Special Collection this week for Our Historic Restoration Fund
Merry Christmas to Our Guests & Visitors • We at the Minor Basilica are pleased and thankful to welcome our guests and visitors to the Natchitoches Area! As a tourist location, ministry to our visitors is a privilege and we want to thank you for joining us in prayer this holy day season! A special welcome back alsoto our native sons and daughters who are back with us!
January 1, 2016 is a Holy Day of Obligation • The first day of the year was traditionally the feast of the presentation, circumcision and formal naming of the Child Jesus in the Temple. In 1969, Pope Paul VI added a Marian dimension to the feast, proclaiming that day a day of celebration also of the Blessed Virgin Mary, specifically under the title Theotokos or “Mother of God.” The first day of the year is now kept as a Holy Day of Obligation throughout the world and a day to consecrate the new year to Our Lady’s intercession and to the Most Holy Name of Jesus! Masses will be offered on New Years’ Eve at 6p and on New Years’ Day at 6:30a and 6p.
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, due to the coincidence of First Friday and New Years’ Day, ends at noon. Sign-up at the back of the Church if you can watch with the Lord for an hour. First Saturday Mass and Benediction are, as usual, at 8a.
Parish Office Closed • The Parish Office will be closed from Wednesday, January 30 until Monday, January 4th for New Years. The emergency line is available for spiritual matters. Thanks for your cooperation! Have a very happy and holy Christmas season and New Years.
Interested in Becoming Catholic? • Are you or someone you know interested in becoming a new Catholic or a parishioner at the Minor Basilica? New instruction begins year round! Contact our parish office for more information. There are no costs or obligations of any sort - anyone interested is welcome to inquire.
Priesthood & Religious Life • Until you’re married or dead, every Catholic owes God the courtesy of considering a life dedicated to the Church as a priest, a nun or a religious brother. Every parent owes their child encouragement in discerning that life. And every Catholic is waiting for the heroism of the young in opening themselves to hear the call of God as a consecrate person. Visit ForYourVocation.org or contact Fr. Louis Sklar, our Diocese Vocations Director, at (318) 757-3834.
From the Font
“Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover.”
The obligations of parents changes from generation to generation. For the Biblical Jews, the parents were responsible for most of the religious and cultural education of their children. Schools were set up in the larger cities, as we see in some way in our Gospel today. Typically, though, parents simply lived their faith and - in doing so - they taught their children to do the same.
For the Jews, faithfulness was obedience. To be a good Jew was to follow the law precisely. To be a good parent, then, was to be obedient to teach one’s child to do the same. Joseph and Mary, were by this standard, certainly good parents. Above and beyond minimum of the law, Joseph and Mary apparently exercised discipline over their Divine child as evinced by today’s Gospel and they clearly knew that Jesus was not normal by any standard. The scripture gives us the dual - and seemingly contradictory teaching - that Joseph and Mary “did not understand what he said to them” and that “He was obedient to them.”
Mary, of course, keeps all these things in her heart and entrusts the care of this Divine child to God’s providence. This is the last we see in the scriptures of St. Joseph. For the next 18 years, the scriptures say nothing of the Holy Family. Jesus will reappear on the scene around His 30th birthday to be baptized by John and to perform the Miracle at Cana at the urging of His mother, but Joseph isn’t mentioned.
It’s tempting to assert that the Holy Family, like a fellowship of heroes in a novel, is broken by time or death. In reality, though, the Holy Family - which has clearly served its purpose - does not disintegrate. Mary and Jesus will remain in close contact up until Jesus’ death on the cross.
As before, the Holy Family - which is far from normal - becomes a normative way for us to understand what a family is. The sacrificial love which Joseph shows in accepting marriage to Mary without the possibility of procreation… The leadership Joseph shows in traveling to Egypt… The way in which the Holy Family remains intact even in the face of widowing… Each of these is a different kind of love that basically every family must experience. At the core, every family is a kind of Holy Family in which they make concrete through their own experience the core values of which Joseph, Mary and Jesus are exemplars.
