From the Pastor – September 6, 2020

“Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt. 18:19-20) Most priests tend to pray a lot.  I’m one of them. At my ordination to the diaconate, I promised to pray the “prayer of the Church” called the Liturgy of the Hours. It’s made up of Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Office of Reading and Night Prayer. Of course, I also celebrate at least one Mass daily. I also try daily to make a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, recite the Rosary, do some spiritual reading and pray other devotional prayers according to the season. But I try not to “isolate” my prayer into … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 30, 2020

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life.” (Mt. 16:24-26) I spent five years of my seminary formation in Rome, studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University.  During the first three years, I obtained a Bachelor in Sacred Theology, which would be similar to a Masters of Divinity. During my final two years of seminary, I spent most of my time studying canon law. Anyway, one day I was discussing the Scriptural passage above with a friend who was in advanced Scripture studies, and I asked him: “To what was Jesus referring to when … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 23, 2020

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:16-19) Last Sunday I mentioned the “Scavi,” the excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  The excavations contain a cemetery with tombs dating from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries.  Although many of the tombs are pagan, as the visit gets closer to the area under the main altar of St. Peter’s, we begin to see many signs of Christian burials.  The highlight of the tour is the area immediately under the altar where the Pope celebrates Mass on most Sundays in Rome.  There we … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 16, 2020

Jesus said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” (Mt. 15:26-27) For the first 36 years of my life, I spent a lot of time listening to homilies at Mass, rather than giving them.  Of course, I’ve heard some really amazing homilies.  But I’ve also heard some that didn’t say a lot to me.  One of my biggest pet peeves was when there was a line in the Gospel that begged to be explained and the homilist ignored it like nobody heard it. I think that the above quote from this Sunday’s Gospel is just that sort of quote.  Think about it, did Jesus just call that woman a “dog”?  That’s pretty strong language here!  And she just took … [Read more...]

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...]