Twelve Days of Christmas

I always loved Christmas when I was growing up. It wasn't just the gifts, the lights, the holly or the music. It was the magical feeling of awaiting the Birth of Christ. In our house, we always had a creche scene, an Advent calendar and a Christmas tree with a star on top. But every year, December 26th seemed like such a let-down! Sure, we still had the tree and decorations, but the excitement, the sense of joy, and the feasting gave way to empty wrapping paper and leftovers. One problem is that Christmas has become an isolated feast day, excised from its place in the liturgical year, especially Advent, Epiphany, and the Baptism of Our Lord. Just as we often ignore the hopeful and quietly expectant mood of Advent, we also forget about the feasting and joy of the full Christmas season. But … [Read more...]

Feast of the Holy Family

December 29 Consecration to the Holy Family O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example, didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou protect us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy holy fear, true peace and concord in Christian love: in order that by living according to the divine pattern of Thy family we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness. Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by the kindly intercession make this our humble … [Read more...]

What are the “O Antiphons?”

The Church has been singing the "O" Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer in the Divine Office from December 17-23, a time called the “Golden Nights.” They are part of a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative "Come!" embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah.The seven "O Antiphons" (also called the "Greater Antiphons" or "Major Antiphons") are prayers that come from Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time which is called the “Golden … [Read more...]

Immaculate Conception

Holy Day of Obligation Saturday, December 8 (4:00pm Vigil December 7 and 10:30am on December 8  in St. Stephen Church)An interesting icon representing Jesus on the lap of the Virgin Mary who is herself on the lap of St. Anne, the mother of Mary.The dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:  The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854: DS 2803).This doctrine was revealed through the Scriptures (Mary was “the absolute fullness of grace”) and the long Sacred Tradition of the Church.  But it was finally … [Read more...]

The Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a set of four candles which are lit each Sunday of the Advent Season. Three of the candles are violet-colored, and one is rose-colored. The violet candles symbolize faithful expectation, and the rose candle symbolizes joy and hope. These colors mirror the colors of the priest's vestments used during the Sundays of Advent. In earlier times, the season of Advent had stronger penitential and ascetic aspects, and a relaxation of disciplines was offered on the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin for "rejoice", the first words of the Introit. This turn is reflected in the shift from violet to rose. One violet candle is lit on the first evening of Advent (a Sunday). On successive Sundays, the second violet candle is added, then the rose candle on … [Read more...]

Remember to Pray for the Faithful Departed!

 Traditionally, the Church dedicates each month of the year to a certain devotion. In November, we remember the Holy Souls in Purgatory – faithful Christians who have died and gone before us but who still must atone for their sins. The time they spend in Purgatory cleanses them so that they may enter Heaven free from all effects of sin.Praying for the dead, especially for those we have known, is a requirement of Christian charity. Our own prayers and sacrifices can be offered up to relieve their suffering.  The following prayer, among others, can be incorporated into our daily prayers during this month: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.A … [Read more...]

40 Days for Life Pre-Campaign Party

Want to help mark the beginning of the end of abortion in New Orleans?The 40 Days for Life New Orleans campaign is Sept. 26 through Nov. 4 at Women’s Health Care Center, 2701 General Pershing St., New Orleans. This is a new location for 40 Days for Life. For more information on the campaign, contact campaign director Shanon Snyder at snyder@prolifelouisiana.org or 504.835.6520. … [Read more...]

Pro-Life Activities

Every Saturday at 11:00 a.m. we pray the Rosary at the Woman's Health Care Center on the corner of General Pershing and Magnolia near Oschner Baptist Hospital. This facility is one of at least three abortion centers in the New Orleans area and just outside of our parish boundaries. Please join us! … [Read more...]

ANO Retreat Center-Men’s Retreat

The Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center in Metairie will hold a Men's Retreat on October 19- 21, 2018, with Fr. Joe Kraft presenting on the theme, "Man Up! Living Our Call to Discipleship and Holiness." This is the only retreat currently scheduled there for men, as the retreat center's weekend group retreats are open to women during most of the year. For more information, call Lou Piazza at 504-628-6593. … [Read more...]

Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Msgr. Nalty with Mother Teresa in in 1996.Sometimes I tell stories in my homilies about the summer that I spent working in Calcutta with the Missionaries of Charity. Saint Teresa of Calcutta used to have a little card that she gave to people she met. She called it her “business card.” I’ve reproduced one she gave to me after I worked in Calcutta one summer:It’s nice having her autograph, but that’s not the point. The point is how she connects silence to prayer to faith to love to service to peace. We all want peace. Mother Teresa provided me that recipe. … [Read more...]