Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

On this Rose Sunday, we turn from watching with vigilance to the talk of heavenly things. Our time for waiting is growing shorter and the veil between heaven and Earth is growing thinner. The Lord is on His way!

And as the Lord approaches, it becomes easier to pay attention to Him and to pay less attention to ourselves… And that really is the great effort of the Christian life. In the past decades, priests have shied away from wearing the bright Rose vestments because people say, “oh, the pink vestments are just about drawing attention to the priest…” To that sentiment we must first say that, “Father doesn’t wear pink, he wears Rose!” Secondly, though, the rose is not about the wearer - it’s about the joy that arises from the Lord. It points beyond itself. It reminds us of the words of Jesus quoted above - the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John. Everything that we are in this world is defined by status. We define ourselves by wealth or smarts or looks or holiness… But in God’s greatness, we are all his beloved. In his largeness, we are all finally equals. 

Equality in this world is, at best, an illusion. In reality - it’s little more than a cruel joke. None of us are equal. One is smarter, one richer, one prettier. It’s unfair that unchangeable and unearned qualities like gender, skin color or pure dumb luck should give this one a leg up while holding that one down - but that’s the way it is. Denying that reality is idiocy, or worse, political correctness. But in light of the Gospel and the greatness of God, our joy - even amidst unfairness - becomes full! So full, in fact, that it becomes our very strength! As Christmas nears, may everything from the prayers to the vestments to the brokenness of this world point - as John the Baptist does - to the greatness of our God!


Insights From Second Street

"Father doesn't wear pink!" — Fr Ryan Humphries, Page 1.

It's a fun thing to laugh about, but the Rose vestments are important. They're important because they're not required. Simple obedience is only the baseline of any one “thing.” If we want truly to understand a “thing,” we must look not merely at what is required, but at what is freely chosen. And that's no small part of the purpose of the Minor Basilica. There are literally hundreds of options that can be engaged or not engaged at any one celebration of the Holy Mass. This or that may be sung... It may be said in Latin or not... There are no less than 20 options just for the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass... 20! To the trained eye, each of those choices says something... But even to the untrained observer, the choices come together to communicate, in broad strokes, the belief of the community and of the Church. If a community opts not to sing any of the parts of the Mass, and instead, chooses to recite the shortest and simplest option in every case - it's easy to see that the community does not believe that what they are doing is anything more than practical. If a priest preaches for a long time and rushes through everything else - it's easy to see that he considers the sermon to be more important than anything else. 

On the other hand, if a community takes its time and solemnizes the Mass by singing the dialogues... If the priest opts to use beautiful vestments and vessels... If the community is careful to speak or sing their parts with a sense of reverence and awe... Anyone in the pews can't help but see that the community believes! And while that may not - on its own - cause faith, it goes a long way to open the hearts of all who bear witness! 

The tradition of wearing special vestments in the middle of the longer, more penitential seasons goes back well over ten centuries. It's a kind of “rest along the way” that was so familiar to those who had made one of the many penitential pilgrimages across Europe that were common at the time. 

In my own life, I made a promise to myself when I was in seminary that I would never use Rose Vestments. "It's a waste of money," I said. The idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a vestment that would be worn for two or three hours a year was so absurd; I couldn't even fathom a reasonable justification! It was only after hearing a particularly wacky priest give a conference on prayer that the reason finally came to me... The priest, Fr. Stan Klores, asked those gathered what was accomplished by prayer. After several people gave responses, he replied in his own quirky way, "You're all wrong! Nothing is accomplished! Nothing!" We were all taken aback until he explained that the rules of practical valuation, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and “usefulness” don't have anything to do with why we pray. We pray to glorify God... To grow in knowledge and love of Him and to be near to Him! “Practicality” is just a foreign idea to the saints! Since then, I have bought three Rose vestments for myself. I wear them twice a year on the proper Sundays and I always say to myself: "Nothing is accomplished!" And, of course, by accomplishing nothing, I am able to offer to the Lord my own nothingness that He may make me something... 

