From the Pastor – December 14, 2014

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,in my God is the joy of my soul;for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,like a bride bedecked with her jewels.(Is. 61:10)

The coming of the Messiah was something eagerly anticipated by the Jewish people. His coming was to be a time of great rejoicing (Gaudete!) It represented the intervention of God into the affairs of men. No longer would they be hungry or thirsty or oppressed or crippled. They would be delivered from the difficulties of this life and live in a new reality without fear. God would be with them, according to the promises of His Covenant.

However, the appearance of the Messiah was disputed. Would he be a great king, like David? Would he be a great prophet,like Moses? Would he be a great judge, like Solomon? Understanding the prophecies of Isaiah was difficult. And that is what botheredJohn the Baptist and his disciples when confronted with Jesus. Of course, John knew that Jesus was the “Lamb of God”; he testified as such. He understood that Jesus would be like a “lamb led to the slaughter,” and would sacrifice Himself. But this didn’t seem to jibe with John’s understanding of the Messiah, whom he expected to be a great judge – one who would “separate the wheat from the chaff.”

And so the disciples of John approach Jesus today and ask Him: “are you the one who is to come?” And Jesus responds enigmatically with the prophecy of Isaiah. What that Gospel passage points to is a dual coming. John has prepared the way, and Jesus has begun His ministry. But the ministry is one of phases. First, he unites Himself with man through the Incarnation. Second, He teaches. Third, He suffers, dies, rises from the dead, and ascends to the Father. Fourth, He sends His Holy Spirit so that all might know the meaning of His revelation. And then He gives us (humanity) time to prepare for His coming in glory. In other words, the answer to the disciples question is in the affirmative. Jesus was already there, but – even more – Jesus is “the one who is to come.”

We currently live in a period of time of “expectant longing” for the return of Christ in His glory. And during this time, Jesus gives us all the means to prepare ourselves for that coming: through the Sacramental life of the Church by which we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit; through the intercession of the Saints, most particularly the Holy Mother of God; and through the infallible guidance on faith and morals of the Holy Catholic Church. How blessed are we to recall these things as we celebrate this season of expectant longing that we call Advent. Be strong! Fear not!

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

Read more posts From the Pastor

Christmas Open House and Potluck Dinner

Tuesday, December 20, 2014
After the 4:00pm Vigil

Please join us with a dish, wine or other festive food to share! If anyone would like to bring their musical instrument and play some Christmas tunes you are welcome!  Bring an ornament to decorate our tree if you like! Or don’t do any of that… just come and pass a great time! Please call the parish office if you can bring a dish!

The Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a set of four candles which are lit each Sunday of the Advent Season. Three of the candles are violet-colored, and one is rose-colored. The violet candles symbolize faithful expectation, and the rose candle symbolizes joy and hope. These colors mirror the colors of the priest’s vestments used during the Sundays of Advent. In earlier times, the season of Advent had stronger penitential and ascetic aspects, and a relaxation of disciplines was offered on the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin for “rejoice”, the first words of the Introit. This turn is reflected in the shift from violet to rose. One violet candle is lit on the first evening of Advent (a Sunday). On successive Sundays, the second violet candle is added, then the rose candle on Gaudete Sunday, and finally, the third violet candle. So enough about the colors, what about the flame? The flame signifies Christ, the “Light of the World.”

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

December 2014

Christmas, hope for humanity. That the birth of theRedeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.

Parents. That parents may be true evangelizers, passingon to their children the precious gift of faith

Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!

Blessing of the Cemeteries

msgr-blessing

On All Saints Day, Saturday, November 1, 2014, at 11:30am, 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.

Be a Good Steward

Good Shepherd Parish needs average weekly collections of $6,500 in order to fund parish operations.  Rarely does our collection exceed $5,000. The deficit is paid by generous donors at the end of the year, thank God!  I encourage you to take this time to prayerfully consider whether you might increase your donations to to our parish.  For those who are able, please consider an additional 10% per week.  Your help will make a big difference in our ability to meet our financial obligations.  One way to make this easy is to use our electronic giving program.

Simply click here to go to the Online Donations page to set up your online giving account.  You may also use the paper authorization form, available at the Online Donations tab or from Dianne Caverly in the parish office.  Call Dianne if you have difficulties.

Don’t Forget to Register!

Good Shepherd Parish frequently receives calls from “parishioners” who want to have their children baptized, get a school voucher, get married or serve as a godparent.  In order for the parish to agree to these things, you must be a “registered” and “contributing” parishioner.  This isn’t our rule; it’s the rule of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.  All information is kept in strict confidence by the parish.

To be “registered” at Good Shepherd Parish means that (1) you have completed a parish census form or have registered online at goodshepherdparishNOLA.com, (2) you use parish envelopes or checks for donations.

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.

Holy Days Mass Schedule

Wednesday, December 24 (Christmas Vigil)
4:00 pm Mass (Confessions at 3:00pm)
12:00 am Midnight Mass

Thursday, December 25 (Christmas)
10:30 am Mass (No 6:30am Mass at St Henry and No 8:00am Mass at St Stephen)

Wednesday, December 31
(Vigil of the Solemnity of Mary) 6:00pm Mass

Thursday, January 1 (Solemnity of Mary)
6:30 am (St. Henry) 12:00 noon Mass (St. Stephen)

Christmas Giving Tree

St. Vincent de Paul Society needs your help. A Christmas Giving Tree has been set up next to the St. Anthony Statue which have on it ornaments with gift requests. Some of the ornaments on the tree have names and ages of children along with their Christmas gift wish, but we also will be helping the Veterans across the street and those who visit the Rebuild Center, so there are also more “mundane,” but needed items! If you can, please pick an ornament from the Tree then return the gift with the ornament and place under the tree by Monday, December 22nd. Monetary donations are always welcome!

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 17.  As always, thank you for your GENEROUS support!

Catholic Foundation Annual Foundation Dinner

The Catholic Foundation will host the annual Foundation dinner Thursday, November 20, 2014 at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside. This year’s dinner will honor the 2014 Saint John Paul II Award recipient Judge Jay C. Zainey and also feature keynote speaker Paul Mainieri. Reservations are required. More information is available by calling (504) 596-3044, or email MObrien@archdiocese- no.org.

Pope St, John Paul II

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 is the first 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 month, 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.

40 Days for Life

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

The 40 Days for Life Campaign kicked off on September 28.  We are teaming up with Holy Name of Jesus parish to help cover all of the hours from 7:00am to 7:00pm on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 3044 Ridgelake Drive in Metairie. If you feel called to peacefully pray at the abortion clinic please sign up for an open hour. The sign up sheet is in the back of the church. If you are unable to join us in our peaceful vigil, we ask that you commit to praying daily and fasting to end abortion.  We have placed prayer cards at the back of the church on the Pro-Life table.

For more information, or to volunteer to help, please visit us online at www.40daysforlifenola.com.

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.

Vocation Weekend for High School and College Age Men

Come and See Vocation Discernment Weekend for high school juniors and seniors, and college- age men will be held November 7-9, 2014 at St. Joseph Seminary College, Covington, Louisiana. This is an opportunity for men who are interested in the priesthood and who would like to find out more about seminary life. There is no cost for the weekend but availability is limited on a first come, first served basis. For more information or to register, call the Archdiocesan Vocation Office at (504) 861-6298 or e-mail vocations@archdiocese-no.org.

Home Middle #3 Widget

This is a widgeted area which is called Home Middle #3. It is using the Genesis - Featured Page widget to display what you see on the Metric child theme demo site. To get started, log into your WordPress dashboard, and then go to the Appearance > Widgets screen. There you can drag the Genesis - Featured Page widget into the Home Middle #3 widget area on the right hand side. To get the image to display, simply upload an image through the media uploader on the edit post screen and publish your page. The Featured Page widget will know to display the post image as long as you select that option in the widget interface.