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From the Pastor – September 20, 2020

Catholic Mass times“Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?  Take what is yours and go.  What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?  Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?  Are you envious because I am generous?  ‘Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.’” (Mt. 20:13-16a)

A number of years ago, one of my closest friends and I were on a retreat at Manresa. Although it was a silent retreat, several of my buddies and I used to sneak out to the levee late on the last evening of the retreat as kind of “debriefing.” I remember looking up at the starry sky and my friend saying: “Wouldn’t it be great to have a ‘simple faith,’ like a farmer.  You just got up in the morning, did the farm work, went back into the house in the evening and prayed for good weather.” It was just a little question, but I reflect on it every now and then.

Our lives are terribly complicated.  With all of the “new media,” we are inundated with information that causes reactions in us.  We worry about the news of wars, diseases, and the economy. We are scared of terrorism. We are shocked by violent acts and natural disasters. And sometimes we are amused by funny messages we receive. But all of those are really distractions from the “right here” and “right now.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is faced with some workers who are worried about their lives. They’ve worked all day for the daily wage, but they think they should be paid more because they’ve worked longer than the others who received the daily wage.  They think more money will give them a little more security and allow them to live better lives.  The truth is, they are trying to complicate their lives.  Instead of being grateful for the gifts of God, they are anxious about their situation and they want more!

It sounds like us sometimes. Instead of being grateful for what we have, we want more. We want a better house, a nicer car, a newer phone. And even if we have all we want, we want more money so we can have security for ourselves. I’m not immune from that!  I get it.

Maybe we all need to yearn a little more (and work a little more) for a “simple faith.”  Maybe we need to realize how much we actually have. We live in the greatest city in the greatest country in the world. We have a beautiful house of worship filled with people who are always willing to help us in our need. Getting more and more involved in our parish helps us to see how God works in all of our lives. And helping in the work of the parish allows us to be around more people from whom we can learn more and more about having a “simple faith.”

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

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Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

“We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern.” – Pope Francis, 9/16/13

As important local, state, and national elections approach, the Archdiocese of New Orleans is launching an informational campaign to educate Catholics on their responsibility to exercise their right to vote with a properly formed conscience. Using resources based on the US Bishops’ document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” the archdiocese will share through the Clarion Herald and digital communications resources about the roles and responsibilities of Catholic clergy, religious, and laity in public life, how to properly form one’s conscience, and how to have civil dialogue in political debate. For the latest information visit https://nolacatholic.org/ or follow the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans on Facebook.

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.  This Sunday, all pets are invited into the courtyard between the church and the school 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!

Appeal for Hurricane Laura Survivors

On Septmeber 12 – 13 ONLY at St. Stephen Church

The Knights of Columbus will collect donations of items listed on the flyers in the back of church.

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 goodshepherdparishNOLA.com. 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.

The Sorrowful Mother September 15

In recent weeks, the Church has celebrated three feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary: the Assumption, the Queenship and the Nativity. This week, we recall Our Sorrowful Mother, also known as Mater Dolorosa in Latin. The notion of Mary as the “sorrowful Mother,” has its origin in the Biblical prophecy of Simeon at the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, where he states to Mary: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35).

Over the centuries, the Church has recognized popular devotion to seven sorrows of Mary: (1) the Prophecy of Simeon over the Infant Jesus (Lk 2:34); (2) the Flight into Egypt of the Holy Family (Mt 2:13); (3) the Loss of the Child Jesus for Three Days (Lk 2:43); (4) the Meeting of Jesus and Mary along the Way of the Cross (Lk 23:26); (5) the Crucifixion, where Mary stands at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25); (6) the Descent from the Cross, where Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms (Mt 27:57); and (7) the Burial of Jesus. (John 19:40). Numerous devotions, and even religious orders, have arisen around meditation on the Seven Sorrows.

Our Lady of Sorrows has been the subject of some key works of Marian art. In iconography, Our Lady of Seven Sorrows is at times represented as the Virgin Mary wounded by seven swords in her heart, a reference to the prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation. In other depictions, the expression of the Virgin is one of sadness.

The first known altar to Mater Dolorosa was made in 1221 at the monastery of Schunau in southern Germany. In many countries, parishioners traditionally carry statues of Our Lady of Sorrows in processions on the days leading to Good Friday.

The liturgical feast of the Our Lady of Sorrows originated in 1413, and Vatican approval for the celebration of a feast in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows was first granted to the Servite order in 1667. Pope Pius VII extended the celebration to the whole of the Latin Church in 1814, and Pope St. Pius X established the feast on September 15, the day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The sequence known as Stabat Mater is sung at Mass on that day.

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!

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

On the week when we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Archbishop Aymond has asked that every parish offer Confession for two hours. To that end, on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, Confessions will be heard in the “bride room” of St. Stephen Church beginning at 5:00pm until 6:30pm.

St. Pius of Pietrelcina

September 23, 2020

Saint Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy. He was the son of farmers Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, and had three younger sisters and one older brother.

As a child, Francesco worked on his family farm by taking care of a small flock of sheep that the family owned, but by the time he was five years old, Franceso had already decided to dedicate his life to God.  In January of 1903, at the young age of 15 he was allowed to enter the novitiate with the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in Morcone where he took on the name “Friar Pio.”

