From the Pastor – March 10, 2019

Very short prayersFilled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.  (Lk 4:1-2a)

That little verse above is the reason behind the holy Season of Lent.  And all I can say is thank God for Lent!

I always look forward to Lent.  And this year is no exception.  Christmas ran into New Year’ and Epiphany, then the longest king cake season ever, and then right on its heals Mardi Gras season started with eight days of parades in front of the church!

Now that Lent is here, I’m happy to create my own little desert of calm by the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  It’s the perfect remedy to the last two weeks of noise, feasting and excess.  Let’s all take a deep breath!

One of the good disciplines of Lent is “giving something up.”  When I was in seminary, I remember that my rector always gave up smoking cigars during Lent.  And then one Friday in Lent, I went by his room and smelled cigar smoke.  The next day I asked him about it, and he said that he decided to do something different because he felt like everyone knew he gave up cigars.  He felt like he was doing it for the “crowd” rather than God.  Well, I’m not sure that that was necessarily a “bad” thing that people knew about it.

Think about the Gospel today and the fast of Jesus.  The only way the Evangelist Luke would have known to write about the 40 day fast is if Jesus had told His disciples about it!  No one else was there when Christ fasted.  He must have opened up his heart to tell them a little about this important moment in His hidden life.  Sharing pain can help with healing, sharing joy can bring joy, and sharing penance can give strength.  Jesus shared this story to tell us that He was tempted and He overcame.  And filled with the same Holy Spirit as Jesus, we can overcome the temptations of the world so as to focus on the reward of heaven.  I ate my last bit of steak on Tuesday night and washed it down with a last sip of wine.  And now I’ve got those imposing 40 days ahead of me.  Maybe in a few years when I build up enough spiritual strength, I’ll have the courage to give up coffee!
masstime.us for Louisiana Mass Times
(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty
msgr.nalty@gmail.com

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Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday & Lent Schedule Changes!

Mardi Gras Day:  Mass at St. Henry at 8:00 a.m.  However, There will not be Adoration or Mass on Tuesday evening.

Ash Wednesday:  The distribution of ashes will take place at 6:30 a.m. at St. Henry and 12:00 noon and 6:00 p.m. at St. Stephen Church. Before the 6:00 p.m. Mass in the church there will be a Holy Hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Stations of the Cross

During Lent there will be Stations of the Cross and Confession on Fridays at St. Henry Church.  Confession begins 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.

Lenten Guidelines

FASTING AND ABSTINENCE
Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 59. Those who are bound to fast may take only one full meal. Two smaller

meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to each one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted. Abstinence from meat is to be observed by all Catholics 14 years or older on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and on all Fridays of Lent. The determination of certain days as obligatory days of penance should not be understood as limiting the occasions for Christian penance.

MAINTAINING THE SPIRIT OF OF LENT
The Spirit of the season of Lent should be maintained throughout the weeks of Lent. The obligation to observe penitential days of the Church is a very important part of our spiritual life.  Individual circumstances must be taken into account, but in general, people should seek to do more rather than less, since fast and abstinence on the days prescribed should be considered a minimal response to the Lord’s call to penance and conversion of life.

St. Joseph Altar Cookies!

Thanks to all who brought bags of flour and sugar and Crisco, and placing them in the large wooden box at the entrance of the church! In preparation for the St. Joseph Altar on Tuesday, March 19, we will begin making the traditional Italian cookies.  Anyone who would like to learn how to prepare these delicacies is asked to go to:

St. Stephen School on Sunday, March 10 after the 10:30am Mass.

It’s a real family affair, and an instruction in the traditions of so many of our parishioners of Italian heritage!   For more details, contact Becky Brocato at figladybrocato@gmail.com or at 920-0770.

St. Blaise Throat Blessing

St. Blaise Throat Blessing after Masses Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3

Sunday, February 3 is the Feast of St. Blase, Bishop and Martyr, although it is not celebrated because it falls on a Sunday. St. Blaise, the bishop of Sebaste in Armenia was martyred in the year 316. The oldest accounts tell us that Blaise was a physician at Sebaste before he was made bishop. In the 4th century persecution of Licinius, St. Blaise was taken prisoner. After suffering various forms of torture he was beheaded.

