St. Stephen Catholic Church on Napolean Avenue in Uptown New Orleans
I always look forward to Lent. And this year is no exception. Now that Lent is here, I’m happy to create my own little desert of calm by the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It’s the perfect remedy for the last two weeks of noise, feasting and excess.
One of the good disciplines of Lent is “giving something up.” When I was in seminary, I remember my rector publicly acknowledging that he gave up cigars during Lent. And then one Friday in Lent, I walked by his room and smelled cigar smoke. The next day I asked him about it, and he said that he decided to do something different that year because he felt like everyone knew he gave up cigars. He felt like he was doing it for the “crowd” rather than God.
The truth is that I’m not sure that it was necessarily a “bad” thing that people knew about it. Today in the Gospel we hear about the 40 day fast of Jesus. The only way that St. Mark the Evangelist would have known to write about Jesus’ fast is if Jesus had told someone about it! Think about it: no one was there when Christ fasted; He must have opened up his heart to tell them a little about this important moment in His hidden life. Sharing pain can help with healing, sharing joy can bring joy, and sharing penance can give strength. Jesus shared this story to tell us that He was tempted and He overcame. And filled with the same Holy Spirit as Jesus, we can overcome the temptations of the world so as to focus on the reward of heaven.
People often ask me what I’m giving up for Lent. My usual practice is to give up meat and alcohol, which for me is primarily red wine. And I don’t mind telling people, so that it’s not a surprise when they offer me a glass of wine during Lent. But I’m sure that Jesus had some secrets that were between him and His Heavenly Father. They were part of the “Divine Conversation” between them. This year I also decided to do the same – to give up something that’s just between God and me. It’s not a big thing, but it’s part of my intimacy with Him in prayer. I want to empty myself just a little more, so that I can be filled with Him.
(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty
Saturday Vigil at 4:00pm
Sunday at 8:00am and 10:30am
Weekdays (Monday -Friday)
6:30am in St. Henry Church
6:00pm Mass Tuesdays in the Church
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Tuesday 4:45pm – 5:45pm
Thursday morning 7:00am – 8:00am
Confession Times at Good Shepherd
Saturdays at 3:00pm
(before the 4:00pm Vigil Mass)
Sundays at 9:30am – 10:15am
(before the 10:30am Mass)
FASTING AND ABSTINENCE
Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 59. Those who are bound to fast may take only one full meal. Two smaller
meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to each one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted. Abstinence from meat is to be observed by all Catholics 14 years or older on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and on all Fridays of Lent. The determination of certain days as obligatory days of penance should not be understood as limiting the occasions for Christian penance.
MAINTAINING THE SPIRIT OF OF LENT
The Spirit of the season of Lent should be maintained throughout the weeks of Lent. The obligation to observe penitential days of the Church is a very important part of our spiritual life. Individual circumstances must be taken into account, but in general, people should seek to do more rather than less, since fast and abstinence on the days prescribed should be considered a minimal response to the Lord’s call to penance and conversion of life.
Thanks to all who brought bags of flour and sugar and Crisco, and placing them in the large wooden box at the entrance of the church! In preparation for the St. Joseph Altar on Thursday, March 19, we will begin making the traditional Italian cookies. Anyone who would like to learn how to prepare these delicacies is asked to go to:
St. Stephen School on Sunday, March 1 after the 10:30am Mass.
It’s a real family affair, and an instruction in the traditions of so many of our parishioners of Italian heritage! For more details, contact Hunter Harris at 417-6066.
Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church, for each communities and every believer. Above all it is a “time of grace” (2 Cor 6:2). God does not ask of us anything that he himself has not first given us. “We love because he first has loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). He is not aloof from us. Each one of us has a place in his heart. He knows us by name, he cares for us and he seeks us out whenever we turn away from him. He is interested in each of us; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to us. Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure… Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.
When the people of God are converted to his love, they find answers to the questions that history continually raises. One of the most urgent challenges which I would like to address in this Message is precisely the globalization of indifference.
Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.
God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation. In the Incarnation, in the earthly life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, the gate between God and man, between heaven and earth, opens once for all. The Church is like the hand holding open this gate, thanks to her proclamation of God’s word, her celebration of the sacraments and her witness of the faith which works through love (cf. Gal 5:6). But the world tends to withdraw into itself and shut that door through which God comes into the world and the world comes to him. Hence the hand, which is the Church, must never be surprised if it is rejected, crushed and wounded.
