I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.

When God makes a promise, He makes a promise! We have to remember, though, that the Jews did not always believe in the eternal life of the soul. For a great many years, they believed only in Sheol. Sheol was akin to that half-awake feeling right before you go to bed or hit the snooze for the eighth time… It was a place of the dead - a place of shadows. It wasn’t really good or bad - it was just where everybody went. And so, when God promised something, it had to be a promise in this world.

In our modern world, we’ve circled back to that way of thinking. Today, most Protestant Christians believe that every Christian goes to heaven automatically - something Catholics do not believe. That belief, though, has collapsed into a kind of fatalism where we hear the Joel Olsteen types preaching a “Gospel of Prosperity” where the real blessing of God is in this life and heaven is more of an afterthought.

Jesus, though, is not worried about a worldly payout. Heaven is a new Eden. Heaven is a place of glory, joy, and true fulfillment beyond any desire of any human heart… And so, when Jesus calls us to take up our crosses and follow Him, He’s not predicting that any part of that will be easy, pleasant, or even satisfying! Rather, He’s saying that this is the way to true happiness.

Unlike the Jews of the Old Covenant, Catholic Christians of the New Covenant are not promised a great progeny or an heroic legacy. We are promised the aide of the Lord on the day of Judgement… And it is that promise that we embrace in the holy season of Lent.

Insights From Second Street

Our parish mission was truly a blessing! Pope Francis, as a Jesuit, believes strongly that a good retreat pulls us out of that which is ordinary and familiar. A good retreat should challenge our comfort and cause us to be jarred a little from our ruts.

Fr. Z’s thoughts on some of the most simple and basic aspects of the faith were certainly jarring for some of us. How often do we just pop up when it’s time for communion without really looking inside and asking if we are prepared? It’s just so easy to receive Holy Communion - we just go with the flow. But does the Lord desire that we make a Spiritual Communion instead until we go to confession… Maybe so!

The Mass on Thursday was also jarring. It was beautiful and unfamiliar and part of our heritage that most of us have never experienced. Much like an old relative who moves back to town after a long absence… We’ve lived our lives without them for a long time and didn’t realize or expect what they would add.

More than anything, I hope we all take a moment to realize how blessed we are here at the Minor Basilica. We are members of the Pope’s church in Natchitoches. We have a mission to our fellow Catholics around us. We are charged with excellence. We are charged with generosity. We are charged - by the Holy Father himself - to be the kind of Christians that draw people to the Lord.

As we continue this holy season of Lent, let us take up the charges of Pope Francis, of Fr. Z, and of our own tradition - all of which call us to put aside what is easy in favor of what is right! What opportunities is God placing before you? What challenges is God asking you to overcome right now? What blessed suffering is God asking you to endure that you may complete in yourself what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ?

The Jargon…

by: Tommy Myrick

Lent is upon us. Many of us have chosen “taking something on” and/or “giving something up” as penances. The Church also takes on these practices. People begin Stations of the Cross and other devotions. Certain prescribed days for fasting and abstinence are observed, and the crowds tend to get larger at daily Mass.

There are also changes to the Liturgy. The Gloria and Alleluia are not sung during Lent. In the Extraordinary Form, the Alleluia is replaced with a Tract, and the Ordinary Form uses a Gospel Acclamation to replace the Alleluia. There is no instrumental music during Lent, so the only time that the organ or piano are heard is when there is singing involved. We also practice leaving the Mass in Holy Silence after the priest leaves the sanctuary. The Gloria will not come back until Holy Thursday and the Alleluia does not return until Easter Vigil.

In these ways, the Church also abstains from the full beauty of the Liturgy in this mournful time. This is to help us keep in mind the suffering of our Lord in his Passion and Death, and to prepare us for his triumphant Resurrection. May we remember what our Lord has done for us, and take solace in the approaching Easter season.

Parish News

ST. JOSEPH’S ALTAR The tradition of the St. Joseph Altar goes back to famines in Sicily in southern Italy. Today, the altar is an opportunity for celebrating God’s goodness and for enjoying some delicious traditional Italian sweets in the midst of Lent. The Knights of Columbus will host an Altar on Sun, Mar 16, at 1p. They will serve fried fish and the traditional “suga” sauce with spaghetti. If you’re able, bring some sweets or a meatless, cheeseless dish. All are welcome to attend, bring your friends and family!

