It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. (Lk. 23:44-46)
“Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion” begins Holy Week. If it has been a while since you have experienced all of the services of Holy Week, consider doing so this year. Commemorating the events of the Lord’s Suffering and Death help us to have a greater understanding of the importance of the Resurrection and Easter Sunday. Jesus had to suffer and die before he rose!
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 ends Lent and begins the Sacred Triduum. At the conclusion of this Mass, the Eucharist is removed from the main Tabernacle in the church and “reposed” in another altar to commemorate Jesus’ being arrested and jailed. This year we have Adoration at this Altar of Repose from the end of Mass until the sun rises on Good Friday at 6:00 a.m. On Good Friday the church will be open beginning at 7:00am for those who are walking to visit the nine churches. Also open will be St. Henry Church and Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, both of which will be closed at noon. I will be hearing Confessions in St. Stephen Church from 9:00am until 12:00pm.
Later on Good Friday the Veneration of the Cross will take placed 3:00 p.m., the hour of the death of Our Lord. Stations of the Cross will be at 6:00 p.m.
Holy Saturday is a day of great stillness, as we remember that Christ died and descended into Hell. That great stillness is broken by the joy of the Easter Vigil Mass at 8:00 p.m., when we loudly proclaim the Resurrection of Our Lord. The Easter Vigil will be preceded by Confessions beginning at 6:30 p.m. There will be no 4:00 p.m. vigil Mass, and Masses on Easter Sunday will be as usual at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
This weekend there is a sign-up sheet at the back of church for those who will respond to the plea of Jesus “to stay awake with me one hour” (Mt. 26:40) on Holy Thursday. It is one of the most solemn nights of the year to contemplate Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prepares for his Passion and Death. Please consider taking one of the hours to fill out our Holy Thursday Vigil. And please consider attending all of the events of Holy Week, which is the most important week of the year for all Catholics.
Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty
Saturday Vigil at 4:00pm
Sunday at 8:00am and 10:30am
Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC)
Center of Jesus the Lord
Sunday at 10:30am
Monday – Friday 6:30am St. Henry
Tuesdays 6:00pm St. Stephen
First Fridays 7:00pm OLGC
Extraordinary Form Latin Mass
Last Sunday of month at 12:30pm
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Tuesdays 4:45 – 5:45pm St. Stephen
Thursdays 7:00 – 8:00am St. Henry
First Fridays 8:00 – 9:00pm OLGC
Confession Times at Good Shepherd
Saturdays 3:00 – 3:45pm St. Stephen
Sundays 9:30 – 10:15am St. Stephen
Sundays 10:00 – 10:30am OLGC
First Fridays 6:30 – 7:00pm OLGC
Pictured is the Jerusalem Cross. If you have the opportunity to visit the Holy Land you will see this cross displayed everywhere. The meaning behind the Jerusalem Cross can be explained in many ways. The most famous are its representation of the Five Wounds of Jesus Christ. Another is the large cross representing the Person of Jesus, with the smaller four crosses representing the Four Gospels spread to the Four Corners of the Earth started in the Upper Room, in Jerusalem, more than 2000 years ago on Pentecost. We are blessed with rich and marvelous tradition! The Good Friday collection is taken up once a year and provides the necessary basic financial resources to sustain the Catholic institutions in the Holy Land. It is our collective privilege and duty to preserve our tangible heritage in our Christian Holy Land. Please give generously!
At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday (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.
The parish is very grateful to Hunter Harris and Becky Brocato who organized the beautiful St. Joseph Altar. And Hunter and Becky 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 are playing such a tremendous role today in making the Solemnity of St. Joseph such a great success and a very happy day for all! The weather was perfect, and over 2500 plates were used. We estimate that we served at least 2000 people!! Thanks for a great day!
The tradition of a St. Joseph Day altar came to New Orleans from the Italian people of Sicily. During the middle ages, Sicily faced a severe drought, and the people were reduced to eating fava beans, which were usually given to the animals. They prayed for the intercession of St. Joseph, and their prayers were answered: the rains came! In thanksgiving, the people of Sicily developed a tradition to decorate the St. Joseph Altar on the right side of most of their churches (or to make a small private altar at home) with flowers, fruit, candles, wine, fava beans, specially prepared cakes, breads, fish and cookies. Since the Feast of Joseph (March 19) almost always occurs during Lent, no meat is allowed on the altar.
The custom of preparing an altar as a symbol of devotion to St. Joseph is rooted in the thanksgiving for his intercession years ago, but it also points to thanksgiving for a personal favor granted, for healing of the sick, or for success in business. Further, it’s an opportunity for the prosperous to share with those who are less fortunate.
