From The Font
“It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Imagine knowing the future. Imagine knowing every detail of the next 24 hours. It seems wonderful! You’d make a fortune in the stock market. You wouldn’t be caught off guard. You’d be done with anxiety… But you’d also drive yourself crazy trying to make every little cross and struggle go away. And what if you discovered something that couldn’t be fixed? What if you were on a cruise ship that you know will sink tomorrow? Imagine the cost of knowing the future. Perhaps the greatest cost is that you’d never enjoy the present! You’d always be somewhere else. It would be worse that being one of the past-obsessed people that the Old Testament called “stiff-necked.”
God does a great service in preventing us from knowing the day and hour. The future will surely come to us - but we needn’t fret. Whatever comes - good or bad - we will meet it with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. The power that Jesus promises in the Gospel is power to change the world, but it is also power which changes the recipient. The Christian is different when he or she receives the Holy Spirit. St. Paul lists the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit in his letters. But that list is not complete! There are gifts and fruits too numerous to measure when we seek the Lord’s will for us in the here and now! The apostles couldn’t have begun to imagine what they would do with the power God gave them. They had no notion that they would establish Churches which would last for millennia from Spain to India. They had no way of knowing what kinds of suffering they would endure. St. John was boiled for hours in hot oil at the edge of Rome. Eventually, the soldiers let him go! He sat in the boiling oil like it was a hot tub!
When we obsess about the future, we deprive ourselves and we deprive the Lord of working wonders in our midst. When we become lost in the past, we suffocate the Holy Spirit at work not just in us, but in every Christian who is willing to say “yes.”
Thank God we don’t know the times and the seasons. Thank God that we are blind to that knowledge which is too much for us. Thank God that we are constantly in the present moment where God works His wonders!
Insights From Second Street
I very regularly get questions from parishioners and from kids at the school about whether or not it’s ok to work on the sabbath. It’s an honest question. But it’s also an example of the somewhat messy spiritual thinking that too many Catholics have imbibed from our Protestant brothers and sisters.
Christians don’t keep the sabbath. Jesus and his followers all showed a certain disdain for the sabbath. What began as a gift from God became a kind of noose around the necks of the Jewish people that led to all manner of silliness and legalism. And so, when Jesus rose from the dead on the “first day of the week,” the sabbath was replaced in Christian practice by keeping Holy the Lord’s Day. The Lord’s Day is Sunday, while the Jewish Shabat (sabbath) is Saturday.
The Lord’s Day is not meant to be a day of strict prohibition against work. Rather, it’s a day we dedicate to God. Not just for the hour or so of Mass, but throughout the day. In addition to Mass, it was long the practice of Catholics to return to Church in the evening for Sunday Vespers. One of the reasons that Basilicas exist is to maintain this tradition. (We celebrate Vespers here at Immaculate on Sunday evenings at 4:30. It consists of benediction of the Most Holy Eucharist and the singing of a two psalms, two scripture canticles and two hymns. It lasts about 20 minutes and allows the Catholic to sanctify the Lord’s day at the beginning and the end.) Additionally, throughout the day, time should be set aside for some spiritual reading and for some considerations of the mysteries of God. Families would do well to take some time together to discuss matters of faith and morals and to pray the rosary together at least once a week. All of these together (Mass, Vespers, Rosary, spiritual reading and discussion) only take up a couple of hours, leaving much of the day for rest, leisure or catching up on housework.
Keeping holy the Lord’s Day is certainly one of the most basic parts of the Christian Spiritual Life and it’s something all of us would do well to evaluate within ourselves. Simple attendance at Mass is good, but is it really enough? Is the minimum really enough to nourish and cause spiritual growth? If our faith stays locked up in the Church… can we really expect it to change our lives?
by: Fr. Ryan
For the past several months, Immaculate has been one of the only - perhaps the only - food pantry in Natchitoches. The heroic efforts of our office staff and your generous donations have made that possible. Thank you! But a series of reasons prevent us from continuing this excellent work indefinitely. A group of local pastors and volunteers have put in a lot of work establishing an ecumenical food pantry which can better accommodate those in need and stem the rampant fraud that sadly accompanies charitable giving. In the coming month, that facility should be up and running. Immaculate will continue to play a significant role in feeding the hungry - but we will do so in league with others. I ask that you continue to support this cause! Please continue to bring nonperishable food to the rectory. Please continue to bring cash donations to our Helping Hands soup kitchen (run by Mrs Alice Nora) and to this new food pantry (which is not yet named). Most of all, continue to pray for our poor and for the civil leaders and circumstances that keep them impoverished.
