From the Pastor – January 18, 2015

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” (Jn. 1:35-36)

In the readings this weekend, we have a lot of “naming” going on.   John calls Jesus the “Lamb of God”: John’s disciples call Jesus “Rabbi”: Andrew refers to Jesus as the “Messiah (the Christ)” when he speaks to his brother, Simon; and Jesus calls Simon “Cephas (Peter).”  It almost sounds like pledge week at a fraternity house where everyone gets a new nickname! But what we’re dealing with has both theological and practical implications.  In the Bible – and in real life – names are important.

In William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, the lovers have a dialogue about their own names. It begins with Romeo hearing Juliet call his name: “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?” The dialogue has been paraphrased to something like: “there’s nothing so sweet as the sound of one’s own name.” And even if we don’t read Shakespeare or understand poetry, we can relate to that. We like hearing our own name, and names are important.

In today’s readings, we’re given two names for Jesus: “Lamb of God” and “Messiah.” These are two words with very different understandings for the Jewish people. The word “Messiah” (“Christ” in Greek) meant a king (anointed one) who will come to rule in Israel and bring about a time of peace, deliverance and wisdom. On the other hand, “Lamb of God” points backward to the lambs that were slain at the time of Exodus in order that the Jewish people might be “passed over” when God struck down the first-born of the Egyptians. This action was ritually continued in the temple sacrifice of lambs each morning and evening.

So which is it? A king or a sacrificial lamb? Well, it’s both. Because Jesus, the Lamb of God, was slain on a cross upon which it was written “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Jesus was victim as well as priest, prophet and king.

Most of us are called a variety of names by family, friends and colleagues. And those names convey a lot of different meanings: some humorous, some intimate and some serious. Each of those names reflects who we are or what we do.  But we should also remember that there is one name that directly connects us to Jesus. It’s the name we get when we are baptized.  It’s the name we share with Jesus.   The name was first used in Acts 11:26 at Antioch, when the followers of Jesus were called, for the first time: “Christians.”  It’s a name we should be proud of, and it’s a name that should govern our lives, even into eternity. Jesus didn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom of peace, deliverance and wisdom. He came to create a new reality – a renewed communion between God and mankind. He did it in his person, and He did it as a victim. The word “Christian” is a hard name to live up to. Through the grace of God we try.

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

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Apostolate Fair

Altar Servers
Altar Servers play a very important role in the liturgy. They are part of the procession, handle incense, help prepare the altar for Mass, aid with baptisms, and help with the sacred vessels. Our parish has a great need for young men desiring to serve at the altar as some of our current servers will be going off to college soon.

Altar Society
The Altar Society prepares the altar and sanctuary for Mass. This includes replenishing oil and wax candles, providing clean, ironed altar linens, attending to flowers on the altar and to holy water fonts. The Altar Society also decorates the church for Christmas, Easter and other special occasions.

Rectory Volunteers
We are always in need of help at the Rectory Office. Some volunteers handle specific record keeping tasks like updating sacramental registers that must be done on a regular basis. Others help with our service ministries, and some are just willing to help with whatever needs doing! The time commitment is up to you.

For more information please pick up a flyer from the tables near the church entrance.

DO YOU KNOW… the difference between a ministry and an apostolate?

Ministry pertains to the administration of a sacrament, celebration of liturgy and other liturgical rites and is specific to those with Holy Orders.

“Laity spread the Gospel of Jesus and the truth of Catholicism in the secular world through whatever means they can – this is properly called an apostolate. The St. Vincent de Paul Society or the Knights of Columbus are excellent examples.”

