From The Font
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
“Seeing is believing.” Or so they say. Thomas tried that line on Jesus and it didn’t go well. Jesus retorted “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe!” Still, there’s a power in sight. Whether it’s the glorious colors of a sunset or the subtle nuances of body language, our eyes take in a multitude of God’s revelation and they equip us to understand in a way which is utterly unique.
The elevation of Jesus on the Cross, foreshadowed by Moses in the desert, gave the people an image of love both gruesome and clear. This is sin! This is what happens when man gets his way! This is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that Adam and Eve ate so many years ago! For us, that image is sanitized into lovely, artistic images of the crucifixion of Jesus. It’s hard to connect the silver and gold processional cross that we see at Mass on Sunday to the wood and blood-red reality that caused the centurion to bow his head and proclaim “Truly! This was the son of God.”
And we can see why that kind of gruesome reality would be tough to take in large doses. All of us who have seen Mel Gibson’s masterful film “The Passion of the Christ” know how tough it is to take. So why would we watch it? Why would we even think about?
Because of the quotation above taken from today’s Gospel reading. The Son of Man MUST be lifted up SO THAT everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life! The one requires the other. Jesus didn’t suffer in vain or for his own amusement. In the same way, He does not call us to take up our cross of suffering in vain or at random. God gives us a cross to bear in order that we may have eternal life. As the axiom goes, “no pain, no gain.” It’s true in sports and it’s true in life. We must consider and embrace Lent if we are to find Easter. There is no Resurrection without the Passion!
And so, we must look upon Jesus, raised up as the serpent was raised in the desert. Not aimlessly or morbidly, but with hope. I look to the greatest horror the world has ever seen - God nailed to a tree by my sins - and I ask forgiveness… And He gives it! He gives it!!! This is our Hope. This is why Christ choose to climb the mount of Calvary and to climb upon the Cross… that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Insights From Second Street
I mentioned last week in the bulletin the beautiful ceremony at the election of a new pope. The cardinal “Carmelingo” stands on the great balcony above the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica and says in a loud voice “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: HABEMUS PAPAM! Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Carolum Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Wojtyła, Qui sibi nomen imposuit Iohannis Pauli.” Which means, in this case, “I announce to you a great joy! WE HAVE A POPE! The Most Eminent and Reverend Lord, Lord Karol, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Wojtyła, Who takes to himself the name John Paul.”
It’s a wordy thing… And yet the joy at that moment has always been truly electric for me. Pope John Paul II was elected before I was born. And so, when I watched - only months before my ordination - the election of Pope Benedict, I was truly beside myself. I had the same experience on the election of Pope Francis. For the later, I knew nothing about the man. I had no knowledge of Jorge Bergolio. None. And yet I was beside myself. I was excited, confused, curious, elated… A hundred emotions all came and went in quick succession. Under all of them was a sense of joy that came from love. I can say that honestly. I didn’t know the man, but I loved him. I loved the Church. I loved - and do love - that this ancient ceremony was so simple and yet so rich. And this love exploded forth as joy.
It was almost as if joy and love were connected and intertwined. It’s curious that when St. Paul talks about the “fruit” of a life in the Holy Spirit - he uses the singular form of the word. Even those he then adds a litany of items. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Gal 5:22-23). In reality, all of these are one and the same - aspects and versions of one another. And so, when the Church calls us to be joyful - She’s calling us to show our love. One of the ways that we do that is special vestments. Another is our acts of piety and devotion: quiet in the Church, receiving the Holy Eucharist reverently, appropriate dress and the like. A third is our efforts to be saintly for the good of our neighbor. We show our love for God in our joy in a hundred ways… And it’s a good thing - because the scriptures remind us that “the joy of the Lord is our strength!”
by: Fr. Travis
What is a vocation to religious life? Too often when discussing vocations, we hear “boys can be priests; girls can be nuns”; while this is true, it’s incomplete. Let’s take a closer look at the religious.
In the life of the Church, the religious vocation is unique and as old as the church herself. It’s unique because it doesn’t simply sit beside the other two “top-level” vocations. Vatican II describes three states of life in the Church: the hierarchy, the consecrated, and the laity (LG 31). All share in the dignity of Christ; all are called to holiness; all have a role to play in Christ’s mission.
According to the Catechism, to look at it another way, the Church is made up of all the faithful (those who are baptized) and can be divided in two complementary groups: the Hierarchy and the Laity. If you are baptized in the Church, you fall into one of these categories. The Hierarchy is called to holiness through “teaching, sanctifying, and governing”. The Laity are called to share in the mission of Christ, but with their own mission to bring the Faith into every aspect of human life (CCC 873).
