Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Gold for the Kingship of Christ, Incense for His Prophetic nature, and Myrrh, which is for the dead, for his Priesthood. From the very earliest of times, the three symbolic gifts have been recognized as a clear and profound message about who Christ was to be… But a message from whom? From three pagan intellectuals! Why? Because Christ is to be the Lord of all peoples… Because the time of the Chosen People Israel has been fulfilled and now the age of those conformed to God by Baptism rather than blood has arrived.

In our modern culture, we pretend that equality is a real thing. And so, we tend to try to squeeze God into that way of thinking as well. It's easy to pass over the fact that God plays favorites. He chose Israel over the Canaanites and the Philistines. He chose the Jews over the Egyptians and the Babylonians. In this new covenant which He makes in His Son Jesus, God is still playing favorites. What changes is the method of becoming one of His favorites. 

Before Christ, you were a Jew or you weren't. You could marry a Jew, you could live with the Jews, but you couldn't become Jewish any more than you can become Hispanic or Vietnamese. In Christ, though, any of us can become one of the chosen sons or daughters of God by adoption, by Baptism!

Nothing about that is egalitarian. There's no democracy in that! It's a pure and total gift of God. Undeserved. Unearned. Like the gifts the wise men gave, God's willingness to choose us is freely offered. As this Christmas season gives way to Ordinary Time, we are, each of us, called to take up the work of accepting the gift of God. We are called to conform ourselves to our adoptive father. We are called to live out the mission signified by the gold, the frankincense, and the myrrh. We are to govern ourselves by God's commands, to offer prayer which rises like incense, and to lay down our lives as a priestly sacrifice to the one who died for us!

Insights From Second Street

As with so many events in the life of Jesus, the Epiphany is a "parallel event." At his birth, Christ is revealed as the Light of the World in His Epiphany. At the height of His ministry, Christ is revealed as the Light of the World in the Transfiguration on Mount Sinai. In death, Christ is revealed as the Light of the World when his visage is burnished into the burial cloths found by St. Peter in the tomb.

In all these moments, the language is clearly evocative of the experience of Moses when he encounters the presence of God in the Tent of Meeting in Exodus 33. In that scene, Moses asks to see the face of God. God tells Moses that "no man can see the face of God and live." Still, God gives Moses a glimpse of His Holy Hand. Moses is so transformed by the experience that he had to veil himself lest others be blinded by the brightness of his face…

And so the tradition comes to us in the Catholic faith of ladies wearing the mantilla or chapel veil. It is a sign of deep contact with God… It's further a sign of the intimacy and transformation that all of us desire when we enter into the presence of God.

For the past half-century, a sad disdain for the tradition has grown up among those who have a diabolical hatred of the advice of our Lord to "be as little children." Some spiritual writers have claimed that we are to be adults and that we ought not to humble ourselves before the Lord (words also uttered by Satan). That attitude has led to so-called feminist arguments against veiling as if it were a practice invented out of the blue for the purpose of oppressing the feminine genius. As with most of the thought of these angry people, a conscious disregard for history and reason is required in order to subscribe to that kind of thinking. In reality, the veiling of heads was common and required for two groups in Judaism - the women and the priests. Rather than oppressing the feminine genius, the veil showed its great honor and dignity by uniting it in this way with the priesthood of the house of Levi. The veil should never be seen - as Martin Luther saw it - as hiding something filthy. Rather, it is protecting and defending something beautiful and sacred - as the veil of a young woman on her wedding day does. On this Epiphany, it's my hope that we will each take a new look at the beautiful tradition of veiling ourselves as a sign of our desire for greater intimacy with the Lord!

The Jargon…

by: Fr Ryan

In the early days of the Church, Epiphany and not Christmas was considered the great feast of light amidst the winter darkness. And so it was the traditional time for the bishop to travel from home to home sprinkling blessed water. As the Church grew, the bishop simply couldn't visit everyone; and so, his priests were designated to bless every home. As the Church grew even more, even priests were unable to visit the hundreds or thousands of homes of the faithful under their care; and so, the tradition of Epiphany Chalk came to us. The chalk was blessed with water blessed at the Epiphany Mass and each of the faithful took that blessing into their homes by inscribing the initials of the Magi on the threshold of their home. The pattern has been fixed for some time: 20 + C + M + B + 14

In the midst of the new year are the names of the Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. The chalk is then retained in the home and available to be used if a remarking is necessary of if a neighbor inquires. While no prayer is technically required, many families will take the time to pray together an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be invoking the blessing of the Holy Family upon their home for the new year! May this epiphany see a revival among all of us of this beautiful and ancient Catholic tradition!

