From The Font

"What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?"

Every parent has heard their child shout "that's not fair!" And they're usually right! Most of life isn't fair. Cheaters usually get ahead. All of us can be manipulated. Our government representatives misrepresent us. Bad things seem to come in threes while good things seem to come alone. Our loved ones and coworkers misunderstand well-intentioned mistakes. We get blamed for things that aren't our fault. And, in the end, we just end up missing out on what we believe we ought to be getting… And, we may well be right. We may be getting cheated… In fact, we ought to hope to God that we're getting an unfair deal!

Why? Because unfairness is what we've got to hope for! None of us can earn our way into heaven. Even the best choices, the purest intentions and the most perfect love can't hope to make up for our failures and our sins. No amount of charity or penance can heal us of the Original Sin of Adam and Eve. Nothing at all can change the spiritual reality of the world. It's only the unfairness of Jesus who forgives our sins when we don't deserve it that we have any hope at all!

Just as a husband and wife treat each other unfairly (in a good way) and give one another love, affection and attention that they don't show to others, so too Christ reaches out to us and offers us what we have not earned and cannot deserve. "Even while we were sinners, He died for us." Unfairness is our great hope! 

And we mustn’t discount the effects of that unfairness in this life as well as in the life to come. The knowledge of God’s promise empowers us to take risks in trusting God. It empowers us to speak up in evangelizing friends and co-workers. It empowers us to forgive others, especially when they don’t deserve it. It frees us from the banality and the inhumanity of “an eye for an eye” in our choices and in our thinking. 

In extending generosity to us, God effectively liberates us from our own limited sense of justice and makes possible the supernatural goods of mercy, kindness and hospitality. After all, it’s only when we’re freed from justice that we can experience what St. Paul calls the Fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. God wants more for us that what we’re owed. He wants more than tedious fairness. He wants abundance!


Insights From Second Street

The altar of sacrifice is adorned with five reliquaries - or ostensoria - and six candlesticks. Symbolically, the candlesticks go back to the Jewish temple and are a sign of the presence of the Lord in the ark of the covenant. Pope Benedict wrote frequently about the spiritual and symbolic value of the six candlesticks and their arrangement into a kind of candelabra - evenly spaced across the altar.

The central reliquary is quite old and probably dates to the mid 1790s. It contains a sliver of the true cross of Jesus measuring about one half inch! It’s truly astounding to consider! That reliquary was probably brought to the Church by Bp. Martin himself or by a pastor assigned to Fort St. Jean prior to then-Fr. Martin’s presence in Natchitoches. 

Going out from the center, there are two slightly taller reliquaries and two slightly shorter reliquaries near the edges of the altar. The two slightly taller reliquaries are also quite old and have belonged to the parish for a long time.  They each contain small chips of bones from two different saints. Unfortunately, the small paper tags indicating the names of those saints are too abbreviated to determine their identities. Only St. Jean de la Grille, a Cistercian Bishop of Aleth in France, can be positively identified. This isn’t particularly unusual though. The tradition of placing the relics of martyrs in and on the altar goes back a long way and altar relics usually came from saints to whose relics miracles had not been attributed.

In the reliquaries furthest from the center are two saints to which I have a personal devotion and who relics have travelled with me through my priesthood. On the side nearest the chair is the relic of St. Theresa of Avila, foundress of the Discalced Carmelites, Doctor of the Church, mystic, author and one heck of a sassy saint. Her story is much like my own as is her sense of humor and her outlook on life.

In the reliquary nearest the pulpit is the relic of Pope St. Pius X. His story is also fascinating, but his efforts to reform the Sacred Liturgy, get people back to the sacraments, reign in the clergy and generally preserve the Church during the lead up to and throughout the first World War were heroic. He is a model of stalwart trust in God despite all kinds of pressure from inside and outside the Church.

Each of these items on the altar serves it own purpose… But they also serve a unified purpose of orienting the sacrifice of the Mass away from the celebrant and toward the Sacred Heart which towers over the main altar… Next week - the relics inside the altar!


The Jargon…

by: Carol Green

St. Vincent de Paul was born in Pouy, France in 1581. As an ordained priest, he was devoted to the alleviation of the sufferings of the poor.  He died in Paris on September 27, 1660 and was canonized in 1737. Pope Leo XIII declared him patron saint of all works of charity.

The Society St. Vincent de Paul was founded in Paris in 1833 by Blessed Frederic Ozanam and six of his companions.  Based on the example of St. Vincent de Paul, the members of the Society (called Vincentians) seek personal holiness through works of charity.  There are many Confraternities and Third Orders that seek holiness for their members and multiple public and private institutions founded to provide services for the poor.  The combination of both holiness and service is the raison d'etre for the Society.

An essential part of SVDP service is the Home Visit.  Why is this important?
     • To become personally acquainted with the wants of those in need.
     • To serve sincerely and intimately.
     • To serve not as social workers, but as brothers and sisters, neighbors, friends, and  
        representatives of Christ’s love.
     • To be transformed by the experience and touched by God’s grace.

