And so it is upon us... The sign is so near... Only three days away... And, indeed, the Lord will give us that sign, but more than a sign - for God is truly “with us.” Isn’t it remarkable how much the world hates this passage in particular? Every TV show we watch has gone out of it’s way to convince us that Jesus was not born in a stable or that the word virgin here doesn’t mean "virgin" but only young girl - as if that has any effect at all on the truth! The world hates the real story of Christmas! More than any other Christian celebration, the world is hell-bent on denying that Jesus is Emmanuel - “God with us.” And didn't St. John warn of this - in both his second and third letters he reminds us that anyone "who denies Christ come in the flesh is an antichrist." We don't need to look for some nefarious figure to come - there are antichrists all around us!
But we needn't fear. We have no cause for alarm. Why? Because that sign is not some inanimate figure! That sign is a person - Jesus Christ! He will come to rule the world! His entry into our world was simple, quiet, and hidden... His re-entry into it will not be! So, we have no need to fear those who would deny the Christ. We have only need to be faithful to Him and to be ready for Him. Now, we must reach out to those who do not believe... To do anything less would be unloving. But let the world hate the Lord - we shall go on loving Him and we shall rejoice in persecution! Not because we like it, but because Jesus told us to. He told us that there would be people who fear Him. He also told us that He would look after those who are faithful. So, let us each take up new fervor and new faithfulness in this Christmas moment. God is faithful! God is strong! Let us put aside our fear and take up His banner - if He is for us, who can be against us?
Insights From Second Street
This time of year, Immaculate Conception is a tourist-oriented Church. We have a slew of guests and visitors and we, each of us, ought to be making them feel welcome. I've written before about how the Mass itself shouldn't be changed to make people feel welcome... But the Mass should change US to be the kind of people who welcome others.
The authentic Christian faith is not sweet and welcoming - it's heroic. It's tough. It's challenging. And if we're going to step up to the plate, that means letting people know what the Lord has for them: forgiveness of sin, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit, a mission, and a purpose.
It's my sincere hope that our guests know that they have a spiritual home here at Immaculate. It's also my sincere hope that no one leaves the Church unwelcomed... and unchallenged.
This time of year is tough for a lot of people. Some of you reading this are married outside of the Church and feel unwelcome. Others believe that the Church is to blame for some social evil. Others believe that the Church is merely irrelevant - Her teaching, outdated. Some of you are numb to faith due to the challenges you face in the world. The good news is that there is a home in the Church for each of you! But it's a real home. The kind of home where real people live. It's the kind of home where something always needs repairs and someone is always at someone else's throat. The Church is divine and human. She is like each of us - looking for the Lord. But unlike each of us, the Church is mystically united to Christ, Her head, and so, she is the sure guardian of truth which must be preached in season and out of season.
Each of us must do well this Christmas season to be honest with ourselves. Our parish family must be willing to reach out and welcome guests. Guests must be willing to hear the Lord speak - He is, after all, the good host who never lets anyone leave without being fed. Merry Christmas! -FrR
by: Fr Ryan
Josef Pieper, an amazing Catholic philosopher, wrote that Leisure is one of the foundational bases of a culture. Without leisure, cultures decline and collapse. And as our culture has become, on the one hand more and more obsessed with connectivity, and on the other hand more obsessed with work and success, we have seen a marked decline in our culture. Look at film... Movie makers have abandoned creativity in favor of cut-rate remakes, sequels, prequels and adaptations of tweets and video games… seriously?! In TV and music, quality has been replaced by outlandishness like Miley Cyrus and transparent cultural engineering. (Did you know that a character on TV is something like 1500% more likely to be homosexual than in the real world? In the real world, fewer than 0.5% of adults experience homosexuality.) The same kinds of things can be said of fine arts. Actual art has been replaced by hacks trying to "comment" on the art world by hanging their blank canvases in odd arrangements.
Our culture is racked by an obsession with entertainment that borders on the sociopathic. Our appetite for sexuality is equally disturbing. Data from the "Adult entertainment industry" is alarming. That industry shows dramatically increasing demand for more and more perverse products.
