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...]

From the Pastor – May 10, 2020

You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9) A few years ago a friend told me that, although he didn’t come to Sunday Mass at St. Stephen, he did receive the bulletin and read my “sermons.”  After being assured that he did go to Sunday Mass somewhere else, I told him that these bulletin reflections are rarely connected to my Sunday homilies.  Although they can be my first thoughts on the Gospel or another one of the readings, there are only rare similarities between this column and the Sunday homily. This is one of my more typical reflections, since Deacon Rich has the homily this weekend (I had planned on being out of town for a … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – May 3, 2020

Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (Jn 10:1-3) 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.  We have a beautiful stained-glass image of this in the stairway leading up to the choir loft.  In fact, it’s the screensaver on my phone!  Or perhaps we … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – April 26, 2020

As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” (Lk 24:28-31a) In 2004, Pope Saint John Paul II announced a special “Year of the Eucharist, and issued the Apostolic Letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine, declaring the special year and outlining its purpose. It remains one of my favorite of his letters. The Latin title “Mane nobiscum Domine” is translated “remain with us, Lord,” and recalls the words in today’s Gospel spoken by the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – April 19, 2020

Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (Jn 21-26-29) We call him “Doubting Thomas,” but the words spoken by Thomas after he touched the hands and side of Jesus are the most important of John’s Gospel because they form a literary “inclusion” with the very first words of the Gospel.  In John 1:1 we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  And then that … [Read more...]