Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.

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While there’s quite a lot of effort among non-Catholics to make the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel symbolic, it never really passes muster. In John 6, Jesus couldn’t be more direct. “My Body is true food… My Blood is true Drink…” And that directness isn’t some sly trick of Jesus. When the people hear His words, there’s an uproar. Lots of disciples leave and they don’t come back. Peter couldn’t be more blunt: it’s a “hard saying” and “who can listen to it?” And when Jesus calls the disciples out, it’s Peter who answers for those who are going to stick around… It’s clear by his tone that he’s not happy, but he answers “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!”

The last fifty years have been dominated by the false image of a warm and fuzzy Jesus who just wants everyone to be friends… Felt banners place Our Lord alongside smiley faces and multi-colored handprints and other wonderful symbols of kindness… And, undoubtedly, Jesus does want us “to be one” (Jn 17). But the real Jesus simply is not interested in some kind of meaningless middle ground where everybody gives a little. Jesus wants us to be unified in the truth! He wants us to be one as He “and the Father are one.” Jesus wants us to be conformed to His image and to be made one with the Holy Trinity.

That kind of unity comes not from universal compromise, but from a shared goal and purpose. Salvation comes only from the Lord Jesus who remains with us physically in the Most Holy Eucharist. This was clearly his intention and - what’s more - it was clearly understood by the time St. John wrote his gospel around 88AD. Jesus died in 27AD. By the mid-50s, St. Paul’s letters began to circulate. By around 70AD, all the apostles (except John) had been martyred and the three “synoptic” Gospels were in circulation. In all that time, though, there wasn’t a “Bible” to read. The Bible as we know it had to wait for St. Jerome at the beginning of the 400s AD. The source of unity of the early Church was not the Bible, but the Bread made Flesh! On this feast of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, let’s all remember that truth, goodness and eternal life do not come from ideas - they come from Jesus Christ who gave us His flesh to eat that we may be one in Him!

Insights From Second Street

There are three Thursdays in the Spring that are special. Unfortunately, since the 60s, two of them are now Sundays… DOH! Remember that in Genesis, Thursday is the day that God made the birds that seemed to walk in the heavens. At the center of these three Thursdays is Ascension Thursday. One either side, you have Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi Thursday.

The Ascension is that feast where Christ disappears and yet promises to remain with us always - even until the end of the Age. The other two Thursdays tell how He plans to do that, namely the Holy Eucharist. Holy Thursday is a rather somber day at the end of Lent; whereas, Corpus Christi Thursday is a truly joyful day at the end of Easter. 

Both Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi matter though. They are the symbolic and theological reminder that the Most Holy Eucharist is at the same time the Crucified and the Risen Lord. Here, in the appearance of bread, we have “the Lamb who is slain and yet lives” (Rev 5). Notice that we don’t artificially separate the death and resurrection of Jesus. There’s a temptation to divorce these two essential aspects just to make it easier to fit into our brains… But we mustn’t give in. Holy Thursday emphasizes the crucified Lord and Corpus Christi emphasizes the risen Lord, but they are inseparable. In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ is crucified and risen - He suffers and triumphs!

When we approach the Lord, we have to realize this odd contradiction is what God calls for from us… He demands that we “take up [our] cross and follow after” Him. At the same time, He says that the “Joy of the Lord is [our] strength.” “Whoever saves his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” 

The simple reality is that Jesus understands our simplicity and so He directs the Church to give us feasts and prayers which call for us to meditate upon specific aspects of each mystery of faith, rather than ever trying fully to understand them… Meditation and study is possible and praise-worthy, true understanding is a fool’s errand. That’s why we have so many Marian feast days. We can consider Mary’s Immaculate Conception and her Assumption and Her Coronation - but we’ll never understand the details and the specifics fully… It’s like Mother Theresa once said, “God doesn’t call us to success, He calls us to faithfulness.” Rather than try to squeeze infinite mysteries of faith into our minds, we just consider them throughout the year and let God do the hard work!

The Jargon…

by: Sem. Justin Ward

As we are nearly halfway through the month of the June, we are quickly approaching the Feast Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 27). It offers the opportunity to reflect on the link between the Sacred Heart and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that will follow the next day.

The feast springs from contemporary piety but has its roots in the Marian apostolate of St. John Eudes (1680), and outstanding apostle of devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. After repeated requests and repeated refusals between 1669 and 1729, on December 8, 1942, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, Pope Pius XII dedicated the Church and the human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He placed the feast on August 22 and extended it to the entire Latin Church. It has now been moved closer to the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus always falling on the Saturday after the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

At Fatima, Our Blessed Mother revealed her Immaculate Heart to the three shepherd children. We saw then that Our Mother’s Heart was surrounded by thorns—the thorns of sin. We were then asked to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by prayer and sacrifices—to console her Motherly Heart—to remove those thorns. Also at Fatima, Our Lady requested that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart saying, "In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted and a period of peace will be granted to the world."

She also told them: "Jesus wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it. Tell everybody that God grants graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that they must ask them from her. Tell them that the Heart of Jesus wishes that by His side should be venerated the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask peace through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; God has placed it in her hands." It was Venerable Pope Pius XII who first consecrated the Church and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during World War II on October 31, 1942, and again, solemnly, on December 8, 1942. He repeated the Consecration in July 1952.

