From the Pastor – August 18, 2019

New Orleans mass timesJesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.  (Lk 12:49-51).

A few years ago, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI reflected on the Gospel passage we hear this Sunday.  He said:

There’s a passion of ours that must grow from faith, which must be transformed into the fire of charity. Jesus said: I came to cast fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled. Origen has conveyed us a word of the Lord: “Whoever is near me is near the fire.” The Christian must not be lukewarm. The Book of Revelation tells us that this is the greatest danger for a Christian: not that he may say no, but that he may say a very lukewarm yes. This being lukewarm is what discredits Christianity. Faith must become in us flame of love, flame that really fires up my being, becomes the great passion of my being, and so it fires also my neighbor. This is the way of evangelization: “Accéndat ardor proximos,” that truth may become in me charity and charity may light up also the other. Only in this lighting up the other through the flame of our charity, evangelization really grows, the presence of the Gospel, which is no longer just word, but a lived reality.

We live in a world that is not only lukewarm to the Gospel, but even hostile to it.  Jesus is a source of division in the sense that some choose to follow Him, and some choose to reject him.  We see it in our friends, our co-workers and sadly, even in our own families.  What can get them interested in Jesus?  Is it our ability to enunciate the fundamentals of Christian teaching?  Is it our wearing of Christian symbols, like the crucifix?  Is it our celebrating Christian feasts with devotion?  Is it our constant browbeating that people are going to go to Hell for not practicing our faith?  No, it is our love.  You remember the old folk song, “They Will Know We are Christians By Our Love”?  The song might be a little kitschy, but the premise is true.  They love that Jesus has for us and the love we have for Jesus must set us on fire to love others. Our acts of charity toward our friends, our co-workers, our families and the pour ignite the flame of love in us that also fires also our neighbor.  Jesus wants the world to be on fire with love.
(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty

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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.

Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Friday, June 28, 2019
Margaret Alacoque was born in Burgundy, France on 22 July, 1647. From her early childhood Margaret showed intense love for the Blessed Sacrament, and preferred silence and prayer to childish amusements. During her time before the Blessed Sacrament, Christ even made Himself visually apparent to her. This did not surprise her, because she thought others had the same Divine assistance! Although tempted by the luxuries and distractions of the world, Margaret Mary entered the Visitation Convent in 1572, where her visions became known. Because of her perceived “special status,” she was subjected to many trials to prove her vocation. She showed obedience, humility, and invariable charity towards those who persecuted her.

Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish a Holy Hour during which she lay prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven until midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness Christ endured when he was abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony. She also made sure to receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month.

In the first great revelation, Jesus made known to her His ardent desire to be loved by men and His design of manifesting His Sacred Heart with all of its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation. He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the Feast of the Sacred Heart; He also called her His “Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart.” The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings.

The discussion of the mission and virtues of Margaret Mary continued for years. All her actions, her revelations, her spiritual maxims, her teachings regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart, of which she was the chief exponent as well as the apostle, were subjected to the most severe and minute examination. After a thorough examination, Pope Pius IX declared her Blessed in 1864. In 1856, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was inaugurated.  And in 1920 Margaret Mary was canonized by Pope Benedict XV.

The Queenship of Mary Aug. 22

The Feast of the Queenship of Mary – the Coronation – was established in 1954 by Pope Pius XII in a document called Ad Caeli Reginam. The original date for this feast was chosen as May 31st, but was later moved to the octave day of the feast of the Assumption, August 22nd. The Catholic faith states as a dogma that Mary was assumed into heaven, and is with Jesus Christ, her Divine Son. Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood of Jesus Christ, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of eternal salvation.

Jesus Christ as Redeemer is Lord and King. The Blessed Virgin is Queen, because of the unique manner in which she assisted in our redemption, by giving of her own substance, by freely offering Him for us, by her singular desire and petition for, and active interest in our souls. Mary was chosen Mother of Christ so she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race.

As Pope Pius XII wrote: “From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.”

The Catechism tells us that “the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.” (CCC 966).

All devotion to Mary is intrinsically linked to the worship of Jesus Christ. However, devotion is different than the worship. Because God is infinite, we offer him worship – called “latria” in Greek. Devotion is different. We can be devoted to our parents or our closest friends. And we owe special devotion to the saints who have preceded us to Heaven. But to Mary is owed the highest devotion because of the special role that God chose for her in His plan of salvation. In Greek, devotion is called “dulia” and to Mary we owe the highest devotion or “hyperdulia.”

And as Queen of Heaven, Mary serves as a powerful intercessor for us. This intercession in no way diminishes the unique salvific mediation of Jesus Christ; rather, she reveals to us His power. As she herself states in her great “Magnificat”: her soul “magnifies” the Lord. Just as a magnifying glass doesn’t change the size of the thing it magnifies, but only makes it easier to see and understand, Mary does the same thing for us with Christ. She adds nothing to His greatness but she allows us to understand it and appreciate Him more and more.

