From the Pastor – August 3, 2014

When it was evening, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”
Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. (Mt. 14:15-17)

The miracle of the loaves and the fishes is the only miracle that occurs in each of the four Gospels. It points back to the Old Testament when the Israelites were fed in the desert with Manna from Heaven; and it points forward to the Eucharist when we are fed by Jesus with the Bread of Life. But we can’t deny the implications of this Gospel passage to the social teachings of the Church, especially what the Church calls “the preferential option for the poor.”

Today’s Gospel today emphasizes how taking care of the poor should work. When the disciples saw the huge crowds, they wanted to send them away to fend for themselves. But Jesus wanted the disciples to take responsibility for their welfare. He tells them: “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” Very often, we can act the same way as the disciples. We might forget that it’s our responsibility to care for the poor. We might want to pass the buck: “I pay taxes; let the government take care of it.” But that’s not what the Gospel says. Even the Code of Canon Law says: “The Christian faithful are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor from their own resources.”

We are blessed to be part of a parish that has a long and outstanding record of service to the poor. Since the time the parish was founded in 1849, the Vincentian family has had a special mission to serving Jesus in the poorest members of our society. In the Gospel today, Jesus could have done a miracle to feed the hungry without the help of His disciples. But He didn’t do that. He wanted to start with the generosity of the disciples, and have the miracle proceed from that generosity. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote recently: “love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel.”

Finally, don’t forget what Jesus said about the day of judgment when He’ll ask us what we did to help the poor and needy. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

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

Read more posts From the Pastor

A Retreat for Married Couples and Their Children (7 – 18 yrs)

“A family that prays together…”

A Family That Prays is a powerful weekend designed to enrich marriages, faith & family. Spouses will grow closer in their sacrament while their children will explore a deeper understanding & encounter with God. The retreat culminates on Sunday when families are brought back together for a memorable family experience led by Archbishop Hughes! The retreat is held at the St. Joseph Abbey in Covington and it begins on Saturday, November 1st at 8:30am and ends after lunch on Sunday. Space is limited.

If you would like to register or more information, call Jason Angelette at (504) 830-3716 or visit www.faithandmarriage.org.

Archdiocesan Natural Family Planning Classes

With professional instruction, Natural Family Planning has proven itself to be safe, effective, and a moral way for couples to plan their families which respects the meaning of human sexuality as God created it and thus marital love is enhanced and strengthened.

Come join the class series that Family Life Apostolate is offering in the Sympto-Thermal Method of Natural Family Planning conducted by Patrycja Black and Gayle Rizzo of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The dates of the class series are August 23, September 6, September 20 and October 25, 2014 at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Slidell.  Preregistration is required and the cost is $100.00.  For more information and registration please call: Family Life Apostolate (504) 861-6243.

Feast of the Transfiguration – Aug 6


While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” (Lk 9:34-36a)

Most of the Church Fathers saw the Transfiguration as a glimpse of the glory of Christ given to his disciples so that they might be strengthened to witness the scandal of the Cross. And this is certainly true. But three things immediately jump out of the reading.

First, is the number of apostles. Not all of the twelve are present – only Peter, James and John, the same three apostles that would accompany Jesus into the Garden of Gethsemane. Even though they were strengthened by their witness to the glory of the Transfiguration, they would still flee at the beginning of the persecution of Christ.

The second point is the encounter between Jesus and Moses and Elijah. Of course, an easy connection can be made to Jesus being the fulfillment of the law (represented by Moses, who received the Ten Commandments) and the prophets (represented by the prototypical prophet Elijah). But it’s important to note what they are discussing on Mt. Tabor. Shrouded in glory, they’re not focused on Heaven’s glory but on the “exodus that He was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” This exodus meant the passage Jesus would make from the slavery of death to the Promised Land of eternal life, a journey prefigured in the exodus by which Moses led the Jewish people out from the slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land of Israel. And the means by which Jesus would accomplish this exodus is His suffering and death. Once again, the Transfiguration points to the cross.

And then comes the third, penultimate point of the passage: God the Father speaks. He confirms His Son’s true identity. Jesus wasn’t John the Baptist, or Elijah, or one of the prophets, as many people believed. He wasn’t simply the long-awaited Messiah. God the Father thundered from heaven, “This is my beloved Son!” Then he gave a command to the three apostles with Jesus on the mountain: “Listen to Him!” The command echoes to us to listen to what Jesus said about his suffering and death, and believe in Him.

