From The Font

“But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her…”

Our Lord does and says some things in Gospels that seem odd. But this scene is special among them. It wrecks our modern idea that Jesus is all kind and all sweet to everyone who asks. And that idea needs some wrecking because Jesus isn’t just here as the giver, He is also the demander and the commander. But this scene isn’t just about adjusting our picture of Jesus’ personality - it’s about persistence.

Persistence - also called “long-suffering” - is that virtue which flows from Hope that allows us to endure trial and suffering without losing sight of eternal reward. In short, it’s the opposite of the ADHD way in which so many of us face the world. There are so many distractions! It’s so difficult to focus on anything anymore. But the one thing that is guaranteed to cut through distraction is suffering. When we face a trial, we are focused… Think about the words of St. Paul when he bemoans the thorn in his flesh. He hates it and prays God to deliver him from it, but God does “not say a word in answer to” him. How often God praises the persistent. There’s the widow and the unjust judge. There’s the neighbor who has a guest arrive and who needs bread. There’s Jairus the centurion whose servant is sick. 

When we think about it, persistence is the natural result of true belief. If I believe that a Catholic School is important for my child, I do what it takes. If I believe that athletics or exercise or piano lessons are important, I make it happen… Year after year… My poor father had to drag me to Boy Scout meetings every Monday for years! And thanks be to God that he did!

Persistence as a virtue is easy to overlook. It’s not so obviously religious as Faith or Moderation. It’s not obvious, but it really matters. In the Gospel story, Jesus gives the woman a chance to persist. He does it in three phases. She asks and He remains silent. She asks again despite protests from the apostles and Jesus speaks a truth to Her - but He doesn’t rebuke her. Finally, she humbles herself and we could almost picture Jesus just itching to help her. When she makes her third plea - a scene similar to the one with St. Peter and Jesus asking “do you love me” - Jesus cries out “O woman, great is your faith!” 

Let this scene be an encouragement to us who ask once or twice and lose heart. May we discover the value and power of persistence. 

Insights From Second Street

In the past few weeks, I’ve been made aware of a certain anxiety in the community that can be easily put to rest. In the past year, there have been some changes in the way that we celebrate Holy Mass here at Immaculate. Most of them - Sacred Music, in particular - are direct from the documents governing non-Roman or Minor Basilicas. That document requires the celebration of Solemn Vespers regularly, which we now do on Sundays at 4:30p. It also requires a real effort to implement the Church’s proper instructions on Sacred Music found in the document Musicam Sacram. Both the document on Basilicas (Domus Ecclesiae) and Musicam Sacram all but require that the people hear the Mass parts (the Holy, Holy and the Lamb of God) in Latin often enough to memorize them. We do that during Lent and Easter. Some other changes arise from personality and personal style. My choice of vestments and the formality with which I offer Mass are certainly my own. 

Some additional changes are part of the life of the parish, but separate from Sunday Mass. The celebration of daily Mass and Mass at St. Mary’s “ad orientam” - that is facing the altar and not the congregation - is certainly unexpected and perhaps uncomfortable at first. The celebration of Sunday Mass without any music as we do at St. Mary’s during the Summer and the Christmas festival is unusual and not appropriate at the Minor Basilica. There are other, smaller things that contribute to a certain anxiety - I hesitate to use the word fear - that there is some unseen plan to “turn back the clock” or to “go back to the Latin Mass.”

It’s this anxiety that I wish to put at ease. Excepting the personality and stylistic changes which I can’t realistically control, the only actual changes have been to implement the minimum standards of Sacred Music and to adjust the decorations on the altars. I have added several services… I have made some changes in the celebration of non-Sunday services (with the consent and regular input of those who attend those services)… But, all in all, the changes have not been particularly bold. They’ve been what was necessary to meet a standard set by the Church. Beyond what we have seen thus far, almost no change remains to be made at Sunday Mass. I do not intend to “turn the altar around” now or in the foreseeable future. I do not intend to add any Latin beyond the seasonal singing of the Holy, Holy and the Lamb of God. I do, however, want to thank - most sincerely - those who come to speak to me. Not everyone has left with the answer they wanted, but they have been of great help and support to the parish. And so to those brave few - thank you!

The Jargon…

by: Tommy Myrick

Before I was welcomed into the Catholic Church, I struggled with focus in my prayer time. I had grown beyond only asking God to answer my petitions (since prayer should be a dialogue), and I was trying to listen and meditate upon the scriptures when I would finish thanking God for what he had done, praising him for who he is, and asking him to answer my petitions.

I found that what often would happen when I tried to listen for God’s voice was that my mind would start to wander. Sometimes I would drift to spiritual things, sometimes it would be situations with other people, sometimes it was about what I wanted to eat later, and just about anything in between. I would finish my prayer time often frustrated and riddled with guilt for not being able to focus on him. It was like I was in the garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus was asking me why I couldn’t watch and pray for an hour. I would often feel defeated in my attempts to grow in my faith.

This is when I discovered religious art. Yes, it is often beautiful, but there is something much more practical to it. I find that using a piece of religious art as a focal point during my prayer time keeps my mind from wandering to the profane. This is why it’s so important to have religious art in our places of worship! It’s also necessary to have a place (or places) in our homes that we can set aside for prayer. In my house we have made that focal point on top of our piano where we have a statue of the Blessed Mother and several holy images like the Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart. Your computer is also a great place to have sacred art displayed! During my devotion praying the Angelus, I will always have some form of religious art depicting Mary displayed. This week it’s Fra Angelico’s “The Annunciation”. The greatest thing about religious art on your computer is that it is easy to find, and most often, it’s free! I encourage you to try this if you’re like me and have trouble focusing during your prayer time. I know it has helped me very much!

