From the Pastor – March 20, 2016

amazemedia.comIt was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. (Lk. 23:44-46)


“Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion” begins Holy Week. If you have never really experienced all of the services of Holy Week, consider doing so this year.  Commemorating the events of the Lord’s Suffering and Death help us to have a greater understanding of the importance of the Easter Resurrection.  Jesus had to suffer and die before he rose.

On Holy Thursday we will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00pm, which commemorates the night when Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist and washed his Apostle’s feet.  This Mass begins the Sacred Triduum, and at the conclusion of the Mass, the Eucharist is removed from the center Tabernacle in the church and “reposed” in another altar to recall Jesus’ being arrested and jailed.  There will be Adoration at the Altar of Repose from the end of Mass until the sun rises on Good Friday at 6:00am.   On Good Friday the church will be open at 7:00am for those who are walking to visit the nine churches.  Also open will be St. Henry Church and Our Lady of Good Counsel Church.

Later on Good Friday, the Veneration of the Cross will take place at 3:00pm, the hour of Our Lord’s death.

Holy Saturday is a day of great stillness, as we remember when Christ died and descended into Hell.  That great stillness is broken by the joy of the Easter Vigil Mass at 8:00pm, when we gloriously proclaim the Resurrection of Our Lord.  The Easter Vigil which will be preceded by Confessions beginning at 6:30pm.  There will be no 4:00pm vigil Mass, and Masses on Easter Sunday will be as usual at 8:00am and 10:30am.

This weekend there is a sign-up sheet at the back of church for those who will respond to the plea of Jesus “to stay awake with me one hour” (Mt. 26:40) on Holy Thursday.  It is one of the most solemn nights of the year to contemplate Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prepares for his Passion and Death.  Please consider taking one of the hours on the sign-up sheet for our Holy Thursday Vigil.  And please consider attending all of the events of Holy Week, which is the most important week of the year for all Catholics.
(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty

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Altar of Repose

Mass of the Lord’s Supper

At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday (April 5, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.) sufficient hosts are consecrated for that Mass and for the next day. These consecrated Hosts remain in a ciborium on the corporal in the center of the altar until the end of Mass, after which they are carried in Solemn Procession to the Altar of Repose, with the priest vested in a Cope and Humeral Veil, and covered with a canopy. The Blessed Sacrament remains in the temporary tabernacle at the Altar of Repose, and the Holy Thursday service concludes with the stripping of all altars except the Altar of Repose.

Holy Thursday is a day of exceptional devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and the repository is the center of the love, prayers and aspirations of the faithful.  After the Good Friday service, the Blessed Sacrament remains available only as viaticum for the dying and for Communion given on Good Friday at the service called The Veneration of the Cross (Good Friday at 3:00pm). While the Blessed Sacrament remains in this temporary tabernacle at the altar of repose, a lamp or candle is always kept burning.

On Holy Thursday we will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 p.m., which commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist when Jesus washed his Apostle’s feet.  This Mass begins the Sacred Triduum.  This year Adoration at this Altar of Repose will take place all night, from the end of the Holy Thursday Mass until the sun rises on Good Friday at 6:00 a.m.

PLEASE SIGN-UP to take an hour or a half-hour of the Vigil!  Sign-up sheets are in the back of church.

St. Joseph Altar

Thanks so much to all who helped to make the Solemnity of St. Joseph such a wonderful day in our parish.  So many of you devoted so much time and energy to prepare, cook, serve, organize and clean up.  And thanks for the wonderful guidance of Hunter Harris, Rosary Henry, Dan LeBlanc and Dana d’Anzi and SO SO MANY volunteers.  We’re still  figuring out how many people attended and the actual donations received, but we will get that information to you next weekend!

The Story of the Palms

It was a common custom in many lands of the ancient Middle East to cover in some way the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honor. In 2 Kings 9:13 Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, was treated to this honor. Each of the four Gospels report that the people of Jerusalem gave Jesus the honor of walking on a covered path. However, in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) we hear that the people lay their garments and cut rushes to place on the street. Only the Gospel of John specifically mentions palms.

