From The Font
“Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news!”
The great driving force of modernity is doubt. Rene Descartes founded his entire system of belief upon his fear that he couldn’t tell dreams from reality. Our world is peopled with his intellectual descendants. We are a people who are taught to question everything. Of course, the human mind can’t handle that kind of disorder and so we simply turn off that doubt when it comes to things like driving or eating. After all, why does the car go? How do I know that the sandwich I bought won’t poison me?
That same doubt floods the minds of Christians who waver between belief in God as an intellectual exercise and the kind of belief that makes us willing to put our lives in the hands of Ford Motor Company. If and when modern Christians are confronted with a true believer - either the Christian or the Muslim or the ideological politician or the terrorist - we have an uneasy feeling. Surety is something to be questioned in our modern minds. No one is really supposed to know anything "for sure." That’s why we can be comfortable talking about belief and being "spiritual" rather than religious. It’s why parents are fine sending their kids to a retreat or a Catholic School but get very anxious when that kid starts to speak about the convent or the priesthood. It’s not a personal fault… It’s the culture around us.
The time has passed, though, in which Christians could blame our shortcomings on culture and then sit back and let someone else pick up the slack. Of course our culture is a mess. But the same message comes to us that came to Isaiah: “Go up to a high mountain… [and] cry out at the top of your voice.” Imagine what people would say about us! They’d say we’ve lost it. They’d say we’re intolerant or bigoted. They’d say we’d drank the Kool-Aid. They’d say we’ve gotten too religious.
So the question arises, what does God say when we cower in our skepticism? What does God say when our belief in Him and His law is so anemic, that we’re uncomfortable saying "Merry Christmas" when the waiter says "Happy Holidays?" What does God say when we salve ourselves with something like “God wants us all to get along” or “God doesn’t care about this or that - He loves everyone?” Advent is an ideal time to ask which voice we care most about and which voice we’re willing to use to prove it.
Insights From Second Street
Our patronal feast - The Immaculate Conception - is upon us again. The day is a Holy Day of Obligation even though it falls on a Monday and so everyone must attend Mass for Sunday AND for Monday. You could also attend the evening Mass on Sunday and a Sunday morning or Saturday evening Mass… Either way, in this case, inconvenience is a good thing…
Having our lives knocked out of kilter a little is not always a bad thing, especially during the Advent season. Too often we get flustered by things that don't matter and allow those things our total attention at the expensive of what really makes a difference.
In school, my teachers would always challenge me by asking whether this thing I think is so important will matter in five years… I'll save my numerous sassy answers and concede that almost nothing I got excited about back then mattered five years later. Most of us could tally up the "major" or "immediate" concerns in our lives and count on one hand things that will matter in a year, let alone five.
Virtue and sin, however, will matter quite a lot in the years to come. The daily practice of faith will matter. Sorrow for sin will matter. Realizing the fleeting importance of so many things will matter. So much of the feast of the Immaculate Conception challenges our notion of importance and time. The Blessed Virgin was saved from sin before her birth after all… That's something to wrap our heads around on it's own. When we think about the fact that God is not limited by our notion of time, our brains begin to smoke a little! Sin mattered so much that even the mother of Jesus had to be utterly free from it… And do we ever stop to ask why? It's certainly not about Jesus jumping through some kind of hoop. Mary's freedom was necessary for Mary, herself… to be the mother of Jesus. It was necessary for her. The spiritual depths of the experience - which can never be contained in human ideas - was such that she could never have endured it with even the slightest hint of sin. The Church has long taught that sin damages the soul. Jesus describes it in the Gospels as a soiled wedding garment. The damage can be undone, but only by God's grace. If sin matters so much that Mary couldn't be the mother of Jesus with even the whiff of sin about her, how much more ought we to be concerned with it?! Perhaps a little inconvenience to think on these things is a blessing!
by: Deacon Whitehead
In the beginning, “the Earth was without form and void” (Gen. 1:2). Thus, one of the first things God did in creation was to bring order out of chaos. Fall is upon us – or what we will have of it. Nevertheless, we are experiencing seasonal change. Daylight has grown shorter, leaves are changing color and falling, and grass isn’t growing (as much!). Likewise, the Church’s celebration follows a cycle: a definite and repeating cycle.
