From The Font

"The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?'"

Much of the Jewish law, the Torah, is concerned with which foods are "Kosher." There are rules about species of meat and vegetables, cooking, liturgical foods, food acceptable only at certain times of year and foods associated with certain kinds of feasts or celebrations. In addition to the formal rules about food, there were tons of ancillary or unofficial rules about how to clean plates and utensils, how to wash food prior to cooking, how to wash after contact with human blood, which foods are only to be eaten by the very poor and which unacceptable foods are really, really not ok. At the top of the list of "not-ok, never ever, ever" foods is human flesh. That rule crosses basically every boundary in every religion. 

When Jesus basically calls the Jews to take up the practice of cannibalism, they are rightly confused, offended and disgusted. And, contrary to what we might expect, Jesus doesn't backtrack and correct their misunderstanding… Rather, He goes further. Just as Abraham was led all the way up the mountain thinking that God wanted him to sacrifice his own son Isaac, so the Jews were asked for faith that broke the boundaries of courtesy and "safe" religion. He wanted them to say “yes” to the most absurd so that their reprieve would be all the more edifying. Of course, all of the Jews knew the story of Abraham. All of the Jews knew what had happened. But they had become so complacent in their faith that this kind of challenge was hard to handle. 

We know in hindsight that this challenge would become the pivotal question of early Christianity and of the Protestant revolt. It remains a central feature of argumentation and spiritual battle in the question of whether or not Holy Communion should be distributed to those who are publicly opposed to certain high profile aspects of the Catholic Faith. This shouldn't be a surprise as these matters are identical to the response that Jesus got from his previously-devoted followers. More than any other moment in His ministry, this scene and this challenge proves that we can't pick and choose which aspects of the faith to which we will ascend. Neither Jesus nor His Jewish followers - even those who abandoned Him - believed "Cafeteria Judaism" was an acceptable option in following Jesus. 

God is always challenging us. He's always pushing us to trust in Him entirely. He is always trying to make us more saintly and thanks be to God for it!

Insights From Second Street

Monday, August 10 was the feast of St. Lawrence, Patron of Deacons. We are so very blessed here at Immaculate to have a top notch permanent Deacon in the person of the Reverend Mr. John Whitehead. John Louis is a life-long resident of Natchitoches. That history is an incredible gift. 

Pope St. John Paul II argued constantly that the one best qualified to speak the Gospel to a peer is another peer. A Christian man raising his family is better qualified to witness the Gospel to another man raising his family. Perhaps the greatest value of the married and ordained Deacon is his perspective as a man in the midst of family, in the midst of business, in the midst of the Natchitoches Community. One of my greatest struggles as a pastor is the simple fact that Natchitoches is very difficult to understand as an outsider. The history, families ties, business relationships and community priorities of Natchitoches are imbibed naturally by those raised here, but they are difficult to articulate or communicate to transplants like myself. Deacon John, as a native, understands the Natchitoches community from the inside and he can speak to the uniqueness of the Catholic experience here in a way that no non-native pastor could ever hope to. 

The deacon also constitutes a beacon of continuity in the modern Church where priests tend to be moved more frequently than in years past. That shifting of pastors has created a phenomenon wherein the personality of the pastor tends to have a much greater impact on communities than it did in years past. The deacon serves both to assist the pastor in providing continuity of administration and liturgical style and to assist the community to understand the pastor during his time of adjustment. With the upheaval of the past decade here at Immaculate, the transitional period between pastors will necessarily be longer and more challenging. Deacon John has been invaluable and irreplaceable in helping me make decisions and in helping me to understand mistakes I've made and misunderstandings that I've facilitated. I can say, on a personal note, that when I've ignored his advice, I've made serious mistakes! Deacon John is truly a gift to this parish.

Finally, the deacon in any parish, but especially here, is a member of the clergy. Deacon John is available to celebrate baptisms and weddings. He has often assisted with funerals, wake services and catechesis. As an ordained member of the clergy, Deacon John is configured to Christ by the sacramental authority of the Bishop and the Church. More than anything, this makes Deacon John a great blessing to us all. I hope you'll all take the time this week to pray for all the deacons in our diocese, especially our own Deacon John Louis Whitehead!