Parish News

TAA STEAK SUPPER IS AUGUST 22nd The annual Steak Supper is coming up at St. Mary’s. The fundraiser is a gigantic assistance to us and, heck, there’s steak involved. Steak Supper Ticket - $45 • 1 Steak Supper Ticket with a Fall Sports Pass - $100 • 2 Steak Supper Tickets with an All Sports Pass - $175 • Contact a TAA member or St. Mary’s for more information. You can purchase your tickets from Laura Friedel and St. Mary’s. Thanks in advance to everyone who helps out with the cooking, the serving and the eating!

PASTORAL COUNCIL MEETING AUGUST 19TH Our next Pastoral Council Meeting will be Tuesday, August 19th, at 6p. Council members are: Michael King, Lester Lee, Carol Green, Sonny Sklar, Sydney Frederick, Ken Gardener, Dwayne Brossett, Laura Friedel, Jennifer Maggio, Kent Hare, and Henry Maggio. If you have a concern or an idea, please share it with a Council Member.

VIRTUS SEMINAR COMING UP Anyone interested in volunteering to work with children in the Church/at St. Mary's, needs to be certified in order to do so. Volunteers can meet that obligation at any VIRTUS seminar. Upcoming seminar will be: Tues, 9/2: 6pm @ St. Mary's Library.

LET’S PARTY! KC Council 1357 would like to invite you to a dance Saturday, August 23rd, 7-11p at the KC Hall. Dress is casual. BYOB. Drink set-ups are available. Music provided by Wrinkle Free Entertainment (Leonard Sarpy). $20 per couple or $15 per single. 

NEW LAY-LED SPIRITUALITY COURSE Mrs. Eve James and Mrs. Kathy Merrick will lead a small group spirituality course based on the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola entitled “Lord, Teach me to Pray.” The groups will meet weekly for 12 consecutive weeks beginning in September. One group will meet at Monday 3:30p and the other on Thursday at 6:30p. The course is not operated by the Minor Basilica; it is lay-led. For more information, contact Mrs. Eve James at (318) 352-4391.

TAA GUN RAFFLE The St. Mary’s Tiger Athletic Association is sponsoring a year long gun raffle. There are 105 prizes and every ticket has 105 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, the MBIC Parish Office, or from any member of the TAA. Tickets are limited and cost $100 each. The 1st drawing will be Wednesday, October 1st.

Parish Events

  • Fri, 8/22, SMS Steak Supper
  • Fri, 8/29, Natchitoches High School Football Jamboree
  • Mon, 9/1, Parish Office CLOSED, Labor Day
  • Wed, 9/3, 1st Parish Supper, CCD Class, & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 5-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
  • Fri, 9/5, First Friday, Benediction of the MBS, 5:15p
  • Sat, 9/6, First Saturday, Vocations Club of Natch. Meeting, 8:45a
  • Sat, 9/6, Mother-Daughter Champagne Brunch, 9a
  • Tue, 9/9, Magnificat Pilgrimage Meeting, 6p
  • Wed, 9/10, CCD Class & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
  • Wed, 9/17, CCD Class & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
  • Wed, 9/24, CCD Class & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
  • Thu, 9/25, Women's Resource Center Gala, 5:30p

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $8,430. Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

To Donate Onlineclick here or scroll to the bottom of this page.

For more information on our parish finances, click here.

Within the Sanctuary

Sat, 8/16 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector) • Nita Maggio, Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CI) • C.J.Bouchie, J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 8/17 9a Sydney Frederick, (Lector) • Emelda Odom, (EMHC-CI) • Buddy Giering, Cissy Picou, (EMHC-CH) • G.Fidelak, G.&J.H.Ingrish, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 8/17 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • Haley Johnson, Barbara Laborde, (EMHC-CH) • D.Thompson, M.V.Leone, E.Norwood, (Altar Boys)

Sat, 8/23 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CI) • D.&M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 8/24 9a Karen Apponey, (Lector) • John Vandersypen, (EMHC-CI) • Edward & Cindy Smith, (EMHC-CH) • J.Miley, M.&P.Vienne, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 8/24 11a Ed Giering, (Lector) • Joseph Sklar, (EMHC-CI) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC-CH) • 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 Rene Fontenot by Rita Fontenot.

The Sanctuary Flowers and icons this week are offered in memory of the Holy Innocents, past and present, by Br. Michael David, Soli Deo Gloria! 

Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: N.L. Vercher
  • Sun 9a: Pro Populo
  • Sun 11a: Don Dark
  • Sun 5p: Mark Birch
  • Mon 6:30a: Tena Cullins
  • Mon 8a: Richard deVargas
  • Tue 6:30a: Rene Fontenot
  • Wed 6:30a: Dora & Gerald Jeansonne
  • Thu 6:30a: John James Johnson
  • Fri 6:30a: Dorothy Benefield
  • Sat 8a: Gladys McFerron

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights. And that, Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.

Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Mrs. Ora Lee Young

Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, William Lynn Basco, Lauren Bienvenu, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mar-Lou Brasher, Cayleigh Braud, 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, Kramer Gahagan, 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, Lil Taylor, Clay Thompson, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, Janine Waters, & Glen & Mary Williams