This cycle, though, is not merely to mark the passage of time. Rather, it is to help us to contemplate the mystery of Jesus Christ, through his incarnation and birth, to his Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and the day of Pentecost. A cycle like this is a grace; it is something we are familiar with, just as we are familiar with the change of seasons. In this way, the Church brings a familiar order to our liturgical celebrations. Just as we can see order and the hand of the Creator in nature, our liturgical cycle also represents the gentle hand of a loving Father who brings order to every aspect of our lives, including our worship. Can you imagine what a Mass would look like without order? I’ll give you a hint: It wouldn’t be a Mass!
Last week we saw a change in color at the altar. The vestments Father and I wore, and the altar linens, changed from green to purple for the Advent season. We use purple because this color is traditionally associated with royalty, as the dye was the most expensive. This change is not merely a matter of personal taste or of decor. Rather, it orders our minds toward preparing ourselves for the coming of the King of the Universe, Jesus Christ. As we gather together for worship, keep in mind the details of our beautiful basilica. Like everything else around us, the colors symbolize spiritual realities and order our minds and hearts toward the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, the source and summit of our lives.
ADVENT CLEANING OF THE MINOR BASILICA Volunteers are needed to help clean the Church on Saturday, December 13, 9 am – 1 pm. Cleaning supplies will be provided. For questions, call Carol Green at 352-7707.
DECEMBER 8th IS A HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION Our next Holy Day of Obligation & 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!
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 (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 (12/8, 12/15, 12/22). All Catholics should typically confess monthly...now is a great time to make it a habit!
MBIC GIFT SHOP The December issues of the Magnificat are in. Advent candles, wreaths, children’s Advent Calendars, and Christmas items are now in the Gift Shop. Gift Certificates are available. Come by and see us sometime!
Catholic Daughters of America, Court Regina Pacis #1372, would like to thank all those parishioners who supported & participated in our recent bake sale. We were truly blessed by your generosity!
- 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, 12/16 - Thu, 12/18, Advent Preached Novena by Fr. Chad Partain at SMS Chapel.
- Wed, 12/17, NO CCD Class - instead, attend Parish Novena
- Fri,12/19, SMS Christmas Program for Parents & Grandparents. SMS Christmas Break begins.
- Sun, 12/21, Fourth Sunday of Advent.
- Mon, 12/22, Advent Confessions, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Wed, 12/24, Christmas Eve. 6:30am morning Mass. Vigil Mass at 4pm. Caroling at 11:30pm. Midnight Mass at Midnight.
- Thu,12/25, The Feast of Christ’s Nativity. Masses at 8am and 10am.
- Thu, 1/1, The Feast of Mary, Mother of God. (Holy Day of Obligation) Mass at 6:30am & 6pm.
- Sun, 1/4, Epiphany of Our Lord. Blessing of Epiphany Chalk. (Take Christmas Trees & Decorations down.)
- Sat, 1/10, Basilican Feast Day for the Anniversary of the Elevation of the Minor Basilica.
Within the Sanctuary
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)
Sat, 12/13 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Kathleen Hicks, (EMHC-CI) • J.Friedel, D.Bennett, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 12/14 9a Elaine Bacon, (Lector) • John Vandersypen, (EMHC-CI) • Buddy Giering, John Cunningham, (EMHC-CH) • J.Miley, C.Cunningham, B.Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)
Sun 12/14 11a John Laborde, (Lector) • Barbara Laborde, (EMHC-CI) • Jean Gill, Linda Lee, (EMHC-CH) • A.&J.Parker, W.Lee, (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: Special Intentions, Rae Laborde, Brooke Hennigan, & Gene Doll
- Sat 5:30p: Ron Brown
- Sun 9a: Pro Populo
- Sun 11a: Shirley Ragland, Ethel Marie Miller, & Martha Lacaze
- Sun 5p: Mark Birch and Richard & Shirley Ragland
- Mon 6:30a: Richard Lightfoot
- Mon 6p: Mike Bouchie
- Tue 6:30a: Janell de Vargas
- Wed 6:30a: Sylvian Levasseur
- Thu 6:30a: Elise Pierson James
- Fri 6:30a: Martha Lacaze
- Sat 8a: Sylvian LeVasseur
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: Leo Abraham, Jr.
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