Rome Speaks

From: Juan Donoso Cortes 

“There is no man, let him be aware of it or not, who is not a combatant in this hot contest; no one who does not take an active part in the responsibility of the defeat or victory. The prisoner in his chains and the king on his throne, the poor and the rich, the healthy and the infirm, the wise and the ignorant, the captive and the free, the old man and the child, the civilized and the savage, share equally in the combat. Every word that is pronounced, is either inspired by God or by the world, and necessarily proclaims, implicitly or explicitly, but always clearly, the glory of the one or the triumph of the other. In this singular warfare we all fight through forced enlistment; here the system of substitutes or volunteers finds no place. In it is unknown the exception of sex or age; here no attention is paid to him who says, I am the son of a poor widow; nor to the mother of the paralytic, nor to the wife of the cripple. In this warfare all men born of woman are soldiers. And don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting; nor that you don’t know which side to join, for while you are saying that, you have already joined a side; nor that you wish to remain neutral; for while you are thinking to be so, you are so no longer; nor that you want to be indifferent; for I will laugh at you, because on pronouncing that word you have chosen your party. Don’t tire yourself in seeking a place of security against the chances of war, for you tire yourself in vain; that war is extended as far as space, and prolonged through all time. In eternity alone, the country of the just, can you find rest, because there alone there is no combat. But do not imagine, however, that the gates of eternity shall be opened for you, unless you first show the wounds you bear; those gates are only opened for those who gloriously fought here the battles of the Lord, and were, like the Lord, crucified.”

Parish News

ST. MARY’S TAA FUNDRAISERS St. Mary's annual TAA Steak Supper fundraiser has started! (The Steak Supper & Scrimmage will be Friday, August 21st.) Steak Supper tickets as well as Tiger Athletic Association membership packages are now available to purchase. Contact the school or any of our student athletes to purchase tickets and/or membership packages. 

MARCH FOR LIFE MEETING HAPPENING SOON! The Orientation Meeting for the 2016 National March for Life in Washington D.C. will be Thurs., August 20th, at 6:30p in the St. Mary’s Gym. Anyone seriously interested in traveling with us next year (Jan. 20-24, 2016) should attend this meeting. This will be the only time representatives from Magnificat Travel will be in town to discuss details and answer questions about the trip.  Registration/payment for the trip will begin at this meeting. All are welcome! (All SMS High School students, parents, alumni, parishioners, and everyone in between are invited. You do not have to be Catholic to attend. This is the only group from the Diocese offering adults & the public a way to the D.C. Pro-life March.) — Don’t forget to bring a pen & paper, your checkbook, and a friend!

CCD TEACHERS NEEDED! Wednesday, Sept. 2nd, the MBIC Parish Supper, CCD Classes, & Wed. Night Adult Catch. for 2015-2016 will begin. The MBIC is in need of 2 adult volunteers to teach the 7th, 8th, 9th, & 10th grade CCD classes. For more information and/or to register as a volunteer, contact Susan Chesal at the MBIC Rectory at (318) 352-3422.

FOOTBALL JAMBOREE IS AUGUST 28th The annual NSU High School Football Jamboree will be Friday, 8/28, at Turpin Stadium. The St. Mary’s Tigers will play the Many Tigers at 7p. Advanced Tickets are now on sale at St. Mary’s for $8. (Please remember that if you buy tickets at the school, the money will stay at St. Mary’s.) Tickets will also be on sale for $10 at the front gate on the day of the Jamboree.  TAA sport passes will NOT be accepted at the JAMBOREE. Please come out & cheer on our local teams!

PARISH SUPPER & CCD BEGIN 9/2 Our first Parish Supper, Wed. Night Adult Catechism & CCD night will be Wednesday, Sept. 2nd, at St. Mary’s. We’ll have food for free in the Cafeteria beginning at 5p (donations welcome). At 6p, the kids will go to CCD and Fr. Ryan will give a talk in the Chapel for all who are interested. Invite other parishioners and/or your non-Catholic friends to attend!

