Our Special Collection this week is for Historical Preservation

Parish News

Lenten Activities • This Tuesday, March 15, Father will be in the confessional from 5p - 6p. These confessions will be the last Tuesday evening confessions of this Lenten Season. This Friday, March 18 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.

Passiontide veils • The Fifth Sunday of Lent begins the time of “Passiontide” during which the statuary in the Church is veiled to sharpen our focus upon the spiritual and the sacramental. The veils remain in place through Holy Week and are only removed at the arrival of Easter prior to the Paschal Vigil on Holy Saturday Night. 

St. Joseph Altar • The Powhatan community will host its annual St. Joseph Altar on the Saint’s Feast, Saturday, March 19, beginning at 10a. This traditional, although broken for a short while, goes back many years and is a great way to celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. All are strongly encouraged to stop by!

Latin Mass Society Supper • The Latin Mass Society of Natchitoches will host its monthly supper meeting this Sunday after the Traditional Latin Mass at around 6pm. All are welcomed to attend.

Holy Week • Next Week is Holy Week. The Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper will take place in the Church at 7pm on Holy Thursday with optional Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until Midnight. The Outdoor Way of the Cross will begin on the lawn of the rectory at 10am on Good Friday, refreshments to follow. The Veneration of the Cross will begin in the Church at 3p on Good Friday. The Paschal Vigil will begin at 8pm on Holy Saturday. There will be no 4p Vigil or 5:30p Mass at St. Mary’s.

Wednesday Night Catechism • This Wed, Mar 16 at 6pm Fr. Ryan will present our final Wednesday Night Catechism of the Spring. The topic will be “Who are we?” The talk will revolve our identity as Catholics. In years’ past, many cultural markers helps us to identify with the Church and with other Catholics around the world. Friday abstinence from meat, sacred music, novenas and devotion to particular saints and even a certain sacred vocabulary which was somewhat unique to the Church among other things helped Catholics to identify with one another. In our contemporary world, though, these cultural markers have been downplayed and replaced with crises of faith, public scandals and a diversity of belief rather than a unity. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

A complete calendar of events can be found at minorbasilica.org/calendar


From The Font

“Thus says the LORD, who opens a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters, who leads out chariots and horsemen, a powerful army, till they lie prostrate together, never to rise, snuffed out and quenched like a wick.”

Until very recently, basically all cultures, including our own, had a living sense of history. From statuary in the park to pride in old family relations to enthusiastic instruction in school, history was considered essential. “How can we know our future without knowing our past?” “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” The Jews - as we see in Isaiah’s words - sensed that the parting of the Red Sea some seven hundred years earlier was fresh enough in their minds to use as substitute name for God.

It’s precisely because the Jews had such a living sense history that God is able to call them forth from it. The next sentence is Isaiah 43 is “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!” It’s because of the human groundedness that the Jews have in their past that God can call them to supernatural trust in the future. Without that groundedness, the call to trust that God is doing something new is risky. If I don’t know what God has done in history and I can’t identify what God has done in my family history and in my own personal history, how can I honestly recognize that God is doing something new?

This is the essence of the struggle which consumes our modern era. Errors and falsehoods which the Church has addressed over and over again are considered new and fresh by those with no knowledge of the past. Some of these errors are condemned in the Bible, itself. The idea that everyone goes to Heaven is common among Catholics today, except that Jesus, Himself, says that many will go to hell. (Mt 7:13). The idea that the physical should be prioritized above the spiritual, even in the Church, is also condemned by Jesus (Mt 26:11). but it is widely held as gospel truth. 

This widespread misunderstanding of the actual teaching of Jesus is like building a house on sand, rather than on rock (c.f. 7:24ff). Roundedness in history makes real Christian hope and authentic progress (as individuals and as a society) possible. Without it, progress is merely change. And change can be good or bad, but without direction, it is not rational and, therefore, is not virtuous. 

Isaiah concludes this little passage in our first reading by proclaiming the power of God who conquers wild beasts and makes rivers in the desert for the purpose of forming a people who because of these blessings will announce His praise! The chosen people, then, understanding their past and perceiving their purpose will be ready and willing to be of service to the Lord.

Insights from Second Street

The practice of reading a spiritual book or writing as a method of prayer is called “Lectio Divina,” lit. “Godly” or “Divine” “Reading.” The exercise of lectio (as it is abbreviated) is very old. Early in the Old Testament, we see the wise men described as those who pondered the mysteries of God and who listened to the word proclaimed. As literacy grew, listening changed to reading, but the principle is the same. God can certainly speak directly to our hearts - but He prefers to use “ordinary means of sanctification.” Lectio is one of those ordinary means.

The process of lectio need not be complex at all. It happens in two basic phases. First, we ask the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and to give us the gifts of wisdom and understanding. Then, we choose a text to read and read it slowly and deliberately, waiting for something to catch our attention. That’s it…

The text should be something which is truly worthy of prayerful consideration. Certainly the Gospels are a favorite. Truly great spiritual works like the Confessions of St. Augustine, the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kiempis, the Little Way by St. Terese or the Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales qualify as well. We should probably avoid overly academic works like the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas or Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. They are worth study, to be sure, but they probably won’t be helpful as tools for spiritual meditation. We should also avoid pop-spirituality books or books which may not be 100% spiritually accurate. The Shack may have merit, as may the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi… There may also be value in meditations on scripture from a Protestant theologian or a self-help guru - but those works need to be read with a critical eye so as not to be confused or led into error. That kind of critical eye is incredibly distracting from prayer and so it’s best to choose works that you are 100% confident are true and good. 

