From The Font
“He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area.”
The joke goes that "if you want to know 'what would Jesus do', remember that freaking out and driving out sinners with a whip in a real option!" Lent is a season of personal reform. Personal reform is not about physical assault, but it does require a certain brutal honesty and brutal charity that is willing to offend oneself and - possibly - to offend others in the effort. Jesus' impassioned assault upon the temple served three immediate purposes. First, it set the pieces in place for his Passion. Remember that Jesus chose to sacrifice Himself on "the Altar of the Cross." He put the pieces in place. Second, it set the spiritual precedent for reform in the Church. Finally, it sets up the symbolic and spiritual precedent for the personal work of reform.
Reform, whether it be in the universal Church, in the particular Church (the diocese), in the parish or in my own heart, requires a kind of violent rejection of what has become common place. It also requires a standard or measure against which to compare. In the universal Church, reform means comparing the organizational structure of the Church to Scripture and Tradition. In the diocese and parish, reform means comparing both the traditions and the customs of the place to the law of the Church and the Catechism.
Within ourselves, reform means setting a standard for ourselves that is based upon the unchanging truth of the Church. Nowadays, many people want to take an easy way out. They challenge themselves to reform without any standard of measure at all… Or maybe they choose a standard at random or because they know that standard is already compatible with their own opinions and values. But this kind of reform is useless. Clearly none of the vendors in the temple had a problem with their own business. Some will, with good intention, take their own interpretation of scripture to be their guide. But that, too, is dangerous as it makes "my interpretations" the standard… After all, no one can claim to fully comprehend and interpret the scriptures without decades of intense study…
The message in which we must take on the topic of personal reform is that the standard must not be chosen at random. Rather, Jesus - working through His Church - is the standard. If the Church's teaching seems harsh - that's ok. If that teaching cuts us - that's ok. Jesus is only wounding in order to heal! He is only breaking in order to reset. He is only using violence because it is the only way to peace. Good Friday is, after all, the only way to Easter Sunday!
Insights From Second Street
This Friday is the second anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis. Despite wildly inconsistent media coverage, the Holy Father is a sign of unity.
There are two heresies which define for us the edges of right belief. On the one hand, we have the Heresy of “Ultramontanism.” The ultramontanists arose in an era where certain wealthy Italian families politicked their way to the Papal “throne.” They said that the Pope’s opinion was the same as dogma! And so, if Uncle Joe who happens to be Pope Urban IX says that you should buy from Brookshire’s and not Walmart - then God commands we all obey… While no one is quite so obvious nowadays, there are still some that argue and teach that the Pope’s opinions - whatever their value - should be held with a kind of divine deference. In actuality, any Pope’s opinions are valuable because of his personal holiness, experience and training. The same can be said of the cardinals. They wouldn’t get the fancy hat without some serious qualifications, after all. So we should respect the person of the Holy Father and his opinions, but without canonizing him or his ideas.
On the other edge of right, we have the Heresy of Eastern Orthodoxy. The word orthodoxy is confusing as it means “right practice.” This heresy goes back to 1054 when the chief Bishops (aka “the Patriarchs”) of several cultural centers in the Eastern world excommunicated the Pope. This heresy holds that the Pope is merely “one among several” spiritual leaders who each hold equal authority. A quick reading of scripture reminds us that Peter was, in fact, first among others. He had his faults to be sure - but He is clearly the chosen one of Jesus to be the leader of the apostles and of the Church. As such, the Pope’s authority derives not from his personal goodness or efforts, but from Jesus, Himself. The same can be said of a bishop. His authority comes from his ordination in conjunction with his assignment to a particular duty by the Pope. Priests, too, derive their authority from ordination and their assignment by the Bishop. All of this authority comes from Jesus who is “the leader and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2)!
Love and respect for the Pope, then, is a combination of his office, his person and his Boss. And so, we celebrate his anniversary of election with jubilation. Just as we did two years ago when the cardinal shouted the words “Annuncio Vobis Gaudim Magnum Habemus Papam” - “I announce to you a great joy… We have a Pope!”
by: Tommy Myrick
I remember several years ago having a conversation with an ex-Catholic. They said the reason why they left the Church was because they saw the Vatican. I didn’t understand how this would cause someone to abandon their faith. They further explained that the city was very beautiful! It was adorned with precious metals and stones. It was a masterpiece to behold!
They couldn’t understand why so much money could be used to build these gorgeous basilicas and parishes when there were impoverished people all over the world who could have used that money to buy food. They took this as an act of selfishness that flew right in the face of the Savior’s teachings. With that, they decided to leave the Church for something that “helped the poor more.”
Ironically, this is exactly what one of the disciples thought. His name was Judas. When a woman came to Jesus with an alabaster jar of ointment, broke it, and anointed Jesus’ feet with it, Judas complained that what she was doing was a waste. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus rebuked him for it, and pointed out that she was ministering to Him. This is a very important thing to keep in mind.
Why are Catholic churches supposed to be beautiful? Why must the sacred vessels used to accommodate our Lord in the Eucharist be made of precious metals? Why must the very best that we have to offer go to the Church? Because it ministers directly to Jesus!
Jesus teaches us that when we do good to the “least of these” we do it to Him, and when we neglect them, we neglect Him. This does not, however, mean that we cannot minister directly to Him. God is beautiful, and knowing Him through the beauty of the Divine Liturgy in the proper place of worship is a powerful sign to any man of any monetary standing in any age.
It is also unjust to think that only the rich deserve to see the Lord in a place of beauty. The poor have every right to witness the beauty of the Lord in His lovely house. May we always be mindful of the fact that beauty is one of God’s tools to soften the hearts of the wayward. May we be ever ready to receive them!
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!
NO WED. NIGHT ADULT CATECHISM The Wed. Night Adult Catechism class will be cancelled on 3/11. Adults are encouraged to attend the MBIC Lenten Mission instead. However, students should still report to their CCD class at 6p as normal. The Adult Catechism class will resume on 3/18. Please help us in spreading the word.
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.
LENTEN MISSION IN MANY Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Many will be having a Lenten Mission on Sunday, March 8th, through Thursday, March 12th. Fr. Andy Cravalho, CPM of the Fathers of Mercy from Auburn, KY will be the presenter. Confessions will be heard each evening from 6:00 – 6:30PM and immediately after the mission hour. The hour begins at 6:30PM each evening with Fr. Cravalho preaching and ends with Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. A Penance Service will be held on Thursday evening, March 12 at 6:30PM to conclude. We invite everyone to join us as we enrich our Lenten experience with this special event. Refreshments will be served each evening after the mission. Any questions, please call the church office at 256-5680.
- 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
- Tue, 3/17, Confession, 5-6p @ MBIC
- Tue, 3/17, Pastoral Council Meeting, 6p
- 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
Within the Sanctuary
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)
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)
*Altar Boys who are not scheduled may serve if space permits. Come to the Sacristy 10 minutes before Mass.
Memorials & Prayer Intentions
- Sat 4p: Donna Doll & Walt Taylor
- Sun 9a: Billy Benefield, Sr., Richard Williamson, & N.L. Vercher
- Sun 11a: Pro Populo
- Sun 5p: The Mestayer Family
- Mon 6:30a: Mike Bouchie
- Mon 8a: Edwin McClung
- Tue 6:30a: Deceased Members of Ray & Gwen Ponthieux’s Families
- Wed 6:30a: Brian Stuart
- Thu 6:30a: Mark Birch
- Fri 6:30a: Harry Gongre, Jr.
- Sat 8a: James & Jean Lee
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