From the Pastor – April 13, 2014

It 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 it has been a while since you have 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 Resurrection and Easter Sunday.  Jesus had to suffer and die before he rose!

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 ends Lent and begins the Sacred Triduum.  At the conclusion of this Mass, the Eucharist is removed from the mainTabernacle in the church and “reposed” in another altar to commemorate Jesus’ being arrested and jailed.  This year we have Adoration at this Altar of Repose from the end of Mass until the sun rises on Good Friday at 6:00 a.m.   On Good Friday the church will be open beginning 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, both of which will be closed at noon.  I will be hearing Confessions in St. Stephen Church from 9:00am until 12:00pm.

Later on Good Friday the Veneration of the Cross will take placed 3:00 p.m., the hour of the death of Our Lord.  Stations of the Cross will be at 6:00 p.m.

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

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 to fill out 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
msgr.nalty@gmail.com

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Altar of Repose

“Can you not stay awake with me one hour?” (Mt. 26:40) Jesus asked His apostles on the night of Holy Thursday as he prayed in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Altar of Repose is a tradition in the Church where the Eucharist consecrated in the Mass of Holy Thursday are reserved for Holy Communion to be given on Good Friday.

On this most holy night, we are called to make a vigil at this Altar where Jesus is in repose and “stay awake with Him for one hour” to remember the Agony in the Garden in prayerful solidarity. A longstanding tradition of the Church has been for the vigil to continue over the night, but it must end before sunrise on Good Friday. This year, Good Shepherd Parish will keep that vigil.

At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday (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 of the other altars.

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.

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

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

April 2014

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.

Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!

 

St. Joseph Altar

The parish is very grateful to Hunter Harris and Rosary Henry and   who organized the beautiful St. Joseph Altar.  Hunter and Rosary would be the first to recognize that they couldn’t have done it without your help.  And so THANK YOU to the numerous volunteers:  the cooks, the servers, the runners, the cleaners and everyone who played such a tremendous role in making the Solemnity of St. Joseph such a great success and a very happy day for all! This year was even better than last year!  Thanks for a great day!

 

Solemnity of the Annunciation

Tuesday, March 25
Masses 8:30am & 6:30pm

If Jesus was born on December 25, then he was conceived nine months earlier. And that’s why the Church singles out March 25 as the Solemnity of the Annunciation – the day when Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel.  As any mother can tell you, although a child’s birthday is the day that the world gets to see him in person for the first time, her baby was alive in her womb long before he was born!

Confessions, Stations of the Cross and Fish Fry on Fridays at St. Henry Church

During Lent at St. Henry Church, there will be Stations of the Cross and Confession on Fridays 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.  Beginning March 14, the Stations will be followed by a fish fry in the Blessed Pauline Center, directly behind St. Henry Church.

Annulment Writing Workshop

The Family Life Apostolate will offer a writing workshop for people seeking annulments in the Catholic Church or for people responding to an annulment. The workshop will be held at the North Shore Pastoral Center in Covington. The series will be for five Tuesdays, January 28, February 4, 11, 18 and 25, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The materials for the series cost $25.00, to register or for more information, call Family Life Apostolate, 504-861-6243.

 

St. Blaise Throat Blessing

Monday, 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.”

Holy Spirit Retreat

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans (CCRNO) will sponsor its annual Holy Spirit Retreat for teenagers and young adults, better known as January Retreat, January 3-5, 2014 at the Landmark Hotel, 2601 Severn Avenue, Metairie, LA 70002.

The retreat theme is “Freedom” and the weekend will include Talks, Skits, Music, Worship, Mass, Confessions, and Fellowship. It will feature Fr. Steve Bruno, Matt Bourgeois and other well-known local priests and youth speakers. Everyone of high school and college age is invited to attend participants must register by December 6, 2013, $160 for lodging and meals. Youth groups are welcome. One free chaperone registration for every eight retreatants who register together by December 2, 2013. For more information and to register, visit www.ccrno.org or contact the CCRNO office at (504) 828-1368.

 

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 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.

Born to Run 2014

On SATURDAY, MARCH 29, 2014

there will be a 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk to benefit the Woman’s New Life Center, which provides pro-life services to woman facing unplanned pregnancies.

The race begins at 9:00am (Sign-in at 8:30am)

Audubon Park, Shelter #10 Newman Bandstand, New Orleans Live Music, Great Food and a Family Atmosphere! womansnewlife.com/borntorun2014/

 

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!

19th Men’s Morning of Spirituality

The Catholic Men’s Fellowship’s next Morning of Spirituality for Men will be held on Saturday, March 15, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, located at 4640 Canal St. in New Orleans.

The theme for our 19th Men’s Morning of Spirituality is “Food for the Soul,” our speakers, restaurateurs John Besh of the Besh group of restaurants and Tommy Cvitanovich of Drago’s Restaurant, will discuss how their Catholic faith guides their work, and family lives.

As always, in addition to the presentations, the day will include prayer and Adoration, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the celebration of the Eucharist. Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond will be our celebrant and homilist.

 

Archdiocese of New Orleans Ninth General Synod

At the Chrism Mass on April 15, 2014, we will convoke the Ninth General Synod of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The purpose of the synod is to discern God’s Vision and Priorities for our local church for the next three-five years. I have appointed Sister Elizabeth (Beth) Fitzpatrick, O. Carm., Sister Mary Ellen Wheelahan, O. Carm. and Fr. Pat Williams as Archdiocesan Synod Leaders. They will work in partnership with Paul Breaux and the Catholic Leadership Institute to tailor the synod vision and priority setting process to meet the specific needs and goals of our archdiocese. We hope that this synod will be an opportunity for us to “work together for your joy.” (2 Cor.1:24)

 

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.

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