At first glance, this story is horrific for the singular reason that the blind man and his living family are all outcasts and beggars just so that God can heal him… Really? Is God that desperate for a little show?
Of course, this way of thinking is not Catholic at all. It’s the Joel Olsteen and the “Gospel of Prosperity” mindset where everyone is meant by God to be successful, rich, beautiful, thin, happy, and free from all suffering. And while that way of thinking is clearly attractive, it’s not the story of Jesus. Jesus clearly calls for us to embrace suffering as a necessary part of our lives. He calls us to walk into the fire without fear. He calls for us submit ourselves to God, trusting that for whatever God desires to use us - there is infinitely greater good waiting in the wings.
Think about Pope John Paul II. His entire life was laden with suffering. He lost friends to Auschwitz, which was right down the street from his boyhood home. He lost his nation to the Nazis and then to the Soviet Communists. He was hit by a car at 10, shot in his 60s, and diagnosed with Parkinsons as the decease that would ultimately take his life. He was viciously berated by so-called “progressive” Catholics and he ultimately died in the public spotlight. By Joel Olsteen standards, John Paul II was not blessed by God… But John Paul II was infectiously happy and joyful and faithful and loving and kind and all the things that St. Paul calls the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.
In many ways, this Rose Sunday - in the midst of Lent - is a reminder that joy need not be separated from penance and suffering. Joy can exist in the midst of trial… But only if that joy is authentically rooted in God. Joy that comes from circumstances around me isn’t joy! It’s just pleasure. Joy which comes from God is “strength” and blessing. May our Joy this Sunday come from God and from nothing else!
Insights From Second Street
Throughout the season of Lent, I have been preaching about recognizing the opportunities that God places in our lives. Some years ago, I heard a priest talking to potential seminarians and he said this: "We do not have a crisis of vocations - we have a crisis of courage! It's not that God isn't calling men to priesthood - it's that men don't have the courage to say 'yes.'"
I think we could well say the same thing for so many of us Catholics who are surrounded by people who would benefit from our faith, our experience, and our religion… Think of how many people we encounter in one day who would find much peace in the confessional. Think of how many people we meet daily who would benefit from hearing about our own struggles, doubts, and anxieties, and how we bring them to the Lord. How many people, though, do we leave unfed, unassured, or unchallenged due to fear?
And fear of what? Being thought of poorly? Being embarrassed? Being out-argued or out-bible-quoted? We each have to ask ourselves what keeps us from speaking up and living our faith boldly… Because the reality is that we live in the most religion-friendly state of one of the most religion-friendly countries on the planet. There's no meaningful fear of religious persecution in Natchitoches. The only thing we really risk here is our reputation and our social standing…
This weekend, as we celebrate the truth that "the Joy of the Lord is Strength," we can't help but realize that joy is antithetical to living a life of paralyzing fear. Social standing is antithetical to true freedom. Reputation is antithetical to the Christian ideal of repentance and what the Greeks call 'meta-noia' - a Change of Heart. So if we are to be servants of God, we must be open to being changed and shaped and transformed… We must be open because it is the only worthy path to tread and we must be open because the worthy path means hearing the words of Christ - all the words of Christ - which include "If you would have life, take up your cross and follow after me."
by: Fr. Travis
What is a vocation to religious life? Too often when discussing vocations, we hear “boys can be priests; girls can be nuns”; while this is true, it’s incomplete. Let’s take a closer look at the religious.
In the life of the Church, the religious vocation is unique and as old as the church herself. It’s unique because it doesn’t simply sit beside the other two “top-level” vocations. Vatican II describes three states of life in the Church: the hierarchy, the consecrated, and the laity (LG 31). All share in the dignity of Christ; all are called to holiness; all have a role to play in Christ’s mission.
According to the Catechism, to look at it another way, the Church is made up of all the faithful (those who are baptized) and can be divided in two complementary groups: the Hierarchy and the Laity. If you are baptized in the Church, you fall into one of these categories. The Hierarchy is called to holiness through “teaching, sanctifying, and governing”. The Laity are called to share in the mission of Christ, but with their own mission to bring the Faith into every aspect of human life (CCC 873).
