I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.

On January 26, 1861, Louisiana seceded from the United States. She did so not for the reasons so deceptively listed in many textbooks - slavery, racism and arrogance. Rather, Louisiana seceded because her core beliefs were threatened. She seceded because the congress had become as corrupted as the English colonial government which was overthrown less than 100 years before. Nowadays, people try to write back into history the easier to swallow story about the morally upright congress… but it wasn’t about minor disagreements - it was about core values.

Today, we are fighting many of the same battles - in government and in the Church. People who call themselves Catholic believe that the teachings of the Church don’t matter. People who call themselves Catholic put a sticker on their car in favor of  diabolical “marriage equality.” People who call themselves Catholic stand by politicians who murder children with the stroke of a pen. And these same people, whom the Bible roundly condemns, call for tolerance… Ha! Can’t we all just get along...? Can’t the lion lay down with the lamb…? Can’t Satan and Jesus just shake hands and be friends…?

No! Let there be no divisions among us who are united in the Truth! And the Truth does not admit falsity. It does not admit emotional pleas to protect feelings. It does not admit evil, even in the smallest doses. Why? Because the Truth is not some policy written down by people. It is not an idea at all. The Truth is the man Jesus Christ! The Way, the Truth and the Life! No, we can’t just get along... Satan’s head must be crushed underfoot! We must never delude ourselves into the specious error that Jesus wanted everyone to feel like part of the team… He welcomes all without prejudice, but hope is found in Him and only in Him!

Insights From Second Street

Happy Catholic Schools’ Week! When I look at our kids at St. Mary’s, I can’t help but be taken aback at just what they are to us. They are the future… If we want to make a better community and a better nation, they’re the real way that we do it. It’s in the hands of parents… And I’ll let you in on a secret, it’s really in the hands of mothers. Mothers decide whether or not to have kids. Mothers decide whether or not to use birth control. Mothers decide how many kids they are going to have, and so, mothers are really the ones who decide how much or how little they are personally going to contribute to transforming the world… It is mothers, far more than fathers, who will make the decisions that pass along the core values of the marriage into the world through the kids. If you want to talk about a war on women, look at the abortion industry…

Of all the things I’ve learned at St. Mary’s these last six months, the stand-out lesson is just how little we can really effect the core values our kids bring to St. Mary’s. By the time we get the kids, they believe strongly in so very many things… Everything from the value of grades and performance to the importance of politeness and behaving is already firmly established. That’s not to say that Catholic education doesn’t play it’s part by reinforcing the good rather than tearing it down! Still, so much Catholic education happens not in the school room, but in the nursery room.

Because of that, Catholic Schools week is a time to thank and to encourage all the parents of all our kids to redouble your efforts and your prayers. The power you have to effect our community and our nation is not just theoretical - it is real and it is incarnate in your kids. To those parents who have entrusted your kids to us, thank you! To all our parents, know that we love you and are praying for you! -FrR

The Jargon…

by: Tommy Myrick 

So how’s your prayer life? If you’re like me, then it’s hit and miss. Some days I feel like I’ve been able to speak to God a lot and have found enough time to meditate on a holy virtue or scripture passage to the point of having a massive spiritual Epiphany (pun intended). Other days, between waking up and going to bed, I don’t know where the time escaped to. I don’t feel like I’ve given God the time of day, and I haven’t.

It’s a new year, and that means new opportunities to grow! I’m personally trying to improve my prayer life, but that means that there needs to be new options on the table. If I only keep doing what I’ve been doing (praying when I think about it), then I’m still going to be hit and miss. I want to be more consistent and deliberate. How can I (or anyone interested in doing the same) achieve this? Two things come to mind:

1. Pick a set time for prayer, and don’t skip it! Some prayers like the Angelus already have prescribed times (6am, noon, and 6pm). Consistency is habit forming. Important things are not done when we “have time.” Important things are done when we “make time.”

2. Start simple. It doesn’t have to be a long devotion or an elaborate one, and it definitely doesn’t have to be several in rapid succession! Fifteen minutes of silence, the Rosary, the Angelus, or a novena may be good places to start. Pick ONE and be faithful with it. If you feel led to do more as you become faithful in your singular devotion, then prayerfully try one more. The hardest thing is to try to do too much, get discouraged, and end up doing nothing at all.