God’s people, then, need this interior renewal, lest we become indifferent and withdraw into ourselves. To further this renewal, I would like to propose for our reflection three biblical texts.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor 12:26) – (For the Universal Church.)
“Where is your brother?” (Gen 4:9) – (For Parishes and Communities)
“Make your hearts firm!” (James 5:8) – For Individual Christians)
For the entire message, go to: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/lent/documents/papa-francesco_20141004_messaggio-quaresima2015.html
Do YOU want to do something to help your disadvantaged neighbors but can’t find the time? On a limited budget yourself? Over-committed with job and family responsibilities? Now you have the opportunity to do much good with a simple and very short investment in time!
From February 25, 2015 to March 25, 2015, you can go to http://www.gulfbank.com/ and look for Society of St. Vincent de Paul – St. Stephen Church. Help to vote us a grant to help us provide shelter vouchers, snack packs, groceries and hot meals at the Rebuild Center and Ozanam Inn. You may cast 1 vote per day from any valid email address.
Awards will be based on the number of votes received. VOTE DAILY TO SUPPORT YOUR ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CHAPTER!
Knight of Columbus
Our area wide Knights of Columbus De La Salle Council 3411 offers a real, visible example of Catholic Charity in action. Our chapter participates in many regularly scheduled service projects: they provide food and clothing to the needy, bring Holy Eucharist to shut-ins and schedule monthly service days at St. Henry and St. Stephen campuses to address maintenance issues, among other things.
Open to men over 18 years of age, the KC’s are a great group that has fun as they serve the parish and wider community!
Rebuild Center Support Group
The Rebuild Center, located at St. Joseph Church on Tulane Avenue, provides basic services to help ‘rebuild’ the lives of the homeless and those in need. Volunteers from Good Shepherd Parish provide a tasty, nourishing meal on the first and third Thursday of every month. The meals are prepared on the prior Wednesday in the rectory.
Ushers greet parishioners as they enter the church, assisting those who need help finding a seat and providing information and directions for new visitors to the church. Ushers are also responsible for taking up and securing the collection.
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.
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.
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.
“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, 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.
There will be Stations of the Cross and Confession on Fridays of Lent at St. Henry Church 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 9:15-10:15 a.m. on Sundays.
Knights of Columbus will be hosting the Lenten Fish Fry every Friday starting February 27th through March 27th at the Mother Pauline Center. Food will be served after the Stations of the Cross at St. Henry Church. Plates consist of Fried Fish, French Fries, Cole Slaw, Vegetable, Dessert and a drink for $8.00. You can eat in, or get the food “to go.”
Proceeds benefit the KC and Good Shepherd Parish.
SET FREE is the theme for the Catholic Charismatic Conference March 13-15, 2015, at the Landmark Hotel in Metairie, Louisiana. All speakers are known for their ministry in healing and in the New Evangelization. Bob Canton, Fr. Robert Cruz, Deacon Larry Oney, Fr. Simon Peter Engurait and Sr. Lucy Lukasiewicz will be the guest speakers. On Saturday morning there will be a Healing Mass and in the afternoon a family session. Healing prayer will be offered both Saturday night and Sunday morning.
You may pre-register for the weekend at www.ccrno.org. If you would like to attend a single session, you may register at the door.
For more information on schedule: Call CCRNO at 504- 828-1368 or visit www.ccrno.org.
The next Archdiocesan Morning of Spirituality for Men will be held on Saturday, February 28, 2015, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, located at 4640 Canal St. in New Orleans. The theme for our 20th Men’s Morning of Spirituality is “Music of the Spirit.” Our speakers, John Blancher of Rock N Bowl and Ye Olde College Inn, Reid Wick of the Bucktown Allstars, and Jerry Christopher of Bag of Donuts will discuss how their Catholic faith guides their family lives and work in the New Orleans music industry. As always, in addition to the presentations, the day will include prayer, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Eucharistic adoration and benediction, and the celebration of the Eucharist with Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond. New Orleans. For more information, please e-mail David Dawson in the Family Life Apostolate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Saturday, January 24, 2014, Baton Rouge, La
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 email@example.com
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)
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!
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