As you will see in our church next Friday, the altar is in the shape of a cross, and has three tiers, to represent the Holy Trinity. Breads and cakes on the altar take the form of common Catholic symbols. There is the Monstrance which holds the Holy Eucharist during Adoration (every Tuesday from 4:45pm – 5:45pm in St Stephen, and Thursday from 7:00am – 8:00am in St Henry). There is a Chalice which holds the Precious Blood. And you can also note the Holy Cross, the dove (Holy Spirit), lamb (Jesus as the Lamb of God), hearts (Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary) and fish (“I will make you fishers of men”). A crown of thorns and a ladder refer to the crucifixion of Christ, and the palms testify to His victory over sin and death.
Besides the bread images, there are wine bottles representing the miracle of Cana, and whole fish representing the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. Other items specific to Sicily include grapes, olives and figs reminiscent of the orchards and vineyards one finds there. Another food is the pignolatti: fried pastry balls joined together by caramel in the shape of a pine cone representing the pine cones Jesus played with as a child.
Probably the best known of the customs associated with the St. Joseph’s Day altar is the fava bean. Since it thrived while other crops failed, it became the sustaining food of farmers and their families. The dried bean is commonly called a “lucky bean,” and legend has it that the person who carries a “lucky bean” will never be without coins.
The food to be served next Friday will be wonderful Italian food, including pasta with red gravy, eggplant, artichokes, fried vegetables, fried fish and wonderful salads. Additionally, foods will be served with a garnish of bread crumbs to represent saw dust – since St. Joseph was a carpenter.
The altar will still be up next Sunday, but you really don’t want to miss Wednesday! Last year more than 2000 plates were served over the course of the afternoon!
The parish is very grateful to Hunter Harris and Becky Brocato and the many many parishioners who are organizing the beautiful St. Joseph Altar. Come take part in a wonderful Italian and New Orleans tradition. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
During Lent at St. Henry Church, there will be Stations of the Cross and Confession on Fridays 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 9:30-10:15 a.m. on Sundays. Beginning March 3, the Stations will be followed by a fish fry in the Blessed Pauline Center, directly behind St. Henry Church.
St Stephen Catholic School will be hosting their annual school fundraiser during the Mardi Gras parades. Please patron the school by purchasing food and drinks through the windows of the school facing Napoleon Avenue. They will also offer bathroom passes for those wishing to avoid the Port-o-Lets. They clean the bathrooms continuously throughout each day. Please support our school that serves some of the neediest members of our community!
Our Lady of Czestochowa
St. Stephen Church – Monday, February 17
Holy Hour of Adoration 4:45pm
Holy Mass 6:00pm
A reproduction of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as the Black Madonna, is coming to St. Stephen Church on Monday, February 17.
“From Ocean to Ocean” is sponsored by Human Life International (HLI.org). This worldwide pilgrimage is dedicated to the defense and support of life and family through the intercession of the Blessed Mother under her title of Our Lady of Czestochowa.
The pilgrimage started in 2012 in Vladivostok, Russia, then made its way through 24 countries and more than 400 cities and towns to reach the Atlantic Ocean.
One of its final European stops was on Divine Mercy Sunday 2013 in Fatima, Portugal, where the icon was placed on the site of the Fatima apparitions of Our Lady, which the faithful recall on Oct. 13.
In January 2012, this splendid reproduction of the original icon in the Monastery of Jasna Góra in Poland was blessed by the archbishop of Czestochowa. The the icon was touched to the original icon, which is believed to have been painted by St. Luke.
Father Roman Majewski, prior of Jasna Gora, wrote of the pilgrimage online at FromOceantocean.org: “The pilgrimage of the Czestochowa icon ‘From Ocean to Ocean’ through the world is an unprecedented historical event and has enormous significance.”
Since Aug. 24, when the pilgrimage landed on America’s shores at St. Clement’s Island, Md., the icon has traveled to a number of parishes and places, such as Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.
The icon reproduction is also uniting East and West by stopping at Russian Orthodox churches.
The majority of churches the icon traveled to across Russia were Orthodox. It received the support and blessings of Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Catholics and Orthodox have always shared a love and veneration for Our Lady, in particular through this icon.
Father Peter West, Human Life International’s vice president for missions and coordinator for the pilgrimage in America, enumerated several examples from Catholic Tradition of the faithful’s reliance on icons and holy relics, including Marian ones. Among them:
“In the Old Testament, there was a tradition of bringing the Ark of the Covenant into battle,” he said. “At the siege of Jericho, the Israelites marched around seven times, and the city walls fell down. The people of Poland prayed [during their own] ‘siege of Jericho’ [with the Russian occupation in the 20th century]; and at the end of the siege, the Polish government dropped its restrictions, and the Pope [Blessed John Paul II] was able to go to Poland and speak boldly, shortly after which communism was defeated in that country and then in the Soviet Union.”