Parish News

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS’ WEEK BEGINS TODAY Catholic Schools’ Week begins today (Sun, 1/26) and ends this Saturday (2/1). All are asked to pray for Catholic Schools, especially St. Mary’s, and to reflect upon ways in which everyone of us can help assist with the mission of Catholic Education.

NEXT SUNDAY IS THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD The feast was traditionally associated with the Blessing of Candles and, like Christmas, has the short name Candlemas. On Feb. 2nd, the Sunday Vespers and 5p Mass will take place at the usual time but with some extra ceremonial. The Mass will be offered by candlelight. It will be beautiful! All are welcome to attend and to bring candles from home to be blessed!

PARISH SUPPER NEXT WEDNESDAY Our next Parish Supper will be next Wednesday, Feb. 5th, at 5p at St. Mary’s in the Cafeteria. The meal is free, but donations are accepted. At 6p, our usual CCD Classes and Wednesday Night Adult Catechism will begin. All are welcome! Invite your friends!

FIRST FRIDAY & FIRST SATURDAY The First Friday & Saturday of each month are kept in honor of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Adoration on First Friday begins after morning Mass and continues until Benediction at 5:15p. Sign-up at the back of the Church if you can watch with the Lord for an hour. First Saturday Mass and Benediction are at the usual time, 8a.

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

  • Sun-Sat, 1/26-2/1, Catholic School’s Week
  • Wed, 1/29, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
  • Sun, 2/2, Blessing of Throats in Honor of St. Blaise
  • Sun, 2/2, Candlemas, 5p Mass @ MBIC
  • Wed, 2/5, Parish Supper, 5-6p @ St. Mary’s
  • Wed, 2/5, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
  • Wed, 2/12, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
  • Sun, 2/16, Blessing of Engaged & Married Couples in Honor of St. Valentine’s Day
  • Mon, 2/17, Presidents’ Day, NO School & Parish Office CLOSED

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $7,820.

Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

For more information on our finances, click here.

Within the Sanctuary

Sat 1/25 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Kathleen Hicks, (EMHC-CH) • Red & Jo Lapeyrouse, (EMHC-CI) • D.Bennett, J.Friedel, C.J.Bouchie, (Altar Boys)

Sun 1/26 9a Stephen Taylor, (Lector) • James & Betty Durham, (EMHC-CH) • Stephen Taylor, (EMHC-CI) • M.McCart, P.Vienne, M.Vienne, Jr., (Altar Boys)

Sun 1/26 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC-CH) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • W.Mayeux, V.Maggio, S.Maggio, (Altar Boys)

Sat 2/1 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, David Bouchie, (EMHC-CH) • Nita Maggio, Michael Yankowski, (EMHC-CI) • D.Bennett, J.Friedel, C.J.Bouchie, (Altar Boys)

Sun 2/2 9a Michael King, (Lector) • Jeff & Carol Green, (EMHC-CH) • John Cunningham, (EMHC-CI) • G.Fidelak, J.Miley, T.Hare, (Altar Boys)

Sun 2/2 11a Greg Burke, (Lector) • Jean Gill, Barbara Laborde, (EMHC-CH) • Cecilia Cook, (EMHC-CI) • A.J.Parker, J.Parker, D.Thompson, (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 honor of the Special Intentions of Mary & Stanley Gates’ Family. 

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

Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: William McKnight
  • Sun 9a: Pro Populo
  • Sun 11a: Richard Ragland & Yolande Lewis
  • Sun 5p: Marva Cunningham
  • Mon 6:30a: Larry Smith
  • Mon 8a: Joe Sampite
  • Tue 6:30a: Tony Ruggiero
  • Wed 6:30a: Terry Smith
  • Thu 6:30a: Eula Henry
  • Thu 9a: SMS Students & Faculty
  • Fri 6:30a: Cyril G. Mouch, Sr.
  • Sat 8a: Ciriaco Gonzalez

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,  Kathy Bostick, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Emilia Cofio, Woody Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Marguerite Felchle,  Alma Fernandez, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Vicki Gahagan, Sophie Gill, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Pam Kerry, Mary Keyser, Paul Keyser, Gary Kilgore, 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, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Billie Vercher, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, & Janine Waters