The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.

Clay is shapeable. It's capable of being transformed. It's a source of life for the seed that grows within. It is the opposite of the stone or rock… In our Gospel today, all of the temptations that the devil uses to attack Jesus in the desert mention stone… It's something to think about. Adam comes from the clay where God is able to shape him… That is, until the devil enters and Adam and Eve discover sin. Once they "know" sin by experience, they are less shapeable.

In the desert, the devil commands Jesus to turn the stone - which is lifeless - into bread which is life-giving. Then, the devil tries to trick Jesus into testing the Lord by warning that he may "dash [his] foot against a stone" - which becomes a sign of rigidity and even suffering. Finally,  the devil takes Jesus to a mountain top - a huge block of rock and stone which symbolizes not only power but grandeur and greatness. Here, the devil tries to convince Jesus to harden His Divine Heart and worship the worldly power of the devil. Jesus has had enough! 

Lent is a time of introspection when each of us must look at our hearts and ask if they are stony or if they are soft. A soft heart can be shaped. It can be formed. A heart of stone, though, is lifeless. It causes suffering for ourselves and others. It is weighted down like a mountain with care and concern about the worldly desires. But Jesus says that given Faith, even those mountains can be moved or turned to dust!

This week, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf will be in our parish preaching a mission which will help us to understand our Catholic Faith and the way in which our hearts may be softened and remade to give life and not to cause injury. Prayerfully consider joining us at 6p on Tues., Wed., and Thurs. 

Insights From Second Street

Question: Why do we sing what we sing at Mass? What are the specific musical / liturgical requirements for the Minor Basilica? Answer: The Holy Mass was designed and has developed from the time of the Apostles to be a living embodiment of heaven. When we look to the depictions of heaven in the Book of Revelations, we see the basic outline for the Mass. From candles to incense to vestments to altars to scripture readings to various groups chanting, the Mass is found in the last book of the Bible. The primary reason that Vatican II cited for changing up the Mass was that the congregation had become more spectator than participant. In many ways, the same rationale was presented when the Revised Translation of the Roman Missal was set up two years ago.

When the Church calls for us to participate, She is calling for us to play our role in the drama of salvation. Our role - like the 144,000 robed saints in Rev 7:4 - is to unite our prayers to the work of the Lamb and the Elders and the Living Creatures who are gathered around the altar in Rev 5. And the way that we do that is to unite our voices “in one song.” But not just any song. Not just some random hymn. The One song is the scriptural dialogue with Christ that runs throughout the Book of Revelation and, really, the entire scripture. “The Lord Be With You - And With Your Spirit.” “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts.” By uniting our voices in one text, one rhythm and one melody - we become “the great crowd of witnesses” (Heb 12:1-3).

And this becomes the great reason that the Church, at Vatican II, said that chant - the music of the human voice - must be the primary music at Mass. This is why we chant so many of the texts of the Mass. We could ask why don’t other Churches? And that’s a big question for another time… But the fact is that wherever we look, be it in Vatican II or the Missal itself, the official texts of the Church say that the chanting of these scriptural dialogues ought to be the most basic music of every Sunday Mass.

To the second question, what are the specific musical requirements of the a Minor Basilica? The answer to that is laid out in the official document which governs all Basilicas - Domus Ecclesiæ (which is linked on the website). The most salient statement is that the Minor Basilica should be a “model” for the Sacred Liturgy. Basically, we ought to do what the Roman Missal says to the best of our ability as an example for those around us. St. Louis in New Orleans can do things we can’t. We may be able to do things Natchez can’t. So, we do the best we can do. For us, practically, that means we chant the dialogues between the priest (Christ) and the people (the Church). It means we celebrate our “Basilican days” with as much beauty as we can. It means we have a special Basilican choir which fulfills the requirement for an “adequate choir” who is able to sing certain parts of the Mass in Latin because the Church tells us that should be an ordinary part of parish life. It means we have Solemn Vespers on Sundays and, in the future, on other special feast days. Even more specifically, it means that we have incense on Sundays and Holy Days, it means we use beautiful vestments and vessels. It means we make a distinction between ordinary days (when we use the simpler chalice and the smaller altar cross) and festive days (when we use the more ornate chalice and the big altar cross and the biretta is used) and solemn days (when we use the very finest of everything we have and we use some Latin to unite ourselves to the universal Church).

Surely, some of these things are off-putting. They’re unfamiliar. They’re uncomfortable or even unwelcome. But the Church - by Her nature - is not meant to be comfortable or easy. Our Lord tells us to take up our cross and follow Him. The Church must constantly call us to more than what is easy - not just in Her preaching, but in every aspect of our lives. Thanks to those who have asked these questions! If anyone has other questions - email the office and let us know.

Parish News

Parish Mission: March 11-13 Beginning Tue, 3/11, and ending Thu, 3/13, internationally acclaimed speaker and expert, Fr. John Zuhsdorf will present a three part mission on our Catholic Identity and what he calls the “Marshal Plan” for the Church. Talks will begin at 6p each night. Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog - What Does the Prayer Really Say? - has upward of 30 million views and he is truly a dynamic and worthwhile speaker! We also flew him in from across the country… So please plan to attend these excellent presentations!

***CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism is cancelled this week because of our Parish Mission.

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.

MARCH 13th IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY Thu, Mar 13th, is the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. A Plenary Indulgence has been extended by the Holy Father for Minor Basilicas. The indulgence requires attending Mass at Immaculate. We have our usual 6:30a Mass and a 6p Mass as part of our parish mission. Please plan to attend - all are welcome! 

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!

Parish Events

  • Tue-Thu, 3/11-3/13, Parish Mission: Fr. John Zuhlsdorf - 6p each night, Confessions 5-6p
  • Wed, 3/12, NO CCD & NO Wednesday Night Adult Catechism
  • Thu, 3/13, Basilican Feast Day: Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Holy Mass @ 6:30a & 6p
  • Fri, 3/14, Way of the Cross, 5:15p
  • 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

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $9,457.

Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

For more information on our finances, click here.

Within the Sanctuary

Sat 3/8 4p Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) •  Michael & Joanne Yankowski, (EMHC-CH) • Micky Hennigan, Carl Henry, (EMHC-CI) • C.J.Bouchie, J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun 3/9 9a Michael King, (Lector) •  James & Betty Durham, (EMHC-CH) • John Vandersypen, (EMHC-CI) • B.Behrendsen, C.Lirette, G.Fidelak, (Altar Boys)

Sun 3/9 11a Joe Payne Williams, (Lector) •  Lina Lee, Jean Gill, (EMHC-CH) • Cecilia Cook, (EMHC-CI) • S.Maggio, E.Norwood, J.Burrell, (Altar Boys)

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)

*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 John Bacon by Kiera & Kimball.

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

Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: Blanche Marshall & Red & Sadie Thomas
  • Sun 9a: Essie Mae Huckaby
  • Sun 11a: Richard Williamson, Sr.
  • Sun 5p: Pro Populo
  • Mon 6:30a: Agnes Sklar
  • Mon 8a: Helen Bostick
  • Tue 6:30a: Essie Mae Huckaby
  • Tue 10a: SMS Students
  • Wed 6:30a: Bill Boone
  • Wed 9:20a: SMS Faculty
  • Thu 6:30a: Joseph Rachel
  • Thu 8:10a: SMS Benefactors
  • Fri 6:30a: Darlene Lockhart
  • Sat 8a: Vivian & Urban Beebe

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 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, Laura E. Jabbia, 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