Food for the Poor • Deacon Dennis Bennin from Food for the Poor will be visiting us next week to speak about poverty around the world. He will not collect any money, but will encourage us to consider various ways in which we can fulfill the command of Jesus to give alms. Food for the Poor’s visits in the past have been wonderful times of spiritual reflection. All are encouraged to join us for Mass and to think on the words of Jesus.
College Students Awakening Retreat • From Feb 19-21, 2016, St. Anthony’s will host an Awakening Retreat FOR Collect Students BY College Students. Cost is $20. Contact Bethany Baudoin, (337) 523-5615, or Danyelle Coco, (318) 201-7780, for more information. All college students are welcome to attend.
Ash Wednesday • This week, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Masses will be offered at 6:30a and 6p at Immaculate and at 9a at St. Mary’s. CCD students will meet at Immaculate for Mass and sit together as a class. Ash Wednesday is a day of required fasting and abstinence from the flesh of land-dwelling animals. For all Catholics ages 18-59, only one meal may be taken with two smaller meals allowed only if they are needed to maintain strength or health. Catholics over the age of 14 are expected to abstain from meat on all Fridays of Lent and to take upon themselves some lenten penance. Note that doing “extra” good things is blessed, but that doesn’t replace the duty to “give something up for Lent.”
Lenten Activities • Every Friday of Lent from 5:15p to 5:45p, Father will pray the Stations of the Cross in the Church. The Stations recall our Lord’s Passion from His condemnation by Pilate on Holy Thursday to His death on Mount Calvary and His burial in the Potter’s Field. This traditional devotion is a good way to set the stage for our other Lenten activities. Each Tuesday from February 16 through March 15, Father will hear confessions in the Church from 5p until 6p. Tuesday February 23 through Thursday February 25, Fr. Bryce Sibley of the Diocese of Lafayette will preach a Lenten Mission on topics including Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St. Terese the Little Flower. Fr. Sibley is the Pastor of Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Student Center on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (formerly USL) and holds multiple advanced degrees in religious matters from Rome. He is a sought-after preacher and a beloved pastor. Each talk will begin at 6p in the Church. All are welcome and there is no cost.
Remember Daily Mass • Remember that we have daily Mass in Natchitoches every day of the week. Here at Immaculate, daily Mass is at 6:30am Monday through Friday and at 8am on Saturday. We also have an 8am Mass at St. Mary’s on Monday. St. Anthony’s has a daily Mass at noon Tuesday through Friday. Holy Cross and St. Augustine also have regularly scheduled daily Masses. Do it for God - do it for yourself. Come to Mass and stretch your faith. He’s waiting for you!
A complete calendar of events can be found at minorbasilica.org/calendar
From The Font
“I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple.”
From the moment “worship” is established among the Jews with the Lord telling Moses precisely how to create the Tent of Meeting, the Ark of the Covenant, the Priestly Vestments for Aaron and the Altars of Incense and Sacrifice, the Lord never fails to be incredibly specific and detailed. As the Jews develop and grow, their worship remains highly ritualized and specific. From the prayers to be said on the Sabbath by the oldest resident female of the home to the exact wording of the narrative questions to be asked by the youngest male present at the Passover, the Jews took worship seriously.
When Jesus arrived on the scene, He wore a seamless tunic which was expensive and hard to make. It was also part of the required garb of the Jewish priest. The scriptures go out of their way to remind us of this fact and to tell us that even the barbaric centurions who had just been beating Jesus with whips and nailed Him to the cross didn’t want to tear it! After His resurrection, Jesus appears again wearing this seamless garment.
Throughout the history of salvation, the Church has always taken raiment seriously. If God felt it necessary to specify every detail of the robes that the Jewish priests were to wear and if Jesus felt it necessary to follow those rules and if the Roman centurions didn’t mess that up, then it follows that taking the rules of vestments and garments seriously is important.
Perhaps the most profound visible expression of this reality is a bishop fully-arrayed. When attending a function where he is to stand in the place of Christ the King (a formal ceremony with the Pope, for example), a bishop would wear his black Cassock with it’s 33 buttons (for the years of Christ’s Earthly life) and it’s cuffs and white collar - each symbolic. Over this cassock, he would wear his formal sash with knotted tassels and both his official hats: the zucchetto and the beretta. Over this, he would wear his silk cape. A cardinal would have the option of wearing his cappa magna - the “great cape” - which is fully ten meters long and carried by his vimpae - ceremonial aides. The whole effect is profound! Covered in all this regalia, we see united the Jewish ceremonial and the resurrected Christ whose garment fills the temple. In fact, the cappa magna specifically evokes the first reading for Mass today about the Lord’s train filling the sanctuary with beauty and splendor - just as Christ did at His transfiguration and again at His appearance to the disciples after His resurrection.
We need to see the glory of God made manifest in order to appreciate fully the glory of God hidden in the sacraments and in the crosses of daily life. Beauty is not a luxury for us - it is a true and real necessity!
Insights from Second Street
Mercy is that act of love by which one who is justly condemned receives undeserved and unearned forgiveness for his or her sin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says “To receive his mercy, we must admit our faults. ‘If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’” (#1847)
There are two ways in which we usually miss out on mercy. First, we can fail to admit our sin. Usually, this happens without us thinking about it. We make an excuse for a sin or we justify it as necessary or we dismiss it as we would dismiss a lie as a fib. The other way that we miss out on mercy is to buy into the lie of the enemy that we are undeserving or unworthy of mercy and so we are afraid to ask forgiveness or to make a good confession. In either case, we end up shielding ourselves from God’s healing love for us.
