Special Collection this week for Historical Restoration
A complete calendar of events can be found at minorbasilica.org/calendar
MARCH FOR LIFE TRIP APPROACHING! • Our trip to Washington, DC for the National March for Life is approaching quickly. Pilgrims please remember that the pre-departure meeting will take place in the St. Mary’s Library on Monday, January 11 at 6pm. Parents and family members are welcome to attend, but participants need to be there to pick up important papers. Everyone please pray for our pilgrims who will leave on Tuesday, January 19 and return Sunday, January 24. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray for us!
Fr. Ryan will be out of town for two weeks • Due to the March for Life and a special project in Washington, DC, Fr. Ryan will be out of town from January 11 until January 25. Fr. Stephen will be in the parish for any pastoral needs that may arise. Please pray for safe travels and a successful project.
No Adult Catechism this Wednesday • As Fr. Ryan will be away, there will be no Wednesday Night Adult Catechism for the next two weeks. Wednesday Night Adult Catechism will resume on January 27 when the topic will be “Spiritual Warfare & Exorcisms in the Church.” Thanks for understanding.
No School This Friday or next Monday for St. Mary’s • St. Mary’s will be closed this Friday, January 15 for Diocesan Teacher inservice. The school will be also be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day on Monday, January 18. School will resume on Tuesday January 19.
SMS Beta Club Bake Sale Fundraiser • The St. Mary’s Beta Club is raising money for “Colors for a Cause,” a cancer research and aid program for various types of cancer in children. Each color in Colors for a Cause represents a type of cancer which is prevalent in children. The students will be present before and after the 4p, 9a and 11a Masses and after the 5:30p Mass at “Immaculate East” (The St. Mary’s Chapel). 100% of proceeds will go to Colors for a Cause. For more info, please visit. ColorsForACause.org
Special Collection for Historical Restoration • As an historic Church and a Natchitoches landmark, Immaculate Conception Church plays a major role in our city’s tourism and it’s spiritual life. In addition to having the largest congregation of any Church in Natchitoches, Immaculate also has the most beautiful interior design of perhaps any building within many miles. That beauty requires a lot of energy to maintain and repairs in historic buildings are frequent and costly. Please be prayerful generous in this monthly collection.
From the Font
Heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
The Scriptures are full of moments in which God reveals Himself to us. In the three strangers who visit Abram and Sarai, we see a foreshadowing of the Holy Trinity. In the odd figures of Enoch and Melchizedek, we see foreshadowing of Jesus’ Last Supper and Resurrection. In the pillars of Fire and Cloud which lead the Jews out of Egypt, we see a pale image of the Holy Spirit.
Nowhere, though, is so perfect a revelation of God’s nature revealed than in the moment of the Baptism of Jesus. Of course, Jesus is God and so He, Himself, is the perfect revelation of God. Still, in this scene at the Jordan River, we see Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity rise from the water. At this moment, God the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, made visible in the form of a dove, descends and rests upon Him. And as this is taking place, Father, the First Person of the Holy Trinity speaks audibly - a great rarity - and identifies Jesus as Son. And so in this moment, we have the three Persons of the Holy Trinity visibly and audibly united. The image is in every way - human and divine - perfect.
It’s no accident that this moment is intimately associated with Baptism. Baptism was important for the Jews as a sign of rebirth and purification. It made one ready to encounter God anew. As He will with each of the Seven Sacraments, all of which will be a kind of fulfillment of a common Jewish practice, Jesus takes the common baptism for forgiveness of sins and transforms it into a profound unification of the spiritual and the earthly. This moment in the Jordan river becomes a foreshadowing of the effects of the Sacrament of Baptism upon each of us. As we arise from the waters, each of us is united to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity and thus becomes a son-by-adoption of the father and a shoulder upon which the Holy Spirit descends and remains.
The words of the Father, too, ought not to be overlooked. The Father’s words are recorded by St. Luke in Greek. Luke records the word “ἀγαπητός” - “the beloved one,” literally, the one for whom sacrificial love is shown. Even this moment shows that the Father’s plan is already in motion. Those who unite themselves to the Lord unite themselves to His life and his saving death. In every way, this scene reveals to us the all-encompassing love of God.
It is this love upon which we must rely and upon which we are asked to meditate in this year of Mercy.
Insights from Second Street
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1213) says “Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and in the word.”
The word, which means “plunge” or “submerge”, is not unique to Christianity. The Jews used baptism as a sign of repentance. Modern Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism all see the natural human connection between cleansing the body and cleansing the soul. But Christians don’t stop by seeing baptism as merely a cleansing…
The Catechism continues: (#1273) “Incorporated into the Church by Baptism, the faithful have received the sacramental character that consecrates them for Christian religious worship. The baptismal seal enables and commits Christians to serve God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and practical charity.”
This seal is the reason that Catholics don’t ever rebaptize. Once a person is sealed in Christ, they are permanently and eternally His. There is no unbaptism - a Christian is a Christian no matter what. This seal brings with it blessings and responsibilities.
The Christian, by taking the name and seal of Christ is now part of the family of God, the Church. That membership - which is not ordered to a paperwork form or even attendance at Mass - is a configuration to the Holy Spirit and to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In Baptism, our natural gifts and talents - which are part of God’s plan for us - are formally ordered to the work and mission of God. The presence of the Holy Spirit - already present in every thing which we call “alive” - is amplified and our access to the Grace of God is confirmed. Additionally, our place in the formal worship of God, the Sacraments, is established.
