From the Pastor – December 10, 2017

New Orleans Mass Times[John the Baptist said:] “One mightier than I is coming after me.  I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of His sandals. I have baptized you with water; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mk. 1:7-8)

One of my favorite books by Archbishop Fulton Sheen is called “Life of Christ.”  It’s a book that explores the life of Jesus using a great deal of reason and human history.  As a seminarian I recall being taken in by the first words:

History is full of men who have claimed that they came from God, or that they were gods, or that they bore messages from God – -Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, Christ, Lao-tze, and thousands of others, right down to the person who founded a new religion this very day. Each of them has a right to be heard and considered. But as a yardstick external to and outside of whatever is to be measured is needed, so there must be some permanent tests available to all men, all civilizations, and all ages, by which they can decide whether any one of these claimants, or all of them, are justified in their claims. These tests are of two kinds: reason and history. Reason, because everyone has it, even those without faith; history, because everyone lives in it and should know something about it.

Reason dictates that if any one of these men actually came from God, the least thing that God could do to support His claim would be to pre-announce His coming. Automobile manufacturers tell their customers when to expect a new model. If God sent anyone from Himself, or if He came Himself with a vitally important message for all men, it would seem reasonable that He would first let men know when His messenger was coming, where He would be born, where He would live, the doctrine He would teach, the enemies He would make, the program He would adopt for the future, and the manner of His death. By the extent to which the messenger conformed with these announcements, one could judge the validity of his claims.

Sheen then goes on to show a startling number of prophecies throughout the ancient world – from the Far East, the Greeks and the Romans – that pointed to a “king” being born in the Land of Israel at the time of Jesus.  How did the magi know to follow the star?

Today we hear John the Baptist described as the messenger.  He announces that the Lord will come to baptize with the Holy Spirit.  And John is none other than the culmination of all of the Old Testament prophecy.  The coming of Christ was foretold.  And He foretold that He would come in glory.  We can’t say we haven’t been told.  We just have to prepare the way for the Lord by getting our souls ready.
masstime.us
(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty
msgr.nalty@gmail.com

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Introduction

 

Holy Days Mass Schedule

Christmas Eve, Sunday, December 24

4:00pm Vigil Mass (Confessions prior)
12:00am Midnight Mass

Christmas Day, Monday, December 25

10:30am Mass
(NOTE: NO 8:00am Mass)
and NO 6:00pm Mass
(all Masses at St. Stephen Church)

Mary, Mother of God, Monday, January 1*

9:00am Mass
(at St. Henry Church)

* – Mary, Mother of God is not a Holy Day of Obligation this year because it falls on a Monday

Advent

During Advent, we refrain from singing the “Gloria in Excelsis Deo / Glory to God in the Highest.” Why?

Let’s start with some basic rules of liturgy set down by the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.  Within the cycle of a year the Church “unfolds” the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and birth until the ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and of the coming of the Lord (no.102). The church is to be particularly directed toward feasts of the Lord that point to salvation (no.108).

In other words, a principle in ritual is to celebrates “feasts” and “fasts” in different ways so as to allow the mysteries of Christ to be made clear by the celebration. The Resurrection of Christ takes pre-eminence and is characterized by 40 days of Lenten penance followed by the Sacred Triduum and 8 full days (the “Octave”) of Easter.  In the same way, Advent precedes Christmas as a time of preparation.  In a sense, we “fast” in the liturgy to prepare for the “feast” of Christmas!  Finally, we remember again where the first words of the Gloria came from: the Angels sang it to the shepherds the very night that Jesus was born! So when we sing the Gloria at Midnight Mass, we are caught up in a tremendous “feast” of Christmas joy!

Pornography Addiction

The internet has opened up an easy access to pornography which has become a major addiction in our society and a burden to many men. And the Church wants to help.  The Archdiocese of New Orleans has a confidential Catholic 12-step program for men struggling with an addition to pornography called the “My House Men’s Group.”  For more information contact (504) 430-3060 or email myhouse@archdiocese-no.org

All Saints Day

All Saints Day (November 1) is a Holy Day of Obligation.  Mass will be celebrated at 6:00pm in St Stephen Church on Tuesday, October 31 (Vigil) and at 6:30am and at 9:00am (the School Mass) at  St. Henry Church on November 1.  The 6:00pm Vigil Mass will be preceded by a Holy Hour with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament beginning at 4:45pm

All Hallows’ Eve

Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve is not a liturgical feast on the Catholic calendar, but the celebration has deep ties to the Liturgical Year. These three consecutive days ”” Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day ”” bring to mind the Communion of Believers. On earth we are called the “Church Militant,” because we are striving to get to heaven.  We pray for the “Church Suffering,” the souls in Purgatory, especially on All Souls Day (and even the entire month of November). We also honor and ask the intercession of the “Church Triumphant,” those souls, whether canonized or uncanonized, who are in Heaven.

