From the Pastor – April 20, 2014

Peter proceeded to speak and said: “You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:34a, 37-43). 

I recently met a lapsed Catholic who was somewhat apologetic about being away from the Church. And when I say “apologetic,” I don’t mean to say he was “sorry.” I mean “apologetic” in the sense that he felt compelled to defend his “Catholic credentials” by telling me all about his holy mother (who prayed the Rosary and went to Mass daily), one cousin, who was a priest, and another other cousin, who was a nun. Somehow these relatives made him “Catholic,” even if he didn’t go to church at all. Far from trying to be accusatory, I began to ask him about himself. It seems that he was divorced, and than none of his children practiced their faith. It left me sad. He had received a vibrant faith from his family, but he had turned away from that incredible gift.

The whole story of Easter is about the “gift.” The gift that came to the world, and was made known to Peter and the Apostles. And they gave their lives to give the gift to others. Peter talks about the gift in the reading above.

Ultimately, the gift is one Our Father made to us to save us from the illusions of a temporal world filled with suffering and death. Accepting it takes a little effort on our side: doing our best to follow the Ten Commandments, treating others as we want to be treated ourselves, helping the Church in its mission, going to Sunday Mass, making a good Confession when we are in grave sin. Participating in the life of the Church is how we receive the gift.

And what is the gift? It’s not a thing; it’s a person.

The gift is the Word made Flesh, the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The gift that God gave the world is His only Begotten Son: Jesus Christ. He comes to us in many ways, but most profoundly in the Most Holy Eucharist where He feeds us with Himself. I can’t imagine a day without the Blessed Sacrament, never mind a lifetime. It makes me sad when people are separated from Christ in the Eucharist. I hope always to help them realize what an amazing gift is there for them. I’m trying to help this friend receive it. If you know anyone like that, please help them realize the gift they’ve been given. I want all of our Catholic friends and relatives to come home!

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

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Alleluia!

Easter Sunday is the day of the “Alleluia!” After forty days of Lenten sacrifice and fasting, we finally arrive at the most important day of our liturgical year, and the only word we have to express our inner joy is “Alleluia!!”

In the old Greek version of the Book of Tobias, in the Septuagint Greek translation of the Hebrew psalter, and in the original Greek of the Apocalypse we hear about this most holy word. It is part of the earliest Christian liturgies of which we have record.

It is a word composed of the divinely acclaiming verbal form Allelu and the divine pronoun term Ya (for YHWH or Yahweh). So, preserving its radical sense and sound, and even the mystical suggestiveness of its construction, it may be literally rendered, “All hail to Him Who is!”–taking “All Hail” as equivalent to “Glory in the Highest,” and taking “He Who is” in the sense in which God said to Moses: “Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel; WHO IS hath sent me to you.” The ancient Jewish and Christian tradition all point to the conclusion that the “Alleluia” belonged to the Hebrew liturgy from the beginning as a divinely authorized doxology. As to when it was first formed, much evidence points to it being one of man’s most ancient formulas of monotheistic faith–the true believer’s primitive Credo, primitive doxology, primitive acclamation. That in part would explain remarkable fondness for its liturgical use. As a rule the Church uses it wherever joy is to be emphatically expressed, especially as to triumph or thanksgiving.

The “Alleluia” is a great characteristic of Easter, as it has an important place in all of the liturgies, constantly appearing at the beginning and end, and even in the middle, of psalms, as an instinctive exclamation of ecstatic joy.

The very sound of the words should be held to signify a kind of acclamation and a form of ovation which mere grammarians cannot satisfactorily explain; this is the reason why the translators of the Old Testament have left it untranslated, and the Church has taken it into the formulas of her Liturgy or of the people who use it at any time or place where joy need be expressed for God’s greatness and love! Alleluia! Praise God!

Altar of Repose

“Can you not stay awake with me one hour?” (Mt. 26:40) Jesus asked His apostles on the night of Holy Thursday as he prayed in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Altar of Repose is a tradition in the Church where the Eucharist consecrated in the Mass of Holy Thursday are reserved for Holy Communion to be given on Good Friday.

