From the Pastor – May 16, 2021

Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs. (Mark 16:19-20)

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, which is the elevation of Christ into heaven by His own power in the presence of His disciples.  In Sacred Scripture, this occurred on the fortieth day after the Resurrection – which was actually last Thursday, traditionally called “Ascension Thursday.”  However, the celebration of the Ascension has been moved to Sunday to encourage a more active participation in the Feast.  With all of the new TSA rules, I guess Jesus’ flight got delayed for three days!

The Ascension was prophesized by Christ’s own words. In John 6:63, Christ asks the Jews: “What if you were to see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before?” and in 20:17, He says to Mary Magdalen: “Do not touch Me, for I am not yet ascended to My Father, but go to My brethren, and say to them: I ascend to My Father and to your Father, to My God and to your God.”

Tradition has consecrated the place of the Ascension as Mount Olivet near Jerusalem, since the disciples are described as returning to Jerusalem after the Ascension from “the mount that is called Olivet.” (Acts 1:12).  Christian piety memorialized the event by erecting a basilica over the site.  The original basilica was destroyed by the Persians in 614, rebuilt in the eighth century, destroyed again, and rebuilt a second time by the crusaders. This second basilica was also destroyed by the Muslims, leaving only an octagonal structure that encloses the stone said to bear the imprint of the feet of Christ.  It is now used as a small oratory.

What does the Ascension mean to us theologically?  It meant a greater blessing for the Church.  While Jesus walked the earth in the flesh, he was only present in one place at any one time.  After the Ascension, He could be present everywhere through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Gospel says that Jesus “raised up His hands and blessed them.”  Because of the Ascension and the Descent of the Holy Spirit, every priest in the world – configured to Christ through ordination – will raise up his hands this week and bless the people.  At Sunday Mass, Jesus will be present when we gather in His Name, in the Word proclaimed, in the Eucharist and in the Priesthood.  By the Ascension, Jesus opened the way for us to be present with Him in a much greater way.

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

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Good Shepherd Parish Adult Education

The Hidden King:  The Jewish Roots of St. Joseph

Video Presentation by Dr. Brant Pitre
Wednesdays 6:30pm – 8:00pm
June 9 – June 23

St. Stephen Rectory Conference Room

Register with: Mr. Phillip Bellini,Director of Religious Education
pbellini@arch-no.org  or 504-227-3794

TOPICS: How was Joseph the Hidden King of the Jews; Why Joseph was a threat to the Fake King Herod;

Why Herod murdered his own wife, three sons and the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem;  Why Joseph accepted Mary’s Jewish Vow of Virginity; How Joseph hid the Virgin Birth from Satan; Joseph’s Relations to the “Brothers” of Jesus; Apocryphal Legend of the Elderly St. Joseph; The Biblical Age of St. Joseph; The Persecution of Joseph’s Family; How Joseph is the earthly Shadow of Jesus’ Heavenly Father

Upcoming Ordinations

On Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at the St. Louis Cathedral, Archbishop Aymond will ordain Lennin Arroyo, Joseph DiMaggio III, Jeffrey Merritt and Andy Gonzalez to the Transitional Diaconate for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Joseph Odongo for the Archdiocese of Tororo.

On Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at the St. Louis Cathedral, Archbishop Aymond will ordain Daniel Dashner, Ajani Gibson, Michael Lamy, Truong Pham and Andrew Sanchez for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Thomas Bamoah for the Diocese of Yendi.

Upcoming Events

May 1, 2021 –May Crowning at the 10:30am Mass.
May 9, 2021 – Blessing of Mothers at all Masses.
May 16, 2021 – First Holy Communions at the 10:30am Mass. Also, it is the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord
May 21 2021 – St. Stephen Catholic School kindergarten graduation ceremony at 9:00am Mass
May 23, 2021 – Pentecost Sunday
May 30, 2021 – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
June 3, 2018 – St. Stephen Catholic School seventh grade graduation ceremony at 9:00am Mass
June 6, 2021 – Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) with Eucharistic Procession after the 10:30am Mass

Our Lady of Good Counsel Special Mass April 25, 2021 at 5pm

Novena to Our Lady of Good Counsel

April 18 – 26
(say this prayer every day for the nine days)

Aware of the powerful intercessory prayers of Our Blessed Mother, let us commit to pray this short prayer for the next nine days.

