From the Pastor – November 24, 2019

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine, they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” (Lk 23:35-38)

How many times have we gazed at a crucifix and seen that inscription: “I.N.R.I.”  We know it means something about Jesus being “King of the Jews,” even if we don’t remember that it comes from the first letters of the Latin inscription meaning “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews:  Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum.  The key is understanding what’s behind that inscription.  Is it just a “mocking” inscription provided by Pontius Pilate?  Was it placed there to enrage the Jewish Sanhedrin?  Or is it part of God the Father’s providential plan to reveal His Son to us?

To understand the role of Jesus as King, we have to understand a little bit of the Jewish concept of Messiah (literally meaning “anointed one”), a term used in the Old Testament to describe a king who was traditionally anointed with holy oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25. In Jewish eschatology the term referred to a future Jewish King from the Davidic line, who would be “anointed” and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age.

And here’s where Jesus comes in.  He comes to fulfill those prophecies.  He’s from the Davidic line; He ushers in a new age of the Messiah; He spends the majority of his preaching ministry focusing on one thing: the Kingdom of God.  After the Apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they began to fearlessly proclaim Jesus as “the Christ,” Christ being the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah.

And so we celebrate this weekend the Solemnity of Christ the King.  We place Him as King of our Universe (since He made it and governs it); as Kings of ourselves (since He made us); and Kings of our destiny (since He has ascended to the Father to prepare a place for us).

But nowhere is Christ’s “kingship” more apparent than on the cross.  By dying for us, Jesus gave us the most radical notion of leadership.  The King loves us – His subjects – so much that He leads not by a command, but by an example.  He died first.  And we follow.  That’s how we reach the kingdom.

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

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Christmas Decoration Help Needed

We will need help in decorating the church for Christmas because some of our regulars are unable to do so.  This is an early message, but we will decorate the church on December 22, 2019 after the 10:30am Mass. Anyone willing to help please contact the parish office. … [Read More...]

Thanksgiving Baskets

The St. Vincent de Paul Society would like to request your help in providing Thanksgiving Baskets for the needy of our parish.  We would appreciate monetary, or donations of non-perishable food items and gift cards.  Please contribute to the poor box, or bring items listed on the red sheets at the Thanksgiving display to church next weekend, or to rectory.  As always, thank you for your GENEROUS support! … [Read More...]

All Saints Day

November 1 – All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation. Vigil Mass on October 31 at 6:00pm (St. Stephen) Masses at 6:30am (St. Henry) and 9:00am (St. Stephen) … [Read More...]

Ministering to Those Who Have Experienced Miscarriage or Abortion

The Archdiocese of New Orleans will be hosting a training by Life Perspectives to broaden your understanding of grief and loss after miscarriage and abortion, explore how to be a safe place for hurting men and women, and provide healing resources to help those in your community. The training will take place on Thursday, October 17, 2019, from 6:30-8:30 PM at Schulte Auditorium at Notre Dame Seminary (2901 S. Carrolton Ave). There is no cost for the training and all materials will be provided. Please register by going to nolacatholic.org/miscarriage or contact the Office of Marriage and Family Life at 504-861-4243 or mfl@arch-no.org. … [Read More...]

Missionaries and Martyrdom

The only reason we know about Jesus Christ is that someone told us. More than likely, that person was our parents, but it could have been a priest, a teacher or even a friend. And the person who told us only knew about Jesus because someone had told him or her. And someone told that person, too. And so on. We trace that chain of people passing on their knowledge of Christ back to the Apostles, who were told by Jesus to: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:19-20). This statement of Jesus is called the “Great Commission” - the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his Apostles to spread His teachings to everyone. It is an important tenet in Christian theology emphasizing mission work, evangelism, and baptism; and it is the primary basis for Christian missionary activity today. The interesting thing about missionary activity is the danger that has surrounded it since the beginning. Out of the eleven Apostles charged with the Great Commission, only St. John … [Read More...]

What is “Active Participation”?

