From the Pastor – January 31, 2016

masstime.usAnd all spoke highly of Jesus and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”

When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. (Lk 4:22 & Lk 4:28-30)

What happened here? These are two different parts of the 4th chapter of Luke’s Gospel separated by only 5 verses. In the first section, the people are rapt by the beautiful words of Jesus, and in the second they are so angered as to want to kill Him. What provoked that? What caused their attitude to change? Actually, it was a strong statement of Jesus about what had happened with prophets that had come before Him. The people didn’t want to hear that. And that change in attitude reminds us of the changing attitudes of the people of Jerusalem from Palm Sunday (when He is praised) to Good Friday (when He is crucified).

Is it any wonder that the Church faces the same attitudes? As long as the Church is engaged in charitable activity, then it is extolled. When the Church is giving food to the poor, visiting the sick and sheltering the homeless, there’s no problem. But when the Church begins to preach the Gospel of Christ, it gets into the same trouble that Christ got into. People want it to go away. Many in society don’t want to hear how abortion is wrong, and how marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman. Many in society disagree with the Church on birth control and don’t see a problem with extra-marital intercourse. Many don’t have a problem with divorce and remarriage. Many want the Church to change its position on an all-male priesthood and priestly celibacy. Many don’t appreciate a Church that abhors war and rejects the death penalty in most cases.

The truth is that all of us are in need of conversion. When we hear a teaching of the Church with which we disagree, it should make us think that perhaps that is the area in which Christ is calling us to convert. Although the Church is heavily engaged in the corporal works of mercy (feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned & burying the dead), the Great Commission given by Christ to the Apostles was to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19-20). And that is the activity in which the Church is engaged. It preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ – in and out of season. And sometimes it is criticized for doing so. But we shouldn’t ever be surprised by persecutions of the Church. Our founder is Jesus Christ, the persecuted Son of God. But we should always be careful to avoid being one of the persecutors! new orleans mass times
Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty

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Because of the parades.  It will also feature our own Beth Turner and Pete Wolbrette and some of their friends in a jazz combo.

St. Joseph Altar Cookies!

In preparation for the St. Joseph Altar on Saturday, March 19, we will begin collecting ingredients for the traditional Italian cookies and for the meal itself.  We would greatly appreciate donations of the these ingredients on the following dates

1/31      Sugar, pecans and walnuts
2/7        All purpose flour, raisins and dates
2/14      Crisco shortening with butter (no oil!)
2/21      Red wine

Because we know that some parishioners find it difficult to get to St. Stephen Church during Mardi Gras, you are more than welcome to bring food donations on other than the assigned days.  Thank you for your generosity, and we hope you can attend the St Joseph Day meal since it’s on a Saturday this year!

For more details, contact Hunter Harris at 417-6066.

What is Ordinary Time?

The Christmas Season officially concluded on the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord last Sunday, and Monday we began “Ordinary Time” with the colors of the vestments and altar furnishing returning to green from the violet of Advent and the white of Christmas. What’s so “ordinary” about it? Actually, “Ordinary Time” is the English translation of the Latin Tempus Per Annum (“time throughout the year”) and gets its name from the word ordinal, meaning “numbered,” because we begin to count the weeks rather than the seasons. Ordinary Time, depending on the year, runs either 33 or 34 weeks, and makes up the time in the Church calendar that does not fall within the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter.

The Church celebrates two periods as Ordinary Time. We just entered the first period, which runs until the evening of Mardi Gras when Lent begins. The second period begins on the Monday after Pentecost and runs until Advent begins. This period includes Christ the King Sunday, the final Sunday of Ordinary Time.

The use of the term “Ordinary Time” was used before the Second Vatican Council, but it was not until after the council that the term was officially used to designate the period between Epiphany and Lent, and the period between Pentecost and Advent. The older names for those seasons were the “Season After Epiphany” and the “Season After Pentecost.”

