Parish News

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 through March 15, Father will hear confessions in the Church from 5p until 6p.

Wednesday Night Catechism • This Wednesday, Mar 9 at 6pm Fr. Ryan will speak about the necessity of Pilgrimage, especially as it relates to the role of a Minor Basilica, and the third most famous pilgrimage site in the world, Santiago de Compastella in Spain. (The first and second are the Holy Land and Rome, respectively.) The pilgrims traveling with our October Pilgrimage group will be visiting Santiago de Compastella and are heartily encouraged to attend. Of course, all are welcome!

SMS Parent-Teacher Conferences Thurs • St. Mary’s will host parent-teacher conferences in the Gym on Thursday from 2p-7p. There will be an All-School Mass on Thursday morning at 9a in the Gym. There will be no school for students on Friday.

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!

Holy Week • Holy Week is only two weeks away. 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.

First Communion & Confirmation Dates • Bishop Herzog has set the date for Confirmation in our area for 6p on Friday, April 22 at Holy Cross Church. First Holy Communion will be celebrated on Sunday, May 1 at the 11am Mass and will be accompanied by our May Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Questions related to confirmation can be addressed to Mrs. Susan Chesal in the Church office or to Mrs. Tara Whitehead at St. Mary’s. Questions related to First Communion can be addressed to Mrs. Kathleen Hicks.


A complete calendar of events can be found at


From The Font

The story of the Prodigal Son is beloved by Christians everywhere. The story reveals many aspects of human nature from our natural tendency toward sin (“Concupiscence”) to our authentic desire to repent (“Contrition”) to our natural sympathy toward the underdog (“Compassion”) to our natural desire to extend forgiveness to our natural desire to rejoice in wounds healed to the fact that even these beautiful and good things can, themselves, bring about anxiety and resentment. The story covers all the bases of our humanity. Each of us can find ourselves reflected in some way in the young prodigal, in the forgiving father and in the resentful yet obedient son. 

In addition to the deep humanity that is shown in the central story, there are profound details that add color and depth. Why a severe famine? Famines were a sign of God’s withdrawal of His blessing. The sign of the famine in used frequently by St. Luke.

Why a pig farm? The Jews were forbidden by law from dealing with swine… The fact that the prodigal ends up on a pig farm dramatizes the fifth of sin in its physical and spiritual nature and it’s inevitable results.

Why does he come to his senses amidst the sensation of hunger? For ancient people - and for Jesus, in particular - fasting was an essential part of the spiritual life. By depriving oneself, as an act of free choice, the mind is purified and clarified. When the prodigal refuses to eat the “pods” of filth, he is bringing an end to his interaction with sin and, at the same moment, fasting from food. This conscious choice brings him “to his senses.”

Why the “distant country?” Even though the prodigal has turned away from his sin and come to his senses, he isn’t ready to repent. He is fearful of his father. Over the course of the journey and while he is still “a long way off,” his father comes to him. This unexpected meeting at a distance from his true home reinforces that the prodigal is in his senses, but he is not yet repentant. That’s why he repeats his selfish and fearful refrain. Only when the servants of the Father restore to him his (baptismal) purity (the robe), his (heavenly) birthright (the ring) andhis mission and purpose (the sandals), is