BLESSING OF HUNTERS & SPORTSMEN • After Masses next weekend (Oct 31 & Nov 1), those who wish to remain will pray together the Litany of Saints and receive the traditional blessing of hunters and sportsmen. The blessing, which is offered near to the feast of St. Hubert, patron of game-hunters, is an excellent way to orient the season and remind us of the blessings that God offers us who live here in the Sportsman’s Paradise. All are welcome to receive the blessing.
Ministry to the Incarcerated • Each week, we have the privilege of going to the local detention center to pray with the incarcerated. About twice a month, Fr. Stephen offers Mass. On the other weeks, a lay person from our parish leads the men in prayer and distributes Holy Communion. Please pray both for the victims of crime and for those incarcerated. If you are interested in assisting our outreach, please contact the office. Also, if you know of someone incarcerated in Louisiana, please contact our office and we will ensure they are accorded ministry in the facility in which they reside.
Sunday is All Saints’ Day • All Saints’ Day is typically a Holy Day of Obligation. This year, All Saints’ Day falls on a Sunday and so our obligation is combined with our ordinary Sunday Obligation. All Souls’ Day is not a Holy Day of Obligation. All Soul’s Day Masses and the Cemetery Blessing Schedule will be published in next weeks’ bulletin.
Wednesday Night Catechism • This Wed, Oct 28 at 6pm at the St. Mary’s Chapel, Fr. Stephen’s talk will be titled “The Missionary Society of St. Francis de Sales.” He will discuss the society’s history, mission, charism and spirituality. Father will also give personal witness to his missionary experiences. Anyone who is interested in the missionary charge of the Church is welcome and encouraged to attend!
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. Please pray for all who long for a renewal in God’s Mercy!
BINGO with the K.C. • The Knights of Columbus #1357 host weekly Bingo nights every Wednesday beginning at 7pm and on the second Sunday of every month at 2:30p. Proceeds from these events go to support all of our local Catholic Churches, St. Mary’s School and other worthy causes like the Special Olympics, N.A.R.C. and the Women’s Resource Center. All are welcome! In addition to charitable works, the Knights are a fraternal society supporting one another as Catholic Men. The Knights are always happy to welcome new members. Catholic men over the age of 18 are welcome to apply for membership. For more information, call the office.
From The Font
“No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.”
The notion of a call from God begins at the very beginning of the Bible. Adam and Eve are created with a purpose. They are to work the garden, raise a family and avoid sin. Abraham and Moses, too, found themselves called out by the Lord to a great purpose. No other people in history were ruled by Judges and Prophets as the Jews were. In the Gospels, Jesus made a point of calling each of the Apostles by name.
In our lives, we have two calls. The first, a universal call, is to live the Christian life by knowing, loving and serving God. That universal call - common to all Christians - is answered when we receive the Sacraments, pray, fast and do works of mercy.
Each of us also has a particular call from God expressed in our natural talents and passions and in our willingness to “seek the Lord where He may be found.” This call to a particular vocation is seen in the Old Testament Prophets and in those who embrace their marriages and ordinations as the sacraments which they are.
As the scripture says, no one take this upon him- or her-self - it must come from God. This is why the Church has a lengthy preparation program for those interested in entering into the Sacrament of Marriage. Despite those who think they can redefine marriage with a law - the Sacrament is no simple contract. Marriage is an incredible gift from God established as the only blessing not washed away in the Great Flood. It is the beating heart of the Church!
So, too, the Sacrament of Holy Orders requires careful consideration and training. Ultimately, no one takes upon himself the mantle of priest or deacon. Only the Bishop can call a man to Holy Orders and, even then, only if that priest is in possession of certain natural gifts which dispose him to the office.
Aaron was called - and despite his constant mistakes - God made from him something remarkable. The same can be said for Abraham, St. Peter, St. Francis of Assisi and thousands more.