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!

LENTEN SPIRITUAL EXERCISES Throughout Lent, Father will be in the confessional every Tuesday (beginning Tue, 3/11) from 5p to 6p. Every Friday of Lent (beginning Fri, 3/7), Father will pray the Stations of the Cross at 5:15p. Remember that every Friday of Lent is a day of Abstinence from meat and meat products. The Church defines meat as land animals and birds. (If you are in Houma, you may eat Alligator or Nutrea by special decree of the Pope.) Everyone from the age of 14 to 60 is obliged to keep this abstinence and to offer up some additional penance for the Lenten season.

LENTEN DUTIES The Church obliges everyone between the ages of 18 and 59 to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Additionally, everyone between the ages of 14 and 59 must abstain from meat on all Fridays of Lent. Deliberate failure to do so is a sin.

Parish Events

  • Sun, 3/16, St. Joseph’s Altar, 1p @ KC Hall
  • Tue, 3/18, Lenten Confessions, 5-6p
  • Wed, 3/19, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
  • Fri, 3/21, Way of the Cross, 5:15p
  • Mon-Fri, 3/24-3/28, Ember Week
  • Tue, 3/25, Lenten Confessions, 5-6p
  • Wed, 3/26, NO CCD & NO Wednesday Night Adult Catechism
  • Fri, 3/28, Way of the Cross, 5:15p
  • Sat, 3/29, St. Mary’s Prom
  • Tue, 4/1, Lenten Confessions, 5-6p

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $9,019.

Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

For more information on our finances, click here.

Within the Sanctuary

Sat 3/15 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) •  Jimmy Gunter, Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CH) • David Bouchie, Nita Maggio, (EMHC-CI) • D.Thibodaux, M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun 3/16 9a Rebecca Lavespere, (Lector) •  Edward & Cindy Smith, (EMHC-CH) • Stephen Taylor, (EMHC-CI) • T.Lirette, S.Lirette, T.Hare, (Altar Boys)

Sun 3/16 11a Karen Apponey, (Lector) • Chris & Jennifer Maggio, (EMHC-CH) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • M.Leone, C.Fisher, (Altar Boys)

Sat 3/22 4p Elaine Bacon, (Lector) •  Mike Yankowski, Kathleen Hicks, (EMHC-CH) • Joanne Yankowski, Micky Hennigan, (EMHC-CI) • D.Bennett, J.Friedel, (Altar Boys)

Sun 3/23 9a Stephen Taylor, (Lector) •  Alyssa Odom, Buddy Giering, (EMHC-CH) • Cissy Picou, (EMHC-CI) • R.Cunningham, R.Cunningham, M.McCart, (Altar Boys)

Sun 3/23 11a Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) •  Linda Lee, Barbara Laborde, (EMHC-CH) • Patsy Melder, (EMHC-CI) • I.Lovemore, W.Lee, W.Mayeux, (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 Stacy Williams by Marilyn Williams. 

The Sanctuary Flowers may be offered in memory of a loved one by contacting the office.

Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: N.L. Vercher & James McKnight
  • Sun 9a: Clifford McCalister
  • Sun 11a: Pro Populo
  • Sun 5p: Mr. & Mrs. Dickie DeVargas
  • Mon 6:30a: Clay Hennigan
  • Mon 8a: Eula & Carl Henry, Sr.
  • Tue 6:30a: Maroon & Beatrice Antoon
  • Tue 10a: SMS Students
  • Wed 6:30a: Sylvian LeVasseur, Sr.
  • Wed 9:20a: SMS Faculty
  • Thu 6:30a: Pete Camp
  • Thu 8:10a: SMS Benefactors
  • Fri 6:30a: Dorothy Benefield
  • Sat 8a: Ted Baranowski

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women. And that, many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.

Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Michael Tousek

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, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Amanda Rozman, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Billy Smith, Brent Trichel, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Billie Vercher, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, & Janine Waters