From The Font
“Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.”
So many of the symbols in the Gospels which would have been blindingly obvious to the Jews appear to us "dimly as in a mirror." For the Jews, the "Scriptures" were not an Old and a New Testament, but rather the "Law" [of Moses] and the "Prophets." Jesus, Himself, will use the phrase "the law and the prophets" on numerous occasions to refer to the revealed word of God - the Sacred Scriptures.
And so, when Jesus' nature is revealed as the brightest possible light and Moses and Elijah are seen with him, the Jews immediately think "here is God." He's more than the law, represented by Moses. He's more than the prophets, represented by the greatest of the prophets which is Elijah. He is beyond either of them.
As Christians, we realize what the Jews would've thought, but we also see even deeper and richer symbolism. First, there is the fullness of time. We see that Moses represents the origins of our salvation. He was the one who received the first covenant. We see in Elijah, the precursor of the eternal promise. He was taken up into glory to return only to prepare the way of the Messiah. Jesus, then, as the centerpiece becomes the sign of eternity.
Additionally, we see the Most Holy Trinity revealed in signs. Moses is the symbol and sign of the Father. He is the keeper of justice in the form of the law. Elijah becomes a sign of the Holy Spirit taken up in the chariot of fire and worker of many spectacular miracles. Jesus, of course, is the sign and the reality of the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity.
Additionally still, we see the three missions of Jesus (prophet, priest and king) revealed. Moses is the sign of the king who gives the law. Elijah is the sign of the prophet who proclaims the truth of God and works wonders. Jesus is the priest who will sacrifice Himself so that Divine Justice may be fulfilled and that we may be saved. (This is the reason that he follows this astounding moment with talk of his imminent crucifixion.)
Whenever we read scripture, it's helpful to remember that God is infinite and when He reveals Himself, He uses limited language. Just as we would say cutesy, imprecise words to an infant or a toddler, God must use our limited capacity to speak of Himself. For this reason, the scriptures are always layers and layers deep. We add to that our own prayer and meditation in which God speaks to us through our experience and perception and we find that God and His Word are just about infinite!
Insights From Second Street
In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul utters one of the scariest sentences in the bible if you're a priest. He says: "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" This isn't some cutesy cartoon kind of "woe," but real fire and brimstone "woe!"
I get asked - more than you might think - why I talk so much about sin and especially the sin of contraception… It's certainly not something most people want to hear. Those who are using it are convinced it's ok and those who aren't… aren't.
The reason is a simple one. We may not realize it, but contraception is the number one most common sin among married couples. If the couple is not repentant of that sin - at least in conscience - then they are in a constant state of sin and are thus not in a state of grace. That means every time one of them receives Holy Communion - they blaspheme. They are constantly deprived of the "actual" or situational grace that helps them to choose the good and avoid the evil. They are unable to store up treasure in heaven through meritorious acts. Put simply, they are unable to grow in the knowledge and love of God. All of these statements can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and - with obvious adjustments - in the Bible. And so if I, as a preacher officially commissioned by the Church, fail to call those people away from sin - what do I have to show for myself? As Psalm 116 says, "What return shall I make to the Lord for His goodness to me?"
Undoubtedly, there are other sins that are common. Gossip is a serious sin. Pornography is too - although, it's a little more uncomfortable to mention in the public sphere. Pride - that says "I know what's best for me" and "who is the Church to tell me what to do, I'm an adult" - is the gravest of sins. The failure of some of us to dress modestly or to speak with purity is also a sin. The biggest different between these common sins and contraception is the mistaken belief that contraception is a matter of conscience. No one really thinks that they can claim that gossip or cursing isn't sinful. We may find a way to say it's not a big deal - but we know it's wrong. Contraception, on the other hand, has been readily explained away by so-called Catholics for decades… Hearing about this kind of thing may be tough - but it is, without a doubt, necessary.
by Fr. Ryan
During the time of Fr. Chemino, the custom arose of placing large floral displays on the table-surface (the “mensa”) of the High Altar. That custom became problematic quickly when water leakage and the natural petals\leaves\pollen damaged both the linens on the altar and the wood of the historic structure itself. Moving the arrangements onto the first shelf (the “gradine”) and the installation of plexiglass coverlets remedied these problems. In 2005, as Fr. Chemino’s time was ending, a new legal document on Sacred Liturgy and Church furnishings (“Redemptionis Sacramentum”) was published which listed several very specific requirements. That document was just being parsed and put into effect when Fr. Chemino left. When Fr. Foster and I arrived in 2007, I discussed these requirements with him and - as the document ordered - we began to place floral arrangements on the top shelf (“gradine”) and candles on the lower shelf. The surface of the altar (the “mensa”) must not be covered by anything except the linens.