To what does God call you? We discern God’s particular call in our lives - in matters great and small - by prayer, by natural reasoning and by outside counsel. It really is that simple. We ask God for direction and spend some quiet time letting Him move in our hearts. We think things through and evaluate what choices or possibilities are wise and prudent. We ask advice and direction from those who are people of prayer and sage wisdom. Ultimately, we make a choice and allow the Lord to work good from it - whether it was right or wrong. In truth, if we really desire to please God, He will make good from most any choice. As St. Therese said, “little things done with great love please God.”
Insights from Second Street
A new and somewhat unexpected controversy has begun to arise at this time each year. Some Christians - even some Catholics - have begun to decry Halloween as a pagan or neo-pagan feast unbecoming of good Christians and Catholics. They say that it shouldn’t be celebrated.
Given that I saw an ad this week for a “sexy Mushroom” Halloween costume… They may be right about not “celebrating” halloween - at least not in the perverse way that it is often celebrated nowadays. Still, the idea of Halloween is in no way opposed to the Christian faith. Quite the contrary, Halloween gives us a way to express and consider the mystery of death. It gives us a way to face our fears about our own mortality, about the loss of our youth, the loss of our physical strength, the loss of our adolescent fearlessness and, ultimately, the loss of potential which comes with age, wisdom and maturity. As human beings, we need to face these fears… Failure to do so leaves us in state of delusion.
The Church acknowledges this need. Our readings throughout this month of November turn toward the last days. The prayers will be focused on the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus. The feast of Christ the King at the end of the month is end of the Church Year and it highlights our mortality by reminding us that all things are in the hand of God.
All Hallow’s Eve, like Mardi Gras, is designed to put human excess on display. It’s designed to reveal us to ourselves. While the presence of someone dressed as a sexy mushroom may not aid in that project - the presence of ghosts, zombies, vampires and monsters does. Ghosts remind us of our futility and our smallness. Zombies with their slow and inevitable pace come at us just as death does. Vampires are the passions run amok. Monsters and demons should frighten us - far more than they do! They are the supernatural realities present in our world and yet hidden from our eyes which “see dimly now as in a mirror.” All of these scary things speak to us - at a most visceral level - of our anxieties about our mortality. And, to be honest, only when we’re scared of the end do we have the capacity to understand the real importance of Our Lord’s death and His conquering of sin. Courage without danger isn’t courage, it’s swagger. Faith without comprehension isn’t faith, it’s optimism. When we understand what could be, then we’re equipped to throw ourselves on God’s Mercy!
I wrote recently that fiction may well be better suited to evangelization than dogmas. So, too, Halloween - with it’s ghosts and monsters - may well be better suited to draw us to repentance than sermons full of fire and brimstone. We live in a world that has tried to convince itself that actions don’t have consequences and that we’re not afraid ‘of nuthin’… And yet, zombies and vampires flood our televisions. Gruesome traumas lead our news broadcasts. Our youth are consumed by video game violence, horror movies and ever more inventive adrenaline rushes. Clearly the need to confront our fears is outweighing our delusions of fearlessness. We could almost say that if we didn’t have Halloween, we’d be forced to invent it…
Intentions & Dedications
For the week of October 25th
- 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 Richard Ragland
- Sun 5p Pro Populo
- Mon 6:30a Russ & Lori Harvey
- Mon 8a Joe Bienvenu
- Tue 6:30a Mae Desadier
- Wed 6:30a Dr. Joe Bienvenu
- Thu 6:30a Gilbert & Sadie Stroud
- Fri 6:30a Richard & Shirley Ragland
- Sat 8a Grant Ingram
- Sat 4p Mike Bouchie, Judy Risty, Shirley Slimer, A. B. Chenault
- Sat 5:30p Leola Walmsley
- Sun 9a Buddy Masson
- Sun 11a Shirley Ragland, Johnny Batten, Judy Risty, James Lasyone
- 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 10/24-25
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
Sat & Sun 10/31-11/1
4p Lector K. Bundrick; EMHC Nita Maggio, J. Lapeyrouse; Servers The Thibodaux Family
9a Lector J. Ackel; EMHC E. Bacon; Servers R. & R. Cunningham, M. McCart
11a Lector J. P. Williams; EMHC P. Melder; Servers W.Lee, A. & J. Parker