Advent is about waiting on the Lord... But waiting - as we saw in the Garden of Gethsemane - is not about taking a nap! It's about vigilance! It's about being one of those ten virgins who brought the extra oil for their lamps. It's about being ready for the Lord!
God may ask us to do something dramatic like embrace a vocation to priesthood or religious life. He may ask us to give a major contribution to the Church or to the poor. He may ask us to lay down our very lives. God may also ask us to do something fairly mundane. He asks us for prayer, for fasting, and for works of mercy. He asks for obedience to His Church. Either way, we need to be ready! We need to be listening!
If God has some amazing plan for me, and He makes everything ready, and He sets the table for me as in Psalm 23... And He calls me into action... And I'm busy watching Duck Dynasty or the new season of The Voice... Well... That's not good! If God has set everything in place for me to be blessed in great abundance or for me to bless someone else and I'm deaf to His call, then I not only dishonor the Lord, but I endanger my own salvation!
Advent - despite the lights and music - is a time for sobriety and reflection. It's a time to ask whether we are ready to welcome the Christ child into our homes and our hearts. It's a time to ask if we, like John in the womb of Elizabeth, are prepared to recognize Christ in our midst. If we aren't, then Christmas is really nothing... If we are, then CHRISTmas is a time for transformation! On which side will you find yourself this year?
Insights From Second Street
Welcome to Advent! Even though Christmas has already come to Natchitoches, CHRISTmas is a month away and that’s a good reminder that there’s much left to do at the Minor Basilica. Some things are about getting ready for CHRISTmas, but some things are about being who we are as a Minor Basilica.
December 1st marks a special occasion for us - we will finally begin the weekly celebration of “Vespers” or Evening Prayer. Vespers will begin every Sunday evening at 4:30. Vespers has two main parts: the psalms and the prayers. Everything begins with the exposition of the Holy Eucharist on the Altar. Then, we will sing - in a simple mode - three psalms together. Then, after considering a short passage of scripture, we will sing together the great Canticle of Mary, the Magnificat. After that ancient hymn is sung, we will pray a few intercessions and kneel together for the benediction. The whole service usually lasts about 25 minutes. It is a truly lovely and spiritually fruitful practice that we are required to celebrate at least weekly.
After Vespers, but not connected to it, I’ll be offering an additional Sunday Mass. The 5p Mass will be offered in “The Extraordinary Form” which some may know as the Traditional Latin Mass. It includes beautifully sung chants of the Church and is very similar in form to the ordinary morning Masses. It features a great deal more silence - which may be quite appealing to many in this increasingly noisy world. Of course, complete translations of the text will be available, and anyone who wants to come is quite welcome. The sermon and readings will be in English. Once a month, we will offer the “Solemn High Mass” which is a particularly ornate celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass and is a “must see” when you can... It’s incredibly beautiful! Whether or not you’re spiritually adventurous, this form of the Mass was the norm in Natchitoches throughout our history, and so, each of us ought to make every effort to try it out a few times. -FrR
SUNDAY VESPERS Beginning this weekend and continuing on, Fr. Ryan will celebrate the official evening prayer of the Church. This “Liturgy of the Hours,” traditionally called “vespers” (from the Latin for “evening”), consists of a few psalms, a few readings from the scriptures and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. In all, it should last from Sunday at 4:30p to just before 5p. This prayer is required of every Minor Basilica and was a beloved part of the life of the Church until recently.
NEW SUNDAY EVENING MASS Beginning this weekend, Sun., Dec. 1st, Fr. Ryan will celebrate a Sunday evening Mass at 5p. The Mass will be offered in “the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite” at the request of multiple parishioners. All are welcome to attend and try this form of the Mass which was hailed by Pope Benedict XVI as a “continuous source of grace in the life of the Church.” The Mass will be offered every Sunday.
UPCOMING PARISH SUPPER, TALK & CCD NIGHT Our next Parish Supper, Talk & CCD night will be Wednesday, Dec. 4th, at St. Mary’s. We’ll have food for free in the Cafeteria (donations welcome). At 6p, the kids will go to CCD and Fr. Ryan will give a talk in the Chapel for all who are interested. Invite other parishioners and/or your non-Catholic friends to attend!
PENANCE SERVICE REMINDER As we move closer to Advent, all are reminded that we will not have any penance services this year. Father is in the confessional 30 minutes before daily Masses and 45 minutes before weekend Masses. He will also be in the confessional from 5p to 6p every Thursday of Advent (12/5, 12/12, 12/19). All Catholics should typically confess monthly...now is a great time to make it a habit!
CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL NEXT WEEKEND Our usual First Friday & First Saturday devotions will be cancelled. Friday, 12/6, Mass will be celebrated at 6:30a, but Adoration & Benediction will not be offered. Saturday, 12/7, we will not celebrate Mass or Benediction at 8a. Mass will be offered at 4p, but confessions will not be heard beforehand. Please be aware that parking will be very difficult and plan accordingly.
