From The Font
“God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.”
The Jewish mind sees everything as deliberate. Nothing is mere coincidence. Nothing is random chance. For the ancient Jews, if something occurred, it occurred because God willed it. Much of that thinking has persisted even today. In fact, most of the humor that comes at the expense of Jewish mothers depends upon the idea that forgetting to call can't be an accident - it's because my son doesn't love me!
That notion of the deliberate nature of creation couldn't be more spot on. (The notion of the deliberateness of Jewish sons or, indeed, any human being is perhaps a bit less certain…) The Christian virtue of Hope grounds us in the reality that "all things work for the good of those who love the Lord." It reminds us that nothing in this world has power on its own to "separate us from the love of God." Neither luck, nor karma nor entropy exists on its own.
Hence the moral necessity of honoring father and mother. If God has placed these flawed people in authority over their children, then God intends to bring good from it. This is the way of thinking that grounds and underlies the scripture about "honoring" fathers and giving "authority" to mothers. It's not simply that respecting one's parents is a mitzvah (lit. "A good thing"). It's that God has put this family as it is and so we must enter into that family with the a sense of obedience, respect and duty that comes from anything to which God directs us.
We add to that the Jewish understanding of obedience to the law as salvific. For the Jews, there was nothing akin to Heaven as we think of it. There was only the hope that their lives would be worthy of being remembered and recorded. Long life in this world and an honored place among the stories of their ancestors was as good as it got. And so, the Jews would've read a passage about honoring father and respecting mother's authority in this very particular way.
As modern Christians, much of that mentality must be retained. We honor father and mother and give obedience to both not merely because we wish to be remembered, but because these commandments are conditions of obtaining eternal life and because they are a witness to our belief that obeying God's commands is an expression of our love for Him. (C.f. John 15 - "If you love Me, keep My commands.") On this feast of the Holy Family, let us remember that our families are not accidental, but intended as ways of getting us nearer to heaven.
Insights From Second Street
Charles Darwin and his intellectual descendants would have us believe that everything around us is random and coincidental. If we extend that thinking to our families and life-circumstances, we would be forced to see everything as a function of luck or karma or some other kind of cosmic game-play. Is there any wonder that so many people see God not as a loving Father but as a kind of all-powerful prankster?
In reality, God knit us each together in our mother's womb. He made us with gifts and talents and failings and weaknesses. He set us on a mission and put us into a particular family with particular aids and detriments in order that we might "work out our salvation." It's no accident that dad is the way he is or that Aunt Bernice is as she is. It's no accident that we didn't have as much money or as many opportunities as the Joneses. It's no accident that this family is musical and that family is so kind and the Yankees down the street are wealthy. It's no accident that nosey Rose who lives next-door is the kind of neighbor that drives us more than a little crazy.
If we see the world through the eyes of Faith that God is not just some cosmic idea, but a true Father, then we can't help but realize that each and every family is deliberate and intended by God. Now that doesn't discount the effects of sin! Sin destroys families just as it destroys lives and souls. But God is not so small that He can't use even sin in order to bring about His glory. Some of the greatest saints come from what can only be called dysfunctional families. St. Augustine and his long-suffering mother Monica are a perfect example. St. Cecilia, who was put to death by her own father, is another! And yet we can look back with the wisdom of ages and see that Cecilia's martyrdom transformed the lives of countless Christians. So what is on the surface horrific, God uses to bring about the salvation of many souls…
As we consider our families - the good, the bad, the holiday visits - we have to keep in mind that it's not an accident that we are where we are! Quite the opposite! God has placed us precisely where we are for a reason that we can't hope to comprehend. So rather than worry about why, let us simply give thanks for our wonderful, crazy, confusing and blessed families.
by: Fr. Ryan
Consecration is the religious practice of "setting something apart" or making it holy. We consecrate those things which may well be worldly by their nature, but which we desire to put at the sole service of God. On January 1, every Catholic may receive a plenary indulgence for consecrating the new year to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There are formal prayers which can be said - but the process is simple: kneel down, take a moment of quiet and tell the Lord that you want this new year to be a time of special grace. Tell Him that you are consecrating yourself to Him in a new way this year and that you intend to be nearer to eternal life at this time next year... Then, make a good confession and receive Holy Communion at the Mass for the Holy Day of Obligation (remember, Jan. 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation).
The practice is a good one because we human beings need markers and sign posts. We need to know from where we've come and to where we're going. Otherwise, we will find ourselves spinning our wheels. We need the kind of time that goes forward from past to future (in Greek "Chronos") and that kind of time that cycles in weeks and months (in Greek "Kairos"). We need to reorient ourselves in life on a regular basis and new years are ideal times to do that. That's why the Church is careful to establish several seasons which allow us to have new beginnings throughout the year. We have Advent and Christmas, Lent, Easter and Pentecost, and Ordinary Time to allow us to set aside a few weeks or months at a time for the Lord. That's not by accident, nor is it some random invention of psychology. The Church year is wonderfully human in that it moves forward and it cycles. It is a true gift and one that as a parish we must receive. There's more to say, but for now, let this new year be a time for consecration.
