From The Font
"Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?"
While Advent is not a penitential season like Lent, there is a certain reflectiveness and introspection that comes with waiting for the Lord. The Lenten notion of sojourning or traveling to the Cross and Resurrection are replaced by the arguably more difficult spiritual metaphor of sitting patiently and waiting for the Lord to take the lead.
And so, when the prophet Isaiah asks why the Lord allows the Jews to wander obtusely, so we ask ourselves what keeps us from resting in wait rather than pacing around nervously. The metaphor is apt. How many of us are able to sit with the Lord in a Holy Hour? How many of us take quiet time for prayer and meditation? How much quiet time? For the young, ten minutes without the iPhone is akin to torture. For the middle age, it's the TV. For the older generations, it's the coffee circle… But most of us nowadays are uncomfortable with the passivity of waiting.
Of course, it's no accident that the Church calls us back to this fundamental posture every year. As we anticipate the birth of the Christ child who, despite His authority over all things, waits to be fed and clothed by His mother. It's no accident that the Christ child was laid in a stinky, dirty manger surrounded by cold and clammer. It's no accident that the Shepherds are called to visit Him. It is the shepherds, after all, who are sitting patiently unable to do anything other than wait on their herds. They journey from the profound silence of the fields into the bustle of the busy city only when their waiting has been rewarded by a visit from the angel. The scene connects the two dispositions of Advent and Lent perfectly.
This Advent, we ought to ask ourselves often, the question posed by Isaiah: "Why do you let us wander, O Lord?" And, of course, we ought to ask ourselves - even more often - the question: "why do I let myself wander when God asks me to wait on Him?
Insights From Second Street
This time of year, Immaculate Conception is a tourist-oriented Church, especially as we conclude our Tricentennial. We have a slew of guest 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 something. Others believe 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 Almost-Christmas!
PARISH SUPPER on 12/3 CANCELLED The next Parish Supper, scheduled for Wed, 12/3, has been cancelled. However, we will still have Wed. Night Adult Catechism & CCD on Wed, Dec. 3rd, at St. Mary’s. At 6p, the kids will go to CCD and Fr. Ryan will give a talk in the Chapel for all who are interested. Invite other parishioners and/or your non-Catholic friends to attend! The Parish Supper will resume on Wed, 1/7.
MBIC SOUP KITCHEN IN NEED! The Food Pantry for the MBIC Soup Kitchen is in need of items. Anyone interested in donating non-perishable items and/or canned goods can drop these items off at the Parish Office Monday-Thursday between 8a-11a and 1p-4p. For more information, feel free to contact the Office at 318-352-3422.
SPECIAL SATURDAY MASSES ADDED Fr. Ryan will offer an additional Saturday evening Mass at St. Mary’s School Chapel at 5:30p during the Advent and Christmas Seasons (11/29, 12/6, 12/13, 12/20, 12/27, 1/3). The Mass will count for your weekend obligation. All are welcome.
ADVENT CONFESSION REMINDER Just a reminder that 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 Monday of Advent (12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 12/22). All Catholics should typically confess monthly...now is a great time to make it a habit!
CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL NEXT WEEKEND Our usual First Friday & First Saturday devotions will be cancelled. Friday, 12/5, Mass will be celebrated at 6:30a, but Adoration & Benediction will not be offered. Saturday, 12/6, we will not celebrate Mass or Benediction at 8a. Mass will be offered at 4p, but confessions will not be heard beforehand. Please be aware that parking will be very difficult and plan accordingly.
DECEMBER 8th IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY Our next indulgenced Basilican Feast Day is Monday, December 8th ― The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day of the Liturgical Celebration of the title of our Church. The 6:30a Mass will be a “Simple” Mass. The 6p Mass will be the “Conventual” Mass with music and incense. Both Masses will end with the proper prayers for the indulgence. All are welcome!
- Sun, 11/30, First Sunday of Advent
- Mon, 12/1, Advent Confessions, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Wed, 12/3, CCD & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
- Fri, 12/5, Feast of St. Nicholas. Parish Office closed & School cancelled for Christmas Festival. Mass at 6:30am. First Friday Adoration & Benediction cancelled.
- Sat, 12/6, Natchitoches Christmas Festival. No morning Mass. First Saturday cancelled. No Confession. Evening Mass at 4pm & 5:30pm (at SMS).
- Sun, 12/7, Second Sunday of Advent.
- Mon, 12/8, Basilican Feast Day for the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Holy Day of Obligation) Mass at 6:30am & 6pm.
- Mon, 12/8, Advent Confessions, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Tue, 12/9, Lessons & Carols with the NSU Choirs.
- Wed, 12/10, CCD & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
- Fri, 12/12, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.
- Sat, 12/13, Advent Cleaning of the MBIC, 9a-1p
- Sun, 12/14, Third Sunday of Advent. (Put Christmas Decorations up.)
- Mon, 12/15, Advent Confessions, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Tue, 11/16 - Thu, 11/18, Advent Preached Novena by Fr. Chad Partain at SMS Chapel.
- Wed, 11/17, NO CCD Class - instead, attend Parish Novena
- Fri,12/19, SMS Christmas Program for Parents & Grandparents. SMS Christmas Break begins.
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 11/29 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Micky Hennigan, David Bouchie, (EMHC-CI) • J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 11/30 9a Roger Cunningham, (Lector) • Stephen Taylor, (EMHC-CI) • Jeff & Carol Green, (EMHC-CH) • R.&R.Cunningham, A.Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)
Sun 11/30 11a Greg Burke, (Lector) • Joseph Sklar, (EMHC-CI) • Chris & Jennifer Maggio, (EMHC-CH) • E.Norwood, S.Maggio, C.Fisher, (Altar Boys)
Sat, 12/6 4p Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • Jimmy Gunter, Nita Maggio, (EMHC-CI) • D.&M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 12/7 9a Michael King, (Lector) • Emelda Odom, (EMHC-CI) • Edward & Cindy Smith, (EMHC-CH) • G.Fidelak, M.&P.Vienne, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 12/7 11a Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Lucile Ingram, (EMHC-CI) • Cecilia Cook, Haley Johnson, (EMHC-CH) • S.&V.Maggio, M.Leone, (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 Clay & Brooke Hennigan by Kilcoynes.
- Sat 4p: Curtis DeBlieux and Mike Bouchie
- Sat 5:30p: Elizabeth Agostini
- Sun 9a: Pro Populo
- Sun 11a: Richard Ragland & Pat Gargin
- Sun 5p: Fr. Kenneth Williams
- Mon 6:30a: Harry Gongre, Jr. & Thomas Emile Scott
- Mon 8a: Jeremiah, Caston, & Alexia Brevelle
- Tue 6:30a: Deceased Members of Ray & Gwen Ponthieux Families & Anna Kathryn Shuler
- Wed 6:30a: Calvert Scott
- Thu 6:30a: Mary Jean Thomas
- Fri 6:30a: John & Florence Berguin
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others. And that, young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Bob Allen, Lolette Allen, William Lynn Basco, Lauren Bienvenu, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mar-Lou Brasher, Cayleigh Braud, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Sonya Campbell, Carolyn Carter, Marie Charleville, Emilia Cofio, Woody Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Richard DeVargas, RJ Ducote, Angela Eversall, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Kramer Gahagan, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Sophie Gill, Christi Gootee, Elizabeth Governale, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Michael Kearney, EvaGrace Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Jheanny Ladao, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Mary Frances Lowrey, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, Danny Manuel, Jack McCain Jr., Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Judy Risty, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Lil Taylor, Clay Thompson, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Patricia Vazquez, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Jessica Warner, & Glen & Mary Williams