“In the celebration of Mass the faithful form a holy people, a people whom God has made his own, a royal priesthood, so that they may give thanks to God and offer the spotless Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with him, and so that they may learn to offer themselves.”  This is the basis for the “full conscious and active participation” of the faithful demanded by the very nature of the Liturgy.  Because the gathered liturgical assembly forms one body, each of its members must shun “any appearance of individualism or division, keeping before their eyes that they have only one Father in heaven and accordingly are all brothers and sisters to each other.”  Singing is one of the primary ways that the assembly of the faithful participates actively in the Liturgy. The people are encouraged “to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalms, antiphons [and] hymns. . . .” The musical formation of the assembly must be a continuing concern in order to foster full, conscious, and active participation.  Sing to the Lord – Music in Divine Worship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 24, 25, 26. … [Read More...]

The Proclamation Thanksgiving

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's National day of Thanksgiving, and sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the … [Read More...]

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 … [Read More...]

Blessing of the Cemeteries

On All Saints Day, Friday, November 1, 2019, at 11:30am, Msgr. Nalty will bless the St Vincent Cemeteries on Soniat and Loyola Avenue (behind Newman School).  These cemeteries are the resting places for many longtime parishioners of St. Stephen Church, as well as the Vincentian Priests and Daughters of Charity who served our parish for over 150 years.  At 12:00 noon, Msgr. Nalty will bless St Joseph Cemetery located at 2220 Washington Ave. If you care to attend, an indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; it is partial on other days of the year. To acquire a plenary indulgence, one must fulfill the following three conditions: (1) Sacramental Confession, (2) Holy Communion, and (3) prayer for the intention of the Holy Father. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the visit; it is, however, fitting that Holy Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day as the visit.  The condition of … [Read More...]

All Hallows’ Eve

Halloween or All Hallows' Eve is not a liturgical feast on the Catholic calendar, but the celebration has deep ties to the Liturgical Year. These three consecutive days ”” Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day ”” bring to mind the Communion of Believers. On earth we are called the “Church Militant,” because we are striving to get to heaven.  We pray for the “Church Suffering,” the souls in Purgatory, especially on All Souls Day (and even the entire month of November). We also honor and ask the intercession of the “Church Triumphant,” those souls, whether canonized or uncanonized, who are in Heaven. In England, saints or holy people are called “hallowed,” hence All Saints Day was  “All Hallow's Day.” The evening before the feast became popularly known as “All Hallows' Eve” or even shorter, "Hallowe'en." Since Vatican II, some liturgical observances have been altered, one being that the practice of a “fast prior to a feast” is no longer required. Originally, the days preceding great solemnities, like Christmas and All Saints Day, had a penitential nature, requiring abstinence from meat, fasting and prayer. Although no longer required by the Church, it is still a devout … [Read More...]

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis

For World Mission Day 2019 Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World Dear Brothers and Sisters, For the month of October 2019, I have asked that the whole Church revive her missionary awareness and commitment as we commemorate the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict XV (30 November 1919). Its farsighted and prophetic vision of the apostolate has made me realize once again the importance of renewing the Church’s missionary commitment and giving fresh evangelical impulse to her work of preaching and bringing to the world the salvation of Jesus Christ, who died and rose again. The title of the present Message is the same as that of October’s Missionary Month: Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World. Celebrating this month will help us first to rediscover the missionary dimension of our faith in Jesus Christ, a faith graciously bestowed on us in baptism. Our filial relationship with God is not something simply private, but always in relation to the Church. Through our communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we, together with so many of our other brothers and sisters, are born to new life. … [Read More...]

Roundtable Discussion for Laity on the concept of “Clericalism”

Notre Dame Seminary will host a roundtable discussion for laity to discuss the concept of “clericalism” on October 22, 2019 starting at 6:30pm.  This meeting is for laity only and will be facilitated by Sharon Rodi.  If anyone would like to participate in this program, please contact Msgr. Nalty by email or through the parish office because space is limited. … [Read More...]

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