From the Pastor – December 2, 2018

“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Lk 21:36)

This Sunday we begin the Holy Season of Advent, a time when we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Christ in the manger at Christmas while looking with expectation toward His second coming in glory. It’s a time when we’re called to be “vigilant,” meaning to “keep watch” for danger. And what is that “danger”? In the Gospel today, Jesus mentions “there will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.” In one sense, this is really our experience in the present world that has so much access to information technology. We hear about nations in dismay due to war and economic turmoil. We hear about the roaring of the sea and the waves in natural disasters such as tsunamis and hurricanes, like the recent Hurricane Sandy. And these are things of which we have little control. So what can we control? Well, that’s the second part of the Gospel. Jesus gives us advice:
Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.

The thing that we should avoid is failing to look up to Heaven because we are too busy looking that the things of the world. Jesus will come again to restore creation to its original state by destroying sin and death and bringing with Him eternal life. So our “vigilance” is primarily concerned with the state of our eternal souls. As the Catholic Encyclopedia relates, during this time we are admonished: “(1) to prepare [ourselves] to worthily celebrate the anniversary of the Lord’s coming into the world as the incarnate God of love, (2) to make [our] souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and (3) thereby to make [ourselves] ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.

In fact, Advent is a similar season as Lent. The violet color that the priest and deacon wear during Advent is a symbol of royalty that anticipates the coming birth of Jesus, but it also reflects a spirit of penitence and the need to prepare our hearts.

There are no longer any “official” days of fast or abstinence during Advent, but Catholics are encouraged to prepare themselves spiritually during Advent with voluntary acts of prayer, fasting, penance and almsgiving. So while we are preparing to attend myriads of Christmas parties in the coming months, we should remind ourselves of what Jesus warned, to “not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness” but to be “vigilant at all times and pray that [we] have the strength … to stand before the Son of Man.” Have a Holy Advent!
masstime.us for New Orleans Mass Times
(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty
msgr.nalty@gmail.com

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Restoration Campaign

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Christmas Giving Tree

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 names and ages of children along with their Christmas gift wish. We also will be helping the Veterans and needy in our community that frequent our food pantry. If you can, please pick an ornament from the Tree then return the gift with the ornament and place under the tree by Sunday, December 16th following the 10:30 mass.

Thanksgiving Baskets

Because of the generosity of our parishioners, the St. Vincent de Paul Society did a wonderful job in providing Thanksgiving Baskets for 47 needy families our parish. As always, thank you for your GENEROUS support

Silver Rose Program

Tuesday, October 9th – Thanks to the Knights of Columbus for presenting the Silver Roses at last Tuesday evening’s Mass, as well as the Wednesday morning Mass. Pray that more people will respect life in the womb!

Greater New Orleans Rosary Congress

The Greater New Orleans Rosary Congress has been an annual event for 28 years, and this year will take place at Our Lady of Divine Providence in Metairie. The dates are October 6 thru October 12. It has drawn thousands of people from all over the area and beyond.

The church is open day and night for seven days. That is 168 hours, of continuous prayer and adoration of Jesus. Many spiritual groups, families, and individuals from local and adjoining areas cover the time. Prayer begins hourly, except when other activities are taking place. There is time for Mass, Adoration, Rosaries, processions, spiritual talks, periods of silence, and singing. The beauty and diversity of the Catholic Church is demonstrated in the many activities held during this week.

This year’s theme is the “The Pillars of Victory,” which comes from a dream of St. John Bosco where he saw the Holy Father in a terrible storm moor the Barque of St. Peter (an image of the Church) between two pillars, on top of one was the Eucharistic Host and on top of the other was Our Lady of the Rosary.

There is plenty room for all to come and pray together, here in the New Orleans – Metairie area. Those who come experience the proven power of these prayers.

If you wish to come and be a part of the Greater New Orleans Rosary Congress or be a helper or be a representative from different areas, call Marie at 504-508-7100 for more information.

