St. Stephen Catholic Church on Napolean Avenue in Uptown New Orleans
The Gospel for this 16th Sunday in Ordinary time is the parable from Matthew 13 about the field sown with good and bad seed. We might have heard the expression “bad seed” as referring to someone who came from a “bad family.” While it’s true that one’s environment can have a serious effect on our personalities, attitudes and habits, the Church teaches that we are all God’s children. You might also hear the expression that someone is “beyond redemption.” This expression is contrary to Catholic doctrine. The catechism teaches that “There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer.” (605).
In other words, no one is beyond redemption. No sin, however terrible, is beyond God’s power to forgive. Since the time of Jesus, the Church has declared many men and women to be “saints.” But never in the history has the Church declared that anyone has been condemned to hell – not Pontius Pilate, not Judas, not Hitler, not Stalin, not Mao. So nobody goes to hell? No, that’s not true. Jesus said that some go to Eternal Damnation. But who?
Jesus gives us a clue one chapter back in Matthew’s Gospel: “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” What is “blasphemy against the Spirit”? The catechism says “there are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept His mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.” (1864)
So the moral is that God has unlimited mercy, but we have to seek it. We practice seeking it each time we attend Mass and “call to mind our sins” so that we might “prepare to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries.” And then we say “Lord, have Mercy.” But if our sins are mortal sins, we need to seek forgiveness in the Sacrament of Confession. But if we have what we consider “terrible sins,” we might be afraid to reveal them. “You must hear some ‘terrible things’ in the confession, Monsignor,” I’ve sometimes been asked. And I don’t reply. But I do say this, “you know, the confessional is to sin what a car wash is to dirt. Have you ever gone up to a guy running a car wash and asked him about the dirt he’s cleaned? He’d just laugh at you: ‘The machine just washes it down the drain. We don’t save it; it’s just gone!’” That’s what happens in Confession. When we seek mercy from Jesus, He gives it to us. Our souls are clean, and the sin is just gone. I am always available for Confession, and I’m in the confessional on Saturdays (3:00pm – 3:45pm) and Sundays (9:30am – 10:15am).
(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty
Saturday Vigil at 4:00pm
Sunday at 8:00am and 10:30am
Weekdays (Monday -Friday)
6:30am in St. Henry Church
6:00pm Mass Tuesdays in the Church
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Tuesday 4:45pm – 5:45pm
Thursday morning 7:00am – 8:00am
Confession Times at Good Shepherd
Saturdays at 3:00pm
(before the 4:00pm Vigil Mass)
Sundays at 9:30am – 10:15am
(before the 10:30am Mass)
The Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin was born in the twelfth century on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. A group of hermits from the west settled there to live after the example of Christ in His land. At their request, the Patriarch of Jerusalem gave them a rule of life that required them, among other things, to build an oratory among their cells where they could gather for the celebration of the Eucharist. The “Carmelites” built a chapel on Carmel that they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they addressed as the “Lady of the Place.”
Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has focused on the Brown Scapular, a sacramental associated with promises of Our Lady’s special assistance in the salvation of the devoted wearer, especially promising that those who died wearing the scapular would be saved. The origin is said to be that Our Lady gave the Scapular to an early Carmelite named St. Simon Stock.
The Brown Scapular resembles an “apron” that symbolizes the “yoke of Christ.” There are many indications of aprons being used over the religious habit even from the times of St. Benedict (+547 AD), whose Rule also mentions the scapular. In the course of time, the Brown Scapular became part of the religious habit, and eventually acquired religious significance.
As understood and lived in the Carmelite Order, following Jesus Christ and Our Lady becomes the reality for which the faithful in the Carmelite family strive. They rely on the help and support of all the brothers and sisters who share in the same ideal. The members of the Carmelite family live their commitment in various ways: in the “desert,” in fraternal life, in the apostolic life, on the streets of the world, together working with Mary for the Kingdom of God.
Sports. That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries. That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.
Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!
The life of John the Baptist is a preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ, and the circumstances of his birth are miraculous. In Luke’s Gospel, John’s parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were without children and beyond the age of child-bearing. During Zechariah’s time of priestly service in the Temple in Jerusalem, he is chosen to offer incense in the Holy Place. While there, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that he and his wife will give birth to a child, and that they shall name him John. However, since Zechariah doubted the message, he was made mute until the time of John’s birth.
Here, a little math is in order. At the Annunciation, which we celebrated on March 25, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to inform her that she would conceive Jesus. But Gabriel also informed her that Elizabeth, her cousin, was already six months pregnant (Lk 1:36). Since Elizabeth was six months pregnant on March 25, we celebrate John’s birth three months later on June 24.
The Nativity of John the Baptist is one of the oldest solemnities in the Church, having been recorded by the Council of Agde in 506 as one of Southern France’s principal holy days. The day is marked as the beginning of the preparation of the way of the Lord. Although rendered mute by his doubting God, Zechariah was obedient in naming his son John, and was inspired to proclaim the prophecy of the ministry of his son, the so-called “Canticle of Zechariah” (Lk 1:68-79): “Blessed be the Lord, The God of Israel; He has come to His people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, Born of the house of His servant David. Through His holy prophets He promised of old That He would save us from our enemies, From the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers And to remember His holy Covenant. This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham: To set us free from the hands of our enemies, Free to worship Him without fear, Holy and righteous in His sight All the days of our life. You, My child shall be called The prophet of the Most High, For you will go before the Lord to prepare His way, To give his people knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our Lord The dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness And the shadow of death, And to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts
(to be prayed beginning May 30)
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 Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.
ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT AND PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant is listening.” Amen.
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.
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me!” (Mt. 25:40)
One of our most important ministries in Good Shepherd Parish is cooking for those who are homeless, and then serving them at the Rebuild Center on Tulane Avenue. I’ve been acquainted with the Rebuild Center for years because my Mother cooks for them once a month. In the parish we cook every other Wednesday in the morning, and then we serve the following day for the noon meal. In 2013 we served 3,050 meals at the Rebuild Center, and we are on track to surpass that in 2014! Below is the email I received from Dan LeBlanc about last week:
“Yesterday was a good day for the guests at the Rebuild Center. Our cooking team on Wednesday did a great job, and a word of thanks to them: Dana, Becky, Dorothy, Hunter, and Dan. Again another thank you to those who helped serve: Dorothy, Dana, Joyce, Dominic, Mark, Anna, Laura, Alice, Gayle, Hunter and Dan.
We served 192 guests a meal of Red Beans, Rice, Sausage, and a Green Salad.”
God bless our volunteers! If you can help, call the office!
Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II are to be canonized today, the Feast of Divine Mercy, in a ceremony at the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome presided over by Pope Francis. Of the 264 deceased Popes, 80 have been declared to be saints. While this might seem like a large percentage, we have to remember that 52 out of the first 54 Popes were canonized, so that only leaves 18 more out of the next 210! The odds have gotten harder after the Church left the ages of martyrdom and persecution. The last Pope canonized was Pope St Pius X on May 29, 1954, and that event was so important that a large mural of the new Pope Saint was added to the inside of St. Stephen Church to memorialize the occasion. I think three aspects of the first “joint Pope canonization” in history bear noticing.
First, Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II represent the “bookends” of the Second Vatican Council. Pope John XXIII called the council on January 25, 1959, and Pope John Paul II was present as a young auxiliary bishop from Krakow. Although Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul I intervened between the two future saints, it was during the nearly 28 years of the pontificate of John Paul II that many of the reforms called for during the Second Vatican Council were implemented. In fact, when the Code of Canon Law was passed in 1983, Pope Jon Paul II called it the “last document of the Second Vatican Council,” because it codified into law the emphasis that the Council fathers placed on the laity, the local church and a greater understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage, among other things. [Read More...]
St. Vincent de Paul Society needs your help. A Christmas Giving Tree has been set up next to the St. Anthony Statue. The ornaments on the tree have the names of gifts and a dollar amount. This summer we are focusing on the poorer students who attend St. Stephen Catholic School. There is no need to buy a present and wrap it; all you have to do is pick an ornament with the name of a gift, and place it in an envelope with the requested donation. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul will do the rest! God’s blessing to all of you!
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!
Occasionally, parishioners without transportation inquire at the parish office whether it is possible for another parishioner to give them a ride to and/or from Mass. Â If you need a ride to Mass, or you would be willing to provide transportation to a fellow parishioner, please contact the parish office at (504) 899-1378.
Last weekend was a beautiful procession of the Eucharist to honor our belief that what we receive in Holy Communion is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. We were blessed that Archbishop Aymond was about to come and celebrate our Mass and lead the procession. Since the word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving,” I need to do some thanksgiving here!
Six years ago I asked Kathy Fayard if she would help coordinate a simple Eucharistic Procession on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. Little did she know that she’d still be doing it 6 years later! And little did she know how much it would grow! So thanks, Kathy!
Thanks to Dixie, Phillip and Dianne for all the behind the scenes clerical work and organizing the procession crew.
Thanks to our canopy bearers: Kevin Bastian, John Rowland, Matthew Ponseti, and Bob Vaughn.
Thanks also to Matthew and Lennie Ponseti who donated the rose petals. Thanks to our fabulous altar servers who did extra duty in the heat along with other clergy. Thanks to the choir led by Brian Morgan. And thanks to Commander Karl Fasold and Sgt. Greg Muggli (NOPD Reserve) for the volunteer police protection. Thanks to Dana Danzi and Dan LeBlanc for arranging Plum Street snow balls. And thanks Hunter Harris and his fabulous crew for preparing and serving over 170 perfectly cooked fish dinners, and all those who made side dishes.
A big thanks to our Knights of Columbus for participating in the service, setting up, serving and cleaning up for the event! And thanks to the Knights and Dames of Malta, the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Knights of St. Peter Claver for honoring us with their presence.
It was a great day and we were blessed with great weather, so it was truly a Eucharistic celebration!
A great deal has been written and discussed recently concerning the recent directive of the Department of Health and Human Services to require Catholic institutions to pay for sterilizations, abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives. While much of the commentary has focused on how the policy affects the freedom of religion of the Catholic Church, the press discussion of this issue has also prompted discussion of artificial contraception.
