From the Pastor – September 28, 2014

Thus says the LORD: You say, ‘The LORD’s way is not fair!’  Hear now, house of Israel:  Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?  (Ez. 18:25)

“That’s not fair!”  I can’t even imagine how many times I heard that growing up.  I grew up in a house with three sisters and a brother.  And one thing about us, we grew up with a strong understanding of justice.  Well, justice as we defined it.  When it came time to cut the pecan pie for dessert, we would scrutinize the pieces down to the last crumb.  And if someone got a bigger piece, one of us would exclaim:  “That’s not fair!”

And if one of us was invited to spend the night at our grandparents, then a scorecard was kept.  If there was not a perfect rotation so that each of us went in order, it would happen again:  “That’s not fair!”

One of the biggest injustices happened as my parents got older and more tolerant about allowing the younger kids to stay out late.  “How come Ariane gets to stay out until midnight?  When I was 15, I had to be home at 11:00pm!”  And then again:  “That’s not fair!

I’m not sure how times have changed with parents and children, but I would imagine they’re quite similar. It’s goes all the way back to the Cain and Able.  And this Sunday, the prophet Ezekiel reminds us of our complaint:  “The Lord’s way is unfair!”

The way it works for God’s family is similar to how it works in our own families.  God is our Heavenly Father, he knows what’s best for His children.  And He is the one who doles out the gifts and establishes the rules.  But His children (us) have a tendency to be envious of the gifts others receive.  And sometimes we don’t like to follow the rules in the Ten Commandments.

Another difficulty is that we live in a culture that creates divisions between those envious of each other’s gifts.  And we live in a culture that rejects many of the rules.  And that culture rubs off on us.

Jesus came to show us that giving (charity) is the highest form of love.  And He came to show us that obedience to the Father is the path to Heaven.  And just as Ezekiel prophesied that “Israel’s ways were unfair,” Jesus would say that our culture’s ways are unfair.  Money, sexuality and unlimited “freedom” stand in contrast to the poverty, chastity and obedience of Jesus.  And it wasn’t fair that the Son of God should die on a cross as an innocent man.

“It’s not fair,” we think.  And it’s not, if we’re thinking in an earthly way.  But if we express our gratitude to God for even the smallest gifts, and if we seek to understand His ways, we’re getting closer to Heaven.

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

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Synod for the Family in Rome

Sunday, 28 September is to be set aside as a Day of Prayer for the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled to take place in Rome from October 5-19 to treat the topic: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.

We are invited to pray for this intention during Mass and at other liturgical celebrations, in the days leading to the synod and during the synod itself. In Rome, in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, prayers will be recited each day in the chapel of the icon, Salus Populi Romani. The faithful, individually but above all in families, are invited to join in these prayers.

The suggested prayers include the Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod, composed by Pope Francis, as follows:

Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we contemplate the splendor of true love, to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth, may families never again experience violence, rejection and division: may all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth, may the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer.

Amen.

St. Francis of Assisi

Feast Day – October 4

Blessing of the Pets – October 5 at noon

Many of the stories that surround the life of St. Francis of Assisi deal with his love for animals. Part of his appreciation of the environment is expressed in his Canticle of the Sun, a poem written in Umbrian Italian in perhaps 1224 which expresses a love and appreciation of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Mother Earth, Brother Fire, etc. and all of God’s creations personified in their fundamental forms.  Francis’ attitude towards the natural world, while poetically expressed, was conventionally Christian. He believed that the world was created good and beautiful by God but suffers a need for redemption because of the primordial sin of man. He preached the universal ability and duty of all creatures to praise God (a common theme in the Psalms) and the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of God’s creation and as creatures ourselves.  Next Sunday, all pets are invited into the schoolyard at 12:00 noon, after the 10:30am Mass, for the Blessing of the Pets.  Please make sure that your pets can play “nice” before bringing them over!

Prayer Ministry

The Problem with Islam

by (Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty

Please don’t think that I’m trying to become the victim of a fatwa by the provocative title to this article.  But there is a problem with Islam.  All around the world, followers of Islam are engaging in terrible acts of brutality and violence in the name of their religion.  At the same time, there has been condemnation by some more “moderate” Muslims.  Why?

