From the Pastor – August 9, 2020

Peter said to him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.”  Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt. 14:28-31) There are three things about the above encounter between Jesus and Peter from today’s Gospel that should make us think.  First, there is the command of Jesus; second, there is the fear of Peter; and, third, there is the reaction of Jesus to Peter’s lack of faith. First, we have to recognize that Jesus “commands” Peter to go across the water.  If Jesus gives us a … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 2, 2020

When it was evening, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”  Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. (Mt. 14:15-17) The miracle of the loaves and the fishes is the only miracle that occurs in each of the four Gospels.  It points back to the Old Testament when the Israelites were fed in the desert with Manna from Heaven; and it points forward to the Eucharist when we are fed by Jesus with the Bread of Life.  But we can’t deny the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – July 26, 2020

Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Mt. 13:44-46) A few years ago, after Katrina, a friend who is in the marine construction business told me a story about a man who owned some property on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain.  It was basically swamp land that the man used for hunting and fishing.  At that usage, the land couldn’t have been worth more than $1000-2000 an acre.  And then something happened.  A survey found that there was a large vein of clay on the property.  With all of the coastal protection projects going on, the need for local clay was enormous.  Small amounts of clay are not that expensive, but clay is … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – July 12, 2020

Thus says the LORD: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. (IS. 55:10-11) The Gospel for this 15th Sunday in Ordinary time is the parable from Matthew 13 about the field sown with good and bad seed.  We might have heard the expression “bad seed” as referring to someone who came from a “bad family.”  While it’s true that one’s environment can have a serious effect on our personalities, attitudes and habits, the Church teaches that we are all God’s children.  You might also hear … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – July 5, 2020

“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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – June 14, 2020

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.". (Jn 6:51) Today’s Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ  (“Corpus Christi” in Latin) is a fairly recent addition to the Church calendar, dating from only the 13th century.  We know that the Body and Blood of Christ are present at every Mass, but this special feast to honor the Body and Blood of Christ owes its existence to the petitions of a Belgium nun named Juliana of Liège from the 13th century. From a young age, Juliana had a great love for the Blessed Sacrament and longed for a special feast in its honor.  Her desire was increased by a vision she had of the Church under the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – June 7, 2020

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. (Jn 3:16) Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Do you realize that almost all of the “solemnities” and “feasts” of our Church point to an “earthly” event?  Think about it.  They’re either focused on an event in the life of Christ (His incarnation, His birth, His death, His resurrection, His ascension) or an event in the lives of His Mother, St. Joseph or one of His followers – the Saints. But only one celebration in the Church calendar points to something that can only be described as “other worldly.”  That’s Trinity Sunday.  It points to a Heavenly Reality – the reality that God is three persons in one God. It’s a mystery that has … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – May 31, 2020

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. (Acts 2:1-4) Today we celebrate the Feast of the Pentecost, which commemorates the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, an event which occurred fifty days (including Easter Sunday) after the Resurrection.  Historically and symbolically, Pentecost is related to the Jewish Festival of Weeks, celebrating the day (occurring fifty days after the Exodus) on … [Read more...]