Over the next three weeks, I want to briefly present the Church’s teachings on artificial contraception through three different areas of concern: (1) societal concerns; (2) scientific/medical concerns; and (3) moral concerns. It’s helpful for us to understand the teachings of the Church rather than accepting the attacks of the secular media.
First of all, do you realize that there was not a single Christian denomination in the world that permitted artificial birth control until the Anglican Communion did so in 1930? And prior to that time, there was no period of history, no document of the Church, no theological school, scarcely one Catholic theologian, who ever argued that contraception was not always seriously evil. The teaching of the Church in this matter is absolutely constant.
As many Catholics know, the Church’s teachings on contraception were affirmed and cogently explained in 1968 by Pope Paul VI in an encyclical called Humanae Vitae (“On Human Life”). In that document, the Holy Father goes into great detail to examine the beauty and purpose of human sexuality. But despite the positive tone of the document, the Holy Father does indeed warn society of the consequences of the widespread use of artificial contraception. Artificial contraception has harmful consequences because it reduces the human act of sexual love into a mere act of pleasure rather than an act of self-giving between husband and wife. And the three consequences Pope Paul VI mentioned were: (1) marital infidelity and a general breakdown in public morals; (2) the reduction of woman by men to an instrument to satisfy sexual desire; and (3) governments claiming control over sexual reproduction.
At the time of the encyclical, Pope Paul VI was ridiculed as an alarmist. How can such a simple thing as contraception possibly cause such drastic consequences in our society?? Perhaps some specifics can help us see the prescience of the Holy Father’s prophetic words.
In 1960, 5.3% of all births in America were to unmarried women. By 2010, it was 40.8%. In 1960 married families made up almost three-quarters of all households; but by the census of 2010 they accounted for just 48 percent of them. Cohabitation has increased tenfold since 1960. Nearly 40% of marriages end in divorce. Through all of these statistics, it is clear that marriage and sexuality are becoming divergent, causing many children to grow up without the stability of a nuclear family. Most people would agree that this incredible demographic shift reveals a general breakdown in public morality.
And what about the “objectification of woman” about which Pope Paul VI warned? It doesn’t take too hard of a look at woman’s fashion, the music industry, television and cinema to see that sexuality sells more than true love. Many men exploit women, and many women accept this exploitation in the pornography industry to the tune of over $15 BILLION a year in the United States alone. Do you realize that the US pornography industry generates more revenue than the revenue of ABC, CBS and NBC – combined? Some feminists might claim this to be a beneficial result of “woman’s liberation,” but the women in the pornography industry are being objectified, used and discarded when they are no longer attractive. As the Holy Father warned, “a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.”
And the final consequence? Pope Paul VI warned of “the danger of this [contraceptive] power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as legitimate by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring contraceptive methods that they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone.”
Some would argue that the government should limit the number of people in the world, because the current growth rate is “unsustainable.” This is based on what is called the “Malthusian model,” something that has been debunked time and time again.
In the end of the day, human progress is based upon humans. We are made in God’s image for a particular purpose. And one of those purposes is to be fruitful and multiply, building each other up in charity, with true love and devotion. Artificial contraception has caused societal effects far beyond anything ever imagined. It has transformed our society. But how can we claim that these transformations are for the better?
FREE FOOD FOR LOW-INCOME SENIORS IN YOUR PARISH WITH CATHOLIC CHARITIES FOOD FOR SENIORS
Food for Seniors provides monthly supplemental food boxes for qualifying low-income seniors with distribution sites located in all 64 civil parishes Louisiana. Enrollment in Food For Seniors is always open! Interested seniors can call toll free 1-800-522-3333 to see if they qualify, to register or to find the Food For Seniors distribution site nearest them. Distribution sites include senior living facilities, senior day care centers, community centers and churches. Food for Seniors is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). It is an equal opportunity program of the US Department of Agriculture and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals in collaboration with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Where Y’at? Just like stopping by “ya mama n’dems, you’re always welcome home to the house of the Lord!
With 118 Catholic parishes and mission churches in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, many visitors and locals alike often find themselves asking for the location of the nearest church or wondering what church has a mass time that can fit their schedules. Now, they need look no further than a few swipes with the Archdiocese of New Orleans “Where Y’at?” Mass Finder App. The free app available on iTunes and in the Android Market allows users to quickly search for a nearby Catholic Church by GPS location within the eight civil parishes of the Archdiocese of New Orleans or by time of day they wish to attend a Mass. In addition, the app offers easy access to local and world Catholic news, push notifications of daily readings and special updates from the archdiocese at their fingertips. With this app, no matter “Where Y’at,” users will be able to find a mass time and church in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. To download the free “Where Y’at” app, visit the iTunes store or Android Market and search “Where Y’at”.
On June 29, 2014 at 3:00pm at St. Louis Cathedral, our parishioners Doug and Gay Kariker will be awarded the Order of St. Louis IX Medallion by Archbishop Aymond at St. Louis Cathedral. Doug and Kay, you deserve this honor. Congratulations!
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