From the Pastor – November 8, 2015

masstime.usA poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents [into the treasury].  Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mk 12:42-44)

The description of the treasury here shows how the people supported the Temple at the time of Jesus as they had since the building of the temple 960 Before Christ (B.C.).  The First Temple in Jerusalem was built by Solomon, and it stood from the time of its completion in 960 B.C. until it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.  After the Babylonian captivity, construction began on a new temple – called the “Second Temple” – in 535 B.C.  The Second Temple was eventually completed in 516 B.C. and dedicated in 515 B.C.  As described in the Book of Ezra, Zerubbabel, the governor, showed a remarkable example of generosity by contributing personally 1,000 golden coins, besides other gifts.  And the when the people: “arrived at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the family heads made free-will offerings for the house of God, to rebuild it in its place.  According to their means they contributed to the treasury for the temple service: sixty-one thousand drachmas of gold, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred garments for the priests.” (Ezra 2).

Certainly, a great deal of that money was used to build the Temple, but money was also accepted to pay for the offerings sacrificed in the Temple, to support the priests and judges and to provide for the poor.  Not much has changed since then.  We’re still doing the same thing in 2015!

But there’s a deeper context here.  This Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.  And that was the end of the Levitical priesthood, the end of animal sacrifices and the end of “Temple worship” as it existed at the time.  Or was it?  Not really.  It was actually the fulfillment of prophecy in that “the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mt. 27:51).  No longer was worship limited to the Temple in Jerusalem. “Temple worship” continued with worship of Jesus, who said that “I will destroy this temple made with hands and within three days I will build another not made with hands.” (Mark 14:58).  The “Third” Temple is the temple of the Body of Christ.

So back to the poor widow and her coins.  Everyone had to make an offering in the Temple.  And the poorest put in one coin.  But the widow – a woman with no income or means – put in two.  She put her complete trust that the one for whom the Temple was built would provide for her.  She showed trust.  Donating money when we’re poor shows trust.  But our ultimate trust points not to the gift or even the giver.  It points to our faith that Christ will provide for our needs.

We’ve got a lot of work to do to restore our beautiful Church.  But the real importance of St. Stephen Church is that we enter to worship Jesus and to have Him enter the temple of our own bodies. As we say at each Mass, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my soul will be healed” (Mt. 8:8).

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(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty

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On Tuesday, December 1st we are participating in the first-ever day of Catholic giving in the country! For more information, visit

Black Saints Celebration 2015

Saturday, November 14

The celebration will begin with a parade starting at St. Roch Park and conclude with a prayer service and reception at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church.

10:00 am: Gather at St. Roch/Harold Sampson Jr. Park (1800 St. Roch Park Ave.) Parade Begins

11:00 am – 12:00 pm:  Prayer Service at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 1835 St. Roch Avenue, NOLA
Reception to follow

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

November 2015

Universal: That we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.

Evangelization: That pastors of the Church, with profound love for their flocks, may accompany them and enliven their hope.

Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!

Blessing of the Cemeteries


On All Saints Day, Saturday, November 1, 2015, at 12:30 pm, Msgr. Nalty will bless the St Vincent and St. Joseph Cemeteries on Soniat and Loyola Avenue (behind Newman School).  These cemeteries are the resting places for many longtime parishioners of St. Stephen Church, as well as the Vincentian Priests and Daughters of Charity who served our parish for over 150 years.  Many people take the occasion of the blessing as a time to beautify these resting places and pray for the souls of their faithfully departed relatives, priests, religious sisters and friends.

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat


Healing the pain of abortion-one week at a time. There is forgiveness and hope after abortion. If you or someone you love is hurting from an abortion, please consider attending this healing retreat. All faiths are welcome!

It will be held at:

The Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center
5500 St. Mary Street, Metairie, LA
Friday, October 30 – Sunday, November 1, 2015

First Friday Devotion

Jesus recounted the following to St. Margaret Mary, and this devotion has been recognized by the Church:
“To all those who, during nine months on end, will receive Holy Communion on the first Fridays of every month.  I promise the Grace of final perseverance. They will not die in My disgrace, but will receive the Sacraments (if necessary), and My Heart will be sure shelter for them in that extreme moment.”

The First Friday promises of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary:
1.  I will give them graces necessary for their state of life.
2.  I will establish peace in their houses.
3.  I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
4.  I will be their strength during life and during death.
5.  I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.
8.  Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
9.  I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant all to those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Prayer for the Holy Father

V. Let us pray for Francis, our Pope.

R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. [Ps 40:3]

Our Father, Hail Mary.

