From The Font
“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Where today’s Bibles use words like “hireling” and “hired man,” older translations use the more literal term “mercenary” (in Latin mercenarius). Mercenaries are generally bad people. They are soldiers for hire. They have no conscience, no allegiance and no moral compass. In many ways, that’s exactly what Jesus is trying to get across about those who act as shepherds without really loving the sheep. The mercenaries only care about the sheep because of what they get in the deal. It’s an easy trap to be in… How many of us are ready and willing to know, love and serve God because - and only because - God’s promises are a heck of a good deal? How often do Christians switch from one Church to another - or even one religion to another - because of a better deal? It’s more common than it seems. Pastors face the same temptation. It’s easier to focus on a group that the pastor likes or those who can donate more money, and so, they get the attention. As humans, we are always tempted to take the better deal when it comes to serving God as we would like to serve Him.
Of course, this is what makes Jesus the Good Shepherd. He is not distracted by His own desires - He is love! The Good Shepherd loves even unto the shedding of blood. Just as a parent would bleed for love of a child, so the Lord loves us to any end. The lesson for us, then, becomes not just a lesson about the value of imitating what Jesus did, but rather why He did it. It’s not necessary to find a cross and be nailed onto it. It’s necessary to love our neighbor as we love ourselves - even to the point of sacrificing. But that kind of love doesn’t originate in us - it originates in God. True sacrificial love flows into us because it flows from God. As we love God more, our capacity for loving others as He loves them grows.
The key message in our Gospel today directs us toward the Lord, the Good Shepherd, as the source of our way out of being mercenaries. It is only in loving as God loves that we “rid ourselves of every burden and sin that [clings] to us” (Heb 12:1) and discover the freedom and delight that comes from serving. Without this connection, we will flee when the rains and the wolves and the distractions tempt us away from who we were made to be!
Insights From Second Street
This Friday, as has been the case for years, the students of St. Mary’s will walk in grand procession to the Church. They will carry the lovely image of the Blessed Virgin Mary and crown Her with fresh spring flowers. It’s one of the most beloved traditions in the Catholic Faith. It’s easy to see why… There’s the springtime. There’s the flowers. There’s the songs - light and lovely. There’s the memories and the youth and the white dresses and everything that makes us feel young and alive and free.
Contrary to popular belief, Catholicism isn’t just Sunday Mass and a list of rules. It’s not something that can thrive inside the Church only. The Catholic Faith is a cultural reality that changes hearts, families and communities. As we bring our faith out into the streets, it begins to blossom. We realize that our faith is so much more than just our Sunday worship and our moral law…
We’d all agree that a crawfish boil is much, much more than just a meal - it’s an event. Sure, there’s eating and eating is necessary. But it’s when that eating is elevated to an experience that we start to see parallels to what the Catholic Faith is supposed to be. The crawfish boil is music and swimming and lawn chairs and beer and potatoes and stories and showing off and remembering those who aren’t present and picture taking and a thousand other things. So, too, Catholicism is the sacraments of the Church! But it’s also the examples of the saints, the spectacles of Mass, the coffee and donuts after Mass, the annual traditions that only come once a year, the buzzwords and language that don’t get used by our non-Catholic friends, the familiarity and the expectations and everything else that go into making a life as a Catholic and not merely a life that includes Sunday Mass.
When Catholicism is thriving, it includes every aspect of life from the youth basketball to father in the confessional to Lenten fish fries to prayer before meals. All of it works together. Just as we are souls and bodies - spirit and flesh - so must our worship be “in Spirit and in Truth.” Our faith must be spiritual and still present in this world. Mass is a spiritual and physical experience.
It’s my hope that as we move forward as a parish, we’ll continue to incorporate these cultural events that are stirring to the senses and transforming to our city and families!
ST. MARY’S MAY CROWNING IS THIS FRIDAY As per our long-standing tradition, the students of St. Mary’s will mark the first Friday of May with prayers and the crowning of the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The students will process from the site of the old school to the Church beginning at around 8:30a this Friday, May 1st. All are welcome to join us in venerating Our Lady.
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 will begin at Noon and continue 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 the usual time, 8a.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION IS NEXT WEEKEND All First Communicants and their parents are reminded that a mandatory practice will be held Saturday (5/2) at 9a in the Church. First Holy Confessions will be heard at that time. The Mass of First Communion will be offered at 11a, Sunday (5/3). Photos may be taken from 10a to 10:30a or after Mass from 12p to 12:30p.
MBIC GIFT SHOP For any parishioners interested, the MBIC Gift Shop has a nice selection of First Communion gifts available. (First Communion is scheduled for Sunday, 5/3, at 11a.) Gift Shop hours are: Tues-Fri, 10a-2p & Sat, 10a-4p.
