Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bishop Duca Of The Diocese Of Shreveport : Go Forth and Make New Catholics

The big 25th birthday of the Diocese of Shreveport is coming up and Bishop Duca, who is the only second Bishop the Diocese has had, is really promoting the heck out of it.

The New Catholic Connection has some good articles on our Diocese and the big birthday. See for a history of Diocese since the early days Diocese of Shreveport YESTERDAY .The former Bishop of Shreveport William Friend gives his input and picks up the story at A Friendly Reflection. We then reach the current days at Diocese of Shreveport TODAY

Bishop Duca then looks at the future at Bishop’s Reflection (June).

The KEY theme is Evangelization. as he notes though before we convert others we must convert ourselves:

....But the first step of evangelization always begins with our own self-evangelization. Our first commitment must be to live our Catholic Faith more completely each day. The heart of any renewal in our Church will always be the change that must first start in our own hearts.
Our first examination must be to ask, “How does my faith influence my actions?” and, “Do I live my Catholic faith?” I use the term “Catholic” on purpose. To say, “live my Catholic faith” is to live as a true disciple of Christ and allow ourselves to be led and shaped by the teaching of the Church, the Sacraments and the Word of God. Any true renewal of our Church will begin within ourselves and by our choice to live our Catholic life more faithfully. This will begin the first evangelization, which is accomplished when others see that our faith is important to us and see that the faith we believe in is clearly visible in our daily lives. Saint Francis of Assisi said, “Preach always, and when necessary, use words”....

Well Amen to that! This will be the huge theme no doubt at the big 25th anniversary event coming up in the next couple of week that the Bishop wants us to attend. I plan to attend if I can rearrange a certain obligation I have that same date.

This new push will take a lot of prayer too which I am sure the Bishop will address.

I do hope that the Diocese will try to maintain and keep the focus that this must be DIOCESE WIDE. That is resources and keeping the pedal to the metal as to these efforts cannot just be a city thing. That is Shreveport and Monroe.

It is very easy with limited resources to concentrate efforts in the City which does not help us rubes in the sticks. Many Diocesan offices have that inclination that occurs without them knowing it. For instance when we look at the list of all these great upcoming events (Latin mass, Choir Camp etc etc) that is listed (page 22 in the full PDF download) they are pretty much all happening in Shreveport.

Now of course the Bishop nor the Chancellery canbot micro manage every parish. This is all a two way street and I am hopeful Bishop Duca can kick our collectives asses in gear somewhat in the rural areas. It can be tough at times being a Catholic in the rural areas of this Diocese. So many opportunities to re affirm our Catholic ID are not always available.

I do think Bishop Duca realizes that. On a recent trip of his to the frontier and provinces (my small parish) he even then was stressing the Go Forth and Make new Catholics theme.

From my viewpoint my parish needs to hear that again including me. Duca made the obvious point. The Demographics of the rural CIVIL PARISHES themselves are not good.

We don't have new people moving to a good many of these rural Parishes. Thus we better go out and spread the Good News about the Catholic Faith if we want to survive. We should be doing that anyway. However that is sometimes tough when one is such a minority. A bunker mentality aided by the not so helpful of loss of Catholic ID that now just is starting to be recovered is a factor in all this.

That being said there is some new growth under the radar. That is the Hispanic workers I often see at times in the stores. The problem is I don't see them at Mass. If we don't adapt to this reality other Churches will reach out to them. That worries me too. How do you have a viable Hispanic ministry in rural areas Diocese wide.

Now of course we shall get more bang for the buck of course in the cities. However rural Catholicism , since I have to live it, is a concern to me. I really think that the Catholic Faith if we quit keeping it to ourselves would be a big hit. However as the Bishop points out that must first start with us. Which means that Catholic spirituality ,education and ID must be looked at from a rural (outside Shreveport and Monroe) viewpoint. Like I said I think my Bishop gets that.

The Diocese of Alexandria just south of seems to be going well. We used to be a part of that Diocese. I think Bishop Duca's vision has been shown to have results there. People think that the Diocese of Alexandria is a far more Catholic place. Actually it is not. It has about 9000 more Catholics and on the whole is very rural and in place very Protestant. It too is still in large part a North Louisiana Diocese. So we know it can be done. I get excited thinking about it.

Regardless I am pretty pumped up about Bishop Duca's vision. I just hope he keeps pressing us to live up to it.

No comments: