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From the Pastor – July 5, 2020

Louisiana Perpetual Adoration Chapels“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Mt 11:28-30)

“Come to me,” the Lord asks us in today’s Gospel.  The word used for “come” in the original Greek is “?????” – pronounced “dyoo-teh.”  It’s a command, and it’s directed to the entire group to whom Jesus is speaking.  The same word is used by Jesus a number of times in the New Testament, speaking to a past event, a present event and a future event.

In the past event, Jesus first used the word: “Come, after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mk 1:17).  In the future event, Jesus gives us the parable of the talents, and uses the word as a future invitation to Heaven:  “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34).

In today’s Gospel, we point to the present event: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Both of the other uses of the word “come” imply a place.  “Come, follow me” implies walking along the road with Jesus.  “Come . . . inherit the kingdom” implies a place in Heaven.  The very word “come” implies a destination.  So when Jesus says “come to me” in the Gospel today, He speaks to us.  But where is He?  Since He’s God, he’s certainly everywhere, but we have to constantly remind ourselves that He’s present – really present – in the Blessed Sacrament.  “Come to me” means to “come to the Eucharist.”  After celebrating Corpus Christi three weeks ago, we should remember that Jesus comes to us in the Blessed Sacrament, and we can respond to His invitation to “come to me” by arriving early for Mass, by going to an Adoration Chapel, or by even coming to Rectory anytime during the day and asking to spend time in the chapel.  It’s the place where we can find rest from our labors and burdens.

Last Friday was the 21st anniversary of my Ordination to the Priesthood.  It’s been a fantastic 21 years, but none better than the last 11 years as your pastor, much more time than I spent practicing law.  Believe it or not, I actually work longer hours than I ever did as a lawyer.  Yet, I rarely feel weighed down by labors and burdens now as I did practicing law.  Why is that?  It’s because I respond daily to Jesus’ command to “come to me.”  Every day I try to spend an hour in His Presence.  And He lifts my labors and burdens.  And He gives me rest.

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

Feast of St. Henry Mass

Saturday, July 11, 2020

VIGIL MASS MOVED TO ST. HENRY CHURCH!

Next Saturday at 4:00pm, there will be the annual St. Henry Feast Day Mass at St Henry Church, followed by a small reception at Grits Bar, located at 530 Lyons Street.  If you went to St. Henry’s School, attended Mass at St. Henry, are named Henry, been to Henry’s bar, or have ever met anyone named Henry, you are invited!

St. Henry (6 May 973 – 13 July 1024) was the fifth and last Holy Roman Emperor of the Ottonian dynasty, from his coronation in Rome in 1014 until his death a decade later.  He was crowned King of Germany in 1002 and King of Italy in 1004. He is the only German king to have been canonized.

Henry was the son of Henry, Duke of Bavaria. As his father was in rebellion against two previous emperors, he was often in exile. This led the younger Henry to turn to the Church at an early age, first finding refuge with the Bishop of Freising, and later being educated at the cathedral school of Hildesheim. He succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria in 995 as Henry IV.  Henry’s most significant contributions as emperor came in the realm of church-state relations and ecclesiastic administration within the Empire. He supported the bishops against the monastic clergy and aided them in establishing their temporal rule over broad territories. He strongly enforced clerical celibacy in order that the public land and offices he granted the church would not be passed on to heirs. This ensured that the bishops remained loyal to him, from whom they received their power, and provided a powerful bulwark against rebellious nobles and ambitious family members. Henry founded the Diocese of Bamberg, which quickly became a center of scholarship and art.

Henry had been working with the pope to call a Church Council to confirm his new system of politico-ecclesiastical control when he died suddenly in 1024, leaving this work unfinished.  Henry was canonized in July, 1147 by Pope Clement II; and his wife, Cunigunde, was canonized in the year 1200, by Pope Innocent III. His relics were carried on campaigns against heretics in the 1160s.  He is buried in Bamberg Cathedral.  Because as king he supported the Church, Henry is usually portrayed wearing a crown and holding a small model of a church.

Special Announcement

Now that the “stay home” orders have been lifted for the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans, we are resuming public Masses. St Stephen Church will look a bit different from the last time you saw it because we are limited in how many people can attend Mass. What that means is that two-thirds of the pews have been “roped off,” so that you can stay 6 feet away from the persons in the pew in front of and behind you. It will be your responsibility to maintain that same distance from those who are in the same pew as you. We are asking singles to please use the side aisles to allow groups of related people to use the main, larger pews.

To allow the distribution of Holy Communion to be done in a safe manner, we will only have two ministers distributing. One will be in the normal position at the entrance to the sanctuary, and one will be at the break in the pews. Please take your time leaving your seats so as to avoid crowding those in front of you and return down the aisle against the wall and then through the side pews back to your pew.

So as to make sure that we do not get too many people at each Mass, we are using a sign-up system called “Sign Up Genius.” It will allow 100 to sign up at each of the 4:00pm Vigil, 8:00am and 10:30am Sunday Masses at St Stephen Church. It will also allow 100 people to sign-up for the 5:00pm Sunday evening Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church. Here is the link:

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040A4FA8AC29ABF49-masses
After going to the page, first click the Mass you want to attend, and then click the blue “Submit and Sign Up” button below. You will be directed to a page to insert your name, but you don’t have to submit any other information. If you know of anyone who doesn’t use the internet, you may sign them up yourself, or ask them to call the office at 899-1378.

For your protection, all of our churches are being thoroughly sanitized between the Masses.

Due to the continuance of the global COVID19 pandemic, the Archbishop continues to dispense all Catholics in our Archdiocese from the obligation to attend Holy Mass, especially those who are most vulnerable. Please do not attend Mass if you have any symptoms of illness, including coughing, shortness of breath or a high temperature. We want to keep everyone safe!

In Christ,
Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty

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Update on the Restoration

Just to keep you informed about our Building Fund and Restoration, I wanted to give you a few updates.

Many have noticed the black devices on the wall.  They are part of a large-scale analysis of why the plaster is failing.  They are networked to a central server to help the contractor figure out what is causing the failures.  They were installed in February, and they were supposed to have sufficient data by the end of June.  The next step is an analysis of the data and the recommendation of a way forward.  The contractor, the architect, and/or the subcontractor are all on the hook for this.  I was in contact with them this week.

Many have also inquired about the broken kneelers. Our normal handyman, Wilton, doesn’t have the expertise to do this.  But we have hired a carpenter to work on them while he is doing extensive work in the rectory due to water intrusion and termite damage.  We have extra kneelers in the basement of the church, and we are able to cannibalize parts to fix the broken ones.  We hope to get all of the kneelers repaired before the end of the summer.

We have also gone a long way in paying down the parish loan that we took on to fund our $6,800,000 restoration. We now owe only about $100,000 on this loan, thanks to your generosity and the generosity of so many friends of the parish.  But there will always be something to fix in an old church like ours, so thank you in advance for continuing to support the Building Fund!

Parishioner Spotlight Interview

Corpus Christi Mass and Eucharistic Procession

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Next Sunday we will have our annual Eucharistic Procession to show our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Confessions

This weekend Confessions will be heard at the normal parish times in the “bride’s room,” which is the room adjacent to the rest room near the front of the church. Monsignor Nalty will be seated with his back facing the door. You can use the kneeler six feet behind him or the chair six feet in front of him. If you use the kneeler, please use a provided sanitary wipe to sanitize the kneeler before you leave.

First Friday Mass this Week

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be celebrated on First Friday, June 5, 2020 at the Marian Altar in St Stephen Church.  There is no need to sign up for this Mass or for any of the daily Masses at St. Stephen or St. Henry Church.

Saint Vincent DePaul Society

This is a great organization that supports so many needy people in so many ways. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday each month after Mass at Saint Stephen and are looking for new members. Watch the spotlight video below to hear Laura Finnegan discuss what the group does for its clients and so much more!

Parishioner Spotlight Interview

What do we mean by religious liberty?

Religious liberty is the first liberty granted to us by God and protected in the First Amendment to our Constitution. It includes more than our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It also encompasses our ability to contribute freely to the common good of all Americans.

