Bishop Muench's Easter Message
To: The Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful, Diocese of Baton Rouge
Dearly Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ All:
It changed them. It changed the world. It must change us. The “it” is Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The “them” are those who remained faithful apostles and disciples to Jesus. The “change” is a radical transformation of self and life, an ultimate new defining moment, for individuals and groups, for all time and for all eternity. read more
Bishop Robert Muench's Chrism Mass Homily
& Letter Announcing the 2014 Diocesan Pastoral Planning Task Force
April 16, 2014
This morning we assemble as members of our diocesan Church to celebrate the Annual Chrism Mass. We gather as priests, religious women and men, deacons and their wives, seminarians and vocational prospects, diocesan, parish and agency personnel, representatives from each of our Church parishes, seniors and youth, including delegates from our eight Catholic Secondary and some Elementary Schools, public officials, members of the Elect, and others. Given the renovation of the Cathedral Parish Hall, we are uniquely celebrating this Eucharist at St. Aloysius Church. We thank and pray for Father Than Vu, pastor, as well as the parishioners of this esteemed Church parish. As a personal side, sixty years ago, as an eleven year old sixth grader (all right, you mathematicians, stop calculating!), I felt inspired to choose St. Aloysius for my Confirmation name. Shortly after coming to the diocese twelve years ago, I learned the location of the bishop’s residence made me a member of this parish. That information was confirmed shortly thereafter when I received in the mail a welcoming gift from the parish: you guessed it, a set of weekly envelopes! (From that moment on I really felt I belonged.)
The Chrism Mass is celebrated annually on or near Holy Thursday, Jesus’ establishment of the Eucharist and of the priesthood. Oils blessed, consecrated and distributed at this ceremony will be used exclusively within the diocese until next year’s corresponding Mass. They are: the Oil of the Sick, for the Sacrament of Anointing; the Oil of Catechumens, to anoint adult catechumens and infants being baptized; and the Oil of Chrism, for use at Baptism, Confirmation, the ordination of priests, the consecration of altars and dedication of churches.
Today we remember with fondness members of our clergy who, since last year’s Chrism Mass, have been received into eternal life: Father Louis Oubre, and Deacons Phillip Bejeaux, Esnard Gremillion, Thomas St. Pierre and Alfred Zeringue. “May they rest in peace. Amen.” We also celebrate the ordination anniversaries of priests in our diocese: 50 years: Monsignor Robert Berggreen; Fr. Cayet Mangiaracino, O.P.; 45 years: Fathers Hung Nguyen, I.C.M., Donald Blanchard, Gerald Burns, and Frank Uter; 40 years: Fathers Joseph Camilleri, Edward Chiffriller, S.S.J., Jon Koehler, William McCue, S.C., Victor Messina and Michael Schatzle; 35 years: Fathers Jeffrey Bayhi, Paul Counce, Henry Gautreau, Rubin Reynolds; 30 years: Father Than Vu; 25 years: Father John Nutter. “May God, who began the good work in you, continue to bring it to fulfillment. Amen.”
I use this occasion to share a letter below I have written to our diocesan Church, assessing our present situation and projecting the necessity for us to continue planning for the future.
May our celebration of this special Eucharist bond us all the closer to Christ and the Church -- parochial, diocesan and universal -- and to one another. May we each feel specially privileged to be here, recipients of extraordinary grace, and newly challenged to be members, witnesses and ministers of Word and Sacraments to others. God love you.
2014 Spring Clergy Formation Letter from Bishop Muench
Dear People of God of the Diocese of Baton Rouge,
One of the important ways in which the priests of our diocese are formed for ministry occurs through what is called the annual Spring Formation [Continuing Education] days held for all priests in the diocese in May of each year. 2014 will be the last year these formation days will be held in the Spring. Beginning 2015, the Continuing Formation of the Clergy Committee decided to change these days to the ‘Annual Priests’ Formation Days’ to be held in the second full week in January. These formation days offer the priests opportunities for 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 the priests is mandatory. However, on occasion, ministry needs arise at the same time preventing the priests from participating in these Spring (Annual) Formation days. read more
For many years the Diocese of Baton Rouge has been a member of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC), an organization of those working in diocesan and parish pastoral liturgy who advise the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and who work collaboratively with the Bishops to promote the liturgical life of the Church. The FDLC Newsletter offers you some insights into the impact of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, whose 50th Anniversary is remembered and celebrated now. Click here to read the FDLC Newsletter.