In England, saints or holy people are called “hallowed,” hence All Saints Day was  “All Hallow’s Day.” The evening before the feast became popularly known as “All Hallows’ Eve” or even shorter, "Hallowe’en."

Since Vatican II, some liturgical observances have been altered, one being that the practice of a “fast prior to a feast” is no longer required. Originally, the days preceding great solemnities, like Christmas and All Saints Day, had a penitential nature, requiring abstinence from meat, fasting and prayer. Although no longer required by the Church, it is still a devout practice to prepare oneself spiritually before great feast days.

Since it occurred the night before All Saints Day, Halloween was a vigil and required fasting. Many recipes and traditions were attached to this evening, including pancakes, boxty bread, barmbrack (Irish fruit bread with hidden charms), colcannon (a combination of cabbage and boiled potatoes). The night was also known as “Nutcracker Night” in England, where the family gathered around the hearth to enjoy cider and nuts and apples.

Halloween is the preparation for the two upcoming feasts of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Although neither demons nor witchcraft have a place in a Catholic celebration, some macabre elements can be incorporated into Halloween. Skulls are often used in Catholic art as a “memento mori” or “reminder of death,” since it is good to remind ourselves of our impending death and the Poor Souls in Purgatory. But, ultimately, everything points to the glory of Heaven and the saints surrounding the throne of God.

St. Francis of Assisi – Blessing of the Pets

October 1 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!

Christmas Giving Tree

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul needs your help. A Christmas Giving Tree has been set up next to the St. Anthony Statue which has on it ornaments with gift requests from needy families.  If you can, please pick an ornament from the tree then return the gift with the ornament and place under the tree by Sunday, December 17. Monetary donations are also welcome.  Thank you for always being so generous in our efforts to help the needy of our parish!

Poinsettias!

Poinsettias for the Sanctuary during Christmas can be purchased in the name of a deceased love one.  The cost is $25.00 per plant, and names will be recorded in the bulletin and on the parish website. Please use the red colored forms on the tables in the back of church.

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!

Blessing of the Cemeteries

msgr-blessing

On All Saints Day, Tuesday, November 1, 2017, at 11:30 am, 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.

November 2

The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed

“On this day is observed the commemoration of the faithful departed, in which our common and pious Mother the Church, immediately after having endeavored to celebrate by worthy praise all her children who already rejoice in heaven, strives to aid by her powerful intercession with Christ, her Lord and Spouse, all those who still groan in purgatory, so that they may join as soon as possible the inhabitants of the heavenly city.”
Roman Martyrology

All Souls Indulgences
An indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; it is partial on other days of the year.

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who on the day dedicated to the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (as well as on the Sunday preceding or following, and on All Saints’ Day) piously visit a church. In visiting the church it is required that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.

To acquire a plenary indulgence one must fulfill the following three conditions: (1) Sacramental Confession, (2) Holy Communion, and (3) prayer for the intention of the Holy Father. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the visit; it is, however, fitting that Holy Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day as the visit. The condition of praying for the intention of the Holy Father is satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary. A plenary indulgence can only be acquired once a day.

Respect Life Program USCCB

Spiritual work of mercy – During the month of October, please join in our prayer.

“Father and maker of all, you adorn all creation with splendor and beauty, and fashion human lives in your image and likeness. Awaken in every heart reverence for the work of your hands, and renew among your people a readiness to nurture and sustain your precious gift of life. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.”

 Corporal works of mercy—October 2 – What To Do When a Friend is Considering Abortion

One who is considering abortion needs to know you care about her for her own sake and she is not

alone. Take The L.O.V.E. Approach – Listen and Learn– find out what her perspective is. Open Options – provide facts in a loving and caring manner. Vision and Value– let her know she is valued and encourage her. Extend and Empower-provide practical support.

Learn more about The LOVE Approach at Heartbeat International at http://www.heartbeatinternational.org/pdf/TheLoveApproach.pdf

Support the ACCESS Pregnancy Baby Shower at http://www.ccano.org/access-pregnancy-services/

Catholic Community Radio

If you listen to Catholic Community Radio at 5:00pm on October 12, you might hear someone you know…

Right to Life 2018 Calendar Sale

Respect Life Sunday will be observed September 30-October 1, 2017. Good Shepherd Parish will be selling the 2018 Right to Life Calendars that weekend. The calendars cost $5.00 and portray pro-life themes in beautiful full color graphics. The proceeds will help all the good pro-life work of New Orleans Right to Life, CYO, and other parish organizations. For more information contact Jan Delcorral at 504-952-7277 or email Jan at jdelcorral@cox.net.

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 13, 2017, Confessions will be heard beginning at 5:00pm until 6:30pm.

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