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Libery

Almighty God, Father of all nations, for freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1). We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,  the foundation of human rights, justice and the common good. Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect  and promote our liberties. By your grace may we have the courage to defend them,  for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land. We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,  and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,  in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with whom you live and reign,  one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary – June 20, 2020

The Blessed Mother was a true contemplative. Three times in Sacred Scripture we hear about Mary reflecting on events in her life. The first time was at the time of the Annunciation when the Angel Gabriel greeted her with the title “full of grace.” Mary then “pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” (Lk 1:29). Later, after the birth of Jesus, the appearance of the angels and the visit of the shepherds, Mary “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Lk 2:19). Then, after Jesus was found in the temple and told Mary, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house.” (Lk. 2:49), Mary again “kept all these things in her heart.” (Lk 2:51).

Just as devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a special form of devotion to the Person of Jesus, so the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a special form of devotion to Mary. The devotion points to Mary’s interior life, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections Ultimately the devotion points to her virginal love for her God, her maternal love for her Divine Son, and her motherly and compassionate love for her sinful children in this “valley of tears.”

Prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Friday, June 19, 2020
Margaret Alacoque was born in Burgundy, France on 22 July, 1647. From her early childhood Margaret showed intense love for the Blessed Sacrament, and preferred silence and prayer to childish amusements. During her time before the Blessed Sacrament, Christ even made Himself visually apparent to her. This did not surprise her, because she thought others had the same Divine assistance! Although tempted by the luxuries and distractions of the world, Margaret Mary entered the Visitation Convent in 1572, where her visions became known. Because of her perceived “special status,” she was subjected to many trials to prove her vocation. She showed obedience, humility, and invariable charity towards those who persecuted her.

Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish a Holy Hour during which she lay prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven until midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness Christ endured when he was abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony. She also made sure to receive Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month.

In the first great revelation, Jesus made known to her His ardent desire to be loved by men and His design of manifesting His Sacred Heart with all of its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation. He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the Feast of the Sacred Heart; He also called her His “Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart.” The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings.

The discussion of the mission and virtues of Margaret Mary continued for years. All her actions, her revelations, her spiritual maxims, her teachings regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart, of which she was the chief exponent as well as the apostle, were subjected to the most severe and minute examination. After a thorough examination, Pope Pius IX declared her Blessed in 1864. In 1856, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was inaugurated.  And in 1920 Margaret Mary was canonized by Pope Benedict XV.

Eucharistic Miracles of the World

Sunday, June 7, 2020 is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi).   On that weekend, our parish will have the Vatican International Exhibit of Eucharistic Miracles on display.  Did you know that there have been hundreds of documented cases where the bread and wine consecrated at Mass actually turned into visible flesh and blood?  The exhibit showcases dozens of these cases with photos and descriptions.


Catalogue of the Vatican International Exhibition

With an extensive assortment of photographs and historical descriptions, the exhibition presents some of the principal Eucharistic Miracles that have taken place over the centuries and throughout the world. Most Eucharistic miracles involve incidences in which the Host has “turned into human flesh and blood.” Certainly, the Church teaches (and we believe) that the consecrated Host is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. Through Eucharistic miracles, Christ manifests His Presence in a more tangible and visible way. Interestingly, many Eucharistic miracles have occurred during times of weakened Faith. For example, a number of Eucharist miracles have taken place as a result of someone, often the priest himself, doubting the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Included in the exhibit are descriptions of many of the most famous miracles, including those of Lanciano, Orvieto and Siena. Each of them has received full approval by the Church. By means of the exhibit, one can “virtually visit” the places where the miracles occurred.

It is important for us to remember that while Eucharistic Miracles can help us more fully understand and live our faith (with Christ the Eucharist as its source and summit), these Miracles are only useful as long as they are closely focused on Jesus Christ. They cannot become autonomous. Miracles can strengthen the faith of believers and even non-believers, but they are valuable only if they direct us to the Eucharist instituted by Christ and present at each celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They must serve the faith. They must not and cannot add anything to the one and only, definitive gift of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. They are a humble reminder of the Real Presence and can impart a more fruitful and deeper knowledge of it. Join us and see the different ways that Christ has manifested His Real Presence to increase our faith!

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