So what is the significance of the palm? The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and of victory in Jewish tradition, and is treated as such in other parts of the Bible (e.g. Leviticus 23:40 and Revelation 7:9). Based on this significance, the scene of the crowd greeting Jesus by waving palms and carpeting his path has given the Christian celebration its name. It shows the freedom desired by the Jews, and their desperation to have political freedom. In fact, they were welcoming their “Messiah,” whom they expected to be a great king who would free them from the oppression of foreign rulers. The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem included chants from Psalm 118 and 148:1. The Hebrew hoshiiah na’ (I beseech you, save now) was changed in Greek to hosanna, which became a famous Christian term, and had a huge Messianic significance.

The palm is a symbol of victory for us as Christians. Since we recognize that Jesus is the Messiah (a word which we normally use in the Greek translation – “Christ”), we recognize that He has already achieved a victory for us. But the victory is not over earthly rulers. It’s much bigger. It’s victory over Satan. It’s a victory over sin and death. It’s a victory that gives us Eternal Life.

Easter Holiday Baskets for the Needy

Easter Food Baskets will be distributed again this year.  Thanks to your continued generosity and support of the needy in our parish we have the resources to purchase food items to create our Easter Food Baskets this year.   Our food baskets will include green beans, carrots, mashed potatoes, gift certificate for a ham, cake mix,  etc.  We would like to include some Easter candy so if you would like to donate any Easter candies including chocolate bunnies we would greatly appreciate it.  THANKS again for providing for the least in our Parish and ensuring families will have a traditional meal to enjoy Easter Sunday.

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

March 2016

Universal: That families in need may receive the necessary support and that children may grow up in healthy and peaceful environments.

Evangelization: That those Christians who, on account of their faith, are discriminated against or are being persecuted, may remain strong and faithful to the Gospel, thanks to the incessant prayer of the Church.

Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!

Palm Branches Needed!

If any parishioner has access to leaf palms (the kind pictured above), we would love to get some for decorations in the church, and also to give away next week on Palm Sunday (March 19-20, 2015).  Please call the parish office at 899-1378 if you can help.

Lenten Prayer Mission

February 29, March 1-2
Fr. Jeffrey Montz, STL

Monday – 7:00 PM
Tuesday – After 6:00 PM Mass
Wednesday – 7:00 PM

Confession is available each day of the Mission beginning at 5:00pm

Rev. Jeffrey A. Montz, STL is a native of New Orleans.  The faithful witness of his parents helped to lead him to develop a personal relationship with God and to foster within him a sense of vocation to the priesthood from a young age.  He attended Archbishop Hannan High School, and upon graduation entered St. Joseph Seminary College.  After graduation from St. Joseph Seminary in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, Fr. Montz continued his seminary formation at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans where he received a Masters of Divinity in 2008.  That same year he was ordained to the priesthood.  Following ordination he served the Archdiocese as a parochial vicar of three different parishes.  In 2013 he was sent to Rome to pursue a licentiate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum.  Having completed his licentiate in the summer of 2015, Fr. Montz joined the full-time faculty of Notre Dame Seminary where he currently serves as spiritual director, assistant director of spiritual formation, and professor of theology.

Corporal Work of Mercy: Feeding the Hungry

A request from Deacon Richard Eason: “The parish provides a meal service for the homeless at the Ozanam Inn on the fourth Thursday of each month. This is a great opportunity to serve Our Lord’s neediest people and fellowship with many of our parishioners. The next meal service is set for February 25th. For those interested, the meal is cooked in the kitchen of the rectory of Our Lady of Good Counsel, beginning at noon. The meal service is provided at the Ozanam Inn beginning at 5:00 pm. Please contact Dorothy ‘Dottie’ Forly,” at 242-1919.

Speak Up for Your Faith!

Friedrich Niemoller was a German Lutheran pastor who was active in German politics in the 1930’s. As a national conservative, he was initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler. However, after Hitler sought to take control over the Lutheran church, Niemoller became a vocal critic of the Nazi regime. For that, he was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945. After the war, he was asked why he ever supported Hitler. He replied: “I find myself wondering about that too. I wonder about it as much as I regret it. Still, it is true that Hitler betrayed me. I had an audience with him, as a representative of the Protestant church, shortly before he became Chancellor, in 1932. Hitler promised me on his word of honor, to protect the church, and not to issue any anti-church laws. He also agreed not to allow pogroms against the Jews. Hitler’s assurance satisfied me at the time. On the other hand, I hated the growing atheistic movement, which was fostered and promoted by the Social Democrats and the Communists. Their hostility toward the Church made me pin my hopes on Hitler for a while. I am paying for that mistake.”