UPCOMING SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
5/3: St. Mary’s Fund
5/10: Restoration Fund
5/24: St. Mary’s Fund
6/7: Restoration Fund
6/14: St. Mary’s Fund
6/21: Peter's Pence
6/28: Bereavement Ministry
7/5: Restoration Fund
7/12: St. Mary’s Fund
7/19: Maryhill Retreat Center
7/26: Church in Africa
8/2: Restoration Fund
8/9: St. Mary’s Fund
9/6: Catholic University
9/13: Restoration Fund
9/20: St. Mary's Fund
- Tue, 4/28, SVdP Meeting, 6:30p in Hall
- Fri, 5/1, SMS May Crowning, 8:30a @ MBIC
- Fri, 5/1, First Friday - Adoration begins @ Noon. Benediction of the MBS @ 5:15p.
- Sat, 5/2, First Saturday - Vocations Club @ 8:45a.
- Sat, 5/2, First Confession & First Communion Practice, 9-11a @ MBIC
- Sun, 5/3, First Communion Mass, 11a @ MBIC
- Tue, 5/5, SVdP Meeting, 6:30p in Hall
- Wed, 5/6, SMS All-School Mass, 9a @ SMS Gym - * Sr. Awards Assembly to follow*
- Wed, 5/6, SMS All Sports Banquet, 6p
- Sun, 5/10, Mother’s Day
- Sun, 5/10, SMS Baccalaureate Mass, 11a @ MBIC
- Mon, 5/11, SMS Senior Graduation, 7p @ SMS Gym
- Tue, 5/12, SMS Kindergarten Graduation, 10a @ SMS
- Tue, 5/12, SMS Jr. Ring Mass, 6p
- Tue, 5/12, KC1357 Meeting, 6:45p
- Wed, 5/13, Basilican Feast Day: Our Lady of Fatima, indulgenced Masses @ 6:30a & 6p
- Wed, 5/13, SMS All-School Mass, 9a @ SMS Gym - *Awards Ceremony to follow*
- Thu, 5/14, SMS 8th Grade Graduation, 6p
- Fri, 5/15, SMS Last Day of School - Noon Dismissal
- Mon, 5/25, Memorial Day - MBIC Office CLOSED
- Tue, 5/26, SVdP Meeting, 6:30p in Hall
- Thu, 5/28, KC1357 Social, 6p
- Sat-Sun, 5/30-5/31, Fr. Stephen gives Mission Appeal at all weekend Masses
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 4/25 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • David Bouchie, Mickey Hennigan, (EMHC-CI) • D.Thibodaux, M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 4/26 9a Rebecca Lavespere, (Lector) • Emelda Odom, (EMHC-CI) • Stephen Taylor, Buddy Giering, (EMHC-CH) • M.McCart, G.Ingrish, JH.Ingrish, (Altar Boys)
Sun 4/26 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Haley Johnson, (EMHC-CI) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, (EMHC-CH) • J.Burrell, V.Maggio, S.Maggio, (Altar Boys)
Sat 5/2 4p Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Nita Maggio, Jimmy Gunter, (EMHC-CI) • J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 5/3 9a John Ackel, (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CI) • James & Alice Barrios, (EMHC-CH) • BB.Behrendsen, P.Vienne, M.Vienne, (Altar Boys)
Sun 5/3 11a Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • Joseph Sklar, Patsy Melder, (EMHC-CH) • M.Leone, 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: N.L. Vercher & Red & Sadie Thomas
- Sun 9a: Clifford McCalister, Molly Simpson, & Don Shanklox
- Sun 11a: Richard Ragland, Grant Ingram, & Special Intentions
- Sun 5p: Pro Populo
- Mon 6:30a: James & Jean Lee
- Mon 8a: Mike Bouchie
- Tue 6:30a: Mary Jean Thomas
- Wed 6:30a: Martha LaCaze
- Thu 6:30a: Sandi Ponthieux
- Fri 6:30a: Ralph Ingram
- Sat 8a: Melinda McClung
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God. And that, persecuted Christians may feel the consoling presence of the Risen Lord and the solidarity of all the Church.
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, Teresa Arafat, William Lynn Basco, Cletus Bauer, Lauren Bienvenu, Millard Bienvenu, Danny Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mary-Lou Brasher, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Marie Charleville, Emilia Cofio, Peggy Cooper, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Richard DeVargas, RJ Ducote, Jayce Estep, 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, Raymond Litton, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Brittany MacBrown, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, Danny Manuel, Jack McCain Jr., Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Mary Moss, Gary Murphy, 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, Charlene White, Glen & Mary Williams, Marilyn Williams, Laura Young, & Melinda Zolzer