I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

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But Father, Father, can’t we all just get along? No! We can’t. And we never will. I’m not being pessimistic, I’m speaking one of the basic truths that the Catholic Church has held from the time of Jesus. The reason that we’ll never get along is original sin. Every one of us is stained with the sin of our first parents and so we’re all going to spend our entire lives facing the same temptation that they did: to make themselves into their own gods. We’re all going to wake up every day and be driven by our nature to “look out for number one.” We’re all going to take what we can get. We’re going to defend ourselves and our families, even if we have to step on someone else to do it. 

Now ought we to try our very hardest to reject this temptation and to live the life that Jesus calls us to? Yes! Amen! And if we want to spend eternity in a place better than this dog-eat-dog world, then we’d better try to reject this temptation. And we can, with the grace of God. But we shouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking that there will ever come a moment when everyone on the planet will overcome our nature and live together in a world of rainbows and unicorns. The Book of Revelation makes it very clear that pipe dreams are not in our future.

So what ought we to do? We save as many souls as we can! We pour ourselves into our faith! We work to get our families into heaven and not just better colleges. We dedicate ourselves to becoming saints who are immune from the fear and anxiety that comes from the worldly life. So is peace in our future? Well… It’s never been in our past… Is heaven in our future? Well… That’s up to you, isn’t it?

Insights from Second Street

Mt 5:37: “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.”

One of the greatest difficulties of transitioning between priests is that the successor must try to keep the promises made by the predecessor. And I’m certainly no exception. As I said in my very first sermon here, it’s my priority for us to live up to the duties and responsibilities that come with the title Minor Basilica. And we’re getting there. We’ve gotten a great deal of our little liturgical details corrected. We’ve developed a plan to be able to provide all the Sacred Music required of us without squashing the years of work done by our excellent Sunday choirmasters. We’ve got a bulletin and a webpage and a social media strategy in line with Pope Benedict’s call for evangelizing the “Digital Continent.” And we’ve got a plan for catechesis and educational events. That’s not bad for 6 weeks…

What I haven’t yet been on top of is the call of the documents and of our humanity to explain the why and the wherefore of the little adjustments - some of which are required of us as a Minor Basilica, some of which are required of all Churches. Which brings me back to Mt 5:37. We have a tradition here at Immaculate that dates back several years of placing beautiful arrangements of flowers on the high altar in honor of Our Lord or Our Lady or our beloved dead. The construction of our High Altar is such that the flowers and decor are intended to be placed on the large gradine (platform), aptly named the “Gradine de Fleur” or the “Flower Gradine.” The candles, which ought to be given prominence, are to be placed on the “Candle Gradine.” In our case, the beautiful candlesticks are so large that they effectively hide the flower arrangements. That leaves us in a difficult spot. On the one hand, we’ve “always” placed the flowers in front of the candles - which is not correct or acceptable liturgically. (And doing sacred liturgy correctly is the raison d’etre of a Minor Basilica.) On the other hand, placing everything properly means beautiful and expensive floral art is lost to background noise. We could remove the large candlesticks and place smaller ones… We could elevate the flowers on a box or pillar of some sort… We could plan smaller, less expensive, less artistic displays… I honestly don’t have a good answer. For the time being, though, I feel a need as a gentleman to keep the promises made by former pastors and find a way to feature the displays already purchased and promises as the donor expected. So, for the time being, we’ll do two things. One, anyone who committed to purchase a flower arrangement is quite free to contact the office and cancel that commitment or to change to a simpler, less expensive arrangement. Two, when we have flowers, we’ll try a couple of different methods. By Advent, the parish council and I will have determined our long-term plan. 

A special thanks to those who expressed concern about this issue and other issues. I’ll write to explain more of these kinds of decisions in the future. Until then, if anyone has any questions that they’d like to see addressed here, please call the office or email me at rector@minorbasilica.org. God Reward You.


The Jargon...

by Tommy Myrick

Good day to all of you! I would like to take this opportunity to ask for your assistance with one of the responsibilities that has been handed down to me as your new Director of Sacred Liturgy. As a Minor Basilica, we are required by the Holy See to celebrate certain feasts that are required only of those parishes with a direct association with Rome and the Vatican. With the desire to offer the best possible liturgy worthy of our parish and the Church Universal, we will be establishing a Basilican Choir to facilitate music for these particular liturgies, along with Holy Days of Obligation, and Solemn High Feasts such as Easter and Christmas.

The Basilican Choir will function separately from the already established weekend Mass Choirs, but I hope that it will be comprised of members from all of them. I would like to extend a warm invitation to any and all individuals in the parish to participate in this choir! There are many people who love to sing, and have given of their time and talent to assist with one of the weekend liturgies. I humbly ask you to consider helping us bring the best that we can offer to these feasts. 

Some people like to sing, but are not able to make firm commitments due to their weekend schedules to any particular choir. I ask you also to consider joining this group of singers. The bulk of our work will be during the week, but there is plenty of time to prepare between Masses. If you can make one feast, but not another, please help with what you are able, and don’t fret about ones that you cannot. This goes for any and everyone interested! Scheduling during the week can be difficult. Sometimes our vocations or family lives do not permit us to be available. It’s ok. I’m hoping to form a group of singers that are dedicating to participating in what they can, and with that attitude, there will always be voices to help elevate the liturgy on these particular days.