After the war Niemoller made the following statement against the German intellectuals during the war (of which he was one):
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I was Protestant.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

I’m not seeking to compare our elected and appointed governmental leaders to anyone in the Nazi regime, but we must look at our country and see what is happening. Fringe groups of radicals are engaged in social engineering that is having a disastrous effect on our moral values. First, abortion became the law of the land. Attempts were made to legalize euthanasia. Governments have changed the definition of marriage. Birth control is available over the counter. These affronts to human dignity are a threat to the ability of the Catholic Church to preach the Gospel. Now, the Department of Health and Human Services has said that Catholic institutions must pay for medications it deems “preventative medicine” such as birth control, sterilizations and drugs that cause abortions. It’s as if to say the pregnancy is some sort of disease! Make no mistake: this is not about “birth control.” This is an attack on our faith. This is our government being swayed by radical social engineers who hate the values of the Catholic Church. If we don’t speak up for the teachings our faith, who will speak up for us when they come to seize our church?

Nine Church Walk

An old New Orleans devotion will take place on Good Friday next week. The “nine church walk” calls for pilgrims to walk from church to church, stopping briefly in each to pray and meditate on the passion of Christ.  Many pilgrims will begin the nine church walk at St. Stephen Church as early as 7:00 am.  They will arrive in family groups, parish communities and CYO groups.

In other parts of the world, particularly in cities like Rome where churches are densely congregated, Catholics visit nine churches on Holy Thursday, rather than Good Friday.  Traditionally, nine signifies the nine days of a novena.  A wonderful novena to begin on Good Friday is the Novena for Divine Mercy, which continues until Divine Mercy Sunday.

This year St. Stephen Church and St. Henry Church will be open from 7:00 am until noon on Good Friday.  Unfortunately, work is being done in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, and it is not possible for visitors to enter.  If you can help greet pilgrims and distribute water at either St. Stephen, St. Henry or Our Lady of Good Counsel, please contact the parish office at 899-1378, or just show up!

Easter Lilies!

One of the most beautiful and fragrant reminders of Easter morning are Easter lilies. We will be purchasing them for the altar for use over the Easter season. If you would like to donate an Easter lily in the name of a loved one for $25, there are envelopes in the back of church.

Jubilee of Mercy: Did you Know?

From the Office of Evangelization:

As part of the ongoing promotion of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Office of Evangelization would like to catechize and further explain the Jubilee Indulgence.

The Indulgence can be obtained by walking through the Holy Door at St. Louis Cathedral, or by visiting the other specially designated pilgrimage sites listed below. In addition to a pilgrimage, the Jubilee Indulgence may also be obtained through participating in the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Whether one walks through the Holy Door, goes on pilgrimage, or participates in a Work of Mercy, it is necessary to receive Holy Communion, participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and pray for the Holy Father within three days to receive the grace of the indulgence.

For the sick and those unable to participate in a pilgrimage or Work of Mercy, Pope Francis has granted the ability to obtain the same Jubilee Indulgence by receiving Holy Communion or participating in Mass through various means of communication (TV – WLAE Sunday 11:00 AM/Radio – 690AM Sunday 11:00 AM). Lastly, Pope Francis granted the Jubilee Indulgence to prisoners, stating that they can receive the indulgence in their prison chapels.