On this most holy night, we are called to make a vigil at this Altar where Jesus is in repose and “stay awake with Him for one hour” to remember the Agony in the Garden in prayerful solidarity. A longstanding tradition of the Church has been for the vigil to continue over the night, but it must end before sunrise on Good Friday. This year, Good Shepherd Parish will keep that vigil.

At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday (7:00 p.m.) sufficient hosts are consecrated for that Mass and for the next day. These consecrated Hosts remain in a ciborium on the corporal in the center of the altar until the end of Mass, after which they are carried in Solemn Procession to the Altar of Repose, with the priest vested in a Cope and Humeral Veil, and covered with a canopy. The Blessed Sacrament remains in the temporary tabernacle at the Altar of Repose, and the Holy Thursday service concludes with the stripping of all of the other altars.

Holy Thursday is a day of exceptional devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and the repository is the center of the love, prayers and aspirations of the faithful.  After the Good Friday service, the Blessed Sacrament remains available only as viaticum for the dying and for Communion given on Good Friday at the service called The Veneration of the Cross (Good Friday at 3:00pm). While the Blessed Sacrament remains in this temporary tabernacle at the altar of repose, a lamp or candle is always kept burning.

PLEASE SIGN-UP to take an hour or a half-hour of the Vigil!  Sign-up sheets are in the back of church.

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

April 2014

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.

Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!

 

St. Joseph Altar

The parish is very grateful to Hunter Harris and Rosary Henry and   who organized the beautiful St. Joseph Altar.  Hunter and Rosary would be the first to recognize that they couldn’t have done it without your help.  And so THANK YOU to the numerous volunteers:  the cooks, the servers, the runners, the cleaners and everyone who played such a tremendous role in making the Solemnity of St. Joseph such a great success and a very happy day for all! This year was even better than last year!  Thanks for a great day!

 

Solemnity of the Annunciation

Tuesday, March 25
Masses 8:30am & 6:30pm

If Jesus was born on December 25, then he was conceived nine months earlier. And that’s why the Church singles out March 25 as the Solemnity of the Annunciation – the day when Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel.  As any mother can tell you, although a child’s birthday is the day that the world gets to see him in person for the first time, her baby was alive in her womb long before he was born!

Confessions, Stations of the Cross and Fish Fry on Fridays at St. Henry Church

During Lent at St. Henry Church, there will be Stations of the Cross and Confession on Fridays with Confession at 5:30pm and the Stations at 6:00pm.  Remember that Msgr. Nalty is also in the Confessional from 3:00-3:45pm on Saturdays and 9:30-10:15 a.m. on Sundays.  Beginning March 14, the Stations will be followed by a fish fry in the Blessed Pauline Center, directly behind St. Henry Church.

Annulment Writing Workshop

The Family Life Apostolate will offer a writing workshop for people seeking annulments in the Catholic Church or for people responding to an annulment. The workshop will be held at the North Shore Pastoral Center in Covington. The series will be for five Tuesdays, January 28, February 4, 11, 18 and 25, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The materials for the series cost $25.00, to register or for more information, call Family Life Apostolate, 504-861-6243.

 

St. Blaise Throat Blessing

Monday, February 3 is the Feast of St. Blase, Bishop and Martyr, although it is not celebrated because it falls on a Sunday. St. Blaise, the bishop of Sebaste in Armenia was martyred in the year 316. The oldest accounts tell us that Blaise was a physician at Sebaste before he was made bishop. In the 4th century persecution of Licinius, St. Blaise was taken prisoner. After suffering various forms of torture he was beheaded.

The most popular story attributed to St. Blaise occurred while he was in prison, when he cured a young a boy who was in danger of choking to death because of a fishbone in his throat.  That story, and the fact that St. Blaise was a doctor, made the saint very popular for intercessory prayer for throat ailments.

At an early date, the veneration of this Eastern saint was brought into Europe, and Blaise became one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages. Numberless churches and altars were dedicated to him.

