From the Pastor – April 19, 2015

Peter said to the people:
“The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.  (Acts 3:13-15, 17-19). 

I recently met a lapsed Catholic who was somewhat apologetic about being away from the Church.  And when I say “apologetic,” I don’t mean to say he was “sorry.” I mean “apologetic” in the sense that he felt compelled to defend his “Catholic credentials” by telling me all about his holy mother (who prayed the Rosary and went to Mass daily), one cousin, who was a priest, and another other cousin, who was a nun.  Somehow these relatives made him “Catholic,” even if he didn’t go to church at all.  Far from trying to be accusatory, I began to ask him about himself.  It seems that he was divorced, and than none of his children practiced their faith.  It left me sad.  He had received a vibrant faith from his family, but he had rejected that incredible gift.

The whole story of Easter is about the “gift.” The gift that came to the world, and was made known to Peter and the Apostles.  And they gave their lives to give the gift to others. Peter talks about the gift in the reading above.

Ultimately, the gift is one Our Father made to us to save us from the illusions of a temporal world filled with suffering and death.  Accepting it takes a little effort on our side: doing our best to follow the Ten Commandments, treating others as we want to be treated ourselves, helping the Church in its mission, going to Sunday Mass, making a good Confession when we are in grave sin.  Participating in the life of the Church is how we receive the gift.

And what is the gift?  It’s not a thing; it’s a person.

The gift is the Word made Flesh, the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  The gift that God gave the world is His only Begotten Son:  Jesus Christ.  He comes to us in many ways, but most profoundly in the Most Holy Eucharist where He feeds us with Himself.  I can’t imagine a day without the Blessed Sacrament, never mind a lifetime.  It makes me sad when people are separated from Christ in the Eucharist.  I hope always to help them realize what an amazing gift is there for them.  I’m trying to help this friend receive it.  If you know anyone like that, please refer him or her to me.  I want all of our Catholic friends and relatives to Come Home!

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

Read more posts From the Pastor

Novena to Our Lady of Good Counsel

April 18 – 26
(say this prayer every day for the nine days)

Aware of the powerful intercessory prayers of Our Blessed Mother, let us commit to pray this short prayer for the next nine days.

O Holy Virgin, to whose feet we are lead by our anxious uncertainty in our search for and attainment of what is true and good, invoking thee by the sweet title of Mother of Good Counsel. We beseech Thee to come to our assistance, when, along the road of this life, the darkness of error and of evil conspires towards our ruin by leading our minds and our hearts astray. Do Thou, O Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea, enlighten the doubtful and the erring, that they be not seduced by the false appearances of good; render them steadfast in the race of the hostile and corrupting influences of passion and of sin. O Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us from Thy Divine Son a great love of virtue, and, in the hour of uncertainty and trial, the strength to embrace the way that leads to our salvation. If Thy hand sustains us, we shall walk unmolested along the path indicated to us by the life and words of Jesus our Redeemer, and having followed freely and securely, even in the midst of this world’s strife, the Sun of Truth and Justice under Thy maternal star, we shall come to the enjoyment of full and eternal peace with Thee in the haven of salvation. Amen.
By Pope Pius XII, 23 January 1953

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

The purpose of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publicly fulfill the Lord’s instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). As a climax to a prayer that is continually offered throughout the Church, it affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concerns vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life.  While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries, (priesthood and diaconate), to the Religious life in all its forms (male and female, contemplative and apostolic), to societies of apostolic life, to secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life, in the particular sense of mission “ad gentes” (to the people).

Woman’s New Life Center – Born to Run!

Woman’s New Life Center will hold its annual BORN TO RUN 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Run on May 9, 2015 at Audubon Park Newman Bandstand.

Join our Good Shepherd Squad at womansnewlife.com/borntorun

Register today and get early bird discount $30 per person, family discounts on web.

Questions? Contact Melissa Wender 504-496-0212 or mwender@womansnewlife.com

Don’t want to run then come out and celebrate with the birthday party to follow race with fun for whole family!  Sign in @8am, Race starts at 9 with fun run and 5K to follow!

Help save Babies by your  support of Woman’s New Life Center…helping women, babies and families since 2001!

