From the Pastor – July 29, 2018

Daily Short PrayersThen Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.  When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.  When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” (Jn 6:11-14)

If you regularly attend Mass in Good Shepherd Parish, you know that it is rare when I don’t mention the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in a homily.  Since Mass is divided into two parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I want my homily to be a bridge that leads from the Word to the Eucharist.  But the readings for Mass over the next six weeks gives me an opportunity to go a little further. Beginning this weekend on the 17th Sunday of the Ordinary Time and ending on the 21st Sunday (August 26) we will hear entirely the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel.  It’s called the “bread of life discourse,” and it is the theological basis for our Catholic belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

John 6 begins this Sunday with the feeding of the multitudes.  On August 5 Jesus discusses the “sign,” and reveals Himself as the “bread of life.”  On August 12, Jesus connects the “bread of life” to His own flesh.  On August 19, Jesus drops the bombshell when He tells his followers: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”  And finally, on August 26, we hear that some of the followers of Jesus cannot accept this teaching.  They begin to depart.  And Jesus does something unusual.  He doesn’t correct Himself.  He doesn’t tell them that He was only speaking in allegory.  He doesn’t beg them to come back and understand.  He lets them go.  And then He turns to the 12 Apostles and asks them “Do you also want to leave?”  And St. Peter speaks for the group when he tells Jesus:  “Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

As I said above, anybody who spends time in Good Shepherd Parish knows that I speak about the Eucharist as often as possible.  Why?  Because I believe what Jesus told us in John 6.  Unlike the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, which have the same viewpoint (that’s what syn -+ optic means), John’s Gospel is more deeply theological.  He begins John 6 with the facts of the Multiplication of the Loaves, and then He has Jesus explaining and foreshadowing what He will give the Apostles at the Last Supper.  And the good news is that He will give the same thing to us today:  The Sacrament of His Body and Blood.
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Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty
msgr.nalty@gmail.com

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Introduction

 

Were you married in St. Stephen Church?

If so, would you donate a simple framed photo of your wedding in the church for our collection? (Max size 5”x7”) We now have a beautiful, antique cabinet from a parishioner’s estate in the room we use for brides and would like to display wedding photos of our brides over the years. Please deliver to Paige Saleun in the rectory M-F 9-4:30pm. We’d love photos from the earliest days!

A Gentle Reminder from another parish’s bulletin that was forwarded to me

“Please come to Mass early enough not to disrupt. Leave late enough not to insult. (the Mass does not end until the final blessing). Worship reverently enough not to distract. And dress proudly enough not to offend.”

The Catholic Church Explained

The Catholic Church is the distinctive name of this holy Church which is the mother of us all. She is the bride of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God (for Scripture says: Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her). She is the type and she bears the image of the Jerusalem above that is free and is the mother of us all, that Jerusalem which once was barren but now has many children.

The first assembly, that is, the assembly of Israel, was rejected, and now in the second, that is, in the Catholic Church, God has appointed first, apostles, second, prophets, third, teachers then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators and speakers in various tongues, as Paul says; and together with these is found every sort of virtue—wisdom and understanding, self-control and justice, mercy and kindness, and invincible patience in persecution. This Church in earlier days, when persecution and afflictions abounded, crowned her holy martyrs with the varied and many-flowered wreaths of endurance. But now when God has favored us with times of peace, she receives her due honor from kings and men of high station, and from every condition and race of mankind. And while the rulers of the different nations have limits to their sovereignty, the holy Catholic Church alone has a power without boundaries throughout the entire world. For Scripture says: God has made peace her border.

Instructed in this holy Catholic Church and bearing ourselves honorably, we shall gain the kingdom of heaven and inherit eternal life. For the sake of enjoying this at the Lord’s hands, we endure all things. The goal set before us is no trifling one; we are striving for eternal life. In the Creed, therefore, after professing our faith “in the resurrection of the body,” that is, of the dead, which I have already discussed, we are taught to believe “in life everlasting,” and for this as Christians we are struggling.

Now real and true life is none other than the Father, who is the fountain of life and who pours forth his heavenly gifts on all creatures through the Son in the Holy Spirit, and the good things of eternal life are faithfully promised to us men also, because of his love for us.