O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Substance Addiction Ministry

In May of 2011, St. Margaret Mary Church formed a parish-based ministry that offers help, healing, and hope, to those afflicted with or affected by alcohol or drugs through education, prevention, support, and referrals.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, the Slidell Substance Addiction Ministry (SAM) group will be hosting an in- formation fair night at the St. Margaret Mary Church, Evangelization Bldg., 1050 Robert Blvd., Slidell, LA, at 7:00 PM.

This information night is for those members of the community who are seeking help and information about addiction. The information night is open to everyone especially those who are having issues with alcohol or drug use as well as those who have been affected by someone else’s alcohol or drug use.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Deacon Louie Bauer at 985-707-7261 or

St. Francis of Assisi

Blessing of the Pets
October 4 at noon

Feast Day – October 4

Many of the stories that surround the life of St. Francis of Assisi deal with his love for animals. Part of his appreciation of the environment is expressed in his Canticle of the Sun, a poem written in Umbrian Italian in perhaps 1224 which expresses a love and appreciation of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Mother Earth, Brother Fire, etc. and all of God’s creations personified in their fundamental forms.  Francis’ attitude towards the natural world, while poetically expressed, was conventionally Christian. He believed that the world was created good and beautiful by God but suffers a need for redemption because of the primordial sin of man. He preached the universal ability and duty of all creatures to praise God (a common theme in the Psalms) and the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of God’s creation and as creatures ourselves.  Next Sunday, all pets are invited into the schoolyard at 12:00 noon, after the 10:30am Mass, for the Blessing of the Pets.  Please make sure that your pets can play “nice” before bringing them over!

63rd Annual Red Mass

OCTOBER 5, 2015

The Saint Thomas More Catholic Lawyers Association, in conjunction with the Catholic Bishops of the State of Louisiana, announce the celebration of the 63rd Annual Red Mass, invoking the Holy Spirit upon the bench and bar of the State, on Monday, October 5, 2015, at 9:30 AM at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. The Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, will be the principal celebrant. The Most Reverend Fernand Cheri, Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans, will be the homilist. Members of the bench and bar of the State, as well as all members of the lay public, are invited to attend.

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!

All Saints, All Souls and Halloween?

“Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name…” we pray every day.  “Hallow,” there’s that word we’re hearing a lot about at this time of year. And it means “holy.”  So what does “Halloween” mean, and where does it come from?

The origins of Halloween are very Christian and very American.  Although it’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival at this time of year which commemorated the end of summer and the beginning of the darkness of winter, that feast wasn’t on a specific day but tied to the position of the sun.  Halloween specifically falls on the last day of October because it’s the Evening before the Feast of All Saints, or “All Hallows,” which falls on November 1.  So it’s All Hallow’s Eve, contracted to Hallowe’en. [Read More…]

In Our Parish

The parish office frequently receives calls from “parishioners” to have their children baptized, get a school voucher, get married or have permission to serve as a godparent. Being a “parishioner” at Good Shepherd Parish means that you either (1) reside in the parish boundaries (Leontine to Seventh Street, Carondelet to the River) or (2) you have completed a parish census form (3) have registered online at This isn’t our rule, it’s the rule of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.  To be a “contributing parishioner” (for the purposes of school vouchers) you must use parish envelopes or personal checks for donations.

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!

Feast Day of Pope St. John Paul II

Thursday, October 22, 2015 is the only the second time that the Church throughout the world will celebrate the Feast Day of Pope St. John Paul II.

Pope St. John Paul II, also known as Saint John Paul the Great, was Pope from October 16, 1978 until his death on April 2, 2005.  He was the second longest-serving pope in modern history after Pope Pius IX, who served for nearly 32 years from 1846 to 1878. Born in Poland, John Paul II is credited as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe.  John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion.

One of the most traveled world leaders in history, John Paul II visited 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonized 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries. By the time of his death, he had named most of the College of Cardinals, consecrated or co-consecrated a large number of the world’s bishops, and ordained many priests.

John Paul II’s cause for canonization commenced a month after his death, due to Pope Benedict XVI, his successor and close collaborator, having waived the traditional five-year waiting period.  Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed him Venerable on December 19, 2009 and Blessed on May 1, 2011 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed a miracle to him, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson’s disease. A second miracle, the healing of a Costa Rican woman from a brain aneurysm, was approved on July 2, 2013 and confirmed by Pope Francis two days later. John Paul II was canonized on April 27, 2014, alongside Pope John XXIII.  Like John XXIII, his feast day is not celebrated on the date of his death, but on the anniversary of his Papal election, October 22, 1978.  Last year, on Thursday, September 11, 2014, Pope Francis added his optional memorial to the worldwide General Roman Calendar of saints’ feast days, in response to requests from around the world.