This past Summer, Pope Francis declared that a Jubilee Year of Mercy of would be celebrated by the Church from Dec 8, 2015 until Nov 27, 2016. That year would allow us to focus on these two aspects of mercy: recognizing and repenting of sin and seeking - really seeking - forgiveness.
Many authors, not the least of which are at least the last five popes, have called out our modern world’s tendency to pretend that sin is just an outdated idea. They pointed out that this unwillingness to face sin or admit fault does great damage to the soul, prohibits real self-reflection and personal growth and offends God who offers forgiveness only to those who ask for it. By justifying sin and ignoring talk of repentance, we do a great disservice to the Gospel in which “Christ came to call sinners.” Pope Francis has insisted over and over again that the Church go out “to the periphery” - to those who are at odds with the Lord. The Church cannot bring to life those who are dead in sin unless we acknowledge that sin. No doctor can heal what he refuses to see. No warrior can defeat an enemy that he calls a friend.
Surely, we don’t make converts or bring people to the Lord by wagging a finger and acting “Holier than thou.” Neither have the pews been filled in these past years by simply accepting everyone where they are without the courage to call them to more. This year of mercy is an opportunity for each of us to grow in our own capacity to recognize sin in ourselves and to allow our all-loving God to heal us of our errors. Then and only then will we be equipped to share that freedom that comes only from God.
Just as in AA, every call to sobriety is a personal call that arises from love and not from condemnation - so our Christian witness must come not from personal judgement but from the assurance that comes from the teaching of the Church and from our love, first, for God and, then, for neighbor.
Throughout this year, may our deepest desire become the freedom that comes from repentance of our sins and the reception of Divine Mercy. Only then can the New Evangelization arise in our hearts and in our community. Happy Year of Mercy!
— Vatican Council II, Inter Mirifica, Decree on the Media of Social Communication (1963)
The Catholic Church, since it was founded by Christ our Lord to bear salvation to all men and thus is obliged to preach the Gospel, considers it one of its duties to announce the Good News of salvation also with the help of the media of social communication and to instruct men in their proper use.
It is, therefore, an inherent right of the Church to have at its disposal and to employ any of these media insofar as they are necessary or useful for the instruction of Christians and all its efforts for the welfare of souls. It is the duty of Pastors to instruct and guide the faithful so that they, with the help of these same media, may further the salvation and perfection of themselves and of the entire human family. In addition, the laity especially must strive to instill a human and Christian spirit into these media, so that they may fully measure up to the great expectations of mankind and to God's design.
For the proper use of these media it is most necessary that all who employ them be acquainted with the norms of morality and conscientiously put them into practice in this area. They must look, then, to the nature of what is communicated, given the special character of each of these media. At the same time they must take into consideration the entire situation or circumstances, namely, the persons, place, time and other conditions under which communication takes place and which can affect or totally change its propriety. Among these circumstances to be considered is the precise manner in which a given medium achieves its effect. For its influence can be so great that men, especially if they are unprepared, can scarcely become aware of it, govern its impact, or, if necessary, reject it.
It is, however, especially necessary that all parties concerned should adopt for themselves a proper moral outlook on the use of these media, especially with respect to certain questions that have been vigorously aired in our day.
Since public opinion exercises the greatest power and authority today in every sphere of life, both private and public, every member of society must fulfill the demands of justice and charity in this area. As a result, all must strive, through these media as well, to form and spread sound public opinion.
Intentions & Dedications
For the week of February 7th
- Sat 4p Julien Vienne, Sadie & Red Thomas
- Sat 5:30p Richard Abshire
- Sun 9a Flora Soileau
- Sun 11a Shirley Ragland, Steve Brown, Jr.
- Sun 5p Pro Populo
- Mon 6:30a Mary Moss
- Tue 6:30a Deceased Members of Ponthieux Families
- Wed 6:30a Leola Walmsley
- Wed 6p Pro Populo
- Thu 6:30a Jackie R. Flynt
- Fri 6:30a Johnny Defee
- Sat 8a James Lasyone
- Sat 4p Eugene Doll, Anne Giering, Elise James, Doris & Will Pierson
- Sat 5:30p Justin Wyatt
- Sun 9a Julien Vienne, Nathan Ezernack, Buddy & Becky Masson
- Sun 11a Janis Abraham
- Sun 5p Pro Populo
Our Sick & Recently Deceased
Mr. Ross Gwinn, 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, Tammy Hall, Andy Harrington, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Jean Jordan, Isabelita & Michael Kearney,Gary Kilgore, Angelette LaCour, John LaCour, Samuel Lane, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Patricia Loftin, Joseph Longo, Irene Lynche, Brittany MacBrown, Lisa Mack, Dominic Majorie, 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, Charlene White, Glen & Mary Williams, Marilyn Williams, Laura Young & Melinda Zolzer
Within the Sanctuary
- Sat & Sun 2/6-7
- 4p Lector L. Johnson; EMHC K. Hicks & J. Gunter; Servers D. Bennett
- 9a Lector S. Taylor; EMHC A. Barrios; Servers J. Miley, J. & G. Ingrish
- 11a Lector K. Bundrick; EMHC H. Johnson; Servers A. & J.Parker
- Sat & Sun 2/13-14
- 4p Lector K. Hicks; EMHC M. & J. Yankowski; Servers D. Bennett, J. Friedel
- 9a Lector J. Cunningham, Sr.; EMHC C. Green; Servers R. & R. Cunningham, M. McCart
- 11a Lector E. Giering; EMHC T. Whitehead; Servers J. Burrell, S. Maggio