On the feast day, the blessing of St. Blaise will be given in St. Henry Church after the 6:30 am Mass. Also, the blessing will be given in St. Stephen Church after the 6:00 pm Mass on Tuesday, February 4. The blessing of the throat is carried out using two white taper candles that were blessed on the previous day, February 2, the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas Day). The white color of the candles symbolizes purity. A red ribbon draped over the base of the candles symbolizes the martyrdom of St. Blaise. The candles are grasped in an X-shape and held up to the throat of the person receiving the blessing: “Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Seelos Healing Mass with Sacrament of Anointing

On Sunday, April 27, 2014, at 1:00 pm there will be a special Healing Mass and the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick at the National Seelos Shrine/St. Mary’s Assumption Church located at 919 Josephine Street (Corner of Josephine and Constance Streets, New Orleans). Before Mass begins there will be the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and veneration of the relic missionary crucifix. One-on-one intercessory prayer will also be available beginning at 11:45 am. Free wheelchair accessible parking will be provided. For more information, please call (504) 525-2495 or (504) 525-2499.

The Story of the Palms

It was a common custom in many lands of the ancient Middle East to cover in some way the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honor. In 2 Kings 9:13 Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, was treated to this honor. Each of the four Gospels report that the people of Jerusalem gave Jesus the honor of walking on a covered path. However, in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) we hear that the people lay their garments and cut rushes to place on the street. Only the Gospel of John specifically mentions palms.

So what is the significance of the palm? The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and of victory in Jewish tradition, and is treated as such in other parts of the Bible (e.g. Leviticus 23:40 and Revelation 7:9). Based on this significance, the scene of the crowd greeting Jesus by waving palms and carpeting his path has given the Christian celebration its name. It shows the freedom desired by the Jews, and their desperation to have political freedom. In fact, they were welcoming their “Messiah,” whom they expected to be a great king who would free them from the oppression of foreign rulers. The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem included chants from Psalm 118 and 148:1. The Hebrew hoshiiah na’ (I beseech you, save now) was changed in Greek to hosanna, which became a famous Christian term, and had a huge Messianic significance.

The palm is a symbol of victory for us as Christians. Since we recognize that Jesus is the Messiah (a word which we normally use in the Greek translation – “Christ”), we recognize that He has already achieved a victory for us. But the victory is not over earthly rulers. It’s much bigger. It’s victory over Satan. It’s a victory over sin and death. It’s a victory that gives us Eternal Life.

Easter Lilies!

One of the most beautiful and fragrant reminders of Easter morning are Easter lilies. We will be purchasing them for the altar for use over the Easter season. If you would like to donate an Easter lily in the name of a loved one for $25, there are envelopes in the back of church.

Online Donations

The convenience of electronic giving!

Good Shepherd Parish is pleased to announce that we have completed the preparation to offer electronic giving as a way to automate your regular donations. Electronic giving is convenient for you and provides much-needed donation consistency for the parish.

Set up automated donations to Good Shepherd and you’ll never again have to worry about finding your envelopes or check book before Mass. You may have your donation transferred automatically from your bank checking/savings account OR your credit card. You select the donations you want to make, the amount and the frequency (weekly, semi-monthly, monthly), then you don’t have to think about it again unless you want to make a change. You may donate to parish stewardship/regular collections, the poor fund, the restoration fund… even help us cover the cost of your weekly Clarion Herald.

You may also complete and return a paper authorization form . Return it in a sealed envelope to Dianne Caverly in the parish office, and she will set up a recurring donation according to your specific instructions.

There is a fee, paid by the parish, to use this service. The checking/savings account fee is $0.25 per transaction. The credit card fees are a percentage of your donation, approximately 3% of the total ($3.00 per $100.00 donation).  YOU choose the most convenient way to donate; Good Shepherd will cover the fee.

Your donation will be processed by Vanco Services, LLC. Vanco processes electronic donations for more that 10,000 churches and nonprofit organizations. If you have any questions about the program, please call Dianne Caverly at the parish office.

Click here to set up an electronic giving schedule.

Born to Run 2014

On SATURDAY, MARCH 29, 2014

there will be a 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk to benefit the Woman’s New Life Center, which provides pro-life services to woman facing unplanned pregnancies.