St Michael, the Archangel Prayer

Beginning September 15, 2018, we will say the St Michael, the Archangel Prayer after all of the Masses at St. Stephen and St. Henry churches.

Saint Michael Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares
of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou,
O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and
all the evil spirits,
who prowl through the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Masses Back at St. Stephen Church

Beginning Friday, August 31, both the School Mass and the Tuesday evening Mass that is preceded by a Holy Our of Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will return to St Stephen Church.  The School Mass is celebrated on Fridays at 9:00am (unless there is a Holy Day of Obligation that week, in which case it is moved to the Holy Day of Obligation), and the Tuesday evening Mass is celebrated at 6:00pm, with the preceding Holy Hour beginning at 4:45pm.

Immaculate Conception

Holy Day of Obligation

Saturday, December 8
(4:00pm Vigil December 7 and 10:30am on December 8  in St. Stephen Church)

An interesting icon representing Jesus on the lap of the Virgin Mary who is herself on the lap of St. Anne, the mother of Mary.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:  The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854: DS 2803).

This doctrine was revealed through the Scriptures (Mary was “the absolute fullness of grace”) and the long Sacred Tradition of the Church.  But it was finally declared as dogma on December 8, 1954, exactly nine months before the celebration of the birth of Mary on September 8.  The doctrine is quite logical.  How could the flesh of the Son of God be formed through the flesh of one who was a slave to sin? Jesus redeemed his mother’s soul before her birth.  As one theologian has stated:  “Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit.”  Or, in English:  “God could, it was appropriate, therefore, He did it.”  O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us!

The Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a set of four candles which are lit each Sunday of the Advent Season. Three of the candles are violet-colored, and one is rose-colored. The violet candles symbolize faithful expectation, and the rose candle symbolizes joy and hope. These colors mirror the colors of the priest’s vestments used during the Sundays of Advent. In earlier times, the season of Advent had stronger penitential and ascetic aspects, and a relaxation of disciplines was offered on the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin for “rejoice”, the first words of the Introit. This turn is reflected in the shift from violet to rose. One violet candle is lit on the first evening of Advent (a Sunday). On successive Sundays, the second violet candle is added, then the rose candle on Gaudete Sunday, and finally, the third violet candle. So enough about the colors, what about the flame? The flame signifies Christ, the “Light of the World.”

Remember to Pray for the Faithful Departed!

 

Traditionally, the Church dedicates each month of the year to a certain devotion. In November, we remember the Holy Souls in Purgatory – faithful Christians who have died and gone before us but who still must atone for their sins. The time they spend in Purgatory cleanses them so that they may enter Heaven free from all effects of sin.

Praying for the dead, especially for those we have known, is a requirement of Christian charity. Our own prayers and sacrifices can be offered up to relieve their suffering.  The following prayer, among others, can be incorporated into our daily prayers during this month: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is also granted to the faithful who fulfill the following conditions:

  • On any and each day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed (the ‘Eternal rest grant unto them…’ suffices)
  • Offer an Our Father and Hail Mary for the Pope’s Intentions
  • Make a good confession within a week and be free from all attachment to sin
  • Receive Holy Communion that day (or ASAP following if unable that day)

40 Days for Life Pre-Campaign Party

Want to help mark the beginning of the end of abortion in New Orleans?

The 40 Days for Life New Orleans campaign is Sept. 26 through Nov. 4 at Women’s Health Care Center, 2701 General Pershing St., New Orleans. This is a new location for 40 Days for Life. For more information on the campaign, contact campaign director Shanon Snyder at snyder@prolifelouisiana.org or 504.835.6520.

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!

ANO Retreat Center-Men’s Retreat

The Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center in Metairie will hold a Men’s Retreat on October 19- 21, 2018, with Fr. Joe Kraft presenting on the theme, “Man Up! Living Our Call to Discipleship and Holiness.” This is the only retreat currently scheduled there for men, as the retreat center’s weekend group retreats are open to women during most of the year. For more information, call Lou Piazza at 504-628-6593.

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