Ordinary Time celebrates the mystery of the life of Christ in all its aspects, and contains many important liturgical celebrations, including, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, the Assumption of Mary, he Exaltation of the Holy Cross, All Saints, All Souls and Christ the King. In addition, the Church continues to celebrate other feast days of Mary, feasts of many saints, and the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Notes for the Year of Mercy

Mercy is a virtue influencing one’s will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that, although mercy is as it were the spontaneous product of charity, it is a special virtue adequately distinguishable from this charity. In fact the Scholastics consider it to be related to justice mainly because, like justice, it controls relations between distinct persons.

Mercy sees misery in another person, and inflames a desire to alleviate that misery. Since misery can afflict both body and soul, it is customary to enumerate both corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The traditional enumeration of the corporal and works of mercy, respectively, is as follows:

To feed the hungry;
To give drink to the thirsty;
To clothe the naked;
To shelter the homeless;
To visit the sick;
To visit those in prison;
To bury the dead.
To instruct the ignorant;
To counsel the doubtful;
To admonish sinners;
To bear wrongs patiently;
To forgive offences willingly;
To comfort the afflicted;
To pray for the living and the dead.

Holy Days Mass Schedule

Mary, Mother of God
Thursday, December 31
6:00pm Vigil Mass

Mary, Mother of God
Friday, January 1
8:00am & 10:30am Mass
(all Masses at St. Stephen Church)

Immaculate Conception

Holy Day of Obligation Masses
6:30am at St. Henry, 8:30am & 6:00pm in Church

An interesting icon representing Jesus inside of Mary inside of St. Anne (the mother of Mary)

Some months before I went to seminary, I was having dinner with some friends and talking about the Catholic faith. One friend was a Catholic who attended daily Mass and the other was a self-acknowledged agnostic. During the course of our conversation, the agnostic asked me: “what would it do to your faith if it could be proved that Jesus was conceived and born in the normal way? What if the Immaculate Conception never happened?” I told him that he was confusing the Incarnation with the Immaculate Conception, and that the Immaculate Conception was the belief that MARY was conceived in HER mother’s womb without the stain of original sin. My friend, the Catholic, jumped in: “you don’t know what you’re talking about; the Immaculate Conception is the conception of Jesus!” So I asked him if he wanted to bet. He pulled out a hundred dollar bill, and put it down on the table. And I went to my office and pulled out my Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary, and opened it to “Immaculate Conception.” The definition is “the conception of the Virgin Mary in which as decreed in Roman Catholic dogma her soul was preserved free from original sin by divine grace.” So I won the bet.

This doctrine was revealed through the Scriptures (Mary was “full of grace”), and the long Tradition of the Church. But it was finally declared as dogma on December 8, 1954, exactly nine months before the celebration of the birth of Mary on September 8. The doctrine is quite logical. How could the flesh of the Son of God be formed through the flesh of one who was a slave to sin? So Jesus redeemed his mother’s soul before her birth. As one theologian has stated: “Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit.” Or, in English: “God could, it was appropriate, therefore, He did it.” O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us!

The Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a set of four candles which are lit each Sunday of the Advent Season. Three of the candles are violet-colored, and one is rose-colored. The violet candles symbolize faithful expectation, and the rose candle symbolizes joy and hope. These colors mirror the colors of the priest’s vestments used during the Sundays of Advent. In earlier times, the season of Advent had stronger penitential and ascetic aspects, and a relaxation of disciplines was offered on the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin for “rejoice”, the first words of the Introit. This turn is reflected in the shift from violet to rose. One violet candle is lit on the first evening of Advent (a Sunday). On successive Sundays, the second violet candle is added, then the rose candle on Gaudete Sunday, and finally, the third violet candle. So enough about the colors, what about the flame? The flame signifies Christ, the “Light of the World.”

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

December 2015

Universal: That all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving.

Evangelization: That families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.

Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!

Remember to Pray for the Faithful Departed!

In November, we remember the Holy Souls in Purgatory – faithful Christians who have died and gone before us but who still must atone for their sins. The time they spend in Purgatory cleanses them so that they may enter Heaven free from all effects of sin.

