Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own.

In the poor, we have competing and even contradictory words from the Lord. On the one hand, purely human love (“compassion”) demands that we alleviate suffering where we can… And so, if someone is hungry or in real need, we ought to help. On the other hand, we as Christians know that the body is passing away and so we ought to put our priority upon the spiritual good rather than the bodily good. 

We are reminded that we should obey the words of Jesus to imitate the poor widow who paid her two last coins to the temple... But at the same time, we must also realize that we will always have the poor with us. It’s important to understand that being poor in the United States is not the same by half as being poor in Uganda or Trinidad. What our government marks as poverty here is wealth there… And so “poverty” may be suffering or it may be politics.

But… The rub is that all of these ideas are summed up in the name the Church has always given to our duty to care for the poor: charity… caritas… “sacrificial love.” We don’t give because there is a need. We don’t give because we can. We don’t give because of guilt or an emotional plea from Sally Struthers! If we give for those reasons, we gain no grace and get no nearer to heaven. We must give for love… love of God and love of neighbor for the sake of God.

Now, we should be wise and prudent… We should direct our charity to noble and worthy organizations and to individuals truly in need… But we should not give for any reason other than love! “Charity” should never be displaced by something so mean and worldly as “justice!” Let us fearlessly give to the Lord and to His children! And let us do it for love of God!

Insights From Second Street

This Tuesday, the Bishop will call his advisors into session to consider the state of the diocese. He and his selected priests will - through prayer and debate - ask the tough questions and make the kinds of decisions that will affect people’s lives in real and tangible ways. These decisions will affect the priests who will offer funerals and anoint the dying. The new pastor of some parish may well be the man to bring back families who have been away from Church for generations! The outgoing pastor may have been a great blessing to the parish and they will mourn his loss for a long time. The new pastor may have an expertise that the parish has desperately needed for decades!

Pastors are assigned in the United States in terms of six years. Occasionally, temporary terms are given for months or fewer years when the needs of a parish (usually a parish that has undergone some crisis) require it. But most priests will go to their new parish for six years. In most places, a second term, also for six years, is possible and even likely. 

It’s hard to understand what goes through the pastor’s mind in these times of transition. For years, he has been the spiritual father of a congregation. He has wept and laughed with them. He has been there in the shouting matches and the whispered confessions. He has buried the dead, married the young, and rubbed the Oil of Sacred Chrism on the heads of the infants. That investment is akin to being a natural father. There’s real emotion and spiritual attachment.

Undoubtedly, the transition is a time of great upheaval in all the parishes who will get a new priest… But I implore you to pray this week - on Tuesday if you can - for the Bishop and his consultors. The work they do and the decisions they make are far reaching. Come Holy Spirit!

The Jargon…

by: Tommy Myrick

February 14th is Valentine’s Day. This usually means that husbands, fiances, and boyfriends make mad dashes to procure flowers, chocolates, and restaurant reservations. Women in relationships expect their significant other to forget, and single women are either looking for a date or celebrating “Single Awareness Day”. So who is this St. Valentine that caused all of this romantic nonsense?

The reality is that we honestly don’t know. There are debates over whether there was one or several St. Valentines. The most famous account comes from the latter part of the third century. In this incarnation, St. Valentine was a priest who was assisting the Christians in Rome (a capital crime under Emperor Claudius II) by performing marriages and burying martyrs. He was captured by Claudius, who began to enjoy the conversation of his captive until St. Valentine attempted to convert the pagan emperor. He was then sentenced to being beat to death with clubs. When that didn’t work, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate.

There is also an account of St. Valentine healing the sight of his jailor’s daughter while under incarceration. According to legend, on the eve of his execution, St. Valentine wrote a letter to the girl which he signed, “From Your Valentine”. Supposedly, this is where the custom of giving Valentine’s Day Cards comes from. 

St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses. Saint Valentine… Pray for us!

Parish News

WELCOME TO DEACON MITCHELL OF FOOD FOR THE POOR This weekend, Deacon Mitchell of the internationally acclaimed organization Food for the Poor is visiting to give us a near-to-Lent opportunity to do a little mission work without leaving the city. Please prayerfully consider his request for aid to those so in need. Remember that in a few weeks, we’ll hear Jesus remind us that prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the heart of the spiritual life!

