Public defenders underfunded

Posted January 18, 2019 at 12:00 am

By Bonny Van

The Catholic Commentator

Money to pay for public defense attorneys in Louisiana is slowly drying up, according to Richard Pittman, deputy public defender with the Louisiana Public Defender Board. He said funding comes from a combination of state money and local revenue, “the primary driver of which is traffic tickets and the court costs that come with traffic tickets.”

“The number of traffic tickets filed into courts in Louisiana have declined literally nine consecutive years,” explained Pittman to the Louisiana Interchurch Conference Commission on Criminal Justice.

A shift in funding from the state helped shore up some of the expenses but it’s still not enough, he said.

“The number of criminal cases has declined but not at the rate of the decline of funding. That follows a national trend. There’s a national trend that police aren’t writing as many traffic

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    Holiday joy can lead to the blues

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator

    The tree is down, those joyful memories of Christmas morning buried in the brown needles that seem to hang around seemingly until spring.

    The Nativity has been stowed and the outdoor decorations shoved back into the cramped attic.

    The Christmas season is over.

    For many, this is the time of year when the holiday blues take root, the euphoria of the holidays morphing into a slight depression of unmet expectations, dreary weather and the onslaught of January bills.

    “I think the holiday blues are real,”

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    Houma-Thibodaux releases names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator

    The Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux released the names of priests who have admitted, were convicted or credibly accused of sexually abusing children on Jan. 11.

    In a letter, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre said none of the priests on the list are currently active in the ministry. Bishop Fabre, who is originally from New Roads, apologized for the “egregious sins that have taken place.’
    He called “abhorrent” the sexual abuse of a child by anyone and “even worse when perpetrated by the clergy that is vested with the sacred trust of

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    Interim principal named at Sacred Heart

    Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Baton Rouge has appointed Carolyn Guidry as interim principal, succeeding principal C.J. Laird who announced his resignation from the school in December.

    Guidry’s appointment was effective Jan. 7.

    It was also announced that Cecilia Methvin, a former assistant principal at Sacred Heart, will be the new principal, starting in July.

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    CELEBRATING A SUCCESSFUL YEAR

    The Knights of Peter Claver Wilfred B. Ricard Council #116 has completed a year of service to Immaculate Conception Church in Baton Rouge and the community by hosting its annual Christmas dance. During the year, Council #116 contributed funds to St. Francis Xavier School in Baton Rouge, donated school supplies to Crestworth and Ryan Elementary Schools, awarded $1,000 college scholarships to Hunter G. Williams and Andrew D. Newton, and power washed the exterior of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Catholic Student Center adjacent to the

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    Technology through robotics

    By Bonny Van

    The Catholic Commentator 

    With eager faces, members of the robotics team from Holy Family School in Port Allen grabbed base plates, iPads and bins of Lego pieces and started to work. They were building, creating and coding. However, these students aren’t just playing around, they really understand the challenges and how to execute the program.  

    Holy Family School in Port Allen technology coordinator Annie Cagle helps

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    EYE ON THE FUTURE

     St. Francis celebrates centennial

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator 

    A welcome mat of excitement and hospitality was rolled out to usher people into a Mass closing out a yearlong 100th anniversary celebration at St. Francis Xavier Church in Baton Rouge on Dec. 30.  

    The Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary kneel in prayer during Mass. Photos by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator 

     

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    Pilgrims to spread message of life during annual march

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator  

    January 18 is the peak of a journey to Washington, D.C. filled with “prayer and sacrifice” for hundreds of youth from the Diocese of Baton Rouge, who will march up to the U.S. Supreme Court and call for the to end of legalized abortion at March for Life.  

    The day of the March is a highlight for the youth from the Diocese of Baton Rouge, who also visited many and

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    Father Uter donates chalice to Deacon Vu

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator 

    As Deacon John Vu prepares to be ordained a priest, he ponders about 50 years down the road and presenting to a seminarian a chalice given to him by a priest celebrating his 50th anniversary to the priesthood this year.  