A number of years ago, I was visiting one of my sisters, and she invited a friend of hers to dinner with us – a devout Muslim.  In the midst of dinner, he began to challenge me on Christianity and it’s core belief:  The Holy Trinity.  He argued that God is one, to which I agreed; but he denied that God could be “three in one” as we profess in the Nicene Creed.  It’s hard preaching on Trinity Sunday to a church full of practicing Catholics, but that’s child’s play compared to explaining the “mystery” of the Holy Trinity to a Muslim who denies the Divinity of Jesus Christ.  After some fruitless conversation (basically a Bible versus Koran fundamentalist argument), I asked him a series of questions.  “Do you believe that God is all powerful?  Do you believe that God is all knowing?  Do you believe that God created everything that we can see and everything that we can’t see?  Do you believe that God can do whatever God wants?”  After acknowledging all of these questions in the affirmative, I asked one last question: “If God wanted to, could He become a man and walk on the earth?”  There was no other answer that he could give.  He had to say “yes.”  And I replied, “That’s the difference between our religions.  We believe that He did.” [Read More...]

Notre Dame Seminary Gala & Auction

The Notre Dame Seminary Gala & Auction will take place on Saturday, October 11, 2014 at the Seminary. Gala guests will meet the seminarians and experience the history and culture of seminary life while enjoying a great evening of food, music and fellowship. Silent and Live Auctions. Black tie optional. All proceeds will benefit Notre Dame Seminary.

For ticket/sponsorship information, please contact the NDS Development Office at (504) 866- 7426, ext. 374, ylacour@nds.edu or by visiting our website at www.nds.edu.

Blesses Francis Xavier Seelos Memorial Mass

The Seelos Shrine will be welcoming the Most Reverend Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R., Superior General, Redemptorists from Rome, Italy as the next presider of the Seelos Memorial Mass on Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. Go to www.seelos.org for more information.

The Sorrowful Mother September 15

In recent weeks, the Church has celebrated three feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary: the Assumption, the Queenship and the Nativity. This week, we recall Our Sorrowful Mother, also known as Mater Dolorosa in Latin. The notion of Mary as the “sorrowful Mother,” has its origin in the Biblical prophecy of Simeon at the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, where he states to Mary: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35).

Over the centuries, the Church has recognized popular devotion to seven sorrows of Mary: (1) the Prophecy of Simeon over the Infant Jesus (Lk 2:34); (2) the Flight into Egypt of the Holy Family (Mt 2:13); (3) the Loss of the Child Jesus for Three Days (Lk 2:43); (4) the Meeting of Jesus and Mary along the Way of the Cross (Lk 23:26); (5) the Crucifixion, where Mary stands at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25); (6) the Descent from the Cross, where Mary receives the dead body of Jesus in her arms (Mt 27:57); and (7) the Burial of Jesus. (John 19:40). Numerous devotions, and even religious orders, have arisen around meditation on the Seven Sorrows.

Our Lady of Sorrows has been the subject of some key works of Marian art. In iconography, Our Lady of Seven Sorrows is at times represented as the Virgin Mary wounded by seven swords in her heart, a reference to the prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation. In other depictions, the expression of the Virgin is one of sadness.

The first known altar to Mater Dolorosa was made in 1221 at the monastery of Schönau in southern Germany. In many countries, parishioners traditionally carry statues of Our Lady of Sorrows in processions on the days leading to Good Friday.

The liturgical feast of the Our Lady of Sorrows originated in 1413, and Vatican approval for the celebration of a feast in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows was first granted to the Servite order in 1667. Pope Pius VII extended the celebration to the whole of the Latin Church in 1814, and Pope St. Pius X established the feast on September 15, the day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The sequence known as Stabat Mater is sung at Mass on that day.

Parish Ministry to the Poor at the Rebuild Center

August 21, 2014

Be advised that we had a great day today. We planned to feed 200 people and cooked enough food too do that. However today we had 212 guests at the Rebuild Center.

Thanks to our cook team which consisted of the following: Mary Ann Bohlke, Becky Brocato, Dana D’Anzi, Dorothy Forly, Hunter Harris, and Daniel LeBlanc.

Then today, Thursday we had a great group to help serve the guest which were: Dana D’Anzi, Dorothy Forly, Marjorie Frederic, Joyce Griener, Hunter Harris, Alice Lastrapes, and Daniel LeBlanc.

Our Thursday team came in and cut items for the green salad and bread to be served with the baby lima beans and sausage that had been cooked on Wednesday. The meal we prepared fed 202 guests and the last 12 were served a sandwich, Oh!  They also got an ice cream because they did not get a hot meal!

