From the Pastor – September 15, 2019

very short daily prayersThis man welcomes sinners and eats with them.(Lk 15:2b)

Jesus was often criticized during His earthly ministry.  He was criticized for breaking Mosaic law (curing on the Sabbath).  He was criticized for fraternizing with a woman (the woman at the well). He was criticized for being a glutton and a drunkard (contra John the Baptist).  And He was criticized for blasphemy (for forgiving sins).  But one of the most frequent criticisms of Jesus was that He ate and drank with sinners.  Sometimes, we can use that criticism to justify our own conduct.  So what’s the big deal if I hang out with sinners?  Jesus did the same thing!

There is a different reality:  God came to save His people from their sins.  The name “Jesus” means “God saves.”  God sent us His Son to save us from the darkness of sin and death and to bring us into the light of Heaven.  So the purpose of Jesus’ eating with sinners was to save them from their sins, not to comfort them in their sinfulness.

Occasionally I deal with parishioners caught in dilemmas.  Two recent dilemmas involved parishioners who were invited to “weddings.”  I put that word in quotations because one of the “weddings” involved a Catholic man who had divorced his wife and had decided to marry his girlfriend (herself the cause of the broken marriage) and the other involved a Catholic man who had decided to “marry” another man.  Each parishioner had to decide whether to attend.  They were faced with two questions:  Would going to the wedding show “approval” of the objectively sinful acts?  Or could they “be like Jesus” and eat and drink with sinners?

Jesus didn’t dine with sinners as means of showing His approval for their conduct.  In fact, every encounter between Jesus and a sinner (leave the hypocrites out of this) involved a story of conversion.  Jesus came to pull them – and us –out of sin; not to bless and approve it.

The first step for each of us is to recognize the role of Jesus in our lives.  Are you a sinner?  Then Jesus came for you!  But He didn’t come to “comfort us” in our sin. He calls us to a radical conversion of heart.  He’s constantly calling us to convert away from the thoughts, words and deeds that lead to destruction.  And He’s calling us to embrace the truth of the Gospel, which is utterly, radically, entirely different from the ways of the world.  If we could find salvation in a worldly way of living, then we would have no need to be saved by Christ.

This Sunday, Jesus tells three stories.  One is about a lost sheep, one is about a lost drachma, and one is about a lost son.  In the end, each of those things is found.  And the ending is happy in each case. But we’re not sheep or drachma.  We’re sons and daughters.  They key to our happiness isn’t just being found.  It’s responding to His call to conversion.  He will find us. The response is up to us.

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

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From the Archbishop

The people of the Bahamas have suffered great destruction-loss of life and property. We continue to pray for them. If anyone wishes to offer financial help, they may give their gift at the parish or send it directly to me at 7887 Walmsley Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70125. Please mark the envelope: Hurricane Relief.

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond

Back to School

St. Stephen Catholic School had its first day of classes on Monday, August 5, and our first school Mass on Friday, August 9.  We also had a nice group of parishioners join us for our second school Mass last week on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at 9:00 am.  I wish each parishioner could come to at least one school Mass (which is normally at 9:00 am on Friday unless a Holy Day of Obligation falls during that week) to see what well-behaved, enthusiastic and attentive students we have at St. Stephen’s.

Unfortunately, many of the families that attend St. Stephen Catholic School do not live in the parish and, therefore, attend Mass at their home parish.  However, you do know some of our students (and former students) who participate as altar servers at our Saturday 4:00pm Vigil and Sunday 10:30am Mass.  Those young men are representative of the quality of the students that we educate here in our parish.  If you know someone who is looking for a wonderful Catholic environment in which to educate their children, please have them investigate St. Stephen Catholic School!

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!

Good Stewardship

An article in the Times-Picayune several years ago woke me up a bit.  It said that out of all religious groups in America, the group that gave the smallest percentage of their income to their church were Catholics.  While Mormons generally give the Biblical 10% we call “tithing,” and while the average churchgoer in the United States gives 2.4 %, Catholics give the lowest percentage of every other religion.

And I don’t write this because we still haven’t completely funded our Restoration (but we haven’t!) or because we need more money to operate (but we do!), but let me tell you the real reason: giving to charity shows a great reliance on God, and God rewards a cheerful giver.  Ever since I began “tithing,” God has given me more blessings than I can imagine.  And as He gives me more, I try to give more away.

