Parish News

SMS Homecoming • This week is St. Mary’s Homecoming week! Students will be keeping our usual traditions of dress up days, special decorations and general silliness. Our All-School Mass - to which all are invited - will take place at 9a on Wednesday. Our River Front Homecoming parade will take place on Thursday evening. There will be a homecoming Pep Rally on Friday at 2p. Our new alumni association will host an Alumni event on the fifth floor of Turpin Stadium at 5:30p prior to kickoff. A special presentation by St. Mary’s Alumni “Petey” Perot will take place at 6:45p and the game will begin at 7p. Our Senior Court will be presented at half-time with 2014 Homecoming Queen Maddie Ackel crowning the queen. Please make plans to be a part of St. Mary’s 2015 Homecoming festivities!

The 2015 Red Mass • The so-called Red Mass, is typically celebrated at the beginning of the “legal year” to invoke the Holy Spirit upon those working in the legal profession. The tradition began in the High Middle Ages when judges attended the Mass in their red regalia. That Mass - celebrated in honor of Holy Spirit - called for the priest to wear red vestments and so the name Red Mass was given to the event. For many years, Immaculate Conceptions has paired with other local communities to celebrate the beginning of the legal year in this fashion. This year’s Red Mass will be celebrated on Friday, October 23 at 10am. Many of our public servants will be in attendance. A social reception will take place following Mass. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Wednesday Night Catechism • This Wed, Oct 21 at 6pm at the St. Mary’s Chapel, Fr. Ryan’s talk will be titled “The Last Rites.” He will discuss the sacraments of the sick - both the older and the newer forms - and the forms of these sacraments which are experienced by the dying, especially the Apostolic Pardon at the moment of death and Holy Communion as viaticum. The talk is free and all are welcome!

Year of Mercy 2016 • Pope Francis has declared a Year of Mercy from Dec 8, 2015 to Dec 8, 2016. During that year, special graces and spiritual activities will abound around the Church and here in Natchitoches. The year will officially begin for us at a special 5:30pm Mass on December 8, preceded by the blessing and installation of the image of Divine Mercy and followed by Lessons & Carols performed by the NSU Concern Choir. All events that evening are free and all are welcome to attend!

Oct 22: The Feast of Pope St. John Paul II • On Oct 22,1978, Pope St. John Paul II was coronated as the 264th Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as our Holy Father for 27 years and made many heroic decisions which prevented Schism in the Church and reformed all aspects of Church life. His writings will be studied for a millennia. Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us!


From The Font

“The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The importance of a mission, a purpose which is both shared and at the same time personal cannot be overestimated. For the ancient Jews, their mission was to fulfill the covenant and, in doing so, to make ready for the Messiah. They were preparing the way from Abraham to the Maccabees. Into this context, Jesus enters and establishes His mission both as servant and sacrificial savior. He unites Himself with the suffering servant which Isaiah prophesied and with the bastion of the “Day of the Lord” which Joel prophesied. As Jesus is establishing this mission for Himself with preaching and signs, He instructs His disciples to unite themselves to His mission by taking up their cross and following after Him. And this is where we discover our own mission - both personal and as the Church present in this place and at this time.

Our personal mission always begins with holiness of life - we must grow in the knowledge and love of God that we may know Him, love Him and serve Him and, we pray, be happy forever with Him in Heaven.

For the early Church, the shared mission was to spread the Gospel and to save as many as possible. After the fall of Rome, the shared mission became one of preservation and, in the Middle Ages, rebuilding. In the Protestant Reformation and the so-called Enlightenment era, the Church was tasked with defending human reason. In the twentieth century, wracked with violence and inhumanity beyond previous imagination, the Church found Herself more and more at odds with materialistic and despotic trends in government and culture. And now, in our modern era, the Church finds Herself opposed to much of our modern culture and worldly priorities. 

In all this - as in every age - the Church finds Her mission by making present the mission of our Head, Jesus. In this age - as in every age - the Church comes not to be served but to serve and to endure whatever suffering must be borne as a ransom and a reparation for many! We are living in a new age of martyrs. We are living amidst a new holocaust which echoes the slaughter of the innocent which accompanied the first coming of Jesus. And despite growing concerns from every direction, the Church lacks neither clarity or purpose. We must - as individuals and as the Body of Christ - endeavor to preach the Gospel, to save as many souls as we can and to become the saints that we are called to be! This is our constant mission.

