No Daily Mass this Week • Fr. Ryan, Fr. Stephen and many of the priests of the diocese will be on retreat this week from Mon, Sept 28 until Thu, Oct 1. During that time, no daily Masses will be offered in the Parish. Masses will resume as usual at 6:30a on Fri, Oct 2. First Friday devotions on Oct 2 will take place as usual. Thank you all for understanding.
No Wednesday Night Catechism • Because of the retreat, there will be no Wednesday Night Catechism this week. WNC will resume next week, Oct. 7 along with our parish supper.
Oct 3 is the Feast of St. Terese, Patroness of Children • This Saturday, October 3 is the feast of St. Terese, the Little Flower. St. Terese is the patroness of children, especially little children. All are asked to pray for all our kids in our area, especially those who may be ill or living in poverty. St. Terese is considered a Doctor of the Church and her “Little Way” (explained in her primary written work, The Story of a Soul) is a hugely valuable method of spiritual growth. St. Terese’s relics are ensconced in our main altar.
Year of Mercy 2016 • Pope Francis has declared a Year of Mercy from Dec 8, 2015 to Dec 8, 2016. During that year, special graces and spiritual activities will abound around the Church and here in Natchitoches. Please begin to pray now for those planning activities. If you have ideas or are interested in helping out, please let us know at the office. Thanks!
First Friday & First Saturday • The First Friday & Saturday of each month are kept in honor of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament begins on First Friday begins after our 6:30a morning Mass and continues until Benediction at 5:15p. All who are able to commit to an hour this Friday are asked to sign up in the back of the Church. First Saturday Devotions take place immediately after the 8a Mass on Saturday morning. All are Welcome.
Fr. Stephen in Cloutierville • For the month of October, Fr. Stephen will be covering all the weekend Masses in Cloutierville. Fr. Kenneth Obikwe will be visiting his family in Nigeria. Please pray for safe travels for Fr. Kenneth and for Fr. Stephen as he makes the many trips back and forth to Cloutierville and it’s mission chapels in Emmanuel and Monet Ferry. Fr. Stephen will be maintaining his usual schedule during the week.
From the Font
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
In a world where sin is real and judgement is not automatic, all of us are playing for keeps. The prevailing modern sentiment among Christians is not different enough from the worldly sentiment: “look out for number one.” Too many Christians have come to think as Cain did when confronted by God about the murder of his brother: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The reality is that each of us is not placed into this world at random. Our talents and our shortcomings are all knit into us in our mother’s womb and so we form a divinely ordained and concocted community of individuals. Each of us is meant to be an instrument of God’s goodness for each other.
This is the origin of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The hungry we are to feed are not in a far away land, they are among us. Likewise, the ignorant we are to instruct and the sinners we are to admonish are not far away, but closer than we may like.
Our duty to one another is not something we choose - it is something for which God has provided. Hence, Jesus reminds His hearers that one who causes another to sin should be worried.
What about the one who sees a fellow believer in sin and does nothing? What about the one who knows the truth and withholds it out of fear or embarrassment? Does that person bear the weight of blame? If I know there’s a trap ahead and I watch people walk into it when I could’ve said something - am I free of sin?
If we’re “looking out for number one,” then we bear no blame at all. After all - it’s their own issue and we should all stand alone… But if we’re hearing Jesus admonish His apostles about the consequences of sin, then we owe it to Jesus to love those He loves. We owe Him the risk of speaking up.
It may be easier to cause another to sin that we’d like. Immodest dress can do it. So can gossip. Lude speech is easily overheard. Modern technology makes it easier than ever embarrass or offend on social networks. More than any of these, though, it’s easy to cause another to sin by doing and saying nothing.
Jesus praises the good Samaritan in exactly this scenario. No Christian has the right to call himself a follower of Jesus and also “look out for number one.” Every Christian is honor-bound to be that good Samaritan and to be his brother’s keeper. This is who we are - it’s who we must be if we are to call ourselves by the name of Jesus.