Praying for the dead, especially for those we have known, is a requirement of Christian charity. Our own prayers and sacrifices can be offered up to relieve their suffering. The following prayer, among others, can be incorporated into our daily prayers during this month: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Please Pray for the Faithful Departed of our Parish
William Allen, Clyde Arnoult, Kate Arnoult, Yvonne Arnoult, Audrey Baquet, Harold Baquet, Elmo J. Bourgeois, Joséphine Champagne Bourgeois, Dolores Brylski, Camelia Bychurch, Joe Bychurch, Frank & Elbee Bynum, Frank Chapetta, Mae Clementino, Val Clementino, Francis D’Anzi, Ed & Jo Flettrich, Anna & Alton Fontenot, Claire S. Fonti, Thomas Fonti, Irene Gambrel, Hazel Johnson, Andriana Kappesser, Sophia Kusztelniak, Joan LeBlanc, Warren Madrera, Deacon Paul A. Nalty, Raymond Pelleteri, Carroll Rhodes, Mary & Calvin Rhodes, Nellie & Frank Seo, Diane Singer, Nicholas Stidham, Edwin & Shirley Sullivan, Sam & Emily Uglesich, Sam & Katie Uglesich, Edwin & Mary Wetzel, Irma Wetzel, Milton & Vivian Wetzel, the Boudreaux & Bergeron Families, the Cline Family, the Coleman Family, the Frank & Williams Families, the Griener/Van der Haar Families, the Seo Family, the Stidham & Rhodes Families, the Daughters of Charity (DC), the Vincentian Priests (CM), and the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (CIC).

Catholic Scripture Study

gospel-johnThe Gospel According to John

Come soar high above with the “beloved disciple” in a 28-week study of this profound gospel.

Like the eagle, St. John has an amazing vision and sees the hidden realities of Jesus’ life, passion, and death. In his gospel, we discover Jesus Christ the Messiah, the Eternal Word of God, the Bread of Life come down from heaven, and the Good Shepherd. Come and discover the inexhaustible and divine mystery, who is present and active in His Church right now.

Classes begin: Thursday, February 11th
Registration deadline: February 18th

For more information contact:
Mr. Phillip Bellini

Cost is $40

Schedule Changes!

Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday & Lent Schedule Changes!

Mardi Gras Day: Mass in the Rectory Chapel at 6:30 a.m.  However, we will not have Adoration or Mass on Tuesday evening.

Ash Wednesday:  The distribution of ashes will take place at 6:30 a.m. Mass at St. Henry and at the 12:00 noon and 6:00 p.m. Masses in St. Stephen Church.  Before the 6:00 p.m. Mass in the church there will be a Holy Hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament beginning at 4:45 p.m. 

There will be Stations of the Cross and Confession on Fridays of Lent at St. Henry Church with Confession at 5:30pm and the Stations at 6:00pm.  Remember that Msgr. Nalty is also in the Confessional from 3:00-3:45pm on Saturdays and 9:30-10:15 a.m. on Sundays.

Palm Branches Needed!

Each year the blessed palms from Palm Sunday are burned to make the ashes for Ash Wednesday. We will burn them on the weekend of  February 10. Since the palms are blessed, burning is the suitable way to dispose of them. Please remember to bring them to Mass next weekend and place them in the brass urns in the back of the church.

Lent and Easter Guidelines

THE LENTEN SEASON A distinction is to be made between Lent and the Easter Triduum. Strictly speaking, Lent ends with the beginning of the Triduum on Holy Thursday. The Ordo notes: “Lent runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord’s Supper exclusive on Holy Thursday”.

FASTING AND ABSTINENCE Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics who are 18 years of age and is observed until their 59th birthday. Those who are bound to fast may take only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to each one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.

Abstinence from meat is to be observed by all Catholics 14 years or older on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays of Lent.  The determination of certain days as obligatory days of penance should not be understood as limiting the occasion for Christian penance. The Spirit of the season of Lent should be maintained throughout the weeks of Lent.

