From the Font
"The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night."
The oldest desire of the human heart is to be like God. Adam and Eve wanted to know things that God has directed them not to know. Many, many Catholics are tempted by all manner of well-meaning error to think that pseudo-spiritual “encounters” will give them some knowledge of the supernatural or the preternatural world. Whether it be dreams or incarnations of deceased loved ones or patterns in a piece of toast, we all want to have a little taste of what our limited nature can’t get a hold of.
To clarify, God can - and sometimes does - speak through all manner of things in life. He can speak through a dream or another person or a book or an intuition or basically any created thing. This self-revelation of God is, basically, always accompanied by a clear sense of God’s purpose. If God wants to reveal something - He does it.
Beyond revelations, God also uses “grace” to give us moments of consolation or insight. The fact that a bird pooping on my windshield leads me to a graced moment of calm is a blessing, but it’s not quite “God speaking to me.” Neither is a beautiful sunset.
What we must avoid is the new age mentality that Mama is speaking to me from beyond the grave because a butterfly landed on my chair. Ghosts are real. St. Thomas Aquinas has lots and lots to say about them. But they are not without purpose. The psychological phenomenon of a grieving person “seeing” a recently deceased loved one is very common. It may even be consoling - but it’s wrong to assume that any given experience is a result of that person returning from the grave to give consolation. In the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Jesus makes it clear that sending people back from the dead to the living is not willy nilly.
It is basically always wrong to assume that any given dream, encounter or experience is the work of a deceased loved one. Rather, we should say that, “I have received from the Lord a moment of grace and consolation.” The butterfly reminds me of Mama - but it isn’t “mama’s spirit.” The odd coincidence of Auntie’s favorite song coming on the radio is a gift from God, not a visit from Auntie.
God is the giver of all good gifts and He only gives us what we need to get to Heaven. Sometimes that’s consolation and sometimes that's suffering. New age pretends that suffering is not useful; Christ transforms the inevitable suffering of life into something which strengthens and empowers us. That’s far better - by all measures - than any dream.
Insights From Second Street
According to an Italian newspaper, a reporter with an axe to grind suddenly remembers that in a private conversation, the Pope made an outrageous statement… At this point, nonsense like this might as well become a drinking game! Pope Francis has been freer with off-hand comments than any Pope in history. And, to put it bluntly, that’s not gone well for him or for us. The infamous “who am I to judge” comment gave a lot of people a lot of room to ignore the teachings of Jesus Christ - to their spiritual peril…
Now, we should go a little easy on the pope. Pope St. John Paul II made the same kinds of mistakes early on in his pontificate, it’s just that there wasn’t social media and the anti-Catholic sentiment in the west to attack the Church with it. Pope Francis is only about 15 months in and he’s settled down with his loose tongue quite a lot.
This week, the Pope has been reported to have said that, “1 in every 50 priests is a pervert.” The Vatican has strenuously denied that the Pope said this… but it’s out there. It’s nonsense, of course, but it’s also good business. You see, there is a thriving industry that has been making easy money by suing everyone in proximity to a priest who has been accused of inappropriate sexual activity with a minor. Whole law firms are funded by nothing else. But that well is drying up. Since the early 1990s, Dioceses have been following the national trend of establishing anti-predator policies. When the “news broke” of the crisis in 2001, the crisis was already over. New cases of abuse were very rare already at that time (and less than 20% were “child abuse”). The news from the past was rebranded as fresh and an engineered tidal wave, composed of cases ranging back nearly fifty years, was unleashed. That doesn’t in any way diminish the horror for those who suffered abuse! Rather, it shows that the world will use anything - no matter who it hurts - to make a buck.
The thing that the “crisis” proved is not how many bad priests there were, but how many good ones there have been. In fifty years in this diocese, we ended up having not a single case of paedofilia and two cases of ephebophilia (relations with post-pubescent minors). Now, that’s two too many! But given that those years saw the ministry of about 1500 priests, it’s not a crisis.
Some will have seen that a Baton Rouge priest is now being threatened with jail for refusing to break the seal of confession… That’s the real story. This 1-in-50 nonsense is the distraction. Please, please, please pray for your priests! Pray the rosary for them. We are undoubtedly human and sinners, but we’re doing the best we can in a hostile environment. Holy Mary, Queen of Priests, pray for them!
