From the Pastor – May 12, 2019

masstime.usJesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.” (Jn 10:27-28)

For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Rev. 7:17)

This week is the Fourth Sunday in Easter, and it is traditionally known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” because of the Gospel reading today in which Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd. We’re all familiar with the images: Jesus standing, staff in hand, with the lamb across his shoulders. Or perhaps we think of Jesus sitting under a tree – a little lamb on his lap. These are beautiful images, but they are incomplete.

For thousands of years, the Jewish people have used the Good Shepherd image to refer to God. It goes back to Genesis 49:24, where Joseph was saved “By the power of the mighty one of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, the God of your father…” Such imagery was used by Moses and most of the prophets. And it was used most familiarly by David in the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

So when Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd, he wasn’t singling out the nicest herdsmen in the field. He was pointing to the prophecies about Himself. He was revealing Himself as God. But within this revelation was something knew. Jesus says at Jn 10:11 that “A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” Now this might seem a bit extreme. Sure, the shepherd loved the sheep. Sure he protected, fed and led them. But most of us would find it strange to give up our life for animals.

And that’s what happened, and that’s what is revealed in the second reading from Revelations. “the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them.” So the Good Shepherd is also the Lamb of God. And that Lamb of God lays down his life for the other lambs. The infinite God becomes a lamb, and allows Himself to be led to the slaughter on the altar of the cross. Behold the Lamb of God, slain on the cross to take away the sins of the world!

During the recent remembrance of Good Friday, I described the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. I tried to imagine why would God allow Himself to be so brutally slaughtered by sinful men. The theological answer would be that He did it to show how much He loves us. It’s hard to wrap our minds around a love that strong. I can’t explain the “why” He would die for us. But I know that He did.
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Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty
msgr.nalty@gmail.com

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Diaconal Ordinations

On Saturday, May 18, 2019, at 10:00 AM at St. Louis Cathedral, we will ordain Sylvester Ugbada Adoga, Luis Carlos Duarte Gonza?lez, Kesiena Dennis Obienu, Luis Carlos Valencia Osorio and John Daniel Yike to the Transitional Diaconate for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. You are cordially invited to attend the ceremony.

Mother’s Day and May Crowning

The beginning of Mother’s Day in the United States is usually attributed to a declaration made in 1873 by Julia Ward Howe in which she asked all woman to come together to work for peace. Julia is best known as the author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which she wrote in 1862. After the publication of the poem, Julia became more famous, and she began to give public speeches, many of which were against war. Julia had witnessed first-hand some of the worst effects of the Civil War – not only the death and disease that killed and maimed the soldiers, but the widows and orphans who were left behind.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe took on a new issue and a new cause. She determined that peace was one of the most important causes of the world. She wanted women to come together across national lines, to promote common values and to commit to finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts. Her original idea was to seek formal recognition of a “Mother’s Day for Peace.” Her idea was influenced by Anna Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who in 1858 had attempted to improve sanitation through “Mothers’ Work Days.” She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

Anna Jarvis’ daughter was also named Anna, and she continued the work of her mother and the work of Julia Howe. Much later, when her mother died, the second Anna Jarvis started her own crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother’s Day was celebrated in West Virginia in 1907 in the church where the elder Anna Jarvis had taught Sunday School. On that day she passed out 500 white carnations – one for each mother in the congregation. The custom caught on – spreading eventually to 45 states. In 1914 the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, and President Woodrow Wilson signed it, establishing “Mother’s Day” to emphasize a women’s role in the family (and not as activists in the public arena, as Howe’s Mother’s Day had been). One thing important to note is that the apostrophe in “Mother’s Day” is in between the “r” and the “s,” indicating the original meaning of the day, which is to honor one’s own Mother, rather than Mothers in general. It’s interesting that the Anna Jarvis who succeeded in making Mother’s Day a national holiday never became a mother herself.

Altar of Repose

Mass of the Lord’s Supper

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.

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.

Congratulations to Maria Brady and Kate Mascari!

Archbishop Aymond will present the Order of St. Louis IX Medallion to our parishioners Maria Brady and Kate Mascari on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. in St. Joseph Church.  The Order of St. Louis IX award was established more than 40 years ago to honor those members of the laity who have contributed their time and talents to the church.

Even if you don’t know Marie and Kate, you surely know of their work!  They are two of our most diligent rectory volunteers.  Both of them help us with the collection counting.  Kate is also involved with the Society of St Vincent de Paul, and Maria helps with our sacramental registers.  “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” (Mt 25:40).

Mother’s Day and May Crowning

The beginning of Mother’s Day in the United States is usually attributed to a declaration made in 1873 by Julia Ward Howe in which she asked all woman to come together to work for peace. Julia is best known as the author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which she wrote in 1862. After the publication of the poem, Julia became more famous, and she began to give public speeches, many of which were against war. Julia had witnessed first-hand some of the worst effects of the Civil War – not only the death and disease that killed and maimed the soldiers, but the widows and orphans who were left behind.

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe took on a new issue and a new cause. She determined that peace was one of the most important causes of the world. She wanted women to come together across national lines, to promote common values and to commit to finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts. Her original idea was to seek formal recognition of a “Mother’s Day for Peace.” Her idea was influenced by Anna Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who in 1858 had attempted to improve sanitation through “Mothers’ Work Days.” She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

Anna Jarvis’ daughter was also named Anna, and she continued the work of her mother and the work of Julia Howe. Much later, when her mother died, the second Anna Jarvis started her own crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother’s Day was celebrated in West Virginia in 1907 in the church where the elder Anna Jarvis had taught Sunday School. On that day she passed out 500 white carnations – one for each mother in the congregation. The custom caught on – spreading eventually to 45 states. In 1914 the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution, and President Woodrow Wilson signed it, establishing “Mother’s Day” to emphasize a women’s role in the family (and not as activists in the public arena, as Howe’s Mother’s Day had been). One thing important to note is that the apostrophe in “Mother’s Day” is in between the “r” and the “s,” indicating the original meaning of the day, which is to honor one’s own Mother, rather than Mothers in general. It’s interesting that the Anna Jarvis who succeeded in making Mother’s Day a national holiday never became a mother herself.

Corporal Work of Mercy: Feeding the Hungry

A request from Deacon Richard Eason: “The parish provides a meal service for the homeless at the Rebuild Center on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, and at the Ozanam Inn on the 4th Thursday of each month. This is a great opportunity to serve Our Lord’s neediest people and enjoy fellowship with our parishioners. The next meal service is set for March 3rd. For those interested, the meal is cooked in the kitchen of the rectory of Our Lady of Good Counsel, beginning at noon on the day before. The meal service is provided at the Please contact Dorothy ‘Dottie’ Forly,” at 242-1919.

The Story of the Palms

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.

Nine Church Walk

A traditional New Orleans devotion takes place on Good Friday next week. The “nine church walk” calls for pilgrims to walk from church to church, stopping briefly in each of nine churches, to pray and meditate on the passion of Christ.  In other parts of the world, particularly in cities like Rome where churches are densely congregated, Catholics visit 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.

Many pilgrims begin the nine church walk at St. Stephen Church as early as 7:00 am.  They will arrive in family groups, parish communities and youth groups.

St. Stephen Church, St. Henry Church and Our Lady of Good Counsel will be open from 7:00 am until noon on Good Friday.  If you can help greet pilgrims and distribute water at either St. Stephen, St. Henry or Our Lady of Good Counsel, please contact the parish office at 899-1378, or just show up!

Easter Lilies!

Some 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 14, 2019.

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