Please consider joining the Basilican Choir! Your presence will be most welcomed and appreciated! You can pick up a registration form at the Rectory and give it to me at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your musical service! I look forward to meeting and singing with you!

Parish News

Interested in Becoming a Catholic? Anyone interested in the Catholic Faith is encouraged to come and speak with Fr. Ryan. There is absolutely no obligation and no cost. Both private and group-based instruction is available. Call the office for more information.

VIRTUS Seminars are Coming Up Everyone who needs to be certified to volunteer to work with children in the Church can meet that obligation at any VIRTUS seminar. A seminar here in Natchtioches will be offered on August 26 at 6pm in the Parish Hall. A seminar in Alexandria will be offered on August 22 at 5:30pm at St. Juliana Church. Only one seminar is necessary.

Workshop for Catechists Sept 21 in Alexandria. The Diocese is offering a workshop in Basic Teaching Skills for all catechists on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the chancery. The cost is $10, including lunch. Registration is required by Sept. 16. Please call (318) 445-6424 x 251.

Women’s Resource Center Celebration of Life Dinner is Sept 26. Our only Crisis pregnancy center in the area  will host its annual Celebration of Life Fundraising Gala on Thursday, Sept. 26 at the Events Center. Actor/director Stephen Baldwin will be the guest speaker. The program that starts at 6:30 p.m. Baldwin has made a name for himself as a celebrity without compromising his values and committed Christian faith. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased by calling (318) 357-8888.

Marriage Prep Workshop in Alexandria on Oct 20 Strong Foundations: A Marriage Preparation Program for Catholic Couples will host a one-day workshop on Sunday, Oct. 20 at our Lady of Prompt Succor Divine Providence Center in Alexandria from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The presenters are Mandi Chapman and Holly Carbo. To register visit comprehensivetherapygroup.com or call 318.445.1651.

Parish Events

  • 8/19 First Day of School
  • 8/23 SMS Steak Supper
  • 8/28 6:15p CCD Registration
  • 8/29 SMS Football Jamboree

Within the Sanctuary

Sat, 8/17, 4p - Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, David Bouchie, Mike & Joanne Yankowski, (EMHC) • C.J.Bouchie, M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun 8/18, 9a - Rebecca Lavespere, (Lector) • Ed & Cindy Smith, Mary Darby, (EMHC) • G.Ingrish, C.Lirette, T.Hare, (Altar Boys)

Sun 8/18, 11a - Ed Giering, (Lector) • Cecilia Cook, Patsy Melder, Tara Whitehead, (EMHC) • V.Maggio, W.Lee, D.Thompson, (Altar Boys)

Sat 8/24, 4p - Mike Bouchie, (Lector) •Carl Henry, Red & Jo Lapeyrouse, Nita Maggio, (EMHC) • D.Bennett, J.Friedel, (Altar Boys)

Sun 8/25, 9a - Stephen Taylor, (Lector) •John Cunningham, Buddy Giering, Aimee Wright, (EMHC) • S. & T.Lirette, (Altar Boys)

Sun 8/25, 11a - John Laborde, (Lector) • Chris & Jennifer Maggio, Lucile Ingram, (EMHC) • S.Maggio, E.Norwood, M.Leone, (Altar Boys)

Memorials & Prayer Intentions

CORRECTION last week's flowers were offered by Ed & Cindy Smith in Memory of Frank S. McFarlin & Russell M. Cook. Apologies for the mistake.

The Sanctuary Flowers this week are offered by Kenneth & Sara Methvin in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Holy Masses

  • Sa 4p N.L. Vercher
  • Sun 9a Harry Gongre, Jr.
  • Sun 11a Pro Populo
  • Mon 6:30a Jimmy Lee
  • Tue 6:30a Tom Porter
  • Wed 6:30a James & Victoria Close
  • Thu 6:30a Leon Humphries
  • Fri 6:30a Gary LaBar, Jr.
  • Sat 8a Bill Hayne

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that parents and teachers may help the new generation to grow in upright conscience and life. And that, the local Church in Africa, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, may promote peace and justice.

Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Ed McClung, Gladys McFerron and Wayne Banes

Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, Lauren Bienvenu, Mark Birch, Bill Boone, Tripp Bostick, Dewitt Booty, Chad Bouchie, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Emilia Cofio, Alton Cooper, Johnny Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Marguerite Felchle, Alma Fer- nandez, Lucy Flores, Reba Friday, Tom Foshee, Anne Giering, Lillian Giering, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandaz, Deanna Hickman, Pam Kerry, Mary Keyser, Mar- tha LaCaze, Daniel Laroux, Jaden Eli Lo- dridge, Joseph Longo, Johnnie Mallory, Lisa Mack, Faris Michael, Meg Michael, Mary Moss, Barbie Neu- hauser, Shane Ni- ette, Jo Norwood, Mary Odom, Judy Risty, Sharon Roach, Makaehan Ross, Shir- ley Roy, Amanda Rozman, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Brent Trichel, Sue Van Hook, Billie Vercher, Jessica War- ner, Janine Waters, & Ruthie J. Wallboughly

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $6,597.00

Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

For more information on our finances, click here.