    Deacon John Vu, left, raises the chalice that has been given to him by Father Frank Uter, pastor of Immaculate

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    Interactive canopy welcomes young patients

    By Bonny Van

    The Catholic Commentator 

    On a gray, cold, blustery day, Chris Janney, an architect and jazz musician, watched as construction crews and massive cranes worked to move 12 structural columns into place that would support 88 sheets of 6′ x 6′ thick, transparent colored glass to form a canopy over the entrance of the new Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital.

    Crews install support

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    CHECKING IN

    Youth from the Diocese of Baton Rouge check in before loading the buses at the Catholic Life Center January 14 to go to March for Life in Washington D.C. on January 18. This year nine buses and 457 pilgrims from over 20 churches and schools traveled to the march. Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator  

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    Father LeDoux dies

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator   

    Father Jerome LeDoux SVD, former columnist for The Catholic Commentator and who previously served as pastor at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Baton Rouge, died Jan. 7 in Lafayette following heart surgery. Father LeDoux was 88.  

    Father Jerome LeDoux SVD, is shown after speaking at the Louisiana Catholic Conference in 1990. Photo provided by the Archives Department | Diocese of Baton Rouge

     

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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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    Full of Grace Cafe offers coffee, hope

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator   

    The newly opened Full of Grace Café at Holy Rosary Church in St. Amant is a collective dream of its parishioners and pastor Father Josh Johnson that is meeting the needs of the less fortunate and giving them hope for a better future. 

    Bishop Michael Duca blesses the new Full of Grace Café as well as the people attending the ceremony.  Photo

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    Noted actor sees God’s hand in latest role

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator  

    Moments before taking the stage, a familiar feeling of nervousness that often morphed into anxiety engulfed Jim Coleman.  

    Jim Coleman captured Father August Tolton’s love for the Eucharist on his journey to becoming the first African-American priest in America during the production, “Tolton: From Slave to Priest.” Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator 

     

    He immediately dialed in his

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    LIGHTING THE WAY

     

     

     

    St. Joseph’s Academy/Catholic High School | Baton Rouge 

    Catholic Elementary of Pointe Coupee | New Roads 

    Sacred Heart of Jesus School | Baton Rouge 

    St. Aloysius School | Baton Rouge 

    St. Alphonsus School

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    Community responds to Christmas donation program

    By Bonny Van

    The Catholic Commentator 

    On Dec. 14, the office of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge turned into the North Pole.

     

    Bikes donated to families sponsored through the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge Christmas program are lined up outside of the Catholic Charities office, ready for pick up. Almost 900 bikes were donated.  Photos by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator 

     

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    YEAR OF CHANGE


    Bishop Duca  installed as new shepherd 
    By Bonny Van

    The Catholic Commentator 

    The past year was momentous for the Diocese of Baton Rouge highlighted by a change in leadership. Bishop Michael G. Duca of the Diocese of Shreveport was installed as the sixth bishop for the Baton Rouge diocese on Aug. 24 at St. Joseph Cathedral, replacing Bishop Robert W. Muench.  

     

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    Cathedral music director dies

    Robbie Giroir, 60, longtime musical director at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, died Dec. 23 after fighting an acute illness.  

    Giroir served for more than 30 years as the musical director at St. Joseph Cathedral and also taught at Baton Rouge Magnet High School for 35 years.  

    Besides being a musician and teacher, he was also a pilot and collector extraordinaire, and his home, with an interesting mix of whimsical memorabilia and valuable, one-of-a-kind collectables,

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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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    SITTING IN SANTA’S LAP

    Josiah Franklin, 7 months, sits in Bishop Michael G. Duca’s lap before the bishop gives him a gift at the bishop’s distribution of gifts to children of families in need at the St. Vincent de Paul Society on Dec. 22. Approximately 5,600 gifts were collected that were sorted and wrapped by about 800 volunteers, according to SVDP CEO and Executive Director Michael Acaldo. “The success of the effort started with the smile on the bishop’s and children’s faces,” said Acaldo. Bishop Duca carries on a tradition that

