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ST. NICK SMILE

Posted January 5, 2018 at 12:00 am

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 the first things the bishop put on his calendar at the beginning of the year. Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator

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    A YEAR OF CHANGES

    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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    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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    Artist paints beautiful portrait of Our Lady for OLMC

    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

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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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    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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    A CHRISTMAS DINNER

    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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    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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    ‘ARTISTIC CRIB’

    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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    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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    COMING HOME

    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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    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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    CHRISTMAS COINS

    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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    CHRISTMAS VILLAGE

    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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    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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    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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    Giving across the Diocese

    The Catholic Commentator 

    As a nip in the air greeted Thanksgiving morning, and while many cooks were fretting over every detail of their prized turkey, Mary Ann Muscarelo was pulling into the parking lot at Mater Dolorosa School in Independence, money in hand, understanding that sometimes peace of mind comes at a small price. 

     

    Joe Patanella stands sentry as 10 fried turkeys

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    Program offers guidance for newly ordained priests

    The Catholic Commentator

    Embarking on a new career, much less a new job, can be overwhelming under any circumstances.

    Perhaps, those challenges are even more daunting among newly ordained priests. Shortly after the glow of ordination has faded the newly minted priest may find himself alone in a rectory, wondering what’s next.

    Father Jason Palermo, pastor at St. Joseph Church in French Settlement

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    Prison work can be demanding

    The Catholic Commentator

    On a sunny afternoon in early November, more than a half dozen deacons gathered in a private dining room of the Catholic Life Center in Baton Rouge for lunch. They had traveled from towns and cities throughout the Diocese of Baton Rouge for this special gathering, which only takes place twice a year, bringing with them tales from behind prison walls. 

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    Surviving holiday stress

    The Catholic Commentator

    Anticipating Christmas may start off in a jingly, dashing off to a perfect Christmas festive mood. But stress may build from endlessly swiping the credit card while shopping, slugging through a crammed schedule of gatherings – which includes people we’re glad we rarely see – and swallowing disappointment for not getting everything done. Then we drop to our knees before crossing the finish line as a gong tolls “you failed.”

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    Refugees Relax

    Families from Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela and Burma in the Refugee Resettlement program of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge visited the Knock Knock Children’s Museum on Dec. 3. The event was organized by LSU Lab School student Avery Mann as part of an English class service project inspired by the novel “The Kite Runner” written by Khaled Hosseini, an Afghan-American author. Photo by Bonny Van | The Catholic Commentator

     

    Court ruling disappoints pro-life officials

    The Catholic Commentator

    Pro-life officials expressed disappointment about a federal appeals court in New Orleans on Nov. 28 that essentially allows Planned Parenthood facilities in Louisiana to continue to receive Medicaid funding.

    The 7-7 vote provided a rare glimpse into an apparently deeply divided court. However, by not permitting a hearing on a previous court ruling, Planned Parenthood will be allowed to continue to provide abortions throughout the state.

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    A WORK IN PROGRESS

    The Catholic Commentator 

    As St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict continues its recovery from floodwaters that inundated the abbey in early 2016, the Diocese of Baton Rouge is chipping in with a special collection.

     

    A special collection in the Diocese of Baton Rouge is scheduled on the weekend of Dec. 9-10 to assist St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict,

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    Teen suicide on the rise

    The Catholic Commentator

    Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those 15–24 years old, according to the World Health Organization. Therefore, concern over the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” which is seen by many as glamorizing teen suicide, was a catalyst for the Nov. 14 presentation “13 Reasons Why (Not),” which looked at the issue of teen suicide and the response of faith and science. The Offices of Marriage and Family Life and Youth and

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    Re-entry for inmates present unique challenges

    The Catholic Commentator 

    Seven days after 55-year-old Ernest Scott of Baton Rouge was released from prison, he visited the Prison Ministry Office of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge looking for help. Scott was among the 1,900 convicted men and women released Nov. 1 as part of Louisiana’s new criminal justice reform package.  

    Bishop Robert. W. Muench, who has been committed to

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    Celebrating Black Catholics

    The Catholic Commentator 

    Many attending Mass at a predominately African-American church in the Diocese of Baton Rouge say it is a worship experience that is alive and vibrant. They receive a warm welcome, hear jubilant voices of a Gospel choir and “Amens” ringing out from the congregation as a priest or deacon delivers a passionate message, watch the rhythmic, graceful performances of liturgical dancers and pick up on a sense of community. 

    During Black Catholic History

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