(adapted from Wikipedia, 12/18/2014)

Our parish Apostolate Fair begins next weekend, January 10/11. The format will be slightly different than in years past. Every weekend, 2-3 apostolates will have information and representatives available at each mass. We hope this will make it easier to focus on those groups that interest you. The schedule is:

January 10/11 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion & Lectors

January 17/18   Altar Society, Altar Servers & Rectory Volunteers

January 24/25   Choir, Healthcare Apostolate, & Special Events

January 31/February 1   Ushers, Knights of Columbus & Rebuild Center Support

February 07/08   St. Vincent de Paul Society & Ozanam Inn Support

February 21/22   Life and Dignity Apostolate, Friends of St. Henry and Friends of Our Lady of Good Counsel

Feb 28/Mar 1   Rite of Christian Initiation & CCD

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Pray for us! Feastday January 4

Elizabeth Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up immersed in New York society. She was a prolific reader, and read everything from the Bible to contemporary novels.

In spite of her high society background, Elizabeth’s early life was quiet, simple, and often lonely. As she grew a little older, the Bible was to become her continual instruction, support and comfort; she would continue to love the Scriptures for the rest of her life.

In 1794, Elizabeth married the wealthy young William Seton, with whom she was deeply in love. The first years of their marriage were happy and prosperous. Elizabeth wrote in her diary at first autumn, “My own home at twenty – the world – that and heaven too – quite impossible.”

This time of Elizabeth’s life was to be a brief moment of earthly happiness before the many deaths and partings she was soon to suffer. Within four years, Will’s father died, leaving the young couple in charge of Will’s seven half brothers and sisters, as well as the family’s importing business. Now events began to move fast – and with devastating effect. Both Will’s business and his health failed. He was finally forced to file a petition of bankruptcy. In a final attempt to save Will’s health, the Setons sailed for Italy, where Will had business friends. Will died of tuberculosis while in Italy. Elizabeth’s one consolation was that Will had recently awakened to the things of God.

Tax-Free IRA Opportunity Made Available to Our Parishioners through December 31st

On Tuesday, December 16th, Congress passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, which allows owners of IRAs over the age of 70 ½ to make tax-free contributions up to $100,000 from their plans to qualified parishes, schools, and other Archdiocese of New Orleans ministries.  This gift-giving opportunity provides an excellent opportunity to make a special gift to our parish, and, at the same time, lower your taxable income for the year. This opportunity is effective only through December 31, 2014.

Thank you for considering this opportunity! If you would like additional information on how to support our parish through an IRA contribution, please contact Josephine Everly (504-596-3031) or Robert Menard (504-596-3043) at the Catholic Foundation.

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!

Blanket Drive

From Miriam Ogden:

On a recent Sunday morning as I was driving home, I saw a homeless man at the red light. I stopped to give him something to eat. I asked him how he was doing. He said, not well, that he barely slept the night before because he slept on the ground and it was so cold and he did not have a blanket. I told him that God loves him and that I would pray for him. As I drove off, I felt so sad, guilty, about my wonderful bed with sheets, blankets and pillows. By the time that I got home, I realized that I had to do something. I spoke with two priests who thought that a blanket drive was a good thing.

When I told Metairie Lakelawn funeral home about my idea, they really liked it and have put up a sign requesting that their employees donate a blanket by Tuesday. At which time I will pick them up and deliver them to two centers for the homeless. I am asking for donations to be dropped off at one of two different places (the only two I know will accept them, but I am sure there must be more). They are: The Harry Thompson Center, located in the parking lot of St. Joseph Church. You may call Vicki Judice at 504-271-5547 ext. 1. If you would like to make a monetary donation instead… the address is The Harry Thompson Center, 130 Baronne St., New Orleans, La. 70112. The other one is Bishop Perry Center, 1941 Dauphine St., New Orleans, La. 70116, 504-227-3270. It is located between Elysian Fields and Esplanade.

Louisiana Life March

Saturday, January 24, 2014, Baton Rouge, La

www.prolifelouisiana.org/LALifeMarch

A group from the parish will travel to Baton Rouge on January 24 to participate in the Louisiana Walk for Life at the state capital. The trip will allow us to show our solidarity with all the other people of God in commemoration of the misguided Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973.

Please let us know if you would be interested in participating in this event. We will make a final determination concerning scheduling after we find out how many people have an interest in participating.  You may email Miriam Ogden at g.moscati@cox.net

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)
8:00 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.

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