O Holy Virgin, to whose feet we are lead by our anxious uncertainty in our search for and attainment of what is true and good, invoking thee by the sweet title of Mother of Good Counsel. We beseech Thee to come to our assistance, when, along the road of this life, the darkness of error and of evil conspires towards our ruin by leading our minds and our hearts astray. Do Thou, O Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea, enlighten the doubtful and the erring, that they be not seduced by the false appearances of good; render them steadfast in the race of the hostile and corrupting influences of passion and of sin. O Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us from Thy Divine Son a great love of virtue, and, in the hour of uncertainty and trial, the strength to embrace the way that leads to our salvation. If Thy hand sustains us, we shall walk unmolested along the path indicated to us by the life and words of Jesus our Redeemer, and having followed freely and securely, even in the midst of this world’s strife, the Sun of Truth and Justice under Thy maternal star, we shall come to the enjoyment of full and eternal peace with Thee in the haven of salvation. Amen.
By Pope Pius XII, 23 January 1953

Eucharist Lecture Series

Notre Dame Seminary is offering a year-long “Eucharist Lecture Series” during 2021 for the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ Year of the Eucharist!
Our fourth presentation will be entitled “The Real Presence of the Eucharist” and will be offered by Dr. David Liberto, Professor of Dogmatic and Historical Theology at Notre Dame Seminary. This event will take place on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, with Eucharistic Adoration beginning at 5:30 PM followed by a lecture and Q&A from 6:00- 7:00 PM. This event is FREE and open to the public. ou can attend either in person (socially distanced) or virtually, but space is limited, so make sure to RSVP. Virtual attendees will receive streaming information via email on the day of the event. Registration will close on Wednesday, April 21 at 5:00 PM. To register go to: nds.edu/els/

Divine Mercy Sunday

 

A Mass in honor of Divine Mercy Sunday will be celebrated by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond on April 11, 2021 at 3:00 p.m at St. Joseph Church, 1802 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans.

Palm Branches Needed!

If any parishioner has access to sago palms (the kind pictured here), we would love to get some for decorations in the church, and for the procession on Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021. Please cut palms and bring them to the church this Thursday or Friday!  Please call the office if you can help.

Eucharistic Miracles Morning of Reflection

A special Eucharistic Miracles Morning of Reflection, sponsored by the Catholic Women in Action Committee of the Catholic Community Foundation, will be held on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 A.M. at St. Stephen Church on Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans. Rev. Jeffrey A. Montz, Director of Spiritual Formation and Professor of Theology at Notre Dame Seminary, will celebrate Mass and offer a reflection. Displays of 30 or more of Eucharistic miracles will next be available for viewing. In-person seating for the event is limited and reservations are required. For more information and to R.S.V.P., please contact Kathi Zimmerman at 504.527.5794 or kzimmerman@ccfnola.org.

Novena to the Holy Spirit

Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts
(to be prayed beginning May 13)

The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trbinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed y every Christian.

NOVENA PRAYER FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT
O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.  (Say 7X Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be)

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

In 1914 the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, and President Woodrow Wilson signed it, establishing “Mother’s Day” to emphasize a women’s role in the family. One thing important to note is that the apostrophe in “Mother’s Day” is in between the “r” and the “s,” indicating the original meaning of the day, which is to honor one’s own Mother, rather than Mothers in general.

We are bound by our love and through God’s command to honor our own mother, but we have to always remember that we have another mother in Heaven.  When Jesus became a human being, He also became our brother.  And as He hung on the cross He gave us his Most Holy Mother to be our mother:  “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”  (Jn 19:26-27).

On this Mother’s Day, we pay homage to our own earthly mother.  We might call her Mom, Mama, Ma or Mommy, but we have her to thank for giving us life, bearing us in her womb, and tenderly caring for us as we grew up.  We are called to remember her gentleness as well as her wise counsel.  And whether our mother is living or deceased, we know that our love for her is never diminished.

May Crowning of Mary

May 2, 2018 – 10:30am Mass

The month of May is traditionally dedicated to Mary in many cultures, since May is considered the season of the beginning of new life. In ancient Roman culture, May was dedicated to Flora, the goddess of bloom, of blossoms, and the Romans celebrated ludi florales (floral games) at the end of April, asking the help of Flora for all that blooms since May 1 was considered the beginning of growth. In the same way, the Blessed Virgin Mary gives us the newness of life in the person of Jesus Christ so that we might become new creations born into Eternal Life.

Since medieval times, we begin to see a connection between Mary and the month of May. Among the earliest witnesses are: Alphonsus X, King of Castille, Spain (+1284) with his “Cantigas de Santa Maria.” Here and elsewhere, both Mary and the month of May are greeted, welcomed and celebrated on specific days in May. Later, it became the custon in Italy to devote the whole month of May to Mary. On each day of the month, special devotions to Mary were organized.

Today, May crownings occur in many Catholic parishes and homes with the crowning of a statue of Mary. The ceremony traditionally takes place with young girls dressed in dresses carrying flowers (traditionally hawthorn) to adorn the statue. One of the girls (often the youngest) carries a crown of flowers or an actual golden crown on a cushion for placement by the May Queen (often the oldest girl) on the statue. The flowers are replaced throughout the month to keep them fresh.

Crowning Mary is associated with adding ornamentation to an icon of Mary, sometimes as simple as adding additional gold trim. Perhaps in homage to this, Pope Clement VIII (+1605) added two crowns to the icon of Mary with the Infant Jesus in the Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome. The crowns were eventually lost, but were replaced by Gregory XVI in 1837 in a Rite that was to become the standard practice for crowning.

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