We provide free pregnancy counseling, limited ultrasound and pregnancy tests to women in need. All services are provided by licensed professionals and are free because of generous giving and support by donors.  Call for a tour: 504-831-3117. Visit our chapel for daily mass (call for times). Hope Fertility is affiliated with Woman’s New Life staffing 3 practitioners who are trained in Creighton Model NFP and can teach NFP for couples experiencing infertility in accord with the teaching of the Catholic Church (this is a fee based service).

Congratulations to Mary Ann Brown, Dana D’Anzi, and Dan LeBlanc!

On May 3, 2015 at 3:00pm at St. Louis Cathedral, our parishioners Mary Ann Brown, Dana Danzi and Dan LeBlanc will be awarded the Order of St. Louis IX Medallion by Archbishop Aymond at St. Louis Cathedral.  The Order of St. Louis IX award was established more than 40 years ago to honor those members of the laity who have contributed their time and talents to the church.

Even if you don’t know Mary Ann, Dana and Dan, you surely know of their work!  They are all extremely active in our ministry to the poor both at the Rebuild Center and here in our ministry to our neighborhood poor.  “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” (Mt 25:40).  Mary Ann, Dana and Dan minister to Jesus.

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

April 2015

Universal: That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God.

Evangelization: That persecuted Christians may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord and the solidarity of all the Church.

Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!

How to Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet

Instructions on how to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, using as a Rosary

Start at the Crucifix
Make the Sign of the Cross.
“Thou didst expire, Lord Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world.  O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Thyself out upon us.”

(3 times) “O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in Thee!”

1. Pray the Our Father.
2. Pray the Hail Mary.
3. Recite the Apostles’ Creed.

* On the large bead before each of the five decades (set of ten prayers) say:
“Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Thy Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

* On each small “Hail Mary” bead:
“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

* After five decades, conclude by saying three times:
“Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

* Concluding prayers:
“Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Thy mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Thy holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. Amen.”

The Story of the Palms

It was a common custom in many lands of the ancient Middle East to cover in some way the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honor. In 2 Kings 9:13 Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, was treated to this honor. Each of the four Gospels report that the people of Jerusalem gave Jesus the honor of walking on a covered path. However, in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) we hear that the people lay their garments and cut rushes to place on the street. Only the Gospel of John specifically mentions palms.

So what is the significance of the palm? The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and of victory in Jewish tradition, and is treated as such in other parts of the Bible (e.g. Leviticus 23:40 and Revelation 7:9). Based on this significance, the scene of the crowd greeting Jesus by waving palms and carpeting his path has given the Christian celebration its name. It shows the freedom desired by the Jews, and their desperation to have political freedom. In fact, they were welcoming their “Messiah,” whom they expected to be a great king who would free them from the oppression of foreign rulers. The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem included chants from Psalm 118 and 148:1. The Hebrew hoshiiah na’ (I beseech you, save now) was changed in Greek to hosanna, which became a famous Christian term, and had a huge Messianic significance.

The palm is a symbol of victory for us as Christians. Since we recognize that Jesus is the Messiah (a word which we normally use in the Greek translation – “Christ”), we recognize that He has already achieved a victory for us. But the victory is not over earthly rulers. It’s much bigger. It’s victory over Satan. It’s a victory over sin and death. It’s a victory that gives us Eternal Life.

Good Shepherd Sunday Our Lady of Good Counsel

April 26, 2015

Good Shepherd Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Easter in the liturgical calendar; that is, the Sunday three weeks after Easter Sunday. The name derives from the gospel readings on this day that are taken from the 10th chapter of John. In this reading Christ is described as the Good Shepherd who, by dying on the Cross, lays down his life for his sheep.

The same Sunday is the original Feast Day of Our Lady of Good Counsel.  Although we usually have a special Feast Day Mass at Good Counsel, the construction will make that impossible, so former parishioners of Good Counsel will serve as ministers to the Masses here at St. Stephen.

In Germany, the Benefits of Rest and Quiet on Sundays

Germany holds to much the same Monday-to-Friday work week rhythm as the rest of the world, but on Sundays it skips a beat. This uber-efficient country, which puts more restrictions on Sunday activities than nearly all of its neighbors, nearly shuts down.

Laws regulating shopping hours and noise levels mean stores shut, lawnmowers fall silent, and woe unto him who flips the switch on an electric tool.