TAA GOLF TOURNAMENT & CRAWFISH BOIL Join us for the Tiger Athletic Association’s Golf Tournament & Crawfish Boil on Friday, May 22, 2015, at the Natchitoches Country Club. • Golf: 3 Man Scramble. 12pm Tee Time. Entry fee = $100 per person/ $300 per three-man team. Entry fee includes all you can eat crawfish and drinks afterwards. • Crawfish Boil: 6pm at the Natchitoches Country Club following the golf tournament. • Contact: Keith Miller (318-652-2157) or Keenan Kelly (318-471-1337)
SMS 8th GRADE GRADUATION Prayers & Congratulations to St. Mary’s 8th Grade Graduates! (Sarah Aldredge, Parker Bankston, Caroline Bishop, Peyton Bolton, Rebecca Bordelon, Alexandra Brossett, Christian DeLoach, Sierra Doty, James Durr, Stephen Eversull, Luke Gallien, Don Gill Jr., Peyton Green, Claire Guillet, Walker Jackson, Sara Loach, Stephen Mayeux, Bailey McConnell, Jace Nobles, Samuel Phillips, Wyatt Quinn, Hailey Seaman, Natalie Sheffield, Paul Sheffield, Sam Simmons, Caroline Stokes, Caitlyn Taylor, Matthew Thibodaux, Austin Vienne, Abigail Wheat, Sarah Wheat, Brock Zeagler) A big thanks to all of the faculty and family who have gotten them this far! May God reward you all!
SMS KINDERGARTEN GRADUATION Prayers & Congratulations to St. Mary’s Kindergarten Graduates! (Emily Amberg, Emma Bain, Zane Bishop, Halle Campbell, Brady Childress, Michael Doherty, Sean Gardner, Kennedy Griffin, Carter Hogg, Hudson Methvin, Abram Nichols, Rayanna Norsworthy, Ava Olmos, Ansley Poskey, Alayna Rachal, Lillian Ryals, Molly Smith, Eastin Starks, Lindsey Stewart, John Thibodaux, Alyssa Waters, Gracie Watson, Caden White, Adelle Williams, Knox Wilson) A big thanks to all of the faculty and family who have gotten them this far! May God reward you all!
COME & SEE CATHOLICISM (By: Fr. Robert Barron) This adult formation program was designed to enhance & support the Church’s mission to evangelize & teach the content of the Catholic faith. The series began Thursday, May 7th, at 10am in the MBIC Parish Hall & will continue weekly for 8 more lessons. All are invited to attend. There is no cost to participate.
- 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
- Tue, 6/2, SVdP Meeting, 6:30p in Hall
- Fri, 6/5, First Friday - Benediction of the MBS @ 5:15p
- Fri, 6/5, First Friday - Talk by Dc. Whitehead @ 5:30p
- Sat, 6/6, First Saturday - Vocations Club @ 8:45a
- Sat, 6/6, Holy Mass at SMS Chapel @ 5:30p
- Tue, 6/9, KC1357 Meeting, 6:45p
- Sat, 6/13, Holy Mass at SMS Chapel @ 5:30p
- Tue, 6/16, CDA Meeting, 6p
Within the Sanctuary
Sat 5/16 4p Laura Jo Johnson, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Kathleen Hicks, (EMHC-CI) • D.Thibodaux, M.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 5/17 9a Stephen Taylor, (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CI) • Buddy Giering, John Cunningham, (EMHC-CH) • C.Cunningham, J.Miley, G.Fidelak, (Altar Boys)
Sun 5/17 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Lucile Ingram, (EMHC-CI) • Patsy Melder, Linda Lee, (EMHC-CH) • W.Lee, V.Maggio, S.Maggio, (Altar Boys)
Sat 5/23 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • David Bouchie, Mickey Hennigan, (EMHC-CI) • J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)
Sun 5/24 9a Sydney Frederick, (Lector) • Emelda Odom, (EMHC-CI) • Stephen Taylor, Micheal King, (EMHC-CH) • A.&C.Lirette, S.&T.Lirette, (Altar Boys)
Sun 5/24 11a Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Haley Johnson, (EMHC-CI) • Sam & Lillie Misuraca, (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: Mike Bouchie, Margaret Pennington, Ken & Sally Prudhomme
- Sun 9a: Billy Benefield Sr., Samuel Lane, Robert Walker, & Special Intentions
- Sun 11a: Pro Populo
- Sun 5p: Robert & Eloise Shanahan
- Mon 6:30a: Mark Birch
- Tue 6:30a: Latief Ackel & Bishop Michael Duca
- Wed 6:30a: Harry Gongre, Jr.
- Thu 6:30a: Gary LaBar, Jr.
- Fri 6:30a: Thomas Emile & Beau Scott
- Sat 8a: Sister Mary Roland
Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbors who suffer, especially the sick and the poor. And that, Mary’s intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.
Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, Teresa Arafat, William Lynn Basco, Johnny Batten, Cletus Bauer, Lauren Bienvenu, Millard Bienvenu, 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, Barbara Manshack, 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