From the Pastor – January 15, 2017

very short prayers at shortprayers.usJohn was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” (Jn. 1:35-36)

In the readings this weekend, we have some “naming” going on.   John calls Jesus the “Lamb of God” and the “Son of God.”  But what we’re dealing with has both theological and practical implications.  In the Bible – and in real life – names are important.

In William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, the lovers have a dialogue about their own names.  It begins with Romeo hearing Juliet call his name:  “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”  The dialogue has been paraphrased to something like:  “there’s nothing so sweet as the sound of one’s own name.”  And even if we don’t read Shakespeare or understand poetry, we can relate to that.  We like hearing our own name, and names are important.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is first called the “Lamb of God.”  This title points to the lambs that were slain at the time of Exodus in order that the Jewish people might be “passed over” when God struck down the first-born of the Egyptians.  This action was ritually continued in the temple sacrifice of lambs each morning and evening.

But then later in the same passage, John calls Jesus the “Son of God.”  While this title would have commonlyh meant a “friend” of God, the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:  “The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ, the voice of the Father designates Jesus his “beloved Son.” Jesus calls himself the “only Son of God,” and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence.  He asks for faith in “the name of the only Son of God.”  In the centurion’s exclamation before the crucified Christ, “Truly this man was the Son of God,” that Christian confession is already heard. Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title “Son of God” its full meaning.  (CCC 444).  So we only understand the fill meaning of “Son of God” by understanding the “Lamb of God.”

Most of us are called a variety of names by family, friends and colleagues.  And those names convey a lot of different meanings: some humorous, some intimate and some serious.  Each of those names reflects who we are or what we do.  But we should also remember that there is one name that directly connects us to Jesus.  It’s the name we get when we are baptized.  It’s the name we share with Jesus.   The name was first used in Acts 11:26 at Antioch, when the followers of Jesus were called, for the first time: “Christians.”  It’s a name we should be proud of, and it’s a name that should govern our lives, even into eternity. Jesus didn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom of peace, deliverance and wisdom.  He came to create a new reality – a renewed communion between God and mankind.  He did it in his person, and He did it as a victim.  The word “Christian” is a hard name to live up to.  Through the grace of God we try.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty
msgr.nalty@gmail.com

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Louisiana Life March

louisianamarch for life

January 20, 2017
Memorial for the Unborn Prayer Service will be held at St. Patrick’s #3 Cemetery, 202 City Park Ave. (near Canal Blvd.), NOLA on Friday January 20, 2017, at 2:00 PM with Archbishop Aymond leading the prayers. All are invited to attend. If you have any questions, please contact the Respect Life Office 504-286-1119 or respectlife@arch-no.org.

January 21, 2017
Louisiana Life March South will be held Saturday January 2, 2017, in Baton Rouge. Life March South activities will begin at 9:30 AM with pre-event remarks and program at Galvez Plaza behind the Old State Capitol. The March for Life will begin at 10:00 AM concluding at or near the State Capitol at 10:45 AM. At that point, the formal program of the event will begin. Visit Louisiana Right to Life’s site for more information at prolifelouisiana.org. Contact Louisiana Right to Life at info@prolifelouisiana.org or 866-463-5433.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

January 18 -25

The theme of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “Reconciliation-The Love of Christ Compels Us.” (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-20). According to Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (GEII). . . , “it was in the context of the Reformation Anniversary that the Council of Churches in Germany took up the work of creating the resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017. It quickly became clear that the materials for this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity would need to have two accents: on the one hand, there should be a celebration of God’s love and grace, the ‘justification of humanity through grace alone,’ reflecting the main concern of the churches marked by Martin Luther’s Reformation. On the other hand, the materials should also recognize the pain of the subsequent deep divisions which afflicted the Church, openly name the guilt, and offer an opportunity to take steps toward reconciliation.”

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has a history of over 100 years in which Christians around the world have taken part in an octave of prayer for visible Christian unity.  By annually observing the WPCU, Christians move toward the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper “that they all may be one.”  (cf. John 17:21)

The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is 18-25 January. Those dates were proposed in 1908 by Paul Wattson, Founder of the Society of the Atonement, to cover the original days of the feasts of the Chair of St. Peter  (January 18) and the Conversion of  St. Paul (January 25) , and therefore have a symbolic significance.

Electronic Giving & Envelopes

Parishioners of Good Shepherd Parish who have registered now receive envelopes in the mail. Please register if you would like to receive envelopes. Also, we offer electronic giving as a way to automate your regular donations.

Our Lady of Fatima Statue

Poinsettias!

Poinsettias for the Sanctuary during Christmas can be purchased in the name of a deceased love one.  The cost is $25.00 per plant, and names will be recorded in the bulletin and on the parish website. Please use the red colored forms on the tables in the back of church.

Immaculate Conception

Holy Day of Obligation Masses

Thursday, December 8
6:30am at St. Henry, 8:30am and 6:00pm at St. Stephen

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!

Advent

During Advent, we refrain from singing the “Gloria in Excelsis Deo / Glory to God in the Highest.” Why?