The encounter on Mt. Tabor is given for us to remember where we are headed. Is it to the glory of Heaven represented by the transfigured Lord? We hope so. But we can only get there through the Paschal Mystery: the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Eucharistic Procession 2014

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Click for all the pics!

Our Lady of Mount Carmel – July 16

The Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin was born in the twelfth century on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. A group of hermits from the west settled there to live after the example of Christ in His land. At their request, the Patriarch of Jerusalem gave them a rule of life that required them, among other things, to build an oratory among their cells where they could gather for the celebration of the Eucharist. The “Carmelites” built a chapel on Carmel that they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they addressed as the “Lady of the Place.”

Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has focused on the Brown Scapular, a sacramental associated with promises of Our Lady’s special assistance in the salvation of the devoted wearer, especially promising that those who died wearing the scapular would be saved. The origin is said to be that Our Lady gave the Scapular to an early Carmelite named St. Simon Stock.

The Brown Scapular resembles an “apron” that symbolizes the “yoke of Christ.” There are many indications of aprons being used over the religious habit even from the times of St. Benedict (+547 AD), whose Rule also mentions the scapular. In the course of time, the Brown Scapular became part of the religious habit, and eventually acquired religious significance.

As understood and lived in the Carmelite Order, following Jesus Christ and Our Lady becomes the reality for which the faithful in the Carmelite family strive. They rely on the help and support of all the brothers and sisters who share in the same ideal. The members of the Carmelite family live their commitment in various ways: in the “desert,” in fraternal life, in the apostolic life, on the streets of the world, together working with Mary for the Kingdom of God.

Nativity of John the Baptist

The life of John the Baptist is a preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ, and the circumstances of his birth are miraculous. In Luke’s Gospel, John’s parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were without children and beyond the age of child-bearing. During Zechariah’s time of priestly service in the Temple in Jerusalem, he is chosen to offer incense in the Holy Place. While there, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that he and his wife will give birth to a child, and that they shall name him John. However, since Zechariah doubted the message, he was made mute until the time of John’s birth.

Here, a little math is in order. At the Annunciation, which we celebrated on March 25, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to inform her that she would conceive Jesus. But Gabriel also informed her that Elizabeth, her cousin, was already six months pregnant (Lk 1:36). Since Elizabeth was six months pregnant on March 25, we celebrate John’s birth three months later on June 24.

The Nativity of John the Baptist is one of the oldest solemnities in the Church, having been recorded by the Council of Agde in 506 as one of Southern France’s principal holy days. The day is marked as the beginning of the preparation of the way of the Lord. Although rendered mute by his doubting God, Zechariah was obedient in naming his son John, and was inspired to proclaim the prophecy of the ministry of his son, the so-called “Canticle of Zechariah” (Lk 1:68-79): “Blessed be the Lord, The God of Israel; He has come to His people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, Born of the house of His servant David. Through His holy prophets He promised of old That He would save us from our enemies, From the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers And to remember His holy Covenant. This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham: To set us free from the hands of our enemies, Free to worship Him without fear, Holy and righteous in His sight All the days of our life. You, My child shall be called The prophet of the Most High, For you will go before the Lord to prepare His way, To give his people knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our Lord The dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness And the shadow of death, And to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Novena to the Holy Spirit

Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts
(to be prayed beginning May 30)

The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT AND PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS
On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant is listening.” Amen.

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

From Father Doug Brougher

father-doug-new-orleansI am so grateful for your prayers and kind remembrances as I continue to recover from my hip replacement surgery.  It is good to be getting back into “life” here at the parish and at Touro where I’m also continuing my rehab (Physical Therapy).  Your prayer support and kindness have helped me so much during this long and challenging journey. May the Lord bless you for your thoughtfulness. And please know that you continue to be in my prayers and Masses.

Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Doug

Willwoods Married Couples Retreat

St. Joseph Abbey, August 23 – 24, 2014

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 St. Joseph Abbey’s Christian Life Center in Covington, La.  The retreat begins on Saturday at 9:00am and ends at 1:00pm on Sunday.  The theme is “Joy” and will be led by speaker couples Kim & David Lukinovich, Deacon Terry & Dottie Manieri and Eric & Lisa Johnsen.

If you would like to register or for more information call Jason Angelette at (504) 830-3716 or visit www.faithandmarriage.org.  Suggested donation of $275 is requested but not required.  Pre-registration deposit, which is part of the donation, is $50.