The SVDP is thankful for your generosity to our cause. Over $1200 was donated after Masses August 30 and 31.

In return, we’d like to help you clean out your closets, garages, and storage units!  We will accept donations of usable household items and clothing at our storage unit on Saturday, September 27, from 8 AM until 4 PM at the Manning MiniStorage, 1516 Keyser Avenue (next to the Freedom Life Church).

To refer someone in Natchitoches Parish or request help, call the SVDP at 652- 4999.


Parish News

SMS HOMECOMING MASS & GAME St. Mary’s Homecoming is right around the corner. All alumni are welcome to come to our All School Mass in the gym (Thu, 9/25, at 9a) and to cheer for the Tigers at Turpin Stadium (Fri, 9/26, at 7p).

WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTER’S CELEBRATION OF LIFE DINNER IS SEPTEMBER 25th Our only Crisis pregnancy center in the area  will host its annual Celebration of Life Fundraising Gala on Thursday, Sept. 25, at the Events Center. Comedian Gordon Douglas will be the guest speaker. The program that starts at 6:30 p.m. Douglas has made a name for himself as a comedian and speaker with a passion for family who inspires others to see the humor and joy all around no matter what the circumstance. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased by calling (318) 357-8888.

40 DAYS FOR LIFE (SEPT. 24 - NOV. 2) 40 Days for Life is a powerful campaign of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach in an effort to end abortion. Since it was started 10 years ago (2004) in College Station, Texas, 8,973 lives have been saved, 101 abortion workers quit, and 56 abortion centers have closed! There are several ways to participate: sponsor a campaign in your area, attend a campaign in another city, or pray and fast with a group at church or at home privately, with the intentions of ending abortion. For more information, go to 40daysforlife.com.

PRO-LIFE NOVENA FOR UNBORN BABIES The St. Michael the Archangel Organization is coordinating its international Pro-Life Novena for Unborn Babies Sept. 29th - Oct. 7th. To participate, do one or both of the following: (1.) have a Mass offered one or more times during the Novena (2.) pray a Rosary on each day of the Novena. Register your participation at www.saintmichaelthearchangelorganization.org

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

  • Mon-Fri, 9/22-9/26, SMS Homecoming Week
  • 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
  • Fri, 9/26, Homecoming Game - SMS vs. Arcadia, 7p @ Turpin Stadium
  • Wed, 10/1, Parish Supper, CCD, & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 5-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
  • Fri, 10/3, First Friday, 5:15p Benediction of the MBS
  • Fri, 10/3, SMS vs. Haughton, 7p (Away)
  • Sat, 10/4, Basilican Feast Day - St. Francis of Assisi, Indulgences attached to 8a & 4p Masses
  • Sat, 10/4, First Saturday, 8:45a Vocations Club
  • Wed, 10/8, CCD Class, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
  • Thu, 10/9, SMS vs. Block, 7p @ Turpin Stadium
  • Mon, 10/13, Parish Office CLOSED & St. Mary’s OPEN, Columbus Day
     

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $8,550. 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, 9/20 4p Elaine Bacon, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Kathleen Hicks, (EMHC-CI) • J.Friedel, D.Bennett, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 9/21 9a Joe Cunningham Sr., (Lector) • Emelda Odom, (EMHC-CI) • Stephen Taylor, Michael King, (EMHC-CH) • G.&J.H.Ingrish, G.Fidelak, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 9/21 11a John Laborde, (Lector) • Barbara Laborde, (EMHC-CI) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC-CH) • S.&V.Maggio, C.Fisher, (Altar Boys)

Sat, 9/27 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • Michael & Joanne Yankowski, (EMHC-CI) • D.&M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 9/28 9a Roger Cunningham, (Lector) • John Vandersypen, (EMHC-CI) • Edward & Cindy Smith, (EMHC-CH) • M.&P.Vienne, J.Miley, (Altar Boys)

Sun, 9/28 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Linda Lee, (EMHC-CI) • Joseph Sklar, Patsy Melder, (EMHC-CH) • A.&J.Parker, W.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

The Sanctuary Candle this week is offered in memory of John Bacon by Elaine Bacon.


Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: Rae Laborde & Evelyn Carnal
  • Sun 9a: Pro Populo
  • Sun 11a: Deacon John Foster
  • Sun 5p: R.J. Ducote
  • Mon 6:30a: Dorothy Benefield
  • Mon 8a: Penny Adams
  • Tue 6:30a: Sylvian Lavasseur
  • Wed 6:30a: Thomas A. Baker, Jr.
  • Thu 6:30a: Sam Fowler
  • Fri 6:30a: Sylvian LaVesseur
  • Sat 8a: Harry Gongre, Jr.


Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life. And that, Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.


Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Mrs. Martha LaCaze 


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, Sonya Campbell, 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, Elizabeth Governale, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, EvaGrace Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Jheanny Ladao, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Mary Frances Lowrey, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, Danny Manuel, Jack McCain Jr., Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Lillian Ryals, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Lil Taylor, Clay Thompson, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Jessica Warner, Janine Waters, & Glen & Mary Williams