From The Font
“After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.”
It’s tragically poetic that the Gospel of St. John verse 6:66 is where Jesus is abandoned by many of His disciples who find His teaching too challenging. Jesus, Himself, taunts those who are murmuring… He asks “Does this shock you?” The Greek word that Jesus uses is “skandalizei,” from which we get the English word “scandal.” Jesus uses that word very sparingly in the Gospels. The most intense moment in which it appears is in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus calls His listeners to an almost fanatical opposition to sin. He says in Mt 5:30: “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” (Here, “skandalizei” is translated as “causes you to sin.”)
The sense of the word is that the people aren’t wrong to be taken aback. Jesus follows up His challenging words with another seemingly ludicrous statement. He says, “What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?” It’s almost as if Jesus is intentionally pushing away those who might be brought in by a more gentle approach. But in response to this St. John reminds us that Jesus knew who wasn’t going to be able to accept the truth - regardless of method or approach. Jesus adds that only those granted it by the Father, may come to Jesus.
As with other hard sayings of Jesus, we have to resist the temptation to soften the Gospel with something like “Jesus didn’t really mean it.” Rather, we look at the entire Gospel and realize that Jesus’ message is life or death! He knows - better than anyone ever could - the consequences of sin. He knows - better than anyone ever could - the value and miraculous nature of forgiveness. He knows - better than anyone ever could - what He is offering in the Holy Eucharist and in the Church… We don’t need to convince ourselves that Jesus would never be mean - we need to realize that He does it for a profound and attention-getting reason! We mustn’t let anything separate us from the love of God made manifest in the Holy Eucharist! We mustn’t receive Holy Communion unworthily! We mustn’t fear listening to Jesus and obeying Him at any cost! We mustn’t be scandalized or embarrassed or shocked by serving Him regardless of what the world thinks or what the law says or what our neighbors want or what our persecutors believe! Jesus’ Word - and ONLY His Word - is “Spirit and Life!”
Insights From Second Street
Fulton J. Sheen was born near Peoria, Illinois, on May 8, 1895. His family was a textbook example of turn-of-the-century Irish Catholics. One of his favorite stories of youth was when young Fulton served Mass for the Bishop of Peoria. The child was so nervous that he dropped the cruet of water which splashed but, thankfully, didn’t break. After Mass, the nuns were in the sacristy staring down the young boy and ready to give him a talking to when the tall Bishop stepped in and said “Sisters, didn’t young Fulton offer splendid service at the altar this morning?” Of course, the sisters wouldn’t disagree with the Bishop and Fulton Sheen was saved! When the sisters dispersed, the bishop looked at the young boy of seven or eight and said “you should study theology.”
In 1919, Fulton Sheen was ordained for the Diocese of Peoria. By 1923, he had received the highest degree of Church education (with the best grades) that any American has ever received. In 1930, Father Sheen began hosting “The Catholic Hour” on prime time radio. In 1951, Father Sheen became Bishop Sheen, an assistant Bishop for the Archdiocese of New York. Upon his arrival in the Big Apple, he moved from radio to television. From 1951 to 1968, the Bishop, later Archbishop, hosted three television series, all in prime time.
He did this while serving tirelessly as the head of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. In that capacity, the Bishop served the poor and needy around the world. He always took advantage of his travels not only to care for the body, but also for soul. His sermons are legend. Take a moment to ask one of our older priests here in the Diocese of Alexandria about the retreat he gave for priests at Maryhill!
Fulton Sheen has now traded his title of Bishop for that of Venerable. Several miracles are in the pipeline for his beatification… I bring him up in part because he is someone we all ought to know about… His story is astounding. His sense of humor and sincerity gave him the credibility he needed to speak the truth to those who didn’t want to hear it.
I also bring him up because of what happened at the end of his life. After his meteoric rise to prominence, the only thing that could’ve taken Bishop Sheen “down” was internal division. And it did. Bishop Sheen was maligned by well-meaning churchmen who devastated his credibility and drove him into quiet retirement. He wrote a total of 73 books. On October 2, 1979, two months before Sheen's death, Pope St. John Paul II embraced Sheen, saying, "You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are a loyal son of the Church." Take a moment, if you will, to pray for priests, bishops and all churchmen. God, grant us unity of spirit and purpose!
By: Pope Benedict XVI • From: God & The World: An Interview with Peter Seewald
Man was not just thrown up into the world by some quirk of evolution. The underlying truth is that each person is meant to exist. Each person is God’s own idea. Within everything that just for the moment exist factually, a plan and an idea are at work, and this gives meaning to my search for my own ideal self and to my coexistence with the world and with the onward path of history.