Collections in our parish cover less than 50% of our parish expenses. With the costs of insurance, salaries, utilities and upkeep, we have a tough time. Without some generous benefactors donating at year’s end, we would be in bad shape! We’re a parish that is very generous to the poor, but we also need to be good stewards of our church and buildings that have been left to us by past generations.

Consider the following:  If you give less than $5 into the collection each week, perhaps you can raise it to $5. And if you give more than $5, perhaps you can raise your contribution by 25%. Thanks for your consideration!

2019 Corpus Christi Pics

Solemnity of Peter and Paul

On Friday, June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Benedict XVI will bestow the pallium on 38 metropolitan archbishops, including 14 from Europe and six from North America. The Americans are: Archbishops Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Thomas Wenski of Miami, Florida.

The vestment is called a “pallium,” (plural is “pallia”) and it is a narrow band of cloth woven of white lamb’s wool with a ring in the center which rests on the shoulders of its wearer. The narrow band falls down the front of the chest like a necktie and goes similarly down the back. It is decorated with six black crosses, one on each tail and four on the loop. The pallium has its origin as a liturgical vestment of the Holy Father since at least the 4th century, and it has been given to each Metropolitan Archbishop since at least the 9th century.

Worn by the pope, the pallium symbolizes the plenitudo pontificalis officii (i.e., the “fullness of Pontifical office”). When worn by Metropolitan Archbishops, it signifies the power which the Metropolitan, in communion with the Roman Church, has by law in his own province.

The story of how the pallium is made gives clues to its symbolism. The wool comes from lambs raised by Trappist monks. On, January 21, the Feast of St. Agnes (“agnes” is from the Latin word for lamb), the lambs whose wool is destined for the making of the pallia are solemnly blessed at the Basilica of Saint Agnes. However, during the last three years, the Holy Father has blessed these lambs himself at the Vatican. Wool from these lambs is then given to the Benedictine nuns of the Basilica of St Cecilia in Trastevere, and they weave the pallia. The new pallia are solemnly blessed at the Basilica of St. Peter after the Second Vespers on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, and are then stored in a special golden chest located directly above the original tomb of St. Peter. It is called the “Niche of the Pallia.”

If you’re ever at St Louis Cathedral on a Sunday, notice Archbishop Gregory Aymond’s pallium. It’s a great reminder of the universality and long history of our Church.

Ministering to Those Who Have Experienced Miscarriage or Abortion

The Archdiocese of New Orleans will be hosting a training by Life Perspectives to broaden your understanding of grief and loss after miscarriage and abortion, explore how to be a safe place for hurting men and women, and provide healing resources to help those in your community. The training will take place on Thursday, October 17, 2019, from 6:30-8:30 PM at Schulte Auditorium at Notre Dame Seminary (2901 S. Carrolton Ave). There is no cost for the training and all materials will be provided. Please register by going to nolacatholic.org/miscarriage or contact the Office of Marriage and Family Life at 504-861-4243 or mfl@arch-no.org.

9/11 Commemoration

Last week, we commemorate the eighteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pa. Ten years ago the bishops of the United States issued a pastoral message, Living with Faith and Hope, in which they drew on the rich resources of our Catholic faith to minister to our nation and world. Below is an excerpt from the document found here: usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/september-11/

“After September 11, we are a wounded people. We share loss and pain, anger and fear, shock and determination in the face of these attacks on our nation and all humanity. We also honor the selflessness of firefighters, police, chaplains, and other brave individuals who gave their lives in the service of others. They are true heroes and heroines.

In these difficult days, our faith has lifted us up and sustained us. Our nation turned to God in prayer and in faith with a new intensity. This was evident on cell phones on hijacked airliners, on stairways in doomed towers, in cathedrals and parish churches, at ecumenical and interfaith services, in our homes and hearts. Our faith teaches us about good and evil, free will and responsibility. Jesus’ life, teaching, death and resurrection show us the meaning of love and justice in a broken world. Sacred Scripture and traditional ethical principles define what it means to make peace. They provide moral guidance on how the world should respond justly to terrorism in order to reestablish peace and order.

