Recently, St. Benedict Catholic Church celebrated mass with Bishop Michael Duca, who officiated.
Duca said it is the beginning of a year of faith, and people need to deepen their faith in Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
“Prayer must be at the center of our faith. We must put our faith in God first in our lives, have a renewed appreciation of the sacrament of reconciliation and make time for personal prayer,” said Duca.
“We need to always be growing in faith. It gets challenged all the time – inside and outside. We must work on it daily,” he said.
When it comes to faith, Duca said society is split. There are those who want to be strengthened in their faith in God and those who want nothing to do with it.
“Faith has to be deeper and knowledge better. God’s word has the power to change us. We must read it, study it and reflect upon it. When you say ‘yes’ to something, you are saying ‘no’ to something else,” said the bishop.
Oftentimes people know what is right in their hearts, but they choose something else. They are at war in their hearts, and moments of temptation often come at night. When people say “no,” they often feel as if they have denied themselves.
Duca said, “Our deepest test of faith comes when no one is looking. What you do when you are own is your deepest testament to your faith, what you do for the sake of goodness. We need to pray that our faith will be strengthened.”
Duca was appointed to Shreveport by Pope Benedict XVI on April 1, 2008, and he has been the bishop of Shreveport since his ordination on May 19, 2008.
Duca praised St. Benedict’s pastor, Father Patrick J. Madden. He said, “You have a great resource here.”
Madden received his master’s degree in liturgy from the University of Notre Dame, and his Ph.D. in biblical studies from the Catholic University of America.
Since joining the University of Dallas faculty in 2003, he has taught courses in scripture, liturgy and homiletics in addition to teaching deacons in both Dallas and Tyler. Currently, he teaches online courses each week where he does about six or eight lectures.
Constance Carter, a member of St. Benedict, said, “It was a beautiful experience. Bishop Duca is personable, congenial and good to interact with.”
“Having Bishop Duca adds a sense of belonging. It gives a greater feeling we are part of the greater church and not isolated.”
Carter attends mass with her husband Phillippe and their three children: Phillippe, Landon and Clarke.
Another member, Miloni Perera of Sri Lanka, said the message was good and she was glad to see Duca return.
“Some people just come to church and think, ‘I am good with my faith.’ Bishop Duca talked about doing what you can do, not just doing it for show,” said the GSU graduate who sings in the choir.
“Everybody does not have to know. Just do good because it is the right thing to do.”