In the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Archbishop Aymond has designated the following Churches as Jubilee Pilgrimage Sites:

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis King of France

(the only Holy Door)

National Votive Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Shrine of the Vietnamese Holy Martyrs

St. Jude Shrine

National Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos

St. Joseph Church and Shrine on the Westbank

St. Joseph Abbey

Divine Mercy Parish

St. Ann Church and Shrine

Tradition of the St. Joseph Altar

The tradition of a St. Joseph Day altar came to New Orleans from the Italian people of Sicily.  During the middle ages, Sicily faced a severe drought, and the people were reduced to eating fava beans, which were usually given to the animals.  They prayed for the intercession of St. Joseph, and their prayers were answered:  the rains came!  In thanksgiving, the people of Sicily developed a tradition to decorate the St. Joseph Altar on the right side of most of their churches (or to make a small private altar at home) with flowers, fruit, candles, wine, fava beans, specially prepared cakes, breads, fish and cookies. Since the Feast of Joseph (March 19) almost always occurs during Lent, no meat is allowed on the altar.

The custom of preparing an altar as a symbol of devotion to St. Joseph is rooted in the thanksgiving for his intercession years ago, but it also points to thanksgiving for a personal favor granted, for healing of the sick, or for success in business. Further, its an opportunity for the prosperous to share with those who are less fortunate.

As you will see in our church next Friday, the altar is in the shape of a cross, and has three tiers, to represent the Holy Trinity. Breads and cakes on the altar take the form of common Catholic symbols. There is the Monstrance which holds the Holy Eucharist during Adoration (every Tuesday from 4:45pm 5:45pm in St Stephen, and Thursday from 7:00am 8:00am in St Henry).  There is a Chalice which holds the Precious Blood. And you can also note the Holy Cross, the dove (Holy Spirit), lamb (Jesus as the Lamb of God), hearts (Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary) and fish (I will make you fishers of men”).  A crown of thorns and a ladder refer to the crucifixion of Christ, and the palms testify to His victory over sin and death.

Besides the bread images, there are wine bottles representing the miracle of Cana, and whole fish representing the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. The fish also brings to mind the Greek word for fish (ΙΧΘΥΣ) which spells the acronym in Greek for Jesus Christ, Gods Son, Savior. Other items specific to Sicily include grapes, olives and figs reminiscent of the orchards and vineyards one finds there. Another food is the pignolatti: fried pastry balls joined together by caramel in the shape of a pine cone representing the pine cones Jesus played with as a child.

Probably the best known of the customs associated with the St. Joseph’s Day altar is the fava bean. Since it thrived while other crops failed, it became the sustaining food of farmers and their families. The dried bean is commonly called a lucky bean,” and legend has it that the person who carries a lucky bean” will never be without coins.

The food to be served next Friday will be wonderful Italian food, including pasta with red gravy, eggplant, artichokes, fried vegetables, fried fish and wonderful salads. Additionally, foods will be served with a garnish of bread crumbs to represent saw dust – since St. Joseph was a carpenter.

The altar will still be up next Sunday, but you really dont want to miss Wednesday! Last year more than 2000 plates were served over the course of the afternoon!

The parish is very grateful to Hunter Harris and Rosary Henry and the many many parishioners who are organizing the beautiful St. Joseph Altar. Come take part in a wonderful Italian and New Orleans tradition. I promise you wont be disappointed!

Live Broadcast of Christ’s Passion from New Orleans

On Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016, Fox will broadcast a live modern-day depiction of Christ’s passion from Woldenberg Park in New Orleans. It will broadcast live from 7:00 PM-9:00 PM and will include a procession of a 20’ illuminated cross through the French Quarter to Woldenberg Park. We, as the Archdiocese of New Orleans, will be helping to promote participation and viewership of the event within our #NOLACatholic community. They are nticipating a crowd of 30,000 to gather along the procession route and in the park!

To participate in the procession and to register for free  tickets to Woldenberg Park, please go to

In addition, The Office of Communications, Catholic Youth Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office, Office of Evangelization, Ecumenical Officer Fr. Buddy Noel, Dumb Ox Ministries, and the staff at St. Louis Cathedral have been working to put together a prayer hour to be held in St. Louis Cathedral after the live event ends (9:00 PM -10:00 PM). This “After The Passion” event will be a  time of prayerful reflection after the exciting night. Opportunity for Reconciliation will be available. St. Louis Cathedral will be one of many “gathering spots” around Woldenberg Park that will be open for prayer.

Please help us spread the word about this event so we can have our big #NOLACatholic family come together with people of all faiths to show how we “Encounter Jesus and Witness with Joy!”

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