“The Russians carried the icon of Our Lady of Kazan into battle as they drove Napoleon out of Russia,” added Father West. “The memorial of the Holy Name of Mary [Sept. 12] was instituted in 1683, after John Sobieski won the Battle of Vienna, relieving the city and crushing Moslem domination in Europe for over 300 years. The Polish Hussars wore an emblem of Our Lady of Czestochowa [on their uniforms] as they went into battle, and the king consecrated the kingdom of Poland to Our Lady of Czestochowa.”
Father West makes the connection clear regarding miraculous interventions through Our Lady in modern times: “Now, we are renewing this tradition and bringing the icon into the battle for life. We are calling on Our Lady and bringing the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa into the battle against the culture of death and asking her to help us build a culture of life. We’ve entrusted the civilization of life and love into the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
Already, our Blessed Mother is healing souls, saving lives and transforming the culture at stops along the way. During the icon’s visit to a late-term abortion business, three women chose life.
Our Lady of Czestochowa, pray for us!
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.
An old New Orleans devotion will take place on Good Friday next week. The “nine church walk” calls for pilgrims to walk from church to church, stopping briefly in each to pray and meditate on the passion of Christ. Many pilgrims will begin the nine church walk at St. Stephen Church as early as 7:00 am. They will arrive in family groups, parish communities and CYO groups.
In other parts of the world, particularly in cities like Rome where churches are densely congregated, Catholics visit nine churches on Holy Thursday, rather than Good Friday. Traditionally, nine signifies the nine days of a novena. A wonderful novena to begin on Good Friday is the Novena for Divine Mercy, which continues until Divine Mercy Sunday.
This year St. Stephen Church and St. Henry Church will be open from 7:00 am until 1:00 pm on Good Friday. Unfortunately, work is being done in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, and it is not possible for visitors to enter. If you can help greet pilgrims and distribute water at either St. Stephen, St. Henry or Our Lady of Good Counsel churches, please contact the parish office or sign-up in the back of church.!
That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.
Please pray for the intentions of the Holy Father!
Our spiritual work of mercy-Prayer for those struggling with Infertility:
Mother of Christ, you were graced by God with the privilege of bearing our Divine Savior. You experienced the joys and challenges of being a parent. Your life was blessed with seeing Jesus grow from infancy and childhood, into his adult years of teaching a ministry. With St. Joseph, you created a home for your family to love and share together. Please intercede before the God of all life, that those struggling with infertility may conceive a baby and raise healthy children, with whom they can share the Lord’s good gifts. May their children honor them and You by lives of virtue and caring for others. May their home be holy and their family be blessed with health, happiness and abiding love. And for those for whom conceiving a child is not possible may their love for each other be fruitful. Help them not to become bitter when they encounter others who devalue life. May those who cannot give birth to a child see other ways in which they can give life to others. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (source: http://www.fertilityfriends.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=261283.0)
One of the most beautiful and fragrant reminders of Easter morning are Easter lilies. We will be purchasing them for the altar for use over the Easter season. If you would like to donate an Easter lily in the name of a loved one for $25, there are envelopes in the back of church. Please return by April 9, 2017.
Our parish and the St. Vincent De Paul Society are sponsoring Food Baskets for the needy for Easter. Please visit the “Lenten Tree/Cross” by the St. Anthony statue in the back of church fill out a card! We hope to put the baskets together by April 9, 2017. May God bless your generosity!
CChristians around the world are united in a special way during Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. Our hearts, minds and prayers are especially in solidarity with the Church in the Holy Land. Once a year, on Good Friday, Catholics through- out the world are called on to support Christians in the Holy Land. Many Christians in the Holy Land depend on this collection for their lives.
It is critical that we continue to support the Christians who are living in the Holy Land. They are surrounded by a majority Jewish and Islamic population. With your support, we ensure Christians living there and future generations of Christians will have a place to live.
It is with the funds from the Good Friday Collection that the Franciscans living in the Holy Land provide presence, care and service to the people who are living in the Holy Land. You can help preserve important shrines critical in the history of the Christian Faith, support pastoral care to the Christian community and provide for the poor through housing development and scholarship opportunities.
As a pontifical collection, requested by the Holy Father, the annual Good Friday collection offers a direct link for all Catholics to be witnesses of peace and to help protect the Holy Places. When you donate on Good Friday you are doing your part to help support Christians who are a minority in the Holy Land. Please help support these brothers and sisters of ours by giving to the special Good Friday Collection on April 14, 2017.
More resources to explain the collection and its work are also available at http://www.myfranciscan.org/good-friday.
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!
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