These adjustments created some frustrations as the large candles obfuscated the expensive and beautiful floral displays. In Advent 2013, we experimented with several adaptations which were permitted by Church law. This kind of thing is not uncommon. The law is established in a universal way and particular places will be frustrated by the apparent lack of common sense. We have the same struggle when we drive 25 MPH down an empty country road.
In an effort to create a consistent and deliberate plan for the decoration of the Church and to abide by the law, Immaculate will return to a "flower fund" approach for floral decorations in the Sanctuary. Excepting wedding decor, flowers will be planned and placed by the Ladies Altar Society on Sundays of Christmas and Easter and on selected Holy Days. These arrangements will be funded from our parish flower fund. Those who wish to sponsor a particular weekend arrangement in honor or memory of a loved one may contribute a flat fee of $250 to the flower fund by contacting the parish office. That honorarium will be published in the bulletin. As of right now, thirteen weekends (3/15, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26, 5/3, 5/17, 5/24, 5/31, 6/7, 10/4, 11/1, 11/22, 11/29) are available for sponsorship.
Also, because of our love of the Blessed Virgin Mary, those interested in decorating the Altar of the Blessed Virgin as an act of devotion or in honor of a loved one may call the office and "reserve" a weekend (excepting Christmas time and Easter). Decorations of the Altar should be somewhat restrained and not impede the personal prayer of those who wish to kneel in devotion. There is no cost for reserving a weekend and any requested dedication or memorial will appear in the bulletin alongside dedications or memorials for flower sponsorships on the main altar.
It’s my hope that this solution will fulfill the creative and devotional desires of those who have donated arrangements in the past while allowing us to be obedient to the Church. Concerns - as always - may be addressed to me in person or via correspondence.
SEDER DINNER There will be a Lenten Passover meal (a Seder Dinner) for the CCD Students and for the entire parish on Wed, March 4th, at 6pm in the St. Mary's Gym. The meal is an adaptation of the traditional Jewish feast in which Jesus established the Holy Eucharist. All are heartily encouraged to attend!
NO WED. NIGHT ADULT CATECHISM The Wed. Night Adult Catechism class will be cancelled on 3/4. However, students & adults should still report to St. Mary's at 6p to attend the Seder Dinner. The Adult Catechism class will resume on 3/18. Please help us in spreading the word.
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 continues until Benediction at 5:15p. Sign-up at the back of the Church if you can watch with the Lord for an hour. First Saturday Mass and Benediction are at 8a.
MBIC LENTEN MISSION: March 10-12 Beginning Tue, 3/10, and ending Thu, 3/12, Fr. Ryan Humphries will present a three part mission on the role of the Church in your personal spiritual life. Talks will begin at 6p each night. All are invited to attend. Please plan to attend these excellent presentations!
MARCH 13th IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY Friday, March 13th, is the Anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. A Plenary Indulgence has been extended by the Holy Father for our Church. We will have a simple Mass at 6:30a and a festal Mass at 6p. Both Masses will end with the proper prayers for the Plenary Indulgence. All are welcome!
ST. JOSEPH’S ALTAR RETURNS TO POWHATAN The tradition of the St. Joseph Altar goes back to famines in Sicily in southern Italy. Today, the altar is an opportunity for celebrating God’s goodness and for enjoying some delicious traditional Italian sweets in the midst of Lent. Fr. John Pardue & St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Powhatan will host an Altar on Sun, Mar 22, from 11a-2p. All are welcome to attend, bring your friends and family!