2015 Victims and Survivors of Violence Mass

Most Rev. Gregory M. Aymond will celebrate the 2015 Annual Archdiocesan Mass for Victims and Survivors of Violence on Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 11:00 AM at St. Louis Cathedral. We invite everyone in the community who has been affected by any type of violence to participate in this Mass.

If you know of anyone who wants to be remembered in this Mass, please email Family Life Apostolate their information to, fax it to (504) 866-2906, attention Family Life.

40 Days for Life

Want to help mark the beginning of the end of abortion in New Orleans?

Want to help mark the beginning of the end of abortion in New Orleans?

You are invited to get involved in the 40 Days for Life New Orleans campaign this September 23rd to November 1sr. 40 Days for Life is a national pro-life campaign that consists of 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion AND a constant peaceful and prayerful vigil outside of the Ridgelake abortion facility in Metairie near Lakeside Mall. Please consider joining us for one or more hours during the 40 days on October 5th, and spread the word to others about this important life-saving effort. For more information, or to volunteer to help, please contact Kathy Fayard, Miriam Ogden this weekend in the back of church, or Mary Nadeau at New Orleans Right to Life office at 504-835-6520.

For more information, or to volunteer to help, please visit us online at

Our Lady of the Rosary

In 1571 Pope Pius V instituted “Our Lady of Victory” as an annual feast to commemorate the victory of Lepanto, where Christian forces successfully thwarted an attempted invasion of Western Europe by the Muslim forces of the Ottaman Empire. The victory was attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a Rosary procession had been offered on that day in St. Peter’s Square in Rome for the success of the mission of the Holy League. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of this feast-day to “Feast of the Holy Rosary”. This feast was extended by Pope Clement XII to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October. Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays.

What is “Active Participation”?

“In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people whom God has made his own, a royal priesthood, so that they may give thanks to God and offer the spotless Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with him, and so that they may learn to offer themselves.”  This is the basis for the “full conscious and active participation” of the faithful demanded by the very nature of the Liturgy.  Because the gathered liturgical assembly forms one body, each of its members must shun “any appearance of individualism or division, keeping before their eyes that they have only one Father in heaven and accordingly are all brothers and sisters to each other.”  Singing is one of the primary ways that the assembly of the faithful participates actively in the Liturgy. The people are encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalms, antiphons [and] hymns. . . . The musical formation of the assembly must be a continuing concern in order to foster full, conscious, and active participation.  Sing to the Lord Music in Divine Worship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 24, 25, 26.

Questions Welcomed

Lately, the Church’s teaching on marriage, sexuality and contraception has been getting a good deal of public attention in the media. This has naturally led to people asking questions, especially if this teaching is news to them. Even as Catholics, we may be struggling with questions of our own.

It’s good and helpful for us to acknowledge and explore our questions. And it’s healthy for us to grapple with God the Father’s desire for our happiness. He understands our human nature—his Son became one of us (Jesus is true God and true man)!  Jesus, through his Spirit of wisdom and knowledge, can handle the questions, struggles, or anxieties we bring to him (see Matthew 11:28).

Pope St. John Paul II, quoting the words of Christ, would often encourage us: “Do not be afraid!” We should never be afraid to pursue the truth. Maybe you’ve had some of the following questions, yourself:

What does the Church teach about married love?

What does this have to do with contraception?

Does saying “yes” to children at the altar mean never using contraception?

Are couples expected to leave their family size entirely to chance?

What if a couple has a serious reason to avoid having a child?

Is there really a difference between using contraception and practicing natural family planning?

Can some methods of birth control cause an abortion? What does any of this have to do with my marriage?

Consider that in marriage, spouses love not only through words, but also through the actions and gestures of their bodies. In particular, the sexual act in marriage speaks of a total commitment to a future together—a future open to welcoming the gift of a child if so blessed and open to fruitful love and service to others. The Church’s teaching on marital sexuality is an invitation for husband and wife to enter more fully into communion with each other and with the blessed Trinity, the fount of life and love.

The questions above, and others like them, are answered on a helpful new web page,

Are we willing to consider the questions that live in our hearts? When the teachings of Christ are understood, embraced and practiced, they can radically change our lives for the better. Christ wants us to have life to the fullest. There is nothing like walking with him. No joy can be compared when we choose to follow him and live in his joy (see John 15:11).

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