Insights from Second Street
25, 50 and 100 years ago respectively, the world was an entirely different place. We are the first generation to say that and the first generation of Catholic Christians to be asked to evangelize and share the good news in that context.
In 1990, the so-called Culture Wars were in full swing. The Church was starting to see light after an intense internal battle of wills. Our nation was beginning to warm to morally “normalizing” various types of sexual immortality that would have been unthinkable only 25 years earlier, specifically: casual sex, cohabitation, abortion, pornography and the homosexual lifestyle. While these have always existed, before the 90s, there was universal agreement that each was opposed to the good of families and society. Now, 25 years later, many Americans are becoming convinced that they can be made morally acceptable.
In 1965, the Cold War was in full swing. The Church was newly impassioned and energized by the Second Vatican Council and a new age of religious change was underway. Experimentation at every level of our Church was encouraged and adopted. Foundational principles and methods of prayer, instruction and moral living were replaced and adopted.
In 1915, the Great War (World War I) was in full swing. The monarchies that had stabilized Europe for 500 years were being replaced with new, untested governments based on untested ideals, model and methods. The Church, present in every nation of Europe and in the United States, found itself in chaos and confusion. Works of charity and aid were heroic and great saints were made in amidst the horrors of this “modern” warfare. Our Lady of Fatima would be revealing herself soon and the Church would experience in that revelation a revival the likes of which had not been seen since the Counter-Reformation three hundred years earlier.
We find ourselves now with a Church in transition. The Church has hemorrhaged nearly half of her membership. Only about 1 in 5 children raised Catholic will practice the faith as adults. Only 17% of those who call themselves Catholic attend Mass weekly. Far fewer make a regular confession. Less than half believe in the sacraments. Fewer believe in the moral law teaching of the Church. Most believe that heaven comes automatically and that goodness - whatever that means - is all that is required. And these numbers - which are for the United States - look like a dream next to Europe which is almost entirely paganized now.
To these challenges, we must add Islam, anti-religious governmental policy and internal conflict among our national and international clergy.
In the face of this honest assessment, we as Christians should know that we are particularly blessed! God does not leave His Church alone. In the 90s, He sent Mother Theresa and Pope St. John Paul. In the 1960s, He sent Fulton Sheen and Padre Pio. In the 1920s, He sent Our Lady of Fatima and Popes Pius X, XI and XII. Into this era, He sends us! He sends us! How will we respond? How will we answer the call to be evangelizers of our own generations?
Memorials & Intentions
Mass Intentions for the Week of September 27th
- Sat 4p N.L. Vercher, Calvert Scott, and Russ & Lori Harvey
- Sat 5:30p Cynthia Cox
- Sun 9a Leo Abraham, Red & Sadie Thomas, Ross Gwinn, and Joe Bienvenu
- Sun 11a Richard Ragland
- Sun 5p Pro Populo
- Mon - Thurs NO MASS (Frs Ryan & Stephen on Diocesan Retreat)
- Fri 6:30a Gary LaBar, Jr.
- Sat 8a Kenneth Prudhomme
- Sat 4p Gene Doll and Calvert Scott
- Sat 5:30p Francis Michael
- Sun 9a Pro Populo
- Sun 11a Shirley Ragland, Harry Gongre, Jr.and Janis Abraham
- Sun 5p Reid Mestayer & Easton Barbier
PRAYERS FOR OUR ILL AND RECENTLY DECEASED
Mrs. Judy Risty, RIP
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, RJ Ducote, Jayce Estep, Angela Eversall, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Kramer Gahagan, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Anne Giering, Sophie Gill, Jeff Green, Ross Gwinn, Tammy Hall, Andy Harrington, Curt Harrington, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Michael Kearney, EvaGrace Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Angelette LaCour, Jheanny Ladao, Samuel Lane, Raymond Litton, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Irene Lynche, 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, 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