LENTEN SPIRITUAL EXERCISES Throughout Lent, Father will be in the confessional every Tuesday (beginning Tue, 2/24) from 5p to 6p. Every Friday of Lent (beginning Fri, 2/20), Father will pray the Way of the Cross at 5:15p. Remember that every Friday of Lent is a day of Abstinence from meat and meat products. Everyone from the age of 14 to 60 is obliged to keep this abstinence and to offer up some additional penance for the Lenten season.
- Tue, 3/3, Confession, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Tue, 3/3, SVdP Meeting, 6:30p in Parish Hall
- Wed, 3/4, Seder Dinner, 6p in SMS Gym
- Wed, 3/4, CCD students & adults should attend Seder Dinner @ St. Mary's Gym instead
- Fri, 3/6, First Friday
- Fri, 3/6, Way of the Cross, 5:15p @ MBIC
- Fri, 3/6, KC Fish Fry, 5:30-6:30p @ Parish Hall
- Sat, 3/7, First Saturday
- Tue-Thu, 3/10-3/12, Lenten Mission, 6p in MBIC Church
- Tue, 3/10, Confession, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Tue, 3/10, KC1357 Meeting
- Wed, 3/11, CCD, 6p @ St. Mary’s
- Thu, 3/12, SMS Noon Dismissal
- Fri, 3/13, SMS No School
- Fri, 3/13, Basilican Feast Day: Ann. of Election of Pope Francis, Indulgenced Mass @ 6:30a & 6p
- Fri, 3/13, Way of the Cross, 5:15p @ MBIC
- Fri, 3/13, KC Fish Fry, 5:30-6:30p @ Parish Hall
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 2/28 4p Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • Nita Maggio, Jimmy Gunter, (EMHC-CI) • J.Friedel, D.Bennett, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/1 9a Stephen Taylor, (Lector) • John Vandersypen, (EMHC-CI) • James & Alice Barrios, (EMHC-CH) • J.Miley, G.Fidelak, M.McCart, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/1 11a Greg Burke, (Lector) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • Joseph Sklar, Cecilia Cook, (EMHC-CH) • M.Leone, J.Burrell, W.Lee, (Altar Boys)
Sat 3/7 4p Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Kathleen Hicks, (EMHC-CI) • D.Thibodaux, M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/8 9a Sydney Frederick, (Lector) • Emelda Odom, (EMHC-CI) • Jeff & Carol Green, (EMHC-CH) • A.Lirette, C.Lirette, S.Lirette, T.Lirette, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/8 11a John Laborde, (Lector) • Barbara Laborde, (EMHC-CI) • Chris & Jennifer Maggio, (EMHC-CH) • S.Maggio, V.Maggio, S.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
- Sat 4p: N.L. Vercher and Red & Sadie Thomas
- Sun 9a: The Humphries Family
- Sun 11a: Shirley Ragland & Special Intentions
- Sun 5p: Pro Populo
- Mon 6:30a: James & Jean Lee
- Mon 8a: Eula Henry
- Tue 6:30a: The Barbier Family
- Wed 6:30a: Billy Smith
- Thu 6:30a: Tena Cullins
- Fri 6:30a: Martha LaCaze
- Sat 8a: Paul Ebarb Family
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person. And that, the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.
Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Grant Ingram
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, Teresa Arafat, William Lynn Basco, Lauren Bienvenu, Millard Bienvenu, Danny Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mary-Lou Brasher, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Sonya Campbell, Carolyn Carter, Marie Charleville, Emilia Cofio, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Richard DeVargas, RJ Ducote, Angela Eversall, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Kramer Gahagan, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Sophie Gill, Elizabeth Governale, Ross Gwinn, Andy Harrington, Curt Harrington, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Frederick Hickman, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Michael Kearney, EvaGrace Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Jheanny Ladao, Samuel Lane, Jo Lapeyrouse, Raymond Litton, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, Danny Manuel, Jack McCain Jr., Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sue Prudhomme, Judy Risty, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Lil Taylor, Clay Thompson, Mariano Timotio, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Patricia Vazquez, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Leola Walmsley, Jessica Warner, Glen & Mary Williams, & Marilyn Williams