Let’s start with some basic rules of liturgy set down by the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.  Within the cycle of a year the Church “unfolds” the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and birth until the ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and of the coming of the Lord (no.102). The church is to be particularly directed toward feasts of the Lord that point to salvation (no.108).

In other words, a principle in ritual is to celebrates “feasts” and “fasts” in different ways so as to allow the mysteries of Christ to be made clear by the celebration. The Resurrection of Christ takes pre-eminence and is characterized by 40 days of Lenten penance followed by the Sacred Triduum and 8 full days (the “Octave”) of Easter.  In the same way, Advent precedes Christmas as a time of preparation.  In a sense, we “fast” in the liturgy to prepare for the “feast” of Christmas!  Finally, we remember again where the first words of the Gloria came from: the Angels sang it to the shepherds the very night that Jesus was born! So when we sing the Gloria at Midnight Mass, we are caught up in a tremendous “feast” of Christmas joy!

Lord Teach Me To Pray

Lord Teach Me To Pray is a three-part Ignatian prayer series developed in 2001 to meet the desire of men and women for on-going spiritual growth as they respond to the call to holiness and to a deeper commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord.   It was developed as an outreach program to bring the Holy Spirit into our daily lives in facilitated faith-sharing prayer communities, where the Lord, himself, teaches them to pray.   Lord Teach Me To Pray is part of the New Evangelization as understood in the writings and initiatives of Blessed John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.  The mission of Lord, Teach Me To Pray consists in enabling  men and women to grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, thus facilitating their eternal salvation and that of their family.

Lord, Teach Me to Pray is a three-part prayer series.  Part 1, Praying Christian Virtues, helps deepen prayer life, and discover what to do for dryness and obstacles in prayer.  This 12 week prayer series introduces the different methods of Ignatian prayer, meditation, contemplation and Consciousness Examen.  Small groups meet with 2 trained facilitators for 1-2 hours/week to pray and faith share.  In Good Shepherd Parish, Part I (women) will meet in the Rectory Chapel, Thursdays, 9:30 – 11:30 beginning Jan 26th.  Contact Sheila Boyson, 919-995-0506 or sheila.spindel@gmail.com, for more information or to register.  Additional sessions for men and women are available at other Uptown churches.  Please visit the web site, lordteachmetopray.com for the full schedule.

Pro-Life Activities


Every Saturday at 11:00 a.m. we pray the Rosary at the Woman’s Health Care Center on the corner of General Pershing and Magnolia near Oschner Baptist Hospital. This facility is one of at least three abortion centers in the New Orleans area and just outside of our parish boundaries. Please join us!

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

January 2017

Christian Unity
That all Christians may be faithful to the Lord’s teaching by striving with prayer and fraternal charity to restore ecclesial communion and by collaborating to meet the challenges facing humanity.

 Urgent Prayer Request
For all the people who live on the streets, affected by the cold and many times by indifference.

Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!

Feast of St. Stephen Mass

Monday, December 26, 2016 at 6:30pm

Archbishop Gregory Aymond will celebrate a Mass with the Community of Deacons for the annual Feast of St. Stephen on Monday, December 26, 2016, 6:30 PM at St. Stephen Church. He will be specifically honoring the deacons who are celebrating anniversaries of 10, 15, 20, 25, 35, and 40 years of diaconal service. All are invited.

Feast of the Holy Family

December 29
Consecration to the Holy Family

O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example, didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou protect us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy holy fear, true peace and concord in Christian love: in order that by living according to the divine pattern of Thy family we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.

Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by the kindly intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.

O Saint Joseph, most holy Guardian of Jesus and Mary, help us by thy prayers in all our spiritual and temporal needs; that so we may be enabled to praise our divine Savior Jesus, together with Mary and thee, for all eternity. Amen.

Say the Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be 3 times.

Christmas Giving Tree

Thanks to all who donated presents to the poor of our neighborhood by participating in the Christmas Giving Tree program! The Society of St Vincent de Paul and the children of our neighborhood appreciate your wonderful Advent generosity! Nineteen families with 43 children were provided Christmas gifts and a family gift.

Additionally, 35 food baskets were given out for Christmas including 25 we received from Sacred Heart. Because of monetary donations we were able to increase the amount of the gift card for the turkey or ham gift certificate that went with the food baskets we made. The thirty-five also includes the 19 who received gifts.

December 18, 2016 – 4th Sunday of Advent

A picture is painted for each of us concerning the transition from Old Testament to New. We are able to see the thread running from one to the other. A Savior will come forth from David. It was prophesied, it was spoken, and it was done.

Paul brings this picture into our reality as he did in his own reality. We are reminded of our own call to apostleship in Baptism, our responsibility to bring the faith to all the Gentiles and of our call to be holy.

The Gospel portrays how “God centered” Joseph and Mary were in the manner they responded to God. Mary responded in the affirmative when asked to become the Mother of Jesus. Joseph, ever ready to protect Mary, is able to believe and act on advice from an angel of the Lord.  Are we that “God centered”?

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)

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