But, where do the religious fit in; the monks, nuns, sisters, and brothers? The Catechism says a third group of the faithful is called from the other two “who are consecrated…to serve the salvific mission of the Church through the profession of the evangelical counsels (CCC 873). By these vows: Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, men and women are following the same invitation once given by Christ to the rich young man, “if you would perfect, go sell what you posses and give to the poor…and come, follow me” (Mt 19:16-22). While these can be analyzed individually (but not here), they need to be understood as a unity; one that is rooted in the following of Christ in a special and radical way. And not simply for the benefit of those who are called, but for the good of the whole Church, the Body of Christ.
The religious vocation is a mirror of our life with Christ in Heaven. Monks and nuns are radiant lights of the supernatural to help enlighten not only the world, but also the Church, both the hierarchy and laity. To reduces nuns and sisters to a sort of consolation prize for women who can’t be priests but still want to wear funny clothes, is a symptom of worldly blindness. On the other hand, to see their vocation to Consecrated life in its true light, is already a sign of God’s illuminating plan.
OCTOBER 20-29, 2014 PILGRIMAGE TO ITALY You are invited to join Fr. Ryan Humphries, Fr. Chris Decker, and the Magnificat Travel Group for a 10-day pilgrimage to Italy. Our pilgrims will travel through Assisi (Umbria), Florence (Tuscany), Orvietto, Rome, and the Vatican City. Trip highlights will include the Tomb of St. Francis, the Miracle of the Eucharist, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, the Catacombs, the Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Tomb of Pope Saint John Paul II. We only have 6 available spots left and the deadline to register is Friday, August 1, 2014. For more information, contact Magnificat Travel Group at (337)291-1933 or firstname.lastname@example.org -Or- contact Ashley Hebert at (318)352-3422 or email@example.com.
PARISH SUPPER THIS WEDNESDAY Our next Parish Supper will be this Wednesday, April 2nd, at 5p at St. Mary’s in the Cafeteria. The meal is free, but donations are accepted. At 6p, our usual CCD Classes and Wednesday Night Adult Catechism will begin. All are welcome! Invite your friends!
FIRST FRIDAY BENEDICTION & WAY OF THE CROSS Every Friday of Lent, Father will pray the Way of Cross at 5:15p in the Church. This Friday is also First Friday, and so, the Way of the Cross will be offered before the Blessed Sacrament with Benediction following. Please remember to sign up for an hour of prayer on this First Friday if you are able. First Saturday Mass and Benediction are at the usual time, 8a.
NEW ITEMS IN THE MBIC GIFT SHOP! New merchandise has arrived! Some of the new items for sale are: The Magnificat Missal - April/Holy Week Edition • First Holy Communion Gifts (including black ties & Communion veils) • Confirmation Gifts - Come by and see us at the MBIC Gift Shop.
- 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, First Friday & First Saturday
- 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
- Fri, 4/11, Way of the Cross, 5:15p
Our Sunday Collection last week was $8,720.
Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!
For more information on our finances, click here.
Within the Sanctuary
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)
Sat 4/5 4p Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • David Bouchie, Micky Hennigan, (EMHC-CH) • Nita Maggio, Jimmy Gunter, (EMHC-CI) • D.Thibodaux, M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 4/6 9a Joe Cunningham, Sr., (Lector) • James & Alice Barrios, (EMHC-CH) • Aimee Wright, (EMHC-CI) • G.Ingrish, J.H.Ingrish, J.Miley, (Altar Boys)
Sun 4/6 11a John Laborde, (Lector) • Barbara Laborde, Joseph Sklar, (EMHC-CH) • Jean Gill, (EMHC-CI) • A.Parker, J.Parker, 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 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: Richard Methvin & Red & Sadie Thomas
- Sun 9a: Pro Populo
- Sun 11a: Richard Ragland
- Sun 5p: Larry Dwayne Smith
- Mon 6:30a: Terry Gean Smith
- Mon 8a: Alice Ann McCallister Guin
- Tue 6:30a: Deceased Members of Ray & Gwen Ponthieux Families
- Tue 10a: SMS Students
- Wed 6:30a: Laura Jabbia
- Wed 9:20a: SMS Faculty
- Thu 6:30a: Special Intentions
- Thu 8:10a: SMS Benefactors
- Fri 6:30a: Marsha McGuiggan
- Sat 8a: Paula West
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, 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, Richard DeVargas, 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, Tristan Snyder, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Billie Vercher, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, & Janine Waters