There is one thing we must not forget: it has always been the Mother who reached people in missionary situations and made Christ accessible to them. That is especially true of Latin America. Here, to some extent, Christianity arrived by way of Spanish swords, with deadly heralds. In Mexico, at first, absolutely nothing could be done about missionary work – until the occurrence for the phenomenon at Guadalupe, and then the Son was suddenly near by way of his Mother.
You can never predict in advance how things will turn out. Anyone who is extrapolating the decline of the church in academic, statistical fashion from the situation in Europe, is failing to recognize the unpredictable nature of human history in general – and in particular, God’s power to take the initiative by intervening, as he is always able to do.
Initially, it was possible for people to think, with respect to Lourdes, that this little girl had fantasized something. And then it turned out after all the she herself was really there, the Mother — Mary. It is certainly not by chance that people are nowadays turning again to Mary, in whom Christianity becomes loveable again and close to us, and we really do find the door again through the Mother.
The Church does not invent sins but recognizes the will of God and has to declare it. Of course, the great thing . . . is that upon the Church, which has to declare the will of God in its full magnitude, in its unconditional rigor, so that man should know his true measure, is bestowed as a gift, at the same time, the task of forgiving.
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!
ST. MARY’S TAA Tiger Athletic Association membership packages are now available to purchase. Contact the school or any of our student athletes to purchase tickets a membership package.
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!
OUR CHILDREN DESERVE THE BEST If you know of anyone in this parish potentially harming children, call (318)445-1427 or visit DioceseAlex.org/Safe-Environment. Documentation, policies and procedures are available from the office or at the back tables in the Church. Periodic training seminars are also available, call the office for more information.
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A CATHOLIC? Anyone interested in the Catholic Faith is encouraged to come and speak with Fr. Ryan. There is absolutely no obligation and no cost. Both private and group-based instruction is available. Call the office for more information.
ATTENTION SINGLE, CATHOLIC MEN 18-30 YEARS OF AGE The Knights of the Holy Eucharist, a community of lay brothers faithful to Holy Mother Church and dedicated to fostering reverent devotion to Our Eucharistic Lord, invite you to discern your vocation to the brotherhood at their House of Formation, located at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. More at Knights.org
ADDITIONAL SATURDAY MASSES CONTINUED Fr. Ryan will continue offering an additional Saturday evening Mass at St. Mary’s School at 5:30p. The Mass will count for your weekend obligation. All are welcome.
- 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
- Tue, 9/1, SVdP Meeting, 6:30p in Hall
- 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
- Fri, 9/4, SMS vs. Lakeview - 7p @ Turpin Stadium
- Sat, 9/5, First Saturday - Vocations Club @ 8:45a
- Sat, 9/5, Holy Mass at SMS Chapel @ 5:30p
- Mon, 9/7, *Labor Day* MBIC Parish Office CLOSED & SMS NO SCHOOL
- Tue, 9/8, KC1357 Meeting, 6:45p
- Wed, 9/9, CCD, & Wed. Night Adult Catechism, 6-7:30p @ St. Mary’s
- Thu, 9/10, SMS vs. North Caddo - 7p @ Turpin Stadium
- Sat, 9/12, Holy Mass at SMS Chapel @ 5:30p
Within the Sanctuary
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)
Sat 8/29 4p Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Jo & Red Lapeyrouse, (EMHC-CI) • D. Bennett, J. Friedel, (Altar Boys)
Sun 8/30 9a John Ackel, (Lector) • Carol Green, (EMHC-CI) • R. & R. Cunningham, M. McCart, (Altar Boys)
Sun 8/30 11a Joe Payne Williams, (Lector) • Linda Lee, (EMHC-CI) • W. Lee, S. Maggio, C. Fisher, (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, Rusty Bostick, Clay Hennigan, and Red & Sadie Thomas
- Sat 5:30p: Leola Walmsley
- Sun 9a: Grant Ingram
- Sun 11a: Raymond Arthur, Irene Niette, James Davis, Sue Morgan, & A.B. Chenault
- Sun 5p: Pro Populo
- Mon 6:30a: Mary Jean Thomas
- Mon 8a: Gilbert & Sadie Stroud
- Tue 6:30a: Deceased Members of the Ray & Gwen Ponthieux Families
- Wed 6:30a: Russ & Lori Harvey
- Thu 6:30a: Gerald J. Mayeux
- Fri 6:30a: Clay Hennigan
- Sat 8a: James Davis
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