The most popular story attributed to St. Blaise occurred while he was in prison, when he cured a young a boy who was in danger of choking to death because of a fishbone in his throat.  That story, and the fact that St. Blaise was a doctor, made the saint very popular for intercessory prayer for throat ailments.

At an early date, the veneration of this Eastern saint was brought into Europe, and Blaise became one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages. Numberless churches and altars were dedicated to him.

On the feast day, the blessing of St. Blaise will be given in St. Henry Church after the 6:30 am Mass. Also, the blessing will be given in St. Stephen Church after the 6:00 pm Mass on Tuesday, February 4. The blessing of the throat is carried out using two white taper candles that were blessed on the previous day, February 2, the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas Day). The white color of the candles symbolizes purity. A red ribbon draped over the base of the candles symbolizes the martyrdom of St. Blaise. The candles are grasped in an X-shape and held up to the throat of the person receiving the blessing: “Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

What is Ordinary Time?

The Christmas Season officially concluded on the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord last Sunday, and Monday we began “Ordinary Time” with the colors of the vestments and altar furnishing returning to green from the violet of Advent and the white of Christmas. What’s so “ordinary” about it? Actually, “Ordinary Time” is the English translation of the Latin Tempus Per Annum (“time throughout the year”) and gets its name from the word ordinal, meaning “numbered,” because we begin to count the weeks rather than the seasons. Ordinary Time, depending on the year, runs either 33 or 34 weeks, and makes up the time in the Church calendar that does not fall within the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter.

The Church celebrates two periods as Ordinary Time. We just entered the first period, which runs until the evening of Mardi Gras when Lent begins. The second period begins on the Monday after Pentecost and runs until Advent begins. This period includes Christ the King Sunday, the final Sunday of Ordinary Time.

The use of the term “Ordinary Time” was used before the Second Vatican Council, but it was not until after the council that the term was officially used to designate the period between Epiphany and Lent, and the period between Pentecost and Advent. The older names for those seasons were the “Season After Epiphany” and the “Season After Pentecost.”

Ordinary Time celebrates the mystery of the life of Christ in all its aspects, and contains many important liturgical celebrations, including, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, the Assumption of Mary, he Exaltation of the Holy Cross, All Saints, All Souls and Christ the King. In addition, the Church continues to celebrate other feast days of Mary, feasts of many saints, and the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

What Is BEST LENT EVER?

It’s a free email program that will guide you on an incredible journey toward the-best-version-of-yourself. From Ash Wednesday to Easter, you’ll discover ways to transform your life in forty days.

Coming soon to Good Shepherd Parish…

Lenten Fish Fry

Come and support the KC’s and Good Shepherd Parish at a fish fry. Knights of Columbus will be hosting the Lenten Fish Fry every Friday during Lent starting March 8th through April 12th at the Mother Pauline Center after the 6pm Stations of the Cross in St. Stephens Church.  March 8th Stations will be at St Henrys.

Plate will consist of Fish and French Fries or Crawfish Pasta, Cole Slaw, Vegetable, Desert and a Drink

Cost: $9.00
$6.00 Child’s Plate

Hope to see you there!

Stations of the Cross

During Lent there will be Stations of the Cross and Confession on Fridays at St. Henry Church.  Confession begins 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.

5 Benefits of Frequent Confession

It’s almost Lent! This season provides us as Catholics an opportunity to “repent and believe in the Gospel.” One of the ways we can best do this is by going to Confession, where we have the opportunity to accept the many graces God has in store for us through this beautiful – and often underutilized – Sacrament. But Lent isn’t the only time to make Reconciliation part of your schedule. Frequent Confession has so many benefits, including:

  1. Confession helps us to better “know thyself.” St. Augustine and countless other saints and doctors of the Church talk about the importance of knowing ourselves well. Through coming to know ourselves better, we realized how fallen we are, and how badly we need God’s help and grace to get through life. Frequent Confession helps remind us to rely on God to help rid us of our sins.
  2. Confession helps us to overcome sin and vice. The grace we receive from the Sacrament of Confession helps us combat our faults and failings and break our habits of vice much more easily and expediently than we could otherwise do without the sacramental grace.
  3. Confession brings us peace. Guilt from the sins we commit can make us feel all mixed up inside and cause us to lose our peace and joy. When we hear God’s forgiving words to us from the lips of the priest in Confession, a burden is lifted off our shoulders. Sins weigh us down and enslave us, often giving our passions power over us, instead of us having control over our passions. With the healing power of the Sacrament of Confession, we can again feel the peace of heart and soul that comes from being in a good relationship with God.
  4. Confession helps us become more saintly, more like Jesus! Jesus was perfectly humble, perfectly generous, perfectly patient, perfectly loving – perfectly everything! Don’t you wish you could be as humble, generous, patient, and loving as Jesus? Saints throughout history have felt that way too, and they have frequented the Sacrament of Confession to help transform them into people who are more like Christ. Little images of Christ – that’s what saints are!
  5. Confession strengthens our will. Every time we experience the Sacrament of Confession, God strengthens our will and our self-control to be able to resist the temptations that confront us in our lives. We become more resolute to follow God’s will and not our own whims.

The words of absolution in the Confessional are beautiful: “I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus is waiting to forgive you – all you have to do is ask! Don’t miss out any longer on the healing power of Confession…go to Confession this week, and invite someone else too, as part of this “Year of Mercy” called for by Pope Francis.

Also, consider sharing this article or our Good Confession.com site with someone in your life whom you believe would benefit from the graces of Sacramental Reconciliation!

Mardi Gras Madness

PLEASE COME WATCH THE PARADES IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH, WHICH IS ENHANCED BY OUR NEW LIGHTING! AND PLEASE PATRONIZE OUR SCHOOL DURING MARDI GRAS BY PURCHASING FOOD AND DRINKS, AND BUYING BATHROOM PASSES! THIS IS OUR MAJOR SCHOOL FUNDRAISER!

Our Lady of Lourdes

On February 11, the Church remembers the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Bernadette Soubirous that took place a little over 150 years ago in Lourdes, France.  Since Our Lady of Lourdes Parish down the street on Napoleon Avenue has been closed, and since next Wednesday is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I thought a little “refresher course” on the apparitions of Lourdes might be in order.

On 11 February 1858, Bernadette Soubirous went with two girlfriends to collect some firewood to sell in order to be able to buy some bread. As she was wading through a river near the Grotto of Massabielle, she heard the wind but did not see the trees and bushes move. As she looked toward the Grotto, she saw a light and a beautiful lady – “Lovelier than I have ever seen” – dressed in white with a blue sash fastened around her waist and two golden yellow roses on each foot. She remained in an ecstatic state contemplating the Lady until called by her friends. Three days later, Bernadette returned to the Grotto with the two other girls, who reportedly became afraid when they saw her in ecstasy. Bernadette remained ecstatic when they returned to the village. On 18 February, she was told by the Lady to return to the Grotto over a period of two weeks. The Lady said: “I promise to make you happy not in this world but in the next.” In total, there were seventeen apparitions, the last taking place on July 16 of the same year. Bernadette often fell into an ecstasy during these apparitions, which were witnessed by the hundreds of people, although no one except Bernadette ever saw or heard the apparition.

During one of the apparitions, the Lady told Bernadette to drink of a mysterious spring within the grotto itself, something unknown and unseen. Bernadette scratched at the ground, and water began bubbling up and soon gushed forth. The water was muddy at first, but became increasingly clean. As word of the “miraculous spring” spread, the water was given to medical patients of all kinds, after which numerous miracle cures were reported. The first cure with a “certified miracle” was a women whose right hand had been deformed as a consequence of an accident. However, several miracles turned out to be short-term improvement or even hoaxes, so Church and government officials became increasingly concerned. Eventually, the government barricaded the Grotto and issued stiff penalties for anybody trying to get near the spring. In the process, Lourdes became a national issue in France, resulting in the intervention of emperor Napoleon III to reopen the grotto on 4 October 1858.

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