The events of September 11 were unique in their scale, but they were not isolated. Sadly, our world is losing respect for human life. Those who committed these atrocities do not distinguish between ordinary civilians and military combatants, and there is the threat of possible terrorist use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in the future.

The dreadful deeds of September 11 cannot go unanswered. We continue to urge resolve, restraint and greater attention to the roots of terrorism to protect against further attacks and to advance the global common good. Our nation must continue to respond in many ways, including diplomacy, economic measures, effective intelligence, more focus on security at home, and the legitimate use of force.

In our response to attacks on innocent civilians, we must be sure that we do not violate the norms of civilian immunity and proportionality. We believe every life is precious whether a person works at the World Trade Center or lives in Afghanistan. The traditional moral norms governing the use of force still apply, even in the face of terrorism on this scale.”

Willwoods Married Couples Retreat

September 28 – 29 or October 12 -13

Would you like to break away with your spouse and spend quality time enriching your marriage? Then join us on our upcoming Married Couples Retreat at the newly renovated St Joseph Abbey’s Christian Life Retreat Center in Covington, LA.

A Married Couples Retreat does not mean that someone is failing but rather it is a falling into the arms of our Lord. It is a weekend dedicated to giving you and your beloved the opportunity to find rest, strength, and enrichment, which is something we all need! A once a year commitment to attending a retreat as a couple is a great habit that will bless and deepen your love for God and each other! You may download a flyer here.

To register call (504) 830-3716 or visit www.FaithandMarriage.org . A suggested donation is requested but not required. Scholarships are available. Cost should never be a reason why a couple cannot make a weekend!

What is “Active Participation”?

“In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people whom God has made his own, a royal priesthood, so that they may give thanks to God and offer the spotless Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with him, and so that they may learn to offer themselves.”  This is the basis for the “full conscious and active participation” of the faithful demanded by the very nature of the Liturgy.  Because the gathered liturgical assembly forms one body, each of its members must shun “any appearance of individualism or division, keeping before their eyes that they have only one Father in heaven and accordingly are all brothers and sisters to each other.”  Singing is one of the primary ways that the assembly of the faithful participates actively in the Liturgy. The people are encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalms, antiphons [and] hymns. . . . The musical formation of the assembly must be a continuing concern in order to foster full, conscious, and active participation.  Sing to the Lord Music in Divine Worship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 24, 25, 26.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Feast Day September 5

On 10 September 1946, on a train journey from Calcutta to Darjeeling, Mother Teresa received what she termed the “call within a call,” which was to give rise to the Missionaries of Charity family: “to quench the infinite thirst of Jesus on the cross for love and souls” by “laboring at the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor.” On October 7, 1950, the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially erected as a religious institute for the Archdiocese of Calcutta.

Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Mother Teresa expanded the work of the Missionaries of Charity both within Calcutta and throughout India. From the late 1960s until 1980, the Missionaries of Charity expanded across the globe and in their number of members. Mother Teresa opened houses in Australia, the Middle East, and North America, and the first novitiate outside Calcutta in London. In 1979 Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. By that same year there were 158 Missionaries of Charity foundations.

By 1997, the Sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members, and were established in almost 600 foundations in 123 countries of the world. On September 5, 1997 Mother Teresa died at her Motherhouse in Calcutta. Hundreds of thousands of people from all classes and all religions, from India and abroad, paid their respects. Presidents, prime ministers, queens, and special envoys were present at her funeral on behalf of countries from all over the world.  The Sisters now number 5,287 members throughout the world.

Lord Teach Me To Pray

“Lord, Teach Me To Pray” (LTMTP) is a three-part prayer series, rooted in Ignatian spirituality and designed to help women and men learn how to pray.  Developed to meet the desire for on-going spiritual growth; for an appropriate response to the call to holiness; and for a deeper commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord, LTMTP offers facilitated faith-sharing prayer communities, in which the Lord, himself, teaches us to pray.  A women’s Part 3 group will meet weekly on Tuesdays at St. Henry Church, 803 Gen Pershing, at 10:30am.  The first meeting is Tuesday, Sept 10.  Sessions are available in all parts for men and women at various locations through the metropolitan area.  To register, contact Dianne Caverly at 504-388-3430 or dlcaverly@gmail.com.  More information on flyers in church or go to lordteachmetopray.com.

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