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

The Angelus

The Angelus is a prayer of devotion to the Blessed Mother commemorating the announcement of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The name “Angelus” comes from the opening words in Latin: Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ (“The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary”) and refers to the Angel Gabriel, the messenger of God who revealed to Mary that she would conceive a child named Jesus who would be called the Son of God. (Lk 1:26-35).  The Angelus is prayed by reciting three verses from Luke’s Gospel, and alternating with the “Hail Mary.” In a Catholic tradition dating to at least to the 14th century, the Angelus is prayed in churches, convents, and monasteries three times daily – 6:00 a.m., noon, and 6:00 p.m. – and is usually accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell.

As stated in the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy released several years ago by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments:

The Angelus Domini is a recollection of the salvific event in which the Word became flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, through the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the salvific plan of the Father.

The recitation of the Angelus is deeply rooted in the piety of the Christian faithful, and strengthened by the example of the Roman Pontiffs. In some places changed social conditions hinder its recitation, but in many other parts every effort should be made to maintain and promote this pious custom and at least the recitation of three Aves. The Angelus “over the centuries has conserved its value and freshness with its simple structure, biblical character […] quasi liturgical rhythm by which the various time of the day are sanctified, and by its openness to the Paschal Mystery.”

Since our neighbors might not appreciate the early morning wake-up, we ring the Angelus bells daily at noon and 6:00 p.m.  The Angelus bell is a triple set of chimes to correspond to the three Hail Mary’s.

Although the praying of the Angelus may have tapered off since the Second Vatican Council, it is still prayed daily in many parts of the world.  In the Vatican, virtually all of the different offices gather together to pray the Angelus daily at noon.  Further, each Sunday at noon, the Holy Father presides over the public recitation of the Angelus at St. Peter’s, and the Piazza and surrounding streets are filled with thousands of people.

The Angelus

  1. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
  2. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

  1. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
  2. Be it done unto me according to thy word.

Hail Mary…

  1. And the Word was made Flesh.
  2. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary..

  1. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
  2. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene July 22

Mary was called “Magdalen” because she was either from Magdala near Tiberias (on the west shore of Galilee) or possibly from a Talmudic expression meaning “curly women’s hair,” which means an adulteress.

In the New Testament Mary is mentioned among the women who accompanied Christ and ministered to Him (Luke 8:2-3), where it is also said that seven devils had been cast out of her (Mark 16:9). She is next named as standing at the foot of the cross (Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25; Luke 23:49). She saw Christ laid in the tomb, and she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection.

The Greek Fathers, as a whole, distinguish the “sinner” of Luke 7:36-50; Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and Mary Magdalen. On the other hand most of the Latin Fathers hold that these three they were one and the same. It is impossible to demonstrate the identity of the three through the Scriptural texts. Yet it is certainly Mary Magdalen who, according to all the Evangelists, stood at the foot of the cross and assisted at the entombment and was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection. And while St. John calls her “Mary Magdalen” in 19:25, 20:1, and 20:18, he calls her simply “Mary” in 20:11 and 20:16.

Many Scriptural scholars observe that the “sinner” in Luke comes early in the ministry of Jesus to seek for pardon; Mary is described immediately afterwards as Mary Magdalen “out of whom seven devils were gone forth”; shortly after, we find simply “Mary” “sitting at the Lord’s feet and hearing His words.”

To the Catholic mind it all seems fitting and natural. The sinner has repented, and she is no longer considered an “adultress.” At a later period Mary and Martha turn to “the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” and Jesus raises their brother Lazarus. Only a short time afterwards Mary and Martha make Jesus supper and Mary repeats the act she had performed when a penitent. At the Passion she stands nearby; she sees Him laid in the tomb; and she is the first Scriptural witness of His Resurrection (although it would have been only fitting for Jesus to have appeared first to His Mother) St. Mary Magdalen, patroness of penitent sinners, pray for us!

Christmas in July!

A Christmas Giving Tree has been set up next to the St. Anthony Statue. St. Vincent de Paul Society would like to be able to offer more dollars and maybe pay an entire utility bill for someone in need. All donations will be designated to assist with an utility bill payment.   Take an “ornament” from the tree in the rear of church and return before the end of July. There is no need to buy a present and wrap it; the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will do the rest!  God’s blessing to all of you!

Employment Opportunity

A faithful parishioner of our parish has gotten to the age where his doctor has recommended that he no longer drive his car. As such, he is looking for someone living in our parish to serve as a driver and cook.  If you are interested, please contact the parish office, and we will put you in contact with him to discuss financial arrangements. He’s looking for someone might be semi-retired or retired, and he has his own car. Thank you!

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