Parish Events

  • Sat, 8/15, Holy Mass at SMS Chapel @ 5:30p
  • Tue, 8/18, CDA Ice Cream Social, 6p
  • Thu, 8/20, MBIC & SMS - Washington D.C. March for Life - Orientation Meeting, 6:30p @ SMS 
  • Fri, 8/21, SMS Steak Supper
  • Sat, 8/22, Holy Mass at SMS Chapel @ 5:30p
  • Tue, 8/25, SVdP Meeting, 6:30p in Hall
  • Fri, 8/28, Natchitoches High School Football Jamboree
  • Sat, 8/29, Holy Mass at SMS Chapel @ 5:30p
  • Wed, 9/2, Parish Supper, CCD, & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 5-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
  • Fri, 9/4, First Friday - Benediction of the MBS @ 5:15p 
  • Sat, 9/5, First Saturday - Vocations Club @ 8:45a
  • Sat, 9/5, Holy Mass at SMS Chapel @ 5:30p


Our Sunday Collection last week was $8,377Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

To Donate Onlineclick here or scroll to the bottom of this page.

For more information on our parish finances, click here.

Within the Sanctuary

Sat 8/15 4p Kathleen Hicks, (Lector) • Mickey Hennigan, Nita Maggio, (EMHC-CI) • D. Bennett, J. Friedel, (Altar Boys)

Sun 8/16 9a Joe Cunningham, Sr., (Lector) • Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CI) • G. Fedelak, P. & M. Vienne, (Altar Boys)

Sun 8/16 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Chris Maggio, (EMHC-CI) • A. & J. Parker, C. Fisher , (Altar Boys)

Sat 8/22 4p Laura Jo Johnson, (Lector) • Carl Henry, Jimmy Gunter, (EMHC-CI) • D. & M. Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun 8/23 9a Stephen Taylor, (Lector) • John Cunningham, (EMHC-CI) • C. Cunningham, JH & G. Ingrish, (Altar Boys)

Sun 8/23 11a Kathy Bundrick, (Lector) • Lucile Ingram, (EMHC-CI) • J. Burrell, M. Leone, Sc. 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

The Sanctuary Flowers this week are offered in memory of Mike Bouchie by his family.

The Flowers on Mary’s Altar this week are offered in honor of Haley Norwood by the Norwood family. 

Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: Mike Bouchie, Leo Abraham, Donald Gongre, Mary L. Perot, and Joe Bienvenu
  • Sat 5:30p: Mary Moss
  • Sun 9a: Janis Abraham
  • Sun 11a: Shirley & Richard Ragland, Sue Dearman, and Gerald J. Mayeux
  • Sun 5p: Pro Populo
  • Mon 6:30a: Joe Sampite
  • Mon 8a: Don Dark
  • Tue 6:30a: Louis Sklar, Sr.
  • Wed 6:30a: Francis Michael
  • Thu 6:30a: Cynthia Cox
  • Fri 6:30a: Beau & Thomas Emile Scott
  • Sat 8a: Kenneth Prudhomme

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights. And that, Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.

Please pray for our Recently Deceased: Mr. Johnny Batten, Mrs. Shirley Landrum, & Mrs. Mary Stanton

Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, Teresa Arafat, Flay Rose Balthazar, Maudie Baranowski, William Lynn Basco, Cletus Bauer, Chad Bouchie, Mary-Lou Brasher, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Darlene Bynog, 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, Anne Giering, Sophie Gill, Elizabeth Governale, Jeff Green, Ross Gwinn, Tammy Hall, 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, Gary Murphy, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sue Prudhomme, Judy Risty, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Meredith St. Andre, Lil Taylor, Clay Thompson, Mariano Timotio, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Patricia Vazquez, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Jessica Warner, Charlene White, Glen & Mary Williams, Marilyn Williams, Laura Young, & Melinda Zolzer