Parish News

WELCOME! TO OUR NEW VICE-RECTOR, FR. ADAM TRAVIS Father Travis was ordained in 2008 and has served at Our Lady of Prompt Succor and St. Rita Catholic Church in Alexandria and at St. Augustine in Melrose. He will be with us until June and will be doing a good bit of work with the Diocesan Outreach to Hispanic families. Father Travis is a wise and holy priest and we are blessed to have him here at Immaculate!

JANUARY 10th IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY Friday, Jan. 10th, is the Anniversary of the Elevation of the Minor Basilica. A Plenary Indulgence has been extended by the Holy Father for our Church. An additional Mass of indulgence has been added on Saturday, Jan. 11th, as part of the town's Tri-Centennial events. The usual 6:30a Mass on Fri(1/10) & the additional 10a Mass on Sat(1/11) will both end with the proper prayers for the Plenary Indulgence. All are welcome! **The 8a Mass on Sat(1/11) will not offer indulgences.**

OUR CHILDREN DESERVE THE BEST If you know of anyone in this parish potentially harming children, call (318) 445-1427 or visit Documentation, policies and procedures are available from the office or at the back tables in the Church. Periodic training seminars are also available, call the office for more information.

DAILY MASS IS FOR EVERYONE Remember that we have daily Mass in Natchitoches every day of the week. Here at Immaculate, daily Mass is at 6:30am Monday through Friday and at 8am on Saturday. We also have an 8am Mass at St. Mary’s on Monday. Do it for God - do it for yourself. Come to Mass and stretch your faith. He’s waiting for you!

Parish Events

  • 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
  • Mon, 1/20, Martin Luther King Day, NO School & Parish Office CLOSED
  • Mon-Fri, 1/27-1/31, Catholic School’s Week
  • Sun, 2/2, Blessing of Throats in Honor of St. Blaise
  • Mon, 2/17, Presidents' Day, NO School & Parish Office CLOSED
  • Sat, 2/22, Basilican Feast Day - Chair of St. Peter, Holy Mass @ 8a
  • Mon-Tue, 3/3 - 3/4, Mardi Gras, NO School & Parish Office CLOSED
  • Wed, 3/5, Ash Wednesday - *Day of Fasting & Abstinence* - Holy Mass @ 6:30a, 9a(St. Mary's), & 6p
  • Thu, 3/6, Lenten Confessions, 5-6p @ MBIC

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $7,816.

Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

For more information on our finances, click here.

Within the Sanctuary

Sat 1/4 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Kathleen Hicks, Mickey Hennigan, Jimmy Gunter, Carl Henry, (EMHC) • M.Thibodaux, D.Thibodaux, J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)        

Sun 1/5 9a Karen Apponey, (Lector) • Michael King, Alyssa Odom, Emelda Odom, (EMHC) • R.Cunningham, R.Cunningham, A.Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)

Sun 1/5 11a John Laborde, (Lector) • Linda Lee, Barbara Laborde, Patsy Melder, (EMHC) • S.Maggio, V.Maggio, D.Thompson, (Altar Boys)     

Sat 1/11 10a Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • Jeff & Carol Green, (EMHC) • J.Miley, J.M.Graham, S.Maggio, I.Lovemore, (Altar Boys)    

Sat 1/11 4p Elaine Bacon, (Lector) • Red & Jo Lapeyrouse, Nita Maggio, Michael Yankowski, (EMHC) • M.Thibodaux, D.Thibodaux, J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)    

Sun 1/12 9a Sydney Frederick, (Lector) • Buddy Giering, Michael King, Cissy Picou, (EMHC) • J.H.Ingrish, G.Ingrish, J.Miley, (Altar Boys)

Sun 1/12 11a Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Jean Gill, Haley Johnson, Lucile Ingram, (EMHC) • A.J.Parker, J.Parker, J.Burrell, (Altar Boys)

*Altar Boys who are not scheduled may serve if space permits. Come to the Sacristy 10 minutes before Mass. 

Memorials & Prayer Intentions

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

The Sanctuary Flowers may be offered in memory of a loved one by contacting the office.

Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: Donna Doll
  • Sun 9a: Pro Populo
  • Sun 11a: Shirley Ragland & Roscoe & Clotile Methvin
  • Sun 5p: Vicki Gahagan & Ethel O. Mouch
  • Mon 6:30a: Shirley & Richard Ragland
  • Mon 8a: Joe Sampite
  • Tue 6:30a: Shirley & Richard Ragland
  • Tue 10a: SMS Students
  • Wed 6:30a: Delora & Sandi Ponthieux
  • Wed 9:20a: SMS Faculty
  • Thu 6:30a: Larry & Terry Smith
  • Thu 8:10a: SMS Benefactors
  • Fri 6:30a: Richard deVargas
  • Sat 8a: Gladys McFerren
  • Sat 10a: Fr. Jamie Medina

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all peoples. And that, Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ.

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