Sunday reflects the importance Germans place on quality of life, neighborly consideration and the need to unwind. The postwar constitution safeguards Sundays and recognized holidays as “days of rest and spiritual edification.” Most Germans use the day to get outdoors, visit friends or, hit the gym or pool. “Sonntagsruhe” is one term they use. It simply means “Sunday rest.”

Opening Sundays to shopping is fiercely resisted, mainly by churches and labor unions. Efforts by retailers and businesses to loosen the rules have also been unsuccessful. But a blan- ket prohibition was lifted in 2006, when states were allowed to designate a certain number of Sundays as open for shopping. In Hesse, where Frankfurt is located, four are permitted each year.

Anyone considering undertaking outdoor chores or home improvements will be in for a sur- prise. Regulations limit noise levels, forbidding the use of electric tools like drills and leaf blow- ers, as well as hammering, sawing and loud music. At recycling containers, it’s even prohibited to throw away glass jars and bottles on Sunday because of the noise.

Heavy trucks are banned from German roads on Sunday. The aim is twofold, says Jan Jurczyk of services union Verdi: To relieve streets and cities of noise and traffic, and to give drivers a break. “People who work weekends have trouble finding time to spend with family and friends, so Sunday shouldn’t be a work day for anyone unless it’s absolutely essential,” he says.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright © 2015 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. License number 3607600485948. Dow Jones & Company’s permission to reproduce this article does not constitute or imply that Dow Jones sponsors or endorses any product, service, company, organization, security or specific investment.

Alleluia!

Easter Sunday is the day of the “Alleluia!” After forty days of Lenten sacrifice and fasting, we finally arrive at the most important day of our liturgical year, and the only word we have to express our inner joy is “Alleluia!!”

In the old Greek version of the Book of Tobias, in the Septuagint Greek translation of the Hebrew psalter, and in the original Greek of the Apocalypse we hear about this most holy word. It is part of the earliest Christian liturgies of which we have record.

It is a word composed of the divinely acclaiming verbal form Allelu and the divine pronoun term Ya (for YHWH or Yahweh). So, preserving its radical sense and sound, and even the mystical suggestiveness of its construction, it may be literally rendered, “All hail to Him Who is!”–taking “All Hail” as equivalent to “Glory in the Highest,” and taking “He Who is” in the sense in which God said to Moses: “Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel; WHO IS hath sent me to you.” The ancient Jewish and Christian tradition all point to the conclusion that the “Alleluia” belonged to the Hebrew liturgy from the beginning as a divinely authorized doxology. As to when it was first formed, much evidence points to it being one of man’s most ancient formulas of monotheistic faith–the true believer’s primitive Credo, primitive doxology, primitive acclamation. That in part would explain remarkable fondness for its liturgical use. As a rule the Church uses it wherever joy is to be emphatically expressed, especially as to triumph or thanksgiving.

The “Alleluia” is a great characteristic of Easter, as it has an important place in all of the liturgies, constantly appearing at the beginning and end, and even in the middle, of psalms, as an instinctive exclamation of ecstatic joy.

The very sound of the words should be held to signify a kind of acclamation and a form of ovation which mere grammarians cannot satisfactorily explain; this is the reason why the translators of the Old Testament have left it untranslated, and the Church has taken it into the formulas of her Liturgy or of the people who use it at any time or place where joy need be expressed for God’s greatness and love! Alleluia! Praise God!

The Precepts of the Church

“Now when they heard [Peter’s preaching] they were cut to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

When the people heard Peter and the apostles preaching about Christ, they instinctively asked, “What shall we do?” Over the centuries, the Church has given answers to this question, adapting the unchangeable elements of the Christian vocation to the pastoral requirements of each age. In our times, the responses to this question are summed up in what have come to be known as “The Precepts of the Church,” which are derived from Catholicism’s moral and doctrinal foundations. The Cathechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 2041-2043, lists five precepts of the Church, listed and briefly discussed below.

Attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation, and rest from servile labor.
Weekly Sunday Mass is obligatory for all Catholics. There are very few factors that might excuse Sunday Mass attendance, such as personal illness or serious infirmity, the need to attend to someone suffering from the same, significant travel, or certain jobs affecting public safety or welfare.