DECEMBER 9th IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY Our next indulgenced Basilican Feast Day is Monday, December 9th ― The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day of the Liturgical Celebration of the title of our Church. The 6:30a Mass will be a “Simple” Mass. The 6p Mass will be the “Conventual” Mass with music and incense. Both Masses will end with the proper prayers for the indulgence. All are welcome!
SPECIAL SATURDAY MASSES FOR DECEMBER ONLY Fr. Ryan will offer an additional Saturday evening Mass at St. Mary’s School at 5:30p during December only (12/14, 12/21, 12/28). The Mass will count for your weekend obligation. All are welcome.
CHRISTMAS MASS SCHEDULE
- TUE., DEC. 24th
- No Mass @ 6:30a
- Vigil Mass @ 4p
- Caroling @ 11:30p
- Midnight Mass @ Midnight
- Champagne in honor of the Christ Child in the rectory after Midnight Mass
- WED., DEC. 25th
- Mass @ 9a & 11a
- Sun, 12/1, First Sunday of Advent
- Sun, 12/1, First Sunday Vespers, 4:30p @ MBIC
- Sun, 12/1, First Traditional Latin Mass, 5p @ MBIC
- Wed, 12/4, Parish Supper, Talk, & CCD Classes, 5-7p @ St. Mary's School
- Thu, 12/5, Advent Confessions, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Sat, 12/7, NO Mass @ 8a, Christmas Festival
- Mon, 12/9, Basilican Feast Day, Immaculate Conception of the BVM, 6:30a & 6p
- Tue, 12/10, Lessons & Carols, 7:30p @ MBIC
- Wed, 12/11, CCD Classes, 6p @ St. Mary’s School
- Thu, 12/12, Advent Confessions, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Wed, 12/18, CCD Classes, 6p @ St. Mary’s School
- Thu, 12/19, Advent Confessions, 5-6p @ MBIC
Our Sunday Collection last week was $7,641.
Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!
For more information on our finances, click here.
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 11/30 4p Elaine Bacon, (Lector) • Jimmy Gunter, Mickey Hennigan, Carl Henry, Kathleen Hicks, (EMHC) • D.&M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 12/1 9a Karen Apponey, (Lector) • Buddy Giering, Cissy Picou, Emelda Odom, (EMHC) • G.Ingrish, J.H.Ingrish, G.Fidelak, (Altar Boys)
Sun 12/1 11a John Laborde, (Lector) • Barbara Laborde, Jean Gill, Lucile Ingram, (EMHC) • S.Maggio, V.Maggio, C.Fisher, (Altar Boys)
Sat 12/7 4p Elaine Bacon, (Lector) • Red & Jo Lapeyrouse, Nita Maggio, Michael Yankowski, (EMHC) • D.Bennett, J.Friedel, (Altar Boys)
Sun 12/8 9a John Ackel, (Lector) • Cindy & Ed Smith, John Vandersypen, (EMHC) • J.Cunningham, C.Cunningham, BB.Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)
Sun 12/8 11a Ed Giering, (Lector) • Jean Gill, Barbara Laborde, Patsy Melder, (EMHC) • A.Parker, J.Parker, J.M.Graham, (Altar Boys)
Memorials & Prayer Intentions
The Sanctuary Candle this week is offered in memory of Brooke Hennigan by Margaret Kilcoyne.
The Sanctuary Flowers this week are offered in memory of Leslie & Maude Ethel Prudhomme by Bill & Rosie Finical.
- Sat 4p: James Prudhomme Family
- Sun 9a: Pro Populo
- Sun 11a: Shirley Ragland & Thomas Smile Scott
- Sun 5p: Sandi Ponthieux
- Mon 6:30a: John & Stacy Mestayer Family
- Mon 8a: Anna Kathryn Shuler
- Tue 6:30a: Delora Ponthieux
- Tue 10a: SMS Students
- Wed 6:30a: Sue Dearman
- Wed 9:20a: SMS Faculty
- Thu 6:30a: Charlie & Cindy Humphries
- Thu 8:10a: SMS Benefactors
- Fri 6:30a: Billy & Carlie Barbier Family
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need. And that Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, Clifford Ardoin, Lauren Bienvenu, Mark Birch, Bill Boone, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Emilia Cofio, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Marguerite Felchle, Alma Fernandez, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Vicki Gahagan, Lillian Giering, Sophie Gill, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Pam Kerry, Mary Keyser, Paul Keyser, Martha LaCaze, Daniel Laroux, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Joseph Longo, Lisa Mack, Faris Michael, Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Fr. Joe Montalbano, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Amanda Rozman, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Brent Trichel, Billie Vercher, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, & Janine Waters