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    Family Christmas centered on faith

    BISHOP DUCA’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
    Every year as Christmas draws near, I call to mind good memories of family celebrations, Christmas feasts, the gathering of relatives, the lighting of the final candle of our family Advent wreath and midnight Mass.  I am sure that many of us have these same kind of memories of family gatherings and rituals that create a deep spiritual joy that is uniquely connected to the Advent and Christmas season.  Yet as strong as these memories are, it may seem that the connection with the deep spiritual meaning of Christmas seems to

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    LIGHT OF FAITH

    Advent provides  starlit path to spiritual peace 

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator

    (Third in a series)

     

    Pictured above is the Nativity from Sts. Anthony of Padua and Le Van Phung Church in Baton

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    #iGiveCatholic campaign tops $100,000

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator

    As the fledgling #iGiveCatholic campaign neared, Tammy Abshire, stewardship director for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, expressed optimism that the third year would show continued growth.

    But not even Abshire could have predicted such success.

    During the 24 hours of the Nov. 27 campaign, the diocese raised $102,272, not only a single-year record but more than the previous two years combined. In 2016 #iGiveCatholic generated $47,500 and $49,675 a year ago.

    “I am completely overwhelmed and so grateful to the people in the Diocese of Baton Rouge who continue to support

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    Father Johnson, Father Alello honored

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator 

    Residents in Ascension Civil Parish have praised Holy Rosary Church’s ability not only to overcome adversity, but to extend its arms and welcome, serve and evangelize by voting the St. Amant church Best Place to Worship of 2018. Pastor Father Josh Johnson was voted Person of the Year.  

    Holy Rosary and Father Johnson were nominated in individual categories by citizens. The top five contenders in their category for the contest, sponsored by the

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    Delivering the Lord through Communion

    By Bonny Van

    The Catholic Commentator  

    When Patience Moreno, a parishioner of St. Aloysius Church in Baton Rouge, was a patient at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, she was surprised when someone walked into her hospital room to distribute holy Communion.  

    Patience Moreno gets ready to distribute Holy Communion to patients at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical

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    Dramatic performance chronicles Fr. Tolton’s life

    By Debbie Shelley

    The Catholic Commentator 

    As the lights dimmed across the ballroom of the Catholic Life Center, with the exception of a soft blue hue focused on the stage, the audience is taken back to 1862.   

    Pictured with Jim Coleman, center, who played the part of Father Augustus Tolton in the play “Tolton: From Slave to Priest,” is Bishop Michael G. Duca, left, and Deacon Alfred Adams,

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    OUR LADY’S FEAST DAY

    Our Lady of Guadalupe | St. Ann Church, Morganza 

    By Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator 

    Nestled in the tiny enclave of Morganza on the western outreaches of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, St. Ann Church might be diminutive in size but rich in spirit.  

    A dance troupe from the Hispanic Apostolate performed during a celebration and dinner following Mass at St. Ann Church in Morganza. Nearly 200 people, gathered

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    Student carries on family tradition of charity

    By Bonny Van

    The Catholic Commentator  

    On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Alex Ezell, a senior at St. Michael the Archangel School in Baton Rouge, helped his mom and dad unload trays of pulled pork, baked beans and coleslaw and carry them into the Sweet Dreams Family Shelter in Baton Rouge.  

    Alex Ezell, a student at St. Michael High School, helps his parents Ron and Traci Ezell, serve dinner at the Sweet

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    Nuestra Señora De Guadalupe celebrado en Morganza

    Por Richard Meek

    The Catholic Commentator 

    Situada en un enclave diminuto de Morganza, en los confines de la parte oeste de la Diócesis de Baton Rouge, la Iglesia de St. Ann puede ser diminuta en tamaño, pero rica en espíritu. </span id=”2″>

    Un grupo de danza del Apostolado baila antes de la cena en el salón parroquial de la Iglesia de St. Ann en Morganza. Los bailarines mostraron una danza

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