The race begins at 9:00am (Sign-in at 8:30am)

Audubon Park, Shelter #10 Newman Bandstand, New Orleans Live Music, Great Food and a Family Atmosphere! womansnewlife.com/borntorun2014/

 

Tradition of the St. Joseph Altar

The tradition of a St. Joseph Day altar came to New Orleans from the Italian people of Sicily.  During the middle ages, Sicily faced a severe drought, and the people were reduced to eating fava beans, which were usually given to the animals.  They prayed for the intercession of St. Joseph, and their prayers were answered:  the rains came!  In thanksgiving, the people of Sicily developed a tradition to decorate the St. Joseph Altar on the right side of most of their churches (or to make a small private altar at home) with flowers, fruit, candles, wine, fava beans, specially prepared cakes, breads, fish and cookies. Since the Feast of Joseph (March 19) almost always occurs during Lent, no meat is allowed on the altar.

The custom of preparing an altar as a symbol of devotion to St. Joseph is rooted in the thanksgiving for his intercession years ago, but it also points to thanksgiving for a personal favor granted, for healing of the sick, or for success in business. Further, its an opportunity for the prosperous to share with those who are less fortunate.

As you will see in our church next Friday, the altar is in the shape of a cross, and has three tiers, to represent the Holy Trinity. Breads and cakes on the altar take the form of common Catholic symbols. There is the Monstrance which holds the Holy Eucharist during Adoration (every Tuesday from 4:45pm 5:45pm in St Stephen, and Thursday from 7:00am 8:00am in St Henry).  There is a Chalice which holds the Precious Blood. And you can also note the Holy Cross, the dove (Holy Spirit), lamb (Jesus as the Lamb of God), hearts (Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary) and fish (I will make you fishers of men”).  A crown of thorns and a ladder refer to the crucifixion of Christ, and the palms testify to His victory over sin and death.

Besides the bread images, there are wine bottles representing the miracle of Cana, and whole fish representing the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. The fish also brings to mind the Greek word for fish (ΙΧΘΥΣ) which spells the acronym in Greek for Jesus Christ, Gods Son, Savior. Other items specific to Sicily include grapes, olives and figs reminiscent of the orchards and vineyards one finds there. Another food is the pignolatti: fried pastry balls joined together by caramel in the shape of a pine cone representing the pine cones Jesus played with as a child.

Probably the best known of the customs associated with the St. Joseph’s Day altar is the fava bean. Since it thrived while other crops failed, it became the sustaining food of farmers and their families. The dried bean is commonly called a lucky bean,” and legend has it that the person who carries a lucky bean” will never be without coins.

The food to be served next Friday will be wonderful Italian food, including pasta with red gravy, eggplant, artichokes, fried vegetables, fried fish and wonderful salads. Additionally, foods will be served with a garnish of bread crumbs to represent saw dust – since St. Joseph was a carpenter.

The altar will still be up next Sunday, but you really dont want to miss Wednesday! Last year more than 2000 plates were served over the course of the afternoon!

The parish is very grateful to Hunter Harris and Rosary Henry and the many many parishioners who are organizing the beautiful St. Joseph Altar. Come take part in a wonderful Italian and New Orleans tradition. I promise you wont be disappointed!

19th Men’s Morning of Spirituality

The Catholic Men’s Fellowship’s next Morning of Spirituality for Men will be held on Saturday, March 15, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, located at 4640 Canal St. in New Orleans.

The theme for our 19th Men’s Morning of Spirituality is “Food for the Soul,” our speakers, restaurateurs John Besh of the Besh group of restaurants and Tommy Cvitanovich of Drago’s Restaurant, will discuss how their Catholic faith guides their work, and family lives.

As always, in addition to the presentations, the day will include prayer and Adoration, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the celebration of the Eucharist. Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond will be our celebrant and homilist.

 

Home Middle #3 Widget

This is a widgeted area which is called Home Middle #3. It is using the Genesis - Featured Page widget to display what you see on the Metric child theme demo site. To get started, log into your WordPress dashboard, and then go to the Appearance > Widgets screen. There you can drag the Genesis - Featured Page widget into the Home Middle #3 widget area on the right hand side. To get the image to display, simply upload an image through the media uploader on the edit post screen and publish your page. The Featured Page widget will know to display the post image as long as you select that option in the widget interface.