The importance of a mission - of knowing that mission and ordering our lives toward it - cannot be overestimated. We are not a people merely wandering through life… Like our Jewish ancestors, we are en route! We are on the way toward that which God has promised to us!

Insights from Second Street

This Thursday is the feast of Pope St. John Paul II, the Pope of Divine Mercy. With the Year of Mercy rapidly approaching, I find myself considering and meditating upon this pope of my youth and upon his incredible approach to so many difficult matters. 

Pope John Paul grew up as Carol in the midst of the World Wars. He went to school in the shadow of German concentration camps and watched his Jewish friends be loaded into cattle cars. He studied in a secret seminary and was ordained secretly in the home chapel of the Cardinal Archbishop. As a priest, his parishioners called him Uncle Carol so as not to tip off the State Police that he was a priest. As bishop, he filed false transportation papers to attend official meetings and, ultimately, Vatican II. 

As Pope, John Paul II sat for more than 20 years. He traveled and spoke more than the previous dozen popes combined. He may well be responsible for the fall of communism in Poland and reenergized a western Church that was quickly sliding into irrelevance. He was the voice of conscience for the entire world when even the great Protestant, Jewish and Muslim leaders were silent. John Paul took on communism in Europe and South America. He took on abortion. He took on Nuclear arms. He took on materialism. He took on human trafficking. He took on divisions within the Church, bishops who were planning to defect, crises of vocations and dissident theologians in and outside of the Church.

He also took on the poor. He took on the family and migrants and artists. He wrote eloquently on the dignity and mission of women in the Church. He wrote to fathers of families and to widows. His writings on matters theological and practical are quite literally unparalleled in the past four or five centuries. 

More than anything, his saintly demeanor gave credibility to his message. People who met the man were effected by his presence. He stared down some of the greatest - and most vile - men in modern history. He spoke with genocidal dictators, murderous despots, misguided bureaucrats and even his own assassin. And to these men he offered the hand of friendship and the rock of Jesus Christ. Some dashed themselves against it and others repented… 

History will recognize in Pope St. John Paul many things that we are simply too close to notice. His writings will be studied for many years to come. I think, most especially, his spiritual writings will be found to contain a wealth of wisdom that will only be visible separate from this age of history. As the writings of the Church fathers grew in clarity separate from the first age of martyrs, so John Paul will become clearer as we leave this new age. 

With the year of mercy approaching, I know that I’ll be taking the time to study Pope St. John Paul more closely. His encyclical letters “Rich in Mercy” (Dives in Misericordia) and “On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering (Salvifici Doloris) in particular will be on my list. I hope that all of us will be inspired to dig more deeply into this saint of our time. 

Pope St. John Paul, pray for us!

Matters Liturgical

Whether we begin from the spiritual or from the worldly, ritual is a good and necessary part of our lives. Spiritually, ceremony and ritual are prescribed as part of our duty to God going all the way back to the core of our Jewish roots. Jesus, Himself, establishes His Church at the last supper when He institutes the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. As He is performing the ritual prayers of the Seder or Passover Supper, He instructs us to “Do this in memory of Him.” The Greek word the Gospels use is anemnesis which implies a ritual or ceremony of remembrance. The disciples of Jesus are acting out this ritual as the Holy Spirit descends at Pentecost. At the beating heart of the Church through the ages, the seven Sacraments express in their ritual ceremonies deeper spiritual realities. Even the book of Revelation paints a picture of Heaven laden with ritual chanting, prostration and adoration.

On the human side, ritual is no less important. Whether we’re talking about family traditions like trimming a Christmas Tree or civil ceremonies in which we remember our fallen, ritual is essential. Nothing is quite as moving as the slow folding of the American flag over the casket of a veteran accompanied by the somber melody of Taps and the inimitable jarring of the rifle salute. 