JULY 29th IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY Tuesday, July 29th, is the anniversary of the Establishment of the Diocese of Natchitoches. A Plenary Indulgence has been extended by the Holy Father for our Church. We will have a simple Mass at 6:30a and a festal Mass at 6p. Both Masses will end with the proper prayers for the Plenary Indulgence. All are welcome!
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. For more information, feel free to contact the Office at 318-352-3422.
FIRST FRIDAY & FIRST SATURDAY The First Friday & Saturday of each month are kept in honor of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Adoration on First Friday begins after morning Mass and continues until Benediction at 5:15p. Sign-up at the back of the Church if you can watch with the Lord for an hour. First Saturday Mass and Benediction are at the usual time, 8a.
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.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Radio Maria is requesting volunteers on Wednesday, August 6, from 9:30am till noon to help fold, stuff and label letters for Radio Maria announcements. We will meet in the Church Hall at St. Augustine Church. The letters are to the KBIO radio market only. We can be contacted at 888-408-0201.
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. The 1st drawing will be Wednesday, October 1st.
- Saturdays of June & July, 5:30p Additional Saturday Evening Masses at St. Mary’s Chapel
- 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 @ 6:30a & 6p
- Tue, 8/5, Indulgenced Feast Day - Feast of Our Lady of the Snows, Holy Mass @ 6:30a & 6p
- Wed, 8/6, Parish Supper & Wed. Night Adult Catechism begins, 5-7p @ St. Mary’s
- Sat, 8/9, Day of Enrichment for Deacons in Honor of St. Lawrence
- Wed, 8/13, Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
- Fri, 8/15, Holy Day of Obligation - Assumption of the BVM, Holy Mass @ 6:30a & 6p
- Fri, 8/15, 1st Day of School for St. Mary’s
- Wed, 8/20, Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
- Fri, 8/22, SMS Steak Supper
- Wed, 8/27, Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
- Fri, 8/29, Natchitoches High School Football Jamboree
Within the Sanctuary
Sat, 7/26 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector) • Jimmy Gunter, Carl Henry, (EMHC-CI) • C.J.Bouchie, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 7/27 9a Joe Cunningham, Sr., (Lector) • Michael King, (EMHC-CI) • Reagan & Ryan Cunningham, Ashton Behrendsen, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 7/27 11a Greg Burke, (Lector) • Lucile Ingram, (EMHC-CI) • Vincent & Sam Maggio, Cole Fisher, (Altar Boys)
Sat, 8/2 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Michael & Joanna Yankowski, (EMHC-CI) • David & Matthew Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 8/3 9a Roger Cunningham, (Lector) • Alice Barrios, (EMHC-CI) • Reagan & Ryan Cunningham, Tristan Hare, (Altar Boys)
Sun, 8/3 11a Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Patsy Melder, (EMHC-CI) • Adam & Jay Parker, Warner Lee, (Altar Boys)
*Altar Boys who are not scheduled may serve if space permits. Come to the Sacristy 10 minutes before Mass.
Memorials & Prayer Intentions
- Sat 4p: Mary Ziech
- Sat 5:30p: Sadie Stroud
- Sun 9a: Pro Populo
- Sun 11a: Richard Ragland
- Sun 5p: Clay & Brooke Hennigan
- Mon 6:30a: Janell de Vargas
- Tue 6:30a: Zak A. Johnson
- Wed 6:30a: Vicki Gahagan
- Thu 6:30a: Joe Sampite
- Fri 6:30a: Mary Jean Thomas
- Sat 8a: Jonas Robert Byles
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth. And that, the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.
Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Mrs. Selma Diaz Shivers
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, William Lynn Basco, Lauren Bienvenu, Kathy Bostick, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mar-Lou Brasher, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Marie Charleville, Lauren Clancey, Emilia Cofio, Woody Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Richard DeVargas, RJ Ducote, Angela Eversall, Marguerite Felchle, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Sophie Gill, Christi Gootee, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, EvaGrace Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Martha LaCaze, Jheanny Ladao, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, Danny Manuel, Dave McGee, Faris Michael, Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Clay Thompson, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, Janine Waters, & Glen & Mary Williams