In those days, food and water were tough to come by. There wasn’t an EBT or a food stamp to be found, and poverty meant a whole lot more than it does now. In those days, the people had a much more tangible sense of what poverty and need really are…
But Pope Francis has spent the last year reminding us that we, too, are impoverished… We’re impoverished in a way that the Jews in the desert wouldn’t have understood. We are impoverished morally and spiritually, while they were only impoverished physically. There are three kinds of destitution: physical, moral and spiritual. The Jews were physically destitute. They were wondering in the desert and their hunger led them to grumble against the Lord and against the Lord’s promise… It led them to create a golden idol and to worship it. Our destitution - both moral and spiritual - leads us to reject the Lord outright and set up ourselves as idols for worship!
One of the questions we have to ask ourselves is “from where does this destitution come?” Has God stopped providing moral and spiritual nourishment? Has human nature changed in such a way that God’s grace is no longer capable of satisfying our hunger and thirst for the supernatural life? Of course, the answer is a resounding “no!” To the contrary, human nature hasn’t changed one bit and God has not stopped offering even for a second… But we have made ourselves hunger and thirst because we have separated ourselves from God’s grace… Every time one of us receives Holy Communion with unconfessed, un-repented-of mortal sin, we are all deprived of grace. Every time one of us decides that his or her conscience knows better than the Lord, we are all deprived of grace. Every time one of us puts an equality sticker on his or her car… Every time one of us uses contraception… Every time one of us looks at pornography without sorrow and contrition… We are all deprived of grace. It is as if the nourishment of God tastes like ash in our mouths. The solution, of course, is simple. Go to confession and starve no more!
Insights From Second Street
I very regularly get questions from parishioners and from kids at the school about whether or not it’s ok to work on the sabbath. It’s an honest question. But it’s also an example of the messy spiritual thinking that too many Catholics have imbibed from our Protestant brothers and sisters.
Christians don’t keep the sabbath. Jesus and his followers all showed a certain disdain for the sabbath. What began as a gift from God became a kind of noose around the necks of the Jewish people that led to all manner of silliness and legalism. And so, when Jesus rose from the dead on the “first day of the week,” the sabbath was replaced in Christian practice by keeping Holy the Lord’s Day. The Lord’s Day is Sunday, while the Jewish Shabbat (sabbath) is Saturday.
The Lord’s Day is not meant to be a day of strict prohibition against work. Rather, it’s a day we dedicate to God. Not just for the hour or so of Mass, but throughout the day. In addition to Mass, it was long the practice of Catholics to return to Church in the evening for Sunday Vespers. Vespers only lasts about 30 minutes and allows the Catholic to sanctify the Lord’s day at the beginning and the end. Additionally, throughout the day, time should be set aside for some spiritual reading and for some considerations of the mysteries of God. Families would do well to take some time together to discuss matters of faith and morals and to pray the rosary together at least once a week. All of these together (Mass, Vespers, Rosary, spiritual reading and discussion) only take up a couple of hours, leaving most of the day for rest, leisure or catching up on necessary housework.
Keeping holy the Lord’s Day is certainly one of the most basic parts of the Christian Spiritual Life and it’s something all of us would do well to evaluate within ourselves. Simple attendance at Mass is good, but is it really enough? Is the minimum really enough to nourish and cause spiritual growth?
by: Tommy Myrick
I remember several years ago having a conversation with an ex-Catholic. They said the reason why they left the Church was because they saw the Vatican. I didn’t understand how this would cause someone to abandon their faith. They further explained that the city was very beautiful! It was adorned with precious metals and stones. It was a masterpiece to behold!
They couldn’t understand why so much money could be used to build these gorgeous basilicas and parishes when there were impoverished people all over the world who could have used that money to buy food. They took this as an act of selfishness that flew right in the face of the Savior’s teachings. With that, they decided to leave the Church for something that “helped the poor more.”
Ironically, this is exactly what one of the disciples thought. His name was Judas. When a woman came to Jesus with an alabaster jar of ointment, broke it, and anointed Jesus’ feet with it, Judas complained that what she was doing was a waste. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus rebuked him for it, and pointed out that she was ministering to Him. This is a very important thing to keep in mind.