Insights from Second Street
The image of the Holy Family has always appealed very much to me as a Christian and as a priest. The idea of a lone saint standing on a pilar in the Church has always felt barren and detached and, in some way, dishonest. In reality, every saint is a saint because they are part of some community of individuals. The Holy Family is made holy by their togetherness. And while St. Joseph is an amazing saint on his own, he just makes more sense together with Mary and Jesus.
The same can be said for St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. Much like Joseph, John Vianney was a fine and virtuous man when he arrived in the little Church of St. Sixtus in Ars, France in 1818, but he was no saint. By the time he died in 1859, though, his 41 years as pastor of that little Church had made him a saint - and a truly great saint! I think the same could be said for Joseph. Without the Holy Family, would Joseph be Saint Joseph? What about Mother Theresa and her poor patients? What about St. Therese or St. Francis without their religious brothers and sisters? Very few saints can really say that they became saints with just God and themselves… And even then, they did it with the aid of the sacraments and the unheard prayers of other Christians.
In reality, whether our families are traditional, blood families or whether our faith is nurtured in so-called intentional communities - we are all being called to be part of one holy family or another. We are all in need of a natural saint like Mary and a “made” saint like Joseph. We need someone to whom we can look up and we need someone to serve. We need someone to act as nurturing mother and as admonishing father. We need a spiritual home to find rest and we need a vocation and a mission. As Joseph was a carpenter, so we are called to work and to make and to pass along.
In addition to being an ideal metaphor, Joseph, Mary and Jesus are also a challenge. As they suffered and we persecuted, so will we. Mary was defamed by her friends. Joseph was tempted to put self-interest above the good of others. They were threatened as a family specifically and as part of a larger cultural persecution. They struggled to understand, appreciate and tolerate one another. They experienced money troubles and vacation disasters. We have to expect that in our blood families and in our intentional communities that challenges will arise, unfair moments will go unresolved, the culture will rise against us and we will face untenable choices like giving birth in a stable… This is the nature of life as Adam and Eve’s sin has made it. Thankfully, we can also expect all of these things to work to the good of those who love the Lord and keep their eyes upon Him.
May this time of devotion to the Holy Family serve to console and gladden your hearts and souls as it does mine. Even amidst the chaos of our world and culture, there’s a warm and cozy place in the little house of Nazareth for every single one of us.
For the week of December 27th
- Sat 4p Mike Bouchie, Mary Jean Thomas, Gary LeBar, Jr.
- Sat 5:30p Anne Giering
- Sun 9a Latief Ackel
- Sun 11a Richard Ragland & Grant Ingram
- Sun 5p Pro Populo
- Mon 6:30a Samuel Ross Maggio
- Tue 6:30a Daniel Chesal
- Wed 6:30a Fr. Jose Palathara
- Thu 6:30a Buddy Masson
- Thu 6p John Robert Tubre
- Fri 6:30a Lillie Meshell
- Fri 6p Pro Populo
- Sat 8a Marjorie Maddie
- Sat 4p Frances Dexendorf
- Sat 5:30p Lillian Ann Giering
- Sun 9a Martha LaCaze, Mike Moyer, Ross Gwinn, Ethel Mouch
- Sun 11a Shirley Ragland & Janis Abraham
- Sun 5p Pro Populo
Please Pray for our Sick & Suffering
Lolette Allen, Teresa Arafat, Flay Rose Balthazar, Maudie Baranowski, William Lynn Basco, Cletus Bauer, 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, John DeFee, RJ Ducote, 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, Jheanny Ladao, 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, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Joseph Ryan, 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
Assistants Within the Sanctuary
- 4p Lector K. Bundrick; EMHCs N. Maggio & M. Hennigan; Servers D. Bennett
- 9a Lector J.Cunningham,Sr.; EMHC J. Barrios; Servers R. & R. Cunningham, M. McCart
- 11a Lector G. Norwood; EMHC C. Maggio; Servers S. Maggio, M. Leone
- 4p Lector L. Johnson; EMHCs J. Gunter & K. Hicks; Servers D. Bennett
- 9a Lector E. Bacon; EMHC S. Taylor; Servers The Lirettes
- 11a Lector E. Giering; EMHC P. Melder; Servers J. Burrell, W. Lee