence-based science and faith is the way to stop the dismembering of the soul from the body done by secular cultural messages that yield such tragic results as the rise in teen suicide, according to Staci Gulino MSN. She talked about the importance of presenting messages that look at the whole human person in the presentation, “13 Reasons Why Not” presented Nov. 14 at the Catholic Life Center.  

    The program, sponsored by

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    Snow Daze 2017

    An unusual snowstorm provided an early Christmas present for south Louisiana residents. Snowfall totaled two – seven inches throughout the Diocese of Baton Rouge, closing schools, offices and snarling traffic. Shown are snow scenes from area churches. 



    St. Gabriel Church, St. Gabriel Photo by Danny Van  


    St. Joseph Church, Paulina

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    Bishop to submit letter of resignation to Vatican

    The Catholic Commentator 

    Bishop Robert W. Muench said he has been privileged to serve the past 15 years as Bishop of Baton Rouge, constituting “the richest blessings of ministry I have ever received.” 

    Bishop Muench made his comments to The Catholic Commentator as he prepared to submit his letter of resignation to the Vatican on Dec. 28, the day he turns 75, as required by canon law. But as he

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    Bells ring melodious chapter in history of diocese

    The Catholic Commentator  

    Early Sunday morning, the quiet dawning of a new day across the Diocese of Baton Rouge is broken by the joyous, deep, rich tones of church bells ringing as they beckon and welcome the faithful to Mass. For some of the older churches and parishes in the diocese, the pealing of church bells has continued for almost two-and-a-half centuries.  

    The bell

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    Creche celebrates 75 years


    The Catholic Commentator 

    A hushed, heavenly embrace is given to many gazing at a crèche scene of God coming to earth in a burst of glory, with wide-eyed shepherds, gift-bearing Magi, docile animals and adoring angels looking with Mary and Joseph upon the infant Jesus. Setting up and enjoying a crèche is a special time for families, especially when there are pieces that have special memories behind them. This

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    Students spread the love with bags to the needy

    The Catholic Commentator

    In a season of waiting, watching and preparing for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the preparational aspect of Advent can sometimes take over and take hold of day-to-day activities. From school concerts, parties and church events to shopping, decorating and planning for guests, the Christmas season can be the busiest time of year for many. 

    Freshmen at St. Michael

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    Lighting a tradition

    Bonfires along the Mississippi River from Port Allen south have been a long-standing tradition for generations. Families plan their bonfires well in advance, and weeks before Christmas Eve trees are cut and the poles begin to dot the river levee. Although the origin of the tradition remains a mystery, the fires rekindle the memory of when a great light and angels appeared to the shepherds on the outskirts of Bethlehem as they watched over their sheep The angels brought the news of the birth of

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    Middle school students at Mater Dolorosa School in Independence were paid a special visit by a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter. Robert Johnson, father of third-grader Kori Johnson, along with LTC Jacques Comeaux, WO1 James Cardin, SGT Joshua McNeese and SPS Cameron Ockman planned the event. Students were able to sit inside the helicopters, ask questions and take pictures. The students returned to class to write about their experience. Photo provided by Erin Mendez/Mater Dolorosa School

    Diocese releases statement concerning allegation of sexual misconduct against Fr. Eric Gyan

    On November 8, 2017, the Diocese of Baton Rouge received from a woman in her thirties a written allegation of sexual misconduct against a priest of this diocese, Fr. Eric Gyan, currently Pastor of St. Theresa of Avila Parish in Gonzales. The misconduct was alleged to have occurred in 1996 when the woman was a minor and Fr. Gyan was pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Brusly. This is the only such complaint the diocese has ever received about Fr. Gyan.  

    The diocese’s victim assistance coordinator, Mrs.

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