I remember when I was growing up that Catholics would proudly remark that they could go to Mass any place in the world and it would be the same Mass celebrated in Latin. It was a visible sign of the unity of the worldwide Catholic Church. Some today seem to talk of this claim of unity and the use of Latin as a nostalgic time but it is not a nostalgic idea even today. The Mass IS still the same no matter where you attend Mass anywhere in the world. It is true that the languages change but the Mass is still the same, and we are still able to receive the body and blood of Christ and be united with the worldwide Body of Christ that is the Catholic Church. We should still proclaim confidently that we are ONE, one church, holy, Catholic and apostolic.  

Here in the Diocese of Baton Rouge we have this same wonderful unity in Christ. It is true that every parish has a different personality and even takes on the best of the culture of the people and families who are parishioners. But every Sunday, the same Mass is celebrated and we are one in hearing the word of God proclaimed and in communion with the body and blood of Christ. I know our people are confident with this unity as many proclaim to me that they are ROAMIN Catholics, attending Sunday Mass in the parish of their birth, or the parish in which they now live or the parish of their grandchildren. This is a great testimony of our knowing that we are part of this beautiful, unified Catholic family.   

I have the privilege of being able to be a part of every parish so I see the beauty of each parish and the faithful way our pastors care for their parishioners and those within the parish boundaries. As your bishop though, I look on the Diocese, the whole Diocese as my ONE parish. It falls to me to support our parishes but also to faithfully attend to the needs of the whole church. While the parishes meet many local needs there are some needs that I must meet that are the responsibility of the whole church community but which no one parish can take care of. This is the work of the CHURCH that is supported by my Bishop’s Annual Appeal.  

Duca, Michael color.pdf

This year I want to make this aspect of the appeal clear. You have received information in the mail about the appeal and I hope you notice that I have clearly chosen to ask your support for what I consider foundational ministries for any diocese that supports both the healthy growth of the church and the fulfillment of our call to service and charity. All the money we receive will go directly to support these ministries.  

Some ministries will support the future growth and stability of our church communities. Your donations will support the formation of our seminarians, our future priests, and will also help to provide scholarships to our Catholic schools to help build a next generation of Catholic leaders. Your dollars will also be part of our diocesan support for campus ministries in our diocese. We read all the time about the numbers of youth leaving the church. Campus ministries of our diocese at LSU, Southern and Southeastern give the church a lively and effective presence to keep the church close to our young adults at a critical time of their lives. I made this a large portion of our appeal because I believe it is a priority we need to support and even expand.  

We also include a robust portion of the appeal to go to Catholic Charities to support their direct assistance to the poor. This is our outreach to some of our most needful neighbors whom we/you would help if you could but will never be able to meet. Our Catholic Charities is able to reach them and extend the loving hand of the church, extend OUR loving hands to help them in a critical time of their lives.  

I ask that you please consider the good work of the appeal and these ministries that need the support of the whole church, your support.  

I thank you for all you do and I am so thankful for the your generosity. May God bless us in our work together as ONE church, unified and renewed at the same altar of sacrifice and communion, transformed by the same word of God and committed to same mission of building up the body of Christ.  

Please consider giving a gift to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal this year.  

In Christ our Hope.  

 Michael  

Bishop of Baton Rouge