Once he joined the Friary of St. Francis, he had several bouts of serious illness and religious ecstasy. Friars would report strange noises coming from his cell. Friar Pio frequently spoke about attacks from the devil, and it was there where these battles had taken place. Although he was very ill, he was ordained a priest in 1910 at the Cathedral of Benevento in southern Italy.

In 1916, Padre Pio moved to our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary located in San Giovanni Rotondo, near the Adriatic coast. While there, he taught in the seminary.

In August of 1918, he began experiencing a painful stigmata (wounds similar to the wounds of Christ) that would only be temporary. Over time these wounds became permanent, and remained on his body for the next 50 years. In the beginning, Padre Pio felt great humiliation at the wounds on his body. The visible stigmata on his body brought him pain and publicity, but he accepted his suffering. The Holy See initially imposed severe sanctions on Pio in the 1920s to reduce publicity about him. It forbade him from saying Mass in public, blessing people, answering letters, showing his stigmata publicly, and communicating with Padre Benedetto, his spiritual director. Throughout this difficult time, Padre Pio maintained his vow of obedience, even while being subject to numerous medical and psychological investigations.

Padre Pio died of a heart attack at Our Lady of Grace in San Giovanni Rotondo on September 23, 1968. Pope John Paul II beatified Padre Pio on May 2, 1999 and canonized him three years on June 16, 2002.

68th Annual Red Mass

OCTOBER 5, 2020

The Saint Thomas More Catholic Lawyers Association, in conjunction with the Archdiocese of New Orleans, announce the celebration of the 68th Annual Red Mass, invoking the Holy Spirit upon the bench and bar of the State of Louisiana, on Monday, October 5, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, will be the principal celebrant. Reverend Mike Kettenring, a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, will be the homilist. Members of the bench and bar of the State of Louisiana, as well as the public, are invited to attend. Masks are required and social distancing will be observed in the Cathedral.

Catholic Communications Campaign

The Catholic Communications Campaign is set for September 20-21, 2020, in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This collection supports the evangelizing work of the church throughout the world by supporting media: news- papers, television, radio and digital or online media. Fifty percent of the funds collected in the Archdiocese of New Orleans remain here to support Catholic new media efforts and the Clarion Herald. To learn more about the national program visit www.usccb.org/ccc and locally visit http://nolacatholic.org.

Truth and Intrinsically Evil Acts

In 1993, Pope St. John Paul II presented the world with an encyclical entitled Veritatis Splendor, Latin for “the splendor of the truth.”  The encyclical is one of the most comprehensive and philosophical documents on moral theology in the Catholic Church.  The opening sentences set the tone: “The splendor of truth shines forth in all the works of the Creator and, in a special way, in man, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26). Truth enlightens man’s intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord. Hence the Psalmist prays: ‘Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord’ (Ps 4:6).”

The encyclical begins by asserting that there are absolute truths accessible to all persons, and that that moral law is universal across people in varying cultures, even among non-believers.  This contrasts with the assertions of moral relativism which argue that there is no objective right or wrong, and that people in different cultures might hold differing beliefs regarding morality.

A key element of the encyclical is the understanding of acts that are “intrinsically evil.”  Intrinsically evil acts are acts that are always wrong, and there are never circumstances in which they may be permitted if done knowingly and intentionally.  In the encyclical, the Holy Father states: “By acknowledging and teaching the existence of intrinsic evil in given human acts, the Church remains faithful to the integral truth about man; she thus respects and promotes man in his dignity and vocation.”  Examples of intrinsically evil acts are willful murder, genocide, rape, abortion, euthanasia and slavery.

In our highly charged political climate, a recent letter to the editor in the Times-Picayune/Advocate written by a priest was brought to my attention by a number of our parishioners.  In the letter, the priest compared abortion to other political issues like immigration policy, homelessness and healthcare.  Let’s be clear that there is a difference between supporting an intrinsically evil act and making prudential judgments on the best ways to handle other social and political issues. Reasonable people of goodwill may have different opinions on how to best respond to immigration, homelessness and a healthcare crisis, but there is no argument that can justify the intrinsically evil act that is abortion. At the end of this letter, the priest-writer went on to mention the candidate for whom he would vote.

In response to this letter appearing in the paper on the morning of August 26, 2020, Archbishop Aymond emailed a letter on the same day to all priests in the Archdiocese reminding us:

Clergy and lay people have complementary roles in public life. We bishops have the primary responsibility to hand on the Church’s moral and social teaching. Together with priests and deacons, assisted by religious and lay leaders of the Church, we are to teach fundamental moral principles that help Catholics form their consciences correctly, to provide guidance on the moral dimensions of public decisions, and to encourage the faithful to carry out their responsibilities in political life. In fulfilling these responsibilities, the Church’s leaders avoid endorsing or opposing candidates. (emphasis by the Archbishop, himself).

This statement comes from a document issued by the US Conference of Bishops entitled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” a good and fruitful guide for helping us to form our consciences in advance of voting.  I encourage you to read it: https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship-title

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