When we take up the reading, we shouldn’t be in a rush to get from one page to the next. Nor should we skim looking for interesting passages. Often, great prayer can come from the oddest little phrase.  In our first reading today from Isaiah, I was caught by the phrase “jackals and ostriches.” What an odd choice of animals! That led me to thoughts of the Holy Spirit’s providence and my own tendency to analyze away Godly inspirations in favor of rational ideas…

Ultimately, the purpose of lectio is prayer. It’s meant to draw us into communion with God. The ideas and insights are good and helpful. We might do well to journal about them after the prayer time is over (but not during). The purpose of lectio is not to make us smarter, but nearer to God. Ideal lectio draws us out of thoughts and into simply “being with” the Lord. It allows us to set aside our own “baggage” and give the Lord our all. This type of prayer is called “Contemplation.” It’s not bogged down by ideas - it’s just being with the Lord. 

So as Lent draws to a close, give Lectio Divina a try. Ask God for help, choose a really good spiritual book and just dive in. God will take it from there.

From Rome


The Christian Good News responds positively to man’s thirst for justice, as Saint Paul affirms in the Letter to the Romans: “But now the justice of God has been manifested apart from law … the justice of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (3, 21-25). What then is the justice of Christ? Above all, it is the justice that comes from grace, where it is not man who makes amends, heals himself and others. The fact that “expiation” flows from the “blood” of Christ signifies that it is not man’s sacrifices that free him from the weight of his faults, but the loving act of God who opens Himself in the extreme, even to the point of bearing in Himself the “curse” due to man so as to give in return the “blessing” due to God (cf. Gal 3, 13-14). But this raises an immediate objection: what kind of justice is this where the just man dies for the guilty and the guilty receives in return the blessing due to the just one? Would this not mean that each one receives the contrary of his “due”? In reality, here we discover divine justice, which is so profoundly different from its human counterpart. God has paid for us the price of the exchange in His Son, a price that is truly exorbitant. Before the justice of the Cross, man may rebel for this reveals how man is not a self-sufficient being, but in need of Another in order to realize himself fully. Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one’s own need – the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship. So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from “what is mine,” to give me gratuitously “what is His.” This happens especially in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thanks to Christ’s action, we may enter into the “greatest” justice, which is that of love (cf. Rm 13, 8-10), the justice that recognizes itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected. Strengthened by this very experience, the Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love.

Dear brothers and sisters, Lent culminates in the Paschal Triduum, in which this year, too, we shall celebrate divine justice – the fullness of charity, gift, salvation. May this penitential season be for every Christian a time of authentic conversion and intense knowledge of the mystery of Christ, who came to fulfill every justice.

— Pope Benedict XVI, Lenten Message for 2009

Intentions & Dedications

Mass Intentions

For the week of March 13th

  • Sat 4p Julien Vienne, Calvert Scott, Sadie & Red Thomas
  • Sat 5:30p Justin Wyatt
  • Sun 9a Leatta Rachal
  • Sun 11a Harry Gongre, Jr., Janis Abraham, Johnny Batten, Elma Abraham
  • Sun 5p Pro Populo
  • Mon 6:30a Joe Phelps Brazzel
  • Mon 8a Mary Gallien Brossett
  • Tue 6:30a Kenneth Brossett, Jr.
  • Wed 6:30a Christopher Lee Bynog
  • Thu 6:30a Charles M. Carter
  • Fri 6:30a Larry Coody
  • Sat 8a Daniel Chesal
  • Sat 4p Donna Basche, Frances Dexendorf, Bostick & Maricelli Families
  • Sat 5:30p Justin Wyatt
  • Sun 9a Joseph W. Rachal
  • Sun 11a Richard Ragland, James Litton, Mike Bouchie, Gladys McFerren
  • Sun 5p Pro Populo

Our Sick & Recently Deceased

Mrs. Virginia Bruce, RIP

Ann Lee Alford, Lolette Allen, Teresa Arafa, Maudie Baranowski, William Lynn Basco, Gene Baudion, 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, John & Esther Dobernig, Jayce Estep, Angela Eversall, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Kramer Gahagan, Vicki Gahagan, Patsy Gallion, Anne Giering, Sophie Gill, Andy Harrington, 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, Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Gary Murphy, Shane Niette, Cecil Odom, Mary Odom, Sue Prudhomme, Sharon Roach, Tucker Roe, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Krista Sklar, 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, Laura Young & Melinda Zolzer

Within the Sanctuary

  • Sat & Sun 3/12-13
    • 4p     Lector G. Norwood; EMHCs M. & J. Yankowski; Servers D. Bennett, J. Friedel
    • 9a     Lector J. Ackel; EMHC E. Odom; Servers Lirette
    • 11a     Lector E. Giering; EMHC J. Maggio; Servers Sam Maggio, J. Burrell
  • Sat & Sun 3/19-20
    • 4p     Lector K. Bundrick; EMHCs R. & J. Lapeyrouse; Servers Thibodaux
    • 9a     Lector R. Cunningham; EMHC B. Giering; Servers R. & R. Cunningham
    • 11a     Lector G. Burke; EMHC C. Cook; Servers A. & J. Parker