The Good Friday Collection

  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 … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – April 9, 2017

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 … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – April 2, 2017

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” (Jn. 11:21-27) At a recent school Mass, I spoke to the students about fear. I mentioned that I had been afraid of the dark when I was younger, and that I was still scared of snakes now that I am older. And I asked them … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Nine Church Walk

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 … [Read more...]

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, … [Read more...]

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions

April 2017  Young People. 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! … [Read more...]

The April Respect Life Focus is on Fertility/Infertility/Assisted Reproductive Technologies

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 … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 26, 2017

Jesus said,  “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.”(Jn. 9:39-41) The Gospel this Sunday is about the cure of the “man born blind.” Jesus did so by making clay out of dirt and saliva, by putting the clay on the man’s eyes, and then by instructing the man to wash in the Pool at Siloam. The closing words of this Sunday’s Gospel passage sum up the meaning of the cure of the man born blind. It’s not just a miracle cure of a physical illness.  It’s about opening the eyes of … [Read more...]

St. Joseph Altar

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! … [Read more...]