Ritual is a part of who we are - it’s instilled in us by our creator. Today, much attention is given to the need to be authentic and real. For many, authenticity and being real with oneself are opposed to ritual and ceremony. But that need not be the case. If we embrace the ritual in selfless humility and honesty, ritual can and should be far more authentic and real than any spontaneous invention could ever hope to be. What could be more intense than Taps or more exciting than the Christmas morning gift stampede? 

For some, the rituals of the Church lack that intensity or emotion. For any number of reasons, the ritual seems unable to evoke the shared memory and passion which good ritual should. Our response to that reality is binary: either change the ritual or change my perspective. All ritual is learned. Taps isn’t moving on the first hearing. Christmas isn’t exciting the first time. Only after the ritual has been entered into time and time again with a real sense of openness to joy and excitement does the ritual take hold. The challenge is given to us - all of us - to enter deeply into the Mass… To consider the words and gestures… To ask God for the openness of heart. If the ritual doesn’t grab us - let us ask the Lord to change us that we may discover what generations of Christians have experienced before. Let us ask the Lord to reveal Himself to us at Mass.

Intentions & Dedications


Mass Intentions


For the week of October 18th

  • Sat 4p Mike Bouchie, Alma Abraham, and Gary LaBar, Jr.
  • Sat 5:30p Raymond Arthur
  • Sun 9a Donald Gongre, Nathan Ezernack, John Bacon
  • Sun 11a Grant Ingram
  • Sun 5p Pro Populo
  • Mon 6:30a NL Vercher
  • Mon 8a Joe Sampite
  • Tue 6:30a Deceased Members of the Ray & Gwen Ponthieux Families
  • Wed 6:30a Cynthia Cox
  • Thu 6:30a Cyril Mouch
  • Fri 6:30a Shirley Egan
  • Sat 8a Janis Abraham
  • Sat 4p Kevin Morgan, Gary LaBar, Jr., Red & Sadie Thomas
  • Sat 5:30p Peter Wickenheiser
  • Sun 9a Becky Masson, NL Vercher, Michael Richardson, Theo Ezernack, Leo Abraham
  • Sun 11a Grant Ingram, Irene Niette, Leola Walmsley, Fredrick Hickman
  • Sun 5p Pro Populo


Our Sick & Recently Deceased

Lolette Allen, Teresa Arafa, Maudie Baranowski, William Lynn Basco, Cletus Bauer, Ryan Branch, Chad Bouchie, Mary-Lou Brasher, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Darlene Bynog, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Marie Charleville, Emilia Cofio, Peggy Cooper, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, Jayce Estep, Angela Eversall, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Kramer Gahagan, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Anne Giering, Sophie Gill, Jeff Green, Ross Gwinn, Tammy Hall, Andy Harrington, Curt Harrington, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Michael Kearney, EvaGrace Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Angelette LaCour, John LaCour, Samuel Lane, Raymond Litton, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Irene Lynche, Brittany MacBrown, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, Barbara Manshack, Danny Manuel, Jack McCain Jr., Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Gary Murphy, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sue Prudhomme, Sharon Roach, Tucker Roe, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Donna Slaughter, Meredith St. Andre, Lil Taylor, Clay Thompson, Mariano Timotio, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Patricia Vazquez, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Jessica Warner, Charlene White, Glen & Mary Williams, Marilyn Williams, Laura Young, & Melinda Zolzer

Within the Sanctuary

  • Sat & Sun 10/17-18
    • 4p     Lector L. Thompson; EMHC M. & J. Yankowski; Servers Thibodaux
    • 9a     Lector J. Cunningham, Sr.; EMHC J. Cunningham; Servers C. Cunningham, P. & M. Vienne
    • 11a     Lector E. Giering; EMHC L. Lee; Servers W. Lee, C. Fisher
  • Sat & Sun 10/24-25
    • 4p     Lector K. Hicks; EMHC M. Yankowski, M. Hennigan; Servers D. Bennett, J. Friedel
    • 9a     Lector  S. Taylor; EMHC A. Barrios; Servers J. Miley, J. & G. Ingrish
    • 11a     Lector  G. Norwood; EMHC C. Maggio; Servers S. Maggio, M. Leone, S. Maggio