MAINTAINING THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON OF LENT The Spirit of the season of Lent should be maintained throughout the weeks of Lent. The obligation to observe penitential days of the Church is serious. Failure to observe individual days of penance is not necessarily considered serious. No one should be scrupulous in this regard. People should seek to do more rather than less, since fast and abstinence on the days prescribed should be considered a minimal response to the Lord’s call to penance and conversion of life.

St. Blaise Throat Blessing

After Masses Tuesday, February 2 and Wednesday, February 3

Wednesday, February 3 is the Feast of St. Blase, Bishop and Martyr, although it is not celebrated because it falls on a Sunday. St. Blaise, the bishop of Sebaste in Armenia was martyred in the year 316. The oldest accounts tell us that Blaise was a physician at Sebaste before he was made bishop. In the 4th century persecution of Licinius, St. Blaise was taken prisoner. After suffering various forms of torture he was beheaded.

The most popular story attributed to St. Blaise occurred while he was in prison, when he cured a young a boy who was in danger of choking to death because of a fishbone in his throat.  That story, and the fact that St. Blaise was a doctor, made the saint very popular for intercessory prayer for throat ailments.

At an early date, the veneration of this Eastern saint was brought into Europe, and Blaise became one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages. Numberless churches and altars were dedicated to him.

On the feast day, the blessing of St. Blaise will be given in St. Henry Church after the 6:30 am Mass. Also, the blessing will be given in St. Stephen Church after the 6:00 pm Mass on Tuesday, February 4. The blessing of the throat is carried out using two white taper candles that were blessed on the previous day, February 2, the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas Day). The white color of the candles symbolizes purity. A red ribbon draped over the base of the candles symbolizes the martyrdom of St. Blaise. The candles are grasped in an X-shape and held up to the throat of the person receiving the blessing: “Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

From the Society of St Vincent de Paul

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!   With your financial and gift purchasing assistance we were able to help so many this past holiday season.  By the numbers, for Thanksgiving 2015 we provided food baskets with gift certificates for the meat entrée to FORTY-TWO families to ensure they would enjoy a traditional holiday meal.  Thanks to Louise McGehee School who donated an additional 12 baskets for Thanksgiving; we gave out 6 of those at Thanksgiving and then remaining 6 at Christmas.  Christmas was truly a blessed time for us.  With your help we provided 20 (TWENTY) families with Christmas gifts with angel giving tree gifts going to 53 children ages  3 months to 18 years old providing new clothing and toys for Christmas.  We also provided food baskets to 51 families (25 from Sacred Heart, 20 from Good Shepherd plus 6 from Louise McGehee).  God’s love truly shines forth from our Parish.  Thanks again for providing for “the least of my brothers”.  God’s continued blessings to you and your family in this new year.

What are the “O Antiphons?”

The seven “O Antiphons” (also called the “Greater Antiphons” or “Major Antiphons”) are prayers that come from Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time which is called the “Golden Nights.”

Each Antiphon begins with “O” and addresses Jesus with a unique title which comes from the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, and whose initials, when read backwards, form an acrostic for the Latin “Ero Cras” which means “Tomorrow I will be [there].” Those titles for Christ are:

December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)
December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
December 23: O Emmanuel (O God is with Us)

Advent Morning of Recollection

Catholic Women in Action, a committee of The Catholic Foundation, invites you to a end an Advent Morning of Reflection Monday, December 7, 2015, beginning at 8:00 AM with Mass and reflection by Monsignor Christopher Nalty, followed by guest speakers John and Jenifer Besh on how you can spiritually prepare your family for Christ’s coming and help evangelize others.”

The Proclamation Thanksgiving

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America’s National day of Thanksgiving, and sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.  Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Thanksgiving Baskets

The St. Vincent de Paul Society would like to request your help in providing Thanksgiving Baskets for the needy of our parish.  We would appreciate monetary, or donations of non-perishable food items and gift cards.  Please contribute to the poor box, or bring items listed on the red sheets at the Thanksgiving display to the rectory by Monday, November 16.  As always, thank you for your GENEROUS support!

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