Good Stewardship

An article in the Times-Picayune several years ago woke me up a bit.  It said that out of all religious groups in America, the group that gave the smallest percentage of their income to their church were Catholics.  While Mormons generally give the Biblical 10% we call “tithing,” and while the average churchgoer in the United States gives 2.4 %, Catholics give the lowest percentage of every other religion. And I don’t write this because we still haven’t completely funded our Restoration (but we haven’t!) or because we need more money to operate (but we do!), but let me tell you the real reason: giving to charity shows a great reliance on God, and God rewards a cheerful giver.  Ever since I began “tithing,” God has given me more blessings than I can imagine.  And as He gives me more, I … [Read more...]

Our Lady of Lourdes

Next Sunday, February 11, the Church remembers the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Bernadette Soubirous that took place a little over 150 years ago in Lourdes, France.  Since Our Lady of Lourdes Parish down the street on Napoleon Avenue has been closed, and since next Wednesday is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I thought a little “refresher course” on the apparitions of Lourdes might be in order. On 11 February 1858, Bernadette Soubirous went with two girlfriends to collect some firewood to sell in order to be able to buy some bread. As she was wading through a river near the Grotto of Massabielle, she heard the wind but did not see the trees and bushes move. As she looked toward the Grotto, she saw a light and a beautiful lady – “Lovelier than I have ever seen” - dressed in … [Read more...]

The Symbolism of the Pelican

During the years I lived in Rome, I spent a lot of time trying to decipher and understand early Christian symbolism.  It was a hobby of mine as I visited churches and saw so much iconography.  Recently, someone visited St. Stephen Church in New Orleans and asked me about an image that they saw high over the sanctuary of a pelican feeding its young.  They wondered why someone would have painted the “state bird” in church!  The question gave me a good occasion to reflect upon church symbolism. The image of the mother pelican feeding her baby pelicans is rooted in several ancient Roman legends that precede Christianity. One version is that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with her beak to feed her young with her blood. Another version was that the … [Read more...]

World Day of the Sick on February 11, 2021

Pope's Message for the World Day of the Sick In his message for the XXIX World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis discusses the theme, “You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers” (Mt 23:8). We are called to care for the needs of our brothers and sisters, especially during times of sickness. The many ways we can care for the sick are by following the example of the Good Samaritan: accompanying the sick through their illness, listening, feeling empathy, physically assisting, and supporting health care workers in their care of the sick. … [Read more...]

The Presentation of the Lord

Tuesday, February 2 The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord commemorates the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the presentation of Christ in the temple, which took place 40 days after his birth as Jewish law required. According to Mosaic law, a mother who had given birth to a boy was considered unclean for seven days. Also, she was to remain 33 days "in the blood of her purification." Luke tells us, quoting Exodus 13:2,12, that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem because every firstborn child was to be dedicated to the Lord. They also went to sacrifice a pair of doves or two young pigeons, showing that Mary and Joseph were poor. Once in the temple, Jesus was purified by the prayer of Simeon, in the presence of Anna the prophetess. Simeon, upon seeing the Messiah, gave … [Read more...]

Ever Wonder about the Pelican High in Our Church above the Altar?

The symbolism of the pelican feeding her young is rooted in a legend preceding Christianity that when food was scarce, the mother pelican would wound her breast with her beak and feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. Given this legend, one can understand why the early Christians adapted it to symbolize our Lord, Jesus Christ. The pelican symbolizes Jesus our Redeemer who gave His life for our redemption and continues to feed us with His body and blood in the Holy Eucharist. The pelican is also part of our liturgical tradition. The image of the pelican is popular artwork for altar frontals, tabernacles and arches.  In the hymn “Adoro te devote,” (written by St. Thomas Aquinas, whose feast day we celebrate on January 28, and translated into English by Gerard Manley … [Read more...]

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

January 18 -25 The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has a history of over 100 years, during which Christians around the world have taken part in an octave of prayer for visible Christian unity.  By annually observing the WPCU, Christians move toward the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper "that they all may be one."  (cf. John 17:21) The theme of this year's WPCU is "Abide in my love... You shall bear much fruit" from the Gospel of John, chapter 15, expresses the Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and the human family. Here, Jesus reminds his disciples that he is the vine and we are the branches. If we abide in him, in Jesus and the Covenant made in his precious blood, we will be such a healthy branch as to bear much … [Read more...]

Proclamation of Epiphany Sunday

The Proclamation of the Date of Easter on Epiphany dates from a time when calendars were not readily available. It was necessary to make known the date of Easter in advance, since many celebrations of the year depend on its date. Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts in the liturgical year in advance, the Epiphany proclamation still has value as a reminder of the centrality of the Resurrection of the Lord and the importance of the great mysteries of faith that are celebrated each year. Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of His return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation. Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter … [Read more...]

Christmas Giving Tree

Thanks to your generous contributions, were able to help 24 families with a total of 68children gifts, 24 family gifts and 5 adult gifts. We also provided 48 food baskets (20from Sacred Heart & 28from our church) to ensure a holiday meal could be shared. Words cannot adequately express how grateful the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for your generosity in our efforts to help the needy of our parish! … [Read more...]

Feast of the Holy Family December 27

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 offering … [Read more...]