In more recent times, moved by millions of petitions and by the occasion of the attempted assassination of his own person on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1981, Pope Saint John Paul II consecrated the world and every nation to the Immaculate Heart in 1982, and repeated this act in union with all the Catholic Bishops in 1983. In 1984, Pope John Paul II once again consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Let us all renew our fervor for devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate hearts of Jesus and Mary. I have the great grace of making a two-week pilgrimage to Fatima during July. Know that I will certainly be mindful of the people of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Immaculati Cordis Mariæ, ora pro nobis!

Parish News

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL The MBIC will be hosting its annual Vacation Bible School at St. Mary’s School July 14-18, from 8a-Noon. Children between the ages of 4-12 are invited to attend. There is a suggested donation of $5 per child. Virtus trained teenager and adult volunteers are needed. For more information and/or to register as a volunteer or attendee, contact Jennifer Maggio at jmaggio@cp-tel.net or pick up registration forms at the back of the Church or at the Parish Office. 

MBIC SOUP KITCHEN IN NEED! The Food Pantry for the MBIC Soup Kitchen is in need of items. Anyone interested in donating non-perishable items and/or canned goods can drop these items off at the Parish Office Monday-Thursday between 8a-11a and 1p-4p. There will also be a donation box in the Parish Hall for those interested in dropping off items there. Our food drive will end Sunday, July 6th. For more information, feel free to contact the Office at 318-352-3422.

FR. RYAN ON VACATION Continuing through Thu, Jun 26, Fr. Ryan will be visiting his parents near Tampa. Please pray for his safe travels. Those in need of a priest for an emergency can call the office during office hours or the emergency line listed on the bulletin.

TAA GUN RAFFLE The St. Mary’s Tiger Athletic Association is sponsoring a year long gun raffle. There are 104 prizes and every ticket has 104 chances to win. Guns range from 9mm handguns to hunting rifles to Shotguns. A complete list of prizes and draw dates can be obtained from St. Mary’s School or from any member of the TAA. Tickets are limited and cost $100 each.

SPECIAL SATURDAY MASSES FOR JUNE & JULY ONLY Continuing until Sat, 7/26, Fr. Ryan will offer an additional Saturday evening Mass at St. Mary’s School at 5:30p. The Mass will count for your weekend obligation. All are welcome.

Parish Events

  • Saturdays of June & July, 5:30p Additional Saturday Evening Masses at St. Mary’s Chapel
  • Mon-Thu, 6/16-6/26, Fr. Ryan on Vacation
  • Sun, 6/29, Basilican Feast Day: Ss. Peter & Paul, Holy Mass @ 9a, 11a & 5p
  • Fri, 7/4, Office Closed for Independence Day
  • Tues - Wed, 7/8-7/16, After Morning Weekday Masses and All Sunday Masses, Novena to Our Lady of Mt Carmel with Investiture into the Brown Scapular after all Weekend Masses
  • Sat, 7/26, 9am, Grandparents-Grandkids Brunch in the Parish Hall in Honor of Ss. Joachim & Anne, Grandparents of Jesus
  • Sat-Sun, 7/26-7/27, Blessing of Grandparents at all Masses
  • Tue, 7/29, Indulgenced Feast Day in Honor of the Founding of the Diocese of Natchitoches, Holy Mass @ 6p

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $6,850.

Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

For more information on our finances, click here.

Within the Sanctuary

Sat 6/21 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Nita Maggio, Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CI) • J.Thibodaux, D.&M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun 6/22 9a Sydney Frederick, (Lector) • Cissy Picou, (EMHC-CI) • C.&J.Cunningham, J.Miley, (Altar Boys)

Sun 6/22 11a Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • D.Thompson, M.Leone, E.Norwood, (Altar Boys)

Sat 6/28 4p Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • Michael & Joanne Yankowski, (EMHC-CI) • J.Friedel, D.Bennett, (Altar Boys)

Sun 6/29 9a Karen Apponey, (Lector) • John Vandersypen, (EMHC-CI) • M.McCart, G.Fidelak, T.Hare, (Altar Boys)

Sun 6/29 11a John Laborde, (Lector) • Barbara Laborde, (EMHC-CI) • C.Fisher, S.&V.Maggio, (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 Richard Ragland by Graham Ragland.

Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: Rosalina R. Lopez
  • Sat 5:30p: Wilfred LeDoux
  • Sun 9a: Essie Mae Huckaby
  • Sun 11a: Pro Populo
  • Sun 5p: Margaret Guillory
  • Mon 6:30a: Dorothy Benefield
  • Tue 6:30a: Sylvian LeVasseur
  • Wed 6:30a: Shirley & Richard Ragland
  • Thu 6:30a: Harry Gongre, Jr.
  • Fri 6:30a: Steve Cruse & Family
  • Sat 8a: Red & Sadie Thomas

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that the unemployed may receive support and find the work they need to live in dignity. And that, Europe may rediscover its Christian roots through the witness of believers.

Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, William Lynn Basco, Lauren Bienvenu, Bill Boone, Kathy Bostick, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mar-Lou Brasher, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Lauren Clancey, Emilia Cofio, Woody Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Richard DeVargas, Angela Eversall, Marguerite Felchle, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Sophie Gill, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, EvaGrace Keyser, Mary Keyser, Paul Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Martha LaCaze, Jheanny Ladao, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, Danny Manuel, Faris Michael, Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Tristan Snyder, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Billie Vercher, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, Janine Waters, & Glen & Mary Williams