Dan LeBlanc

Vocation Weekend for High School and College Age Men

Come and See Vocation Discernment Weekend for high school juniors and seniors, and college- age men will be held November 7-9, 2014 at St. Joseph Seminary College, Covington, Louisiana. This is an opportunity for men who are interested in the priesthood and who would like to find out more about seminary life. There is no cost for the weekend but availability is limited on a first come, first served basis. For more information or to register, call the Archdiocesan Vocation Office at (504) 861-6298 or e-mail vocations@archdiocese-no.org.

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat

RETREAT FOR THOSE HEALING FROM AN ABORTION EXPERIENCE

If you or someone you love is hurting from an abortion, please consider attending this healing retreat. There is forgiveness and hope after abortion.  All faiths are welcome!

The Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center
5500 St. Mary Street, Metairie, LA
Friday, October 31st – Sunday, November 2nd, 2014
$170 per person (financial assistance is available)

Priest Facilitator: Rev. Joseph Palermo

To register or for more info, please contact either of the following retreat facilitators: Pam Richard at (504) 460-9360 cell or (985) 809-0773 home or richj504@bellsouth.net Melanie Baglow at (504) 889-2431 home or mkbaglow@cox.net

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

October 2014

Peace. That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.

World Mission Day.  That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.

Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!

Priest Convention & Daily Masses

Next week is the annual Archdiocese of New Orleans Priest ConventionFr. Doug and Msgr. Nalty will be unavailable from September 23-25.  Please contact the parish office for emergencies.  Mass will continue at St. Henry Church at 6:30am all week, and the 6:00pm Mass at St. Stephen’s will be celebrated by Fr. Menard because Fr. Chambers is out of town due to the death of his brother, John.   Please keep the Chambers family in your prayers during their time of loss.

Second Harvest Helpline

The Second Harvest Helpline is a toll-free number that assists community members with public assistance applications (SNAP, CCAP, Kinship Care, FITAP, and Child Support), emergency food assistance, and referrals for specialized services and programs. Those in need of services can call 1-855-392-9398 for assistance. Second Harvest Community Advocates are availableMonday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and can assist English and Spanish-speaking clients over the phone or schedule a meeting in-person.

The Holy Name of Mary

September 12, 2014

By St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Richard of St. Laurence states “there is not such powerful help in any name, nor is there any other name given to men, after that of Jesus, from which so much salvation is poured forth upon men as from the name of Mary.” He continues, “that the devout invocation of this sweet and holy name leads to the acquisition of superabundant graces in this life, and a very high degree of glory in the next.”  After the most sacred name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so rich in every good thing, that on earth and in heaven there is no other from which devout souls receive so much grace, hope, and sweetness.

Hence Richard of St. Laurence encourages sinners to have recourse to this great name, “because it alone will suffice to cure them of all their evils;” and “there is no disorder, however malignant, that does not immediately yield to the power of the name of Mary.” The Blessed Raymond Jordano says, “that however hardened and diffident a heart may be, the name of this most Blessed Virgin has such efficacy, that if it is only pronounced that heart will be wonderfully softened.” Moreover, it is well known, and is daily experienced by the clients of Mary, that her powerful name gives the particular strength necessary to overcome temptations against purity.

Annulment Writing Workshop

Family Life Apostolate will offer a writing workshop for persons seeking an annulment in the Catholic Church or for persons responding to an annulment. The workshops will be held at the Administration Building for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, 7887 Walmsley Avenue in New Orleans. The series will be for five (5) Tuesdays, September 6, 13, 20, 27 and October 4, 2011.  The materials for the series cost $20.00. To register or for more information, call Family Life Apostolate, (504) 861-6243.

A Call to Help the Homeless in Our Community

When we think of people who are homeless, we often think of an image of someone standing on a street corner with a sign asking for money or people living in a tent or on a mattress under an overpass.  Sometimes we have further thoughts of what happens to these people, how did they get where they are, and who takes care of them.  These folks are the forgotten souls living in our Catholic community.  Most of the homeless are struggling with an addiction or mental illness that has overtaken their lives, and are unable to get back on their feet.

In our Catholic community, Ozanam Inn provides daily shelter for approximately 120 men who are homeless.  Many of these men are graduates of our Catholic schools but have lost their way.  Some are victims of abusive family environments, others are war veterans, and still others are former skilled workers or professionals such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, or engineers.  The purpose of the Ozanam Inn is to provide these men with a place to stay, provide clean clothes, and give them an opportunity to get off the street.  [Read More...]

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.