Why bring up all this tragic horror at Christmas time? For the simple reason that the world is sick and is in need of an antidote. We're well past Dr. Pieper's solution, though. It was Sir Winston Churchill who claimed that the "greatest single threat to national security is the decline of public morality." Our societal problems have not led to our moral problems! It's the other way around! If we want to see society get better... If we want to see movies improve... If we want to hear real musicians instead of Miley and Gaga... The solution is not politics, it's holiness! We've got to stop looking for a politician and start looking for a saint! Better yet, we've got to start becoming that saint! Mother Theresa... Pope John Paul II... St. Francis of Assisi... These people changed the world! What's keeping you from doing the same?
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 (12/28). 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
NEW YEARS' DAY IS A HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION New Years’ Day is also the “Solemnity of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.” It is a Holy Day of Obligation. Our usual Holy Day Mass schedule is a Vigil Mass the night before (Tue, 12/31) at 6p & two Masses on the day of obligation (Wed, 1/1) at 6:30a & 6p. Please make every effort to attend and to consecrate the new year to Our Lord!
- 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 @ 6:30a & 6p
- Wed, 1/1, NO CCD Classes - Instead, students should attend HDO Mass
- Fri, 1/3, First Friday Devotions
- Sat, 1/4, First Saturday Devotions
- Fri, 1/10, Basilican Feast Day - Anniversary of the Elevation of the Minor Basilica @ 6:30a
- Sat, 1/11, Basilican Feast Day - Anniversary of the Elevation of the Minor Basilica @ 10a
Within the Sanctuary
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)
Tue 12/24 4p Ed Giering, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Haley Johnson, (EMHC) • David, Joseph, & Matthew Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Wed 12/25 12a Michael King, (Lector) • Cissy Picou, John Cunningham, (EMHC) • D.Bennett, J.Burrell, J.&C.Cunningham, J.Friedel, T.Hare, A.,C.,S.&T.Lirette, S.Maggio, E.&G.Norwood, M.&P.Vienne, (Altar Boys)
Wed 12/25 9a Joe Cunningham, Sr., (Lector) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, Mickey Hennigan, (EMHC) • I.Lovemore, (Altar Boys)
Wed 12/25 11a Elaine Bacon, (Lector) • Kathleen Hicks, (EMHC) • J.H.Ingrish, G.Ingrish, (Altar Boys)
Sat 12/28 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, David Bouchie, Nita Maggio, Michael Yankowski, (EMHC) • M.Thibodaux, D.Thibodaux, J.Friedel, (Altar Boys)
Sun 12/29 9a Rebecca Lavespere, (Lector) • Jeff & Carol Green, John Cunningham, (EMHC) • T.Hare, M.Vienne, Jr., P.Vienne, (Altar Boys)
Sun 12/29 11a Joe Payne Williams, (Lector) • Chris & Jennifer Maggio, Lucile Ingram, (EMHC) • S.Maggio, W.Lee, C.Fisher, (Altar Boys)
Memorials & Prayer Intentions
The Sanctuary Candle this week is offered in Memory of Shirley & Richard Ragland by Graham Ragland.
The Sanctuary Flowers may be offered in memory of a loved one by contacting the office.
- Sat 4p: N.L. Vercher & Ted Tobin
- Sat 5:30p: Russell Cook
- Sun 9a: Pro Populo
- Sun 11a: Sue Morgan & Kevin Morgan
- Sun 5p: Geiring & Irwin Deceased Family Members
- Mon 6:30a: Mr. A.B. Chenault
- Tue 4p: Tony Ruggiero & Rosalina R. Lopez
- Wed 12a: Pro Populo
- Wed 9a: Richard & Shirley Ragland, Mr. & Mrs. Cyril G. Mouch, Sr., Dora Jeansonne
- Wed 11a: Pro Populo
- Thu 6:30a: Laura Jo Johnson
- Fri 6:30a: Eula Henry
- Sat 8a: Clay Hennigan
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