SPECIAL COLLECTION, JAN. 1st There will be a Special Collection Thursday, 1/1, for the Solemnity of Mary.
NEW YEAR'S DAY IS A HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION New Year’s 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 (Wed, 12/31) at 6p & two Masses on the day of obligation (Thurs, 1/1) at 6:30a & 6p. Please make every effort to attend and to consecrate the new year to Our Lord!
SMS HOLIDAY SCHEDULE St. Mary's 2-week Christmas and New Year's Break will begin Fri, 12/19, at Noon. Classes will resume Mon, 1/5 . We'd like to wish everyone a safe and blessed Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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.
NO CCD CLASS We will NOT have CCD Classes on Wed, 12/31, due to the holidays. Instead, students should attend Mass on New Year's Day in observance of the Holy Day of Obligation. (Those Mass times are listed in the bulletin.) CCD Classes will resume Wed, 1/7, at 6p. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
LAST SPECIAL SATURDAY MASS Fr. Ryan will offer the last additional Saturday evening Mass at St. Mary’s School Chapel at 5:30p for the Advent and Christmas Seasons on Jan. 3rd. The Mass will count for your weekend obligation. All are welcome.
JANUARY 10th IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY Saturday, Jan. 10th, is the 5th Anniversary of the Elevation of the Minor Basilica. A Plenary Indulgence has been extended by the Holy Father for our Church. A special Mass of indulgence has been added on Saturday, Jan. 10th, at 10a. All are welcome!
- Wed, 12/31, Vigil Mass for the Holy Day of Obligation, 6p
- Thu, 1/1, The Feast of Mary, Mother of God. (Holy Day of Obligation) Mass at 6:30am & 6pm.
- Fri, 1/2, First Friday
- Sat, 1/3, First Saturday. Last weekend of Lights & Fireworks.
- Sun, 1/4, Epiphany of Our Lord. Blessing of Epiphany Chalk. (Take Christmas Trees & Decorations down.)
- Wed, 1/7, Parish Supper, CCD, & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 5-7:30p @ St. Mary's
- Thu, 1/8, SMS D.C. Trip/Parent Meeting @ SMS Library, 6p
- Sat, 1/10, Basilican Feast Day for the Anniversary of the Elevation of the Minor Basilica. Special Mass @ 10a.
- Wed, 1/14, CCD & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
- Sat, 1/17, March for Life, Shreveport
- Mon, 1/19, Parish Office CLOSED & St. Mary’s NO SCHOOL, MLK Day
- Mon, 1/19, Pastoral Council Meeting, 6p
- Tue, 1/20, SMS All-School Mass, 10a
- Tue, 1/20, CDA Meeting, 6p
- Tue - Fri, 1/20 - 1/23, SMS Warriors for Life Trip to Washington D.C.
- Wed, 1/21, CCD, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
- Wed, 1/28, SMS All-School Mass, 9a
- Wed, 1/28, CCD & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
- Sat, 1/31, Candlemas
Within the Sanctuary
Sat, 12/27 4p Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • David Bouchie, Micky Hennigan, (EMHC-CI) • D.Bennett, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 12/28 9a Sydney Frederick, (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CI) • Edward & Cindy Smith, (EMHC-CH) • M.McCart, J.Miley, G.Fidelak, (Altar Boys)
Sun 12/28 11a Ed Giering, (Lector) • Haley Johnson, (EMHC-CI) • Joseph Sklar, Patsy Melder, (EMHC-CH) • Edward Norwood, Cole Fisher, (Altar Boys)
Sat, 1/3 4p Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • Nita Maggio, Jimmy Gunter, (EMHC-CI) • D.&M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 1/4 9a Joe Cunningham Jr., (Lector) • John Vandersypen, (EMHC-CI) • Michael King, Stephen Taylor, (EMHC-CH) • G.&JH.Ingrish, B.Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 1/4 11a Joe Payne Williams, (Lector) • Cecilia Cook, (EMHC-CI) • Linda Lee, Jean Gill, (EMHC-CH) • W.Lee, 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
- Sat 4p: Madeline Matthews & Sandi Ponthieux
- Sat 5:30p: Richard deVargas & Cyril G. Mouch, Sr.
- Sun 9a: Pro Populo
- Sun 11a: Richard Ragland & David M. Smith
- Sun 5p: Mary Jean Thomas & Johnnie Mallory
- Mon 6:30a: Daniel Chesal
- Tue 6:30a: Janell de Vargas
- Wed 6:30a: Buddy Masson
- Wed 6p: Pro Populo
- Thu 6:30a: Marva Cunningham
- Thu 6p: Pro Populo
- Fri 6:30a: Martha LaCaze
- Sat 8a: N.L. Vercher
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will. And that, parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.
Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Dr. Oscar “Joe” Bienvenu, Jr. & Mrs. Janis Abraham
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Bob Allen, Lolette Allen, William Lynn Basco, Lauren Bienvenu, Millard 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, & Marilyn Williams