BLESSING OF ENGAGED & MARRIED COUPLES IN HONOR OF ST. VALENTINE'S DAY Next weekend, Father will extend a blessing to all couples - married, engaged, or merely courting - in honor of St. Valentine’s day. Couples are encouraged to attend Mass together and to receive the blessing in a spirit of chaste love and devotion!

CALLING ALL ALTARBOYS Remember, any boy who is trained to serve, who is at Church ten minutes before Holy Mass, and who would like to serve, may come to the sacristy. We only need two servers for any Mass, but we can accommodate quite a few more. If you want to serve regularly, you are welcome!

FEBRUARY 22nd IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY Saturday, Feb. 22nd, is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. A Plenary Indulgence has been extended by the Holy Father for our Church. Because the day falls on a Saturday, anyone who attends the 8a & 4p Masses on Sat(2/22) may receive a Plenary Indulgence under the usual conditions. All are welcome!

REMINDER! Holy Mass is offered at 8a on Mondays in the St. Mary’s School Chapel. All are welcome!

Parish Events

  • 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
  • Wed, 2/19, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
  • Sat, 2/22, Basilican Feast Day - Chair of St. Peter, Holy Mass @ 8a & 4p
  • Wed, 2/26, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
  • Mon-Tue, 3/3 - 3/4, Mardi Gras Holiday, NO School & Parish Office CLOSED
  • Wed, 3/5, Ash Wednesday - Day of Fasting & Abstinence - Holy Mass @ 6:30a, 9a(SMS), & 6p

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $10,237.

Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

For more information on our finances, click here.

Within the Sanctuary

Sat 2/8 4p Karen Apponey, (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, Micky Hennigan, (EMHC-CH) • Kathleen Hicks, Nita Maggio, (EMHC-CI) • D.Bennett, J.Friedel, (Altar Boys)

Sun 2/9 9a John Ackel, (Lector) • Cissy Picou, Stephen Taylor, (EMHC-CH) • Alyssa Odom, (EMHC-CI) • A.Behrendsen, R.Cunningham, T.Hare, (Altar Boys)

Sun 2/9 11a Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Jean Gill, Patsy Melder, (EMHC-CH) • Cecilia Cook, (EMHC-CI) • J.Burrell, J.Graham, M.Leone, (Altar Boys)

Sat 2/15 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector) • Michael Yankowski, Red Lapeyrouse, (EMHC-CH) • Joanne Yankowski, Jo Lapeyrouse, (EMHC-CI) • C.J.Bouchie, J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun 2/16 9a Joe Cunningham, Sr., (Lector) • Buddy Giering, John Cunningham, (EMHC-CH) • Emelda Odom, (EMHC-CI) • C.Cunningham, J.Cunningham, M.McCart, (Altar Boys)

Sun 2/16 11a Greg Burke, (Lector) • Linda Lee, Jennifer Maggio, (EMHC-CH) • Lucile Ingram, (EMHC-CI) • W.Lee, I.Lovemore, C.Fisher, (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 and Sanctuary Flowers may be offered in memory of a loved one by contacting the office.

Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: Gene Doll
  • Sun 9a: Russell Cook
  • Sun 11a: Pro Populo
  • Sun 5p: Helen Bostick
  • Mon 6:30a: Faris Michael
  • Mon 8a: Gary LaBar, Jr.
  • Tue 6:30a: Deceased Members of Ray & Gwen Ponthieux Families
  • Tue 10a: SMS Students
  • Wed 6:30a: Clay Hennigan
  • Wed 9:20a: SMS Faculty
  • Thu 6:30a: Essie Mae Huckaby
  • Thu 8:10a: SMS Benefactors
  • Fri 6:30a: Harry Gongre, Jr.
  • Sat 8a: Dora & Gerald Jeansonne

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older people. And that, priests, religious, and lay people may work together with generosity for evangelization.

Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, Lauren Bienvenu, Mark Birch, Bill Boone, Kathy Bostick, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mar-Lou Brasher, 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, Paula Gagymad, Vicki Gahagan, Sophie Gill, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Mary Keyser, Paul Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Martha LaCaze, Jheanny Ladao, Daniel Laroux, Jane Locke, 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