Confess your sins at least once a year.
Catholics above the age of discretion (about seven years of age) are required to confess their grave sins to a priest at least once per year, at any time during the year.

Receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
This reception of the Eucharist can take place any time in the Easter season, from the First Sunday of Lent to Trinity Sunday (after Pentecost).

Observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
On Fridays in Lent Catholics, aged 14 and older, are bound to abstain from meat. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Catholics aged 18 to 59 inclusive, are also bound to fast, by taking only one full meal and two smaller meals (together not to equal the one full meal), with no snacking between the meals.

Help provide for the needs of the Church.
The Church leaves to individual Catholics the right to determine precisely when and how they will assist with the temporal needs of the Church. However, the lack of specificity in Church law should not be taken as a sign that it may be ignored. Sunday collections, annual appeals, spontaneous offerings, bequests and wills, and so on are all ways that Catholics have to satisfy this precept of support.

Divine Mercy

A Mass in honor of Divine Mercy Sunday will be celebrated by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond on April 12, 2015 at 3:00p.m at St. Joseph Church, 1802 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.

Divine Mercy Sunday is dedicated to the devotion to the Divine Mercy promoted by St. Faustina , and is based upon an entry in St. Faustina’s diary stating that anyone who participates in the Mass and receives the sacraments of confession and Eucharist on this day is assured by Jesus of full remission of sins.

According to the notebooks of Saint Faustina, Jesus made the following statements about this day: “On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.” (Diary of Saint Faustina, 699)

The devotion was celebrated unofficially in many places for some years.  However, on April 30, 2000 (Divine Mercy Sunday of that year), Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina and designated the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday in the General Roman Calendar , with effect from the following year. He also decreed a plenary indulgence associated with this devotion. Pope John Paul II said he felt a closeness to St. Faustina when he was writing his letter Dives in misericordia. He died during the vigil of the Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005.

Altar of Repose

Mass of the Lord’s Supper

At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday (April 5, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.) sufficient hosts are consecrated for that Mass and for the next day. These consecrated Hosts remain in a ciborium on the corporal in the center of the altar until the end of Mass, after which they are carried in Solemn Procession to the Altar of Repose, with the priest vested in a Cope and Humeral Veil, and covered with a canopy. The Blessed Sacrament remains in the temporary tabernacle at the Altar of Repose, and the Holy Thursday service concludes with the stripping of all altars except the Altar of Repose.

Holy Thursday is a day of exceptional devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and the repository is the center of the love, prayers and aspirations of the faithful.  After the Good Friday service, the Blessed Sacrament remains available only as viaticum for the dying and for Communion given on Good Friday at the service called The Veneration of the Cross (Good Friday at 3:00pm). While the Blessed Sacrament remains in this temporary tabernacle at the altar of repose, a lamp or candle is always kept burning.

On Holy Thursday we will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 p.m., which commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist when Jesus washed his Apostle’s feet.  This Mass begins the Sacred Triduum.  This year Adoration at this Altar of Repose will take place all night, from the end of the Holy Thursday Mass until the sun rises on Good Friday at 6:00 a.m.

PLEASE SIGN-UP to take an hour or a half-hour of the Vigil!  Sign-up sheets are in the back of church.

St. Joseph Altar

The parish is very grateful to Hunter Harris and Rosary Henry and the many, many parishioners who organized the beautiful St. Joseph Altar.  Hunter and Rosary would be the first to recognize that they couldn’t have done it without your help.  And so THANK YOU to the numerous volunteers:  the cooks, the servers, the runners, the cleaners and everyone who played such a tremendous role in making the Solemnity of St. Joseph such a great success and a very happy day for all! This year was even better than last year!  Thanks for a great day! Becky Brocato, Kevin Centanni, Ann J. Carter, Frank Evans, Dale & Karen Faucheux, Greg Ford, Hunter Harris III, Rosary Henry, Mary & A.J. Lazaro, Dan LeBlanc, Tommy Marshall, Earl & Gayle Paddock, Gayle Picataci, John Van Krenen, John W. Stone, Patricia Vincent, Mary Youngblood, and the American Legion.

Confessions, Stations of the Cross and Fish Fry on Fridays at St. Henry Church

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.

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.