With these blessings comes our duty to be a living witness to Christ and to live out the plan for which we were created. “To whom much is given, much is expected.” It was Fr. Brennen Manning who remarked “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” On the other hand, saints like Mother Theresa and Pope St. John Paul II, convert millions by their simple faithfulness to God. Mother Theresa reminds us “God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.”
Ultimately, Baptism gives our lives a meaning and purpose. In Baptism, we are taught that every aspect of this life is merely making ready for that moment of judgement which follows upon our death. Nothing in this world even comes close to that great task and readiness begins with the great Sacrament of Baptism!
The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of "mercy" seem to cause uneasiness in man, who, thanks to the enormous development of science and technology, never before known in history, has become the master of the earth and has subdued and dominated it.14 This dominion over the earth, sometimes understood in a one - sided and superficial way, seems to have no room for mercy. However, in this regard we can profitably refer to the picture of "man's situation in the world today" as described at the beginning of the Constitution Gaudium et Spes (from Vatican II). Here we read the following sentences: "In the light of the foregoing factors there appears the dichotomy of a world that is at once powerful and weak, capable of doing what is noble and what is base, disposed to freedom and slavery, progress and decline, brotherhood and hatred. Man is growing conscious that the forces he has unleashed are in his own hands and that it is up to him to control them or be enslaved by them."
The situation of the world today not only displays transformations that give grounds for hope in a better future for man on earth, but also reveals a multitude of threats, far surpassing those known up till now. Without ceasing to point out these threats on various occasions (as in addresses at UNO, to UNESCO, to FAO and elsewhere), the Church must at the same time examine them in the light of the truth received from God.
The truth, revealed in Christ, about God the "Father of mercies," enables us to "see" Him as particularly close to man especially when man is suffering, when he is under threat at the very heart of his existence and dignity. And this is why, in the situation of the Church and the world today, many individuals and groups guided by a lively sense of faith are turning, I would say almost spontaneously, to the mercy of God. They are certainly being moved to do this by Christ Himself, who through His Spirit works within human hearts. For the mystery of God the "Father of mercies" revealed by Christ becomes, in the context of today's threats to man, as it were a unique appeal addressed to the Church.
— Pope St. John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia, Encyclical Letter “Rich in Mercy” on God’s Mercy
For the week of January 10th
- Sat 4p Red & Sadie Thomas, Donna Doll & Calvert Scott
- Sat 5:30p Justin Wyatt
- Sun 9a Special Intentions
- Sun 11a Johnny Defee & John Robert Tubre
- Sun 5p Pro Populo
- Mon 6:30a Jimmy Scott
- Mon 8a Fr. Kenneth Michiels
- Tue 6:30a Becky Masson
- Wed 6:30a Don Dark
- Thu 6:30a M\m W. Peyton Cunningham, Sr.
- Fri 6:30a James Lasyone
- Sat 8a Judy Risty
- Sat 4p Miriam Aycock Gaspard & John Robert Tubre
- Sat 5:30p Jim Klein
- Sun 9a Doris & Will Pierson & Elise James
- Sun 11a Harry Gongre, Jr.
- Sun 5p Pro Populo
Our Sick & Recently Deceased
Coach Julien Vienne, RIP
Ann Lee Alford, Lolette Allen, Teresa Arafa, Maudie Baranowski, William Lynn Basco, Ryan Branch, Chad Bouchie, Mary-Lou Brasher, Marion Brossette, Flo Brouillette, Darlene Bynog, Bailey Byrd, Fulton Clark, Carolyn Carter, Marie Charleville, Emilia Cofio, Peggy Cooper, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, Dekeyser, Jayce Estep, Angela Eversall, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Kramer Gahagan, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Anne Giering, Sophie Gill, Ross Gwinn, Tammy Hall, Andy Harrington, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Isabelita & Michael Kearney, EvaGrace Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Angelette LaCour, John LaCour, Samuel Lane, 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, Cecil Odom, Mary Odom, Sue Prudhomme, Sharon Roach, Tucker Roe, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Donna Slaughter, Meredith St. Andre, Lil Taylor, Clay Thompson, Mariano Timotio, Ren Todtenbier, Brent Trichel, Patricia Vazquez, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Jessica Warner, Charlene White, Glen & Mary Williams, Marilyn Williams, Laura Young, & Melinda Zolzer
Assistants within the Sanctuary
- Jan 1/9-10
- 4p Lector K. Hicks; EMHC M. & J. Yankowski; Servers Thibodaux
- 9a Lector R. Lavespere; EMHC E. Odom; Servers J. Miley, J. & G. Ingrish
- 11a Lector J. Williams; EMHC J. Maggio; Servers A. & J. Parker
- Jan 1/16-17
- 4p Lector K. Hicks; EMHC C. Henry & N. Maggio; Servers D. Bennett, J. Friedel
- 9a Lector R. Cunningham; EMHC E. Bacon; Servers G. Fedelak, P. & M. Vienne
- 11a Lector G. Burke; EMHC C. Cook; Servers M. Leone, S. Maggio