Does this sound like a decent explanation of today’s Catholic Church?  It was written by St. Cyril of Jerusalem in 347 A.D.

Symbols of the Eucharist

The “IHS” monogram is an abbreviation or shortening of the name of Jesus in Greek to the first three letters. It is sometimes transliterated into Latin characters as IHS. The abbreviation is meant to reflect the Holiness of the Name of Jesus – something to be revered. Oftentimes this symbol is present on the large host that the priest consecrates at Mass to remind the priest that – after the Consecration – he is holding Jesus. The particular symbol above is also the symbol for the Society of Jesus founded by St Ignatius Loyola, whose feast was July 31.

The Metairie Chapter of Magnificat

A ministry to women, is sponsoring a breakfast on Saturday, June 16, 2018, 9 am to noon, at the Copeland Tower Suites & Conference Center, 2601 Severn Avenue (Ballroom, 16th floor) in Metairie. Our speaker, Kitty Cleveland, is a wife to Mel and a mother to Cecilia. Her secondary mission is as a Catholic singer, recording artist and lay evangelist – a calling that she says has often surprised and delighted her. She enjoys cooking, gardening, oil painting, and is currently working on her first book about her father. Come and enjoy breakfast with us and hear Kitty’s encouraging words. Reservations: $22 by mail (checks made out to Magnificat Metairie and mailed to 1005 Maryland Ave., Kenner, LA 70062 by June 12th) or online at www.magniicat-ministry.net/chapter-wbpages/metairie-la

Symbols of the Eucharist (5 of 5)

The Chalice with the Host is one of the most recognized symbols of the Eucharist because it portrays an image that is very familiar to those who attend Mass. By showing the Host above the Chalice, we are reminded of the moment at Mass when the priest elevates the Chalice and Host and proclaims the words of St. John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.” It is interesting that this symbol does not visibly portray the priest, who is called at this moment to echo other words of St. John the Baptist: “I must decrease, and He must increase.” At this moment of the Mass, the attention is focused on Jesus, really and truly present in the Sacred Species of bread and wine.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door – St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi will host, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” on Saturday, August 4, 2018, at 9:30 AM in the Lycee Francais Cafeteria, 5951 Patton St., New Orleans. Free parking is available in the lot behind the building. Speaker topics include: End of Life Decision Making – Sister Marie Noel of Notre Dame Hospice; Powers of Attorney & Estate Planning – Gregory S. LaCour of Blue Williams, LLP; and Charitable Giving Considerations – Josephine Everly of The Catholic Foundation. Informational Booths by Catholic Cemeteries, Christopher Homes, St. Francis of Assisi Respect Life Committee, and SFA Senior Associates. Snacks and refreshments provided by SFA Senior Associates. Free and Open to the Public. For more information call 504-227-3766 or familylife@stfrancisuptown.com.

One Flesh

The desire to love and be loved is the deepest need of our being.  We long to be known, accepted, and cherished by another. Yet, the ability to fully give or receive this love is unattainable on our own. As Catholics we believe Jesus Christ has entered our broken world to conquer sin and restore us to new life. Throughout every age he continues to invite all women and men to follow him through his Church, to whom he has entrusted his teaching authority, so that all can know and follow him.

Only God can give us the unconditional love and acceptance that we desire. Yet, he has created marriage, a holy union, to mirror this supreme love on earth. At the heart of their married love is the total gift of self that husband and wife freely offer to each other. Because of their sexual difference, husband and wife can truly become “one flesh.” Through the language of their bodies, their sexual union recalls their vows: giving themselves to one another in love that is total, faithful, and life-giving. [Read More…]

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola – July 31

Ignacio López de Loyola was born in Spain in 1491, the youngest of 13 children. In 1506, he adopted the last name “de Loyola” in reference of the Basque city of Loyola where he was born.  In 1509, Ignatius took up arms under the Duke of Nájera and participated in many battles without injury to himself.  However, on May 20, 1521, in a battle against the French, a cannonball wounded both of his legs.  During his recuperation at Loyola, Ignatius read the Life of Christ by Ludolph of Saxony, a commentary on the Gospels with extracts from the works of over sixty of the Fathers of the Church; the book influenced his whole life.  Ludolph proposes that the reader place himself at the scene of a Gospel story and visualize the scene in a simple contemplation.