But I mustn't neglect to add a little something about the value of beauty... Roses are beautiful! St. Thomas Aquinas described beauty as one of the four "transcendentals." Beauty, along with Unity, Truth, and Goodness are the four aspects of God which are present in the world - albeit in limited ways - that direct the heart and mind to God by their very nature. God is the fullness of Truth, Goodness, Beauty, and Oneness. Everything in the world that can be rightly described as one, good, true, or beautiful only is as it is because it "participates" in God's oneness, goodness, truth, or beauty. And so, when we look at a beautiful vestment inspired by the beauty of the rose, we are experiencing some part of God's beauty. 

But whatever anyone might say, just remember - Fr. Ryan does NOT wear pink...


Parish News

A SPECIAL THANK YOU Catholic Daughters of America, Court Regina Pacis #1372, would like to thank all those parishioners who participated and supported our recent bake sale. We were truly blessed by your generosity! 

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.

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 (12/19). All Catholics should typically confess monthly...now is a great time to make it a habit!

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

 

Parish Events

  • Wed, 12/18, CCD Classes, 6p @ St. Mary’s School
  • Thu, 12/19, Advent Confessions, 5-6p @ MBIC
  • Fri, 12/20, SMS Christmas Program for Parents & Grandparents, 10a @ St. Mary's School
  • Fri, 12/20, SMS Christmas Break begins
  • Sat, 12/21, Additional Saturday evening Mass, 5:30p @ St. Mary’s School
  • Sun, 12/22, Guitar Concert by John de Chiaro, 2p @ MBIC
  • Wed, 12/25, NO CCD Classes
  • Sat, 12/28, Additional Saturday evening Mass, 5:30p @ St. Mary’s School
  • Tue, 12/31, Holy Day of Obligation VIGIL - Feast of Mary, Mother of God @ 6p
  • Wed, 1/1, Holy Day of Obligation - Feast of Mary, Mother of God @ 6p
  • Wed, 1/1, NO CCD Classes
  • Fri, 1/10, Basilican Feast Day - Anniversary of the Elevation of the Minor Basilica @ 6:30a & 6p

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $10,750.

Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

For more information on our finances, click here.


Within the Sanctuary

Sat 12/14 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, David Bouchie, Jimmy Gunter, Mickey Hennigan, (EMHC) • C.J.Bouchie, J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)    

Sun 12/15 9a Roger Cunningham, (Lector) • Alice & James Barrios, Aimee Wright, (EMHC) • Reagan Cunningham, Ryan Cunningham, Ashton Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)

Sun 12/15 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Cecilia Cook, Haley Johnson, Joseph Sklar, (EMHC) • W.Mayeux, D.Thompson, E.Norwood, (Altar Boys)

Sat 12/21 4p Elaine Bacon, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Kathleen Hicks, Red & Jo Lapeyrouse, (EMHC) • D.Bennett, (Altar Boys)    

Sun 12/22 9a Joe Cunningham, Sr., (Lector) • Betty & James Durham, Stephen Taylor, (EMHC) • C.Lirette, S.Lirette, T.Lirette, (Altar Boys)

Sun 12/22 11a Greg Burke, (Lector) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, Tara Whitehead, (EMHC) • V.Maggio, I.Lovemore, M.Leone, (Altar Boys)

 

Memorials & Prayer Intentions

The Sanctuary Candle this week is offered in Memory of Latief Ackel by Melba Ackel.

The Sanctuary Flowers this week are offered in Memory of Rusty & Helen Bostick by Kathy Bostick.

 

Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: Red & Sadie Thomas  &  Rusty & Helen Bostick
  • Sat 5:30p: Joe Sampite
  • Sun 9a: Pro Populo
  • Sun 11a: Sue Dearman
  • Sun 5p: Helen Bostick
  • Mon 6:30a: Larry D. Smith & Terry G. Smith
  • Mon 8a: Molly Brown
  • Tue 6:30a: Richard & Shirley Ragland
  • Wed 6:30a: Marva Cunningham & Dora Jeansoone
  • Thu 6:30a: Latief Ackel & Dora Jeansonne
  • Thu 9a: SMS Students & Faculty
  • Fri 6:30a: Wallace Fermin
  • Sat 8a: Carlie Barbier

 

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, 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