Thank You Walgreens!

walgreens-donations-st-vincThe St. Vincent de Paul Society would like to encourage you and your friends who would like to help the homeless and who live near the Lakefront area to visit the Walgreens Store at 101 Robert E. Lee Blvd. near West End.  Walgreens has a donation box that is labeled to accept donations for St. Stephen Church.  If you would like more details please e-mail  Marie Ormond    theletter123@gmail.com or call Dixie at the Rectory.  We wish to thank Walgreens for their donations and assisting us in such a generous way.

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

July 2014

Refugees. That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.

Oceania. That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.

Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!

Good Church Etiquette

An instructive reminder

Remember to keep your Eucharistic fast by abstaining from food and beverages (water excluded) for an hour before Mass.

Always dress modestly and appropriately. Arrive early to allow for personal prayer and/or read the readings of the day.

Turn off all mobile devices while still in the vestibule. This is your time with God and His people.

Use the restroom before or after Mass. Men remove hats or caps before the Lord.

Deposit all water bottles in the waste receptacles.

Make the sign of the cross with Holy Water upon entering.

Genuflect with great reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle before entering your pew. If unable to genuflect, a profound bow is respectful.

Refrain from chit-chat which distracts others who are connecting with God through prayer before Mass.

Join the singing. St. Anselm said that “singing is praying twice.”  Singing with others gives great praise to God, which is really why we are gathered here.

Listen to the readings. God is speaking directly to you.

Receive Communion with laser-like attention. We receive Communion, we do not take it. If choosing to receive the Body of Christ in the hand, place the hand you write with under the hand you will receive, in a way, creating a throne for the Lord. A simple bow of the head to the Eucharist is appropriate as a sign of reverence to Christ before receiving.

Don’t forget to make a prayer of thanksgiving after receiving Communion. “There is no prayer more agreeable to God, or more profitable to the soul than that which is made during the thanksgiving after Communion.” (St. Alfonsus Liguori)

Remember that the point of being at Mass is not to see what we can get out of it, but what you can do to praise and worship the Almighty.

And finally, leave church only after the procession has left the altar. Only one person left the Last Supper early”

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola – July 26

Ignacio López de Loyola was born in Spain in 1491, the youngest of 13 children. In 1506, he adopted the last name “de Loyola” in reference of the Basque city of Loyola where he was born.  In 1509, Ignatius took up arms under the Duke of Nájera and participated in many battles without injury to himself.  However, on May 20, 1521, in a battle against the French, a cannonball wounded both of his legs.  During his recuperation at Loyola, Ignatius read the Life of Christ by Ludolph of Saxony, a commentary on the Gospels with extracts from the works of over sixty of the Fathers of the Church; the book influenced his whole life.  Ludolph proposes that the reader place himself at the scene of a Gospel story and visualize the scene in a simple contemplation.

During his recuperation at Loyola, Ignatius read the Life of Christ by Ludolph of Saxony, a commentary on the Gospels with extracts from the works of over sixty of the Fathers of the Church; the book influenced his whole life. Ludolph proposes that the reader place himself at the scene of a Gospel story and visualize the scene in a simple contemplation. He also read the lives of the saints.

When Ignatius left Loyola he had no definite plans for the future, except that he wished to rival all the saints had done in the way of penance. His first care was to make a general confession at the famous sanctuary of Montserrat, where, after three days of self-examination, and carefully noting his sins, he confessed, gave to the poor the rich clothes in which he had come, and put on garment of sack-cloth reaching to his feet. His sword and dagger he suspended at Our Lady’s altar, and passed the night watching before them. The next morning, he retired to a cave near the neighboring town of Manresa, where he retired for prayer, austerities, and contemplation, while he lived on alms.

It was at this time, too, that he began to make notes of his spiritual experiences, notes which grew into the little book of “Spiritual Exercises.”

St. Ignatius spent a number of years studying in Paris, where he became thoroughly versed in the science of education, and learned by experience how the life of prayer and penance might be combined with that of teaching and study. Starting a small society in Paris, the Society of Jesus was approved by the Holy See in 1540. He died on July 30, 1556 and was canonized in 1622.

Currently, the Jesuits are the single largest religious order in the world, numbering nearly 20,000 members, of which nearly 14,000 are priests. They work in 112 nations on six continents.

Christmas in July!

St. Vincent de Paul Society needs your help. A Christmas Giving Tree has been set up next to the St. Anthony Statue. The ornaments on the tree have the names of gifts and a dollar amount.  This summer we are focusing on the poorer students who attend St. Stephen Catholic School. 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!  God’s blessing to all of you!

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!

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.