During his recuperation at Loyola, Ignatius read the Life of Christ by Ludolph of Saxony, a commentary on the Gospels with extracts from the works of over sixty of the Fathers of the Church; the book influenced his whole life. Ludolph proposes that the reader place himself at the scene of a Gospel story and visualize the scene in a simple contemplation. He also read the lives of the saints.

When Ignatius left Loyola he had no definite plans for the future, except that he wished to rival all the saints had done in the way of penance. His first care was to make a general confession at the famous sanctuary of Montserrat, where, after three days of self-examination, and carefully noting his sins, he confessed, gave to the poor the rich clothes in which he had come, and put on garment of sack-cloth reaching to his feet. His sword and dagger he suspended at Our Lady’s altar, and passed the night watching before them. The next morning, he retired to a cave near the neighboring town of Manresa, where he retired for prayer, austerities, and contemplation, while he lived on alms.

It was at this time, too, that he began to make notes of his spiritual experiences, notes which grew into the little book of “Spiritual Exercises.”

St. Ignatius spent a number of years studying in Paris, where he became thoroughly versed in the science of education, and learned by experience how the life of prayer and penance might be combined with that of teaching and study. Starting a small society in Paris, the Society of Jesus was approved by the Holy See in 1540. He died on July 30, 1556 and was canonized in 1622.

Currently, the Jesuits are the single largest religious order in the world, numbering nearly 20,000 members, of which nearly 14,000 are priests. They work in 112 nations on six continents.

Kateri Tekakwitha

July 14, 2018
First Native American Saint

On Sunday, October 21, 2012 the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI canonized the first Native American Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha. St. Kateri was born in 1656 near Auriesville, New York, the daughter of a Mohawk warrior and a Christian mother.   At the age of four, smallpox attacked Tekakwitha’s village, taking the lives of her parents and baby brother, and leaving Tekakwitha an orphan. She was adopted by her two aunts and an uncle, and although forever weakened, scarred, and partially blind, Tekakwitha survived. The brightness of the sun blinded her and she would feel her way around as she walked.

When Tekakwitha was eighteen, Father de Lamberville, a Jesuit missionary, came to Caughnawaga and established a chapel.  Her uncle disliked the “Blackrobe” and his strange new religion, but tolerated the missionary’s presence.  Kateri vaguely remembered her mother’s whispered prayers, and was fascinated by the new stories she heard about Jesus Christ.  She wanted to learn more about Him and to become a Christian.

Kateri’s family did not accept her choice to embrace Christ.  After her baptism, Kateri became the village outcast.  Her family refused her food on Sundays because she wouldn’t work.  Children would taunt her and throw stones.  She was threatened with torture or death if she did not renounce her religion.  Nevertheless, Kateri remained steadfast in her faith, and lived a life dedicated to prayer, penitential practices, and care for the sick and aged. Every morning, even in coldest winter, she would be waiting at 4:00am when the chapel was opened, and she remained there until after the last Mass. She was devoted to the Eucharist and to Jesus Crucified.  Her motto became “Who can tell me what is most pleasing to God that I may do it?”

Tekakwitha’s baptismal name is Catherine, which in the Iroquois languages is Kateri.  Her second Iroquois name can be translated as “one who walks groping for her way” (because of her faulty eyesight).

Kateri died on April 17, 1680 at the age of twenty-four. She is known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.” Devotion to Kateri is responsible for establishing Native American ministries in Catholic Churches all over the United States and Canada. Kateri was declared Venerable in 1943 and was beatified in 1980 by Blessed Pope John Paul II.  Hundreds of thousands have visited shrines to Kateri erected at both St. Francis Xavier and Caughnawaga and at her birth place at Auriesville, New York. Pilgrimages at these sites continue today.

St. Kateri’s Feast Day is July 14. She is the patroness of the Native Americans and the environment.

Christmas in July!

The St. Vincent de Paul Society needs your help in assisting those who come for help with high utility bills during the hot summer months. A Christmas Giving Tree has been set up behind the pews on the school side of the church. 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. Thank you for assisting us in our apostolate to our neighborhood poor!

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