Why are Catholic churches supposed to be beautiful? Why must the sacred vessels used to accommodate our Lord in the Eucharist be made of precious metals? Why must the very best that we have to offer go to the Church? Because it ministers directly to Jesus!
Jesus teaches us that when we do good to the “least of these” we do it to Him, and when we neglect them, we neglect Him. This does not, however, mean that we cannot minister directly to Him. God is beautiful, and knowing Him through the beauty of the Divine Liturgy in the proper place of worship is a powerful sign to any man of any monetary standing in any age.
It is also unjust to think that only the rich deserve to see the Lord in a place of beauty. The poor have every right to witness the beauty of the Lord in His lovely house. May we always be mindful of the fact that beauty is one of God’s tools to soften the hearts of the wayward. May we be ever ready to receive them!
A big thank you goes out to all that participated in our Parish Mission and/or St. Joseph's Altar last week.
CONFESSIONS AVAILABLE Confessions are available throughout Lent on Tuesdays from 5-6p, on Fridays during Stations of the Cross (5:15-5:45p), and before weekend Masses as usual. Please take advantage of this gift of God!
***NO CCD & NO Wednesday Night Adult Catechism this week (3/26).
DON’T FORGET OUR SUNDAY EVENING SCHEDULE Every Sunday evening, Solemn Vespers is offered at 4:30p. It consists of Benediction of the Holy Eucharist and the singing of psalms and spiritual songs. It is followed by, but not connected to, the 5p Mass which is offered in the Extraordinary Form. Mass concludes around 6p. Vespers are required of a Minor Basilica so please consider coming on some regular basis! All are welcome.
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.
DIOCESAN BIBLE CONFERENCE APRIL 4-5 The Diocese of Alexandria will present the first annual Bible Conference/Seminar April 4-5 at the Divine Providence Center (401 21st Street, Alexandria). Jeff Cavins, an exciting national and international Catholic speaker and Bible teacher, will be the guest speaker for the conference on the topic, “You Can Understand the Bible!” Cost is $50 per person or $75 per couple. For more information, call 318-445-6424, ext. 221 or visit us at diocesealex.org.
- 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
- Wed, 4/2, Parish Supper, 5-6p @ St. Mary’s
- Wed, 4/2, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
- Fri, 4/4, Benediction & Way of the Cross, 5:15p
- Sat, 4/5, Veiling of the Statues
- Tue, 4/8, Lenten Confessions, 5-6p
- Wed, 4/9, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
- Fri, 4/11, St. Mary’s Fashion Follies
Our Sunday Collection last week was $7,730.
Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!
For more information on our finances, click here.
Within the Sanctuary
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)
Sat 3/29 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Jo Lapeyrouse, (EMHC-CH) • Red Lapeyrouse, David Bouchie, (EMHC-CI) • C.J.Bouchie, J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/30 9a Joe Cunningham, (Lector) • Jeff & Carol Green, (EMHC-CH) • John Cunningham, (EMHC-CI) • A.Brehendsen, C.Cunningham, J.Cunningham, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/30 11a Greg Burke, (Lector) • Haley Johnson, Joseph Sklar, (EMHC-CH) • Lucile Ingram, (EMHC-CI) • S.Maggio, V.Maggio, D.Thompson, (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 Eula Henry by Janice Nix.
The Sanctuary Flowers may be offered in memory of a loved one by contacting the office.
- Sat 4p: Clay Hennigan
- Sun 9a: Sadie & Sue Stroud
- Sun 11a: Pro Populo
- Sun 5p: Shirley Egan
- Mon 6:30a: Bill Bollich
- Mon 8a: Mr. & Mrs. Allen Wiltz, Sr.
- Tue 6:30a: Clifton Wayne Lemoine
- Wed 6:30a: Doris & Will Pierson and Elise James
- Wed 9a: Students & Faculty
- Thu 6:30a: A.B. Chenault
- Fri 6:30a: Tony Ruggiero
- Sat 8a: Vicki Gahagan
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