But, where do the religious fit in; the monks, nuns, sisters, and brothers? The Catechism says a third group of the faithful is called from the other two “who are consecrated…to serve the salvific mission of the Church through the profession of the evangelical counsels (CCC 873). By these vows: Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, men and women are following the same invitation once given by Christ to the rich young man, “if you would perfect, go sell what you possess and give to the poor…and come, follow me” (Mt 19:16-22). While these can be analyzed individually (but not here), they need to be understood as a unity; one that is rooted in the following of Christ in a special and radical way. And not simply for the benefit of those who are called, but for the good of the whole Church, the Body of Christ.
The religious vocation is a mirror of our life with Christ in Heaven. Monks and nuns are radiant lights of the supernatural to help enlighten not only the world, but also the Church, both the hierarchy and laity. To reduce nuns and sisters to a sort of consolation prize for women who can’t be priests but still want to wear funny clothes, is a symptom of worldly blindness. On the other hand, to see their vocation to Consecrated life in its true light, is already a sign of God’s illuminating plan.
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. If you are interested in donating items to the altar, contact Jo Summer at 318-332-1203. She has a list of items needed and will pick up all donations by Noon on Friday, March 20th. All are welcome to attend, bring your friends and family!
WED. NIGHT CATECHISM Our Wed. Night Catechism classes are slowly coming to an end. We only have 2 weeks left. Wednesday, 3/18 & 3/25, we will have Wed. Night Adult Catechism & CCD at 6p as normal. We hope to see you there!
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.
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.
PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR STUDENTS Saturday, 3/21, St. Mary’s students will be participating in the District Literary Rally. Saturday, 3/28, is St. Mary’s Prom. Please join us in praying for all of the SMS Students that will be involved in these events.
- Tue, 3/17, Confession, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Tue, 3/17, CDA Meeting, 6p
- Wed, 3/18, CCD & Wed. Night Adult Catch., 6p @ St. Mary’s
- Thu, 3/19, SMS All-School Mass, 9a
- Fri, 3/20, Way of the Cross, 5:15p @ MBIC
- Fri, 3/20, KC Fish Fry, 5:30-6:30p @ Parish Hall
- Sat, 3/21, Statues veiled
- Sun, 3/22, St. Joseph’s Altar, 11a-2p @ Powhatan
- Tue, 3/24, Confession, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Tue, 3/24, SVdP Meeting, 6:30p in Parish Hall
- Wed, 3/25, CCD & Wed. Night Adult Catch., 6p @ St. Mary’s
- Thu, 3/26, KC1357 Social
- Fri, 3/27, Dr. Henderson NSU Investiture Mass, 9a
- Fri, 3/27, Way of the Cross, 5:15p @ MBIC
- Fri, 3/27, KC Fish Fry, 5:30-6:30p @ Parish Hall
- Sat, 3/28, SMS Prom
- Tue, 3/31, MBIC Office Closed
- Tue, 3/31, Chrism Mass, 11a @ Cathedral in Alexandria
- Tue, 3/31, Confession, 5-6p @ MBIC
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 3/14 4p Laura Jo Johnson, (Lector) • Michael & Joanne Yankowski, (EMHC-CI) • J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/15 9a Joe Cunningham, Jr., (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CI) • John Cunningham, Michael King, (EMHC-CH) • C.Cunningham, J.H.Ingrish, G.Ingrish, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/15 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Lucile Ingram, (EMHC-CI) • Patsy Melder, Linda Lee, (EMHC-CH) • W.Lee, A.Parker, J.Parker, (Altar Boys)
Sat 3/21 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • David Bouchie, Mickey Hennigan, (EMHC-CI) • J.Friedel, D.Bennett, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/22 9a John Ackel, (Lector) • John Vandersypen, (EMHC-CI) • Buddy Giering, Stephen Taylor, (EMHC-CH) • BB.Behrendsen, P.Vienne, M.Vienne, (Altar Boys)
Sun 3/22 11a Ed Giering, (Lector) • Haley Johnson, (EMHC-CI) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC-CH) • C.Fisher, M.Leone, J.Burrell, (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: Andrew Maggio & Red & Sadie Thomas
- Sun 9a: Martha LaCaze & Irene Niette
- Sun 11a: Pro Populo
- Sun 5p: Special Intentions & Robert Young
- Mon 6:30a: Melinda McClung
- Mon 8a: Donald Gongre
- Tue 6:30a: Lillian Giering
- Wed 6:30a: Mary Jean Thomas
- Thu 6:30a: Fair Hyams
- Fri 6:30a: Anne Giering
- Sat 8a: Joseph L. & Victoria Ezernack
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 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, Peggy Cooper, 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, & Laura Young