From the Pastor – July 8, 2018

Daily short prayersJesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished.

They said, “Where did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”  He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mk 6:1-2a, 3b, 4,6))

The most obvious reading in the Gospel today is that his own people did not recognize Jesus, the Messiah. But there’s also something deeper going on, and it has to do with our worldview. We are called to view everything in our lives not simply through our natural eyes but through the eyes of faith. When we look at a sunrise we can see it through natural eyes, meaning we are watching the closest star to the earth as it comes across the horizon of the earth. Naturally speaking, what we’re looking at is a massive nuclear fusion reaction that generates light and heat. Or we can choose to recognize God’s goodness in placing the earth at a location where the earth is warmed sufficiently to provide life to thrive while not overheating it.

We can look at other people through natural eyes, and see nothing but the differences between us. Or we can choose to see others through the eyes of faith and recognize how we are all created in the image and likeness of God.

And we have to use those same eyes of faith to find Jesus. When we go to Confession, we have to realize that it’s Jesus who forgives our sins, not the priest. Jesus works through the priesthood, but Jesus is the one forgiving, not the priest. That’s part of the reason I personally prefer going to Confession and hearing Confessions behind the “screen.”  It makes it easier for me to remember that Jesus is the one forgiving me, and I think it takes some of the human “counseling” aspect out of it.  Of course, I’m also available for counseling, but Confession is about forgiving sin, not talking about problems.

And the main place where we are called to use our eyes of faith is in the Holy Eucharist. What looks like bread and wine become the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ at Mass. Sometimes we can be like those people in the hometown of Jesus. We can become so familiar with what happens at Mass that we lose the “awe” we should feel.  Every Sunday we need to come to Mass with our ears open to hearing Him in the readings.  And every Sunday we need to come with our eyes of faith open to see Him in the Breaking of the Bread.
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(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty
msgr.nalty@gmail.com

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Introduction

 

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

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.

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!

How Should I Dress for Mass?

by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond

Summer is here, which in New Orleans usually means dressing down even more casually than we do at other times of year. I know the issue of church attire is a sensitive one – especially in an area where it’s hot nine months out of the year.

What’s your perspective on how people should dress for Mass?
I have a variety of feelings about this. There’s a part of me that remains grateful to God that a person is in church, regardless of how he or she is dressed. I certainly realize there are individual circumstances where a person may have other responsibilities and is not able to dress in what we might consider an appropriate manner, so I want to be sensitive to that. At the same time, the church is a sacred place – truly holy ground. It is a consecrated place where we meet God in a unique way through the Scriptures, through the assembly and through the Eucharist. At some level, our attire speaks to the importance or unique nature of what we are doing in that sacred space, worshiping God in the Sunday assembly. When people go to social events such as weddings or anniversaries or graduations, they most often dress with care. That’s not to say they are in formal attire, but they are dressed appropriately. Shouldn’t we also take the same care as we go to church to experience God’s presence in a unique way through the Mass?

What’s been your experience of how people dress for church?
I think we’ve all been aware that there are some who at times dress too casually for Mass. In some cases, one might even question the level of modesty in attire. I think it’s important for all of us to note that our attire should not be a distraction to other people. This goes for both men and women. I don’t think we need to wear T-shirts that advertise beer or that have inappropriate words that could bring offense to someone else. Again, I think the responsibility lies with each individual. We should act with charity and responsibility and not be a stumbling block to someone else’s worship experience.

Is the problem also just a general relaxing of dress codes in the culture?
That does have something to do with it. Everybody knows about “Casual Fridays” and events like that. Fewer people wear coats and ties to the workplace. It used to be that to get into a fancy restaurant in New Orleans, you had to be dressed appropriately. Men had to wear a jacket and tie. Nobody could walk into a restaurant in flip-flops. Those days are largely gone. I realize that the more we live in a casual society, that relaxed dress code becomes more the norm. I want to be sensitive to that reality. At the same time, I’d like to continue posing the question: Does the way we dress for church say something about how we view the importance of the event? I’d like to reiterate: I am always grateful to God that people are in church with the desire to celebrate the Eucharist. To me, attire is always a secondary consideration. Nevertheless, it is worthy of our consideration. I’m not sure how much God cares about our attire, but dressing appropriately is a way of our saying to God and to others that we value the Eucharist and see it as sacred and as the source and summit of our lives as Catholics. My prayer would be that people truly would understand what it means not to be a distraction to others in such a sacred moment. I’d love to encourage more people to live up to the adage of wearing their “Sunday best” – not to show off but as a concrete way of thanking God and caring for our neighbors in the next pew.

Prayer for Religious Liberty

Almighty God, Father of all nations, for freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1). We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice and the common good.  Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties. By your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land. We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness, and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Thomas More, pray for us
St. John Fisher, pray for us
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray for us
Bl. Miguel Pro, pray for us

Trinity Sunday

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Trinity Sunday, also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, is celebrated a week after Pentecost Sunday in honor of the most fundamental of Christian beliefs—belief in the Holy Trinity. We can never fully understand the mystery of the Trinity, but we can sum it up in the following formula: God is three Persons in one Nature. The three Persons of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are all equally God. They cannot be divided.  As the above diagram shows, each person of the Holy Trinity is a separate person, having been identified as such in the Holy Bible, but each are also the One True God.  It’s why we make the sign of the cross in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, rather than the “names.”  It’s a profound mystery that many other religions reject.  It’s not something that is easily explainable, but it was revealed by Jesus Christ through His Divine Word, and the Holy Spirit has filled our hearts and minds to help us understand it.  We reinforce our belief in the Holy Trinity each time we make the sign of the cross.

The origins of the celebration of Trinity Sunday go back to the Arian heresy of the fourth century, when Arius denied the divinity of Jesus Christ by denying that there are three Persons in God. To stress the doctrine of the Trinity, the Fathers of the Church composed prayers and hymns that were recited on Sundays as part of the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church. Eventually, a special version of that office began to be celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost, and the Church in England, at the request of St. Thomas à Becket (1118-1170), was granted permission to celebrate Trinity Sunday. The celebration of Trinity Sunday was made universal by Pope John XXII (1316-34).

For many centuries, the Athanasian Creed was recited at Mass on Trinity Sunday. While seldom read today, the creed can be read privately or recited with your family to revive this ancient tradition.

Retrouvaille Weekend for Troubled Marriages

Retrouvaille is a program designed to provide help and support to married couples who are undergoing difficulties in their relationship. Sponsored by the Catholic Church, Retrouvaille is open to couples of all faiths. It has proven helpful to couples who are troubled and stressed, or if the relationship has grown cold and distant. The next Retrouvaille Weekend will be July 6-8, 2018, at the William J. Kelly Retreat Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. For additional information or to have information mailed to you contact the Office of Marriage and Family Life at 504-861-6243 or see the website at www.retrouvaille.org.

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