From The Font
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked upon his lowly servant.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary is Eve before the fall. She is us free of original sin and the self-involvement that comes with it. Imagine our lives, indeed the world, if we were able to receive the grace of God unhindered by ourselves! Our souls, too, would proclaim the greatness of the Lord. We would rejoice in the knowledge that God is truly our savior and our sustenance. We would be astounded by the reality that God has looked upon us… Just like little children, we would appreciate the attention rather than expect it. We would never waste our energy asking God to prove His existence to us because we would know Him by our own life…
All of modern life is an effort to create - artificially - this one moment in the life of Blessed Virgin Mary. Modern science is desperate to proclaim the greatness of this world separate from its creator. But all modern science finds is meaninglessness because it refuses to look at the obvious fingerprints of God all over creation. Modern artists and writers make every effort to show the potential of mankind to save itself… But the only modern art that exists is self-reflective of the complete disarray of the artist. The only stories that modern literature offers are bipolar pieces that go from saccharine romance to horrific dystopia.
Without Christ, the world simply cannot turn. We can extend our lives by medicine but at the expense of living. We can imitate creation in art and music and literature but at the expense of any real creation. We can fool ourselves by science and technology into believing that we are Godlike and yet the fruit is the Atom Bomb and little screens that have isolated us more totally than prison walls.
And in the midst of all this, Christ desires to be born as one of us and to come among us. He desires to restore to us our humanity only at the cost of our delusions and our cheap imitations. It's as if a banker is offering to exchange our Monopoly money for real cash. Where's the downside?
The words of the Blessed Virgin Mary are meant to be our words. They are meant to be the words of all mankind. We are destined to rejoice in the knowledge that our savior is looking upon us. We are meant to find overwhelming joy in our place as lowly servants!
Insights From Second Street
Rose Sunday is here again. And with it, the birthday of Pope Francis on December 17. Joy is an essential part of the Christian life. St. Paul reminds us that the Joy of the Lord is strength. Joy is also evangelical in that it is a living witness to the power of Christ not merely to save, but to provide abundance. I always think about Elijah the prophet after his encounter with Jezebel and the Prophets of Ba'al. Elijah destroys them and Queen Jezebel orders his death. With the Lord's help, Elijah flees to the desert. There, he is awakened by an angel who gives him food and drink in abundance. With this abundance, he is strengthened to endure his journey. At the end of his journey is the famous scene at the mouth of the cave where Elijah encounters the Lord not in the fire or the storm but in the still, small voice.
The Rose Sundays are placed in the midst of the seasons of Advent and Lent in order to strengthen the Christian with joy before the final push toward Christmas and Easter respectively. The strengthening by joy and the testing by desert aridity alone prepare us to find the Lord as Elijah did in the quiet. Without this fortification, we become too self-involved - too distracted - to hear the still, small voice and we are left disappointed that after the fire and the storm, there is nothing left to see.
At the same time, if only joy or only aridity is sought, then the Christian never even makes it through the desert! The modern idea that Christianity should be all positive and encouraging at the expense of the cross is nothing at all. It's religious entertainment and useless. On the other hand, the idea that Christianity should be all about the Cross and dour faces is as bad or worse. It's just the worst of our humanity writ large. Is it any wonder that Christmas has lost so much of its power? There is no Advent and so Christmas is nothing. It's almost entirely lost to us as a spiritual powerhouse. We celebrate for months and then find ourselves empty (and ten pounds heavier). If we embraced Advent and allowed ourselves to wait on the Lord in the midst of quiet - Christmas would become something entirely different! It would become an oasis in the midst of the worldliness of our lives. It would become a silent night in the midst of noise. It would be a chance for real reflection upon our own worth and purpose in this life. It would become a chance for real joy amidst the tinsel and plastic.
by: Tommy Myrick
Whatever happened to seasons? I know that in Louisiana, we usually joke about there being only two: hot and cold... but seriously, what happened to observing seasons? If you walk into the typical store during the month of October, you see all kinds of things for Halloween and Fall. If you were to walk into that same store November 1st, you are met with Christmas decorations and the sound of Christmas Carols on the store speaker system. What happened to Thanksgiving? Does nothing happen between Halloween and Christmas anymore?
We as Catholics have an entire season before Christmas even starts. Advent is a season of preparing our hearts and souls for the coming of the Christ child. Are we ready to meet Him? Are we ready to celebrate His coming? Then it’s Christmas. He’s here! Welcome Him as we have prepared! Then we have the New Year upon us, and it’s time to evaluate our previous year’s failures and successes and make resolutions for the new year.
Each one of these times is special. Each has an emphasis, something to work toward, and something to enjoy. Let us not skip over the ones that aren’t commercialized. Instead, let’s make time to observe the traditions we’ve been given by those who came before... Let us put our attentions and efforts on the things that are at hand... Let us allow these changing seasons to make impressions upon our hearts and make us into better people... Let us love God and give Him glory in all seasons and through all seasons.
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.
PARISH ADVENT NOVENA Beginning Tuesday, 12/16, and ending Thursday, 12/18, Fr. Chad Partain will present a three part Preached Novena on the spiritual life. Talks will begin at 6p in St. Mary's Chapel each night. All are welcome to attend and bring friends.
NO CCD, DEC. 17th Instead, students should attend Fr. Chad Partain's Parish Novena at St. Mary's Chapel. All are invited to attend.
CHRISTMAS PROGRAM FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19th As is tradition, our St. Mary’s Elementary students have prepared a program of singing and dancing for their parents and grandparents. The Christmas Program begins at 10a, but guests cannot be accommodated before 9:30am.
SPECIAL COLLECTION, DEC. 21st There will be a Special Collection next Sunday, 12/21, for the Retired Religious Fund.
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 (12/13, 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 (12/15, 12/22). All Catholics should typically confess monthly...now is a great time to make it a habit!
office closure schedule (12/29/13 bulletin)
- 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.
- Tue, 1/13, Pastoral Council Meeting, 6p
- 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
Within the Sanctuary
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)
Sat, 12/20 4p Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • Michael & Joanne Yankowski, (EMHC-CI) • D.Bennett, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 12/21 9a Stephen Taylor, (Lector) • Emelda Odom, (EMHC-CI) • James & Alice Barrios, (EMHC-CH) • A.&C.Lirette, S.&T.Lirette, (Altar Boys)
Sun 12/21 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC-CH) • S.&V.Maggio, 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: Tony Ruggiero and Red & Sadie Thomas and Rusty & Helen Bostick
- Sat 5:30p: Tina Holsumback
- Sun 9a: Essie Mae Huckaby
- Sun 11a: Pro Populo
- Sun 5p: Dr. Robert and Eloise Shannahan
- Mon 6:30a: James K & Jean Lee
- Mon 8a: Pop Hyams
- Tue 6:30a: Janell de Vargas
- Wed 6:30a: Shirley & Richard Ragland
- Thu 6:30a: Deceased members of Erwin & Giering Families
- Fri 6:30a: Latief Ackel
- Sat 8a: Adolf Sklar, Jr.
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