Special Announcement – Sunday Noon Mass Now Added!

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 – 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...]

From the Pastor – April 12, 2020

We are witnesses of all that He did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.  They put Him to death by hanging him on a tree.  This man God raised on the third day and granted that He be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.  (Acts 10-39-41) One year when I was working in Rome, my parents came to visit me in the weeks before Easter.  Since my Dad was a permanent deacon, he sat next to me on the altar when we went to celebrate Mass at the beautiful church of St. Alphonsus near St. Mary Major where the original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is enshrined.  As it came time to read the Gospel, my Dad asked for the blessing, and then began to solemnly intone “Al-le-luia!  … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – April 5, 2020

On the next day, when the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.”  (John 12:12-13) A common custom in many lands of the ancient Middle East was 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 branches to place on the street.  Only the Gospel of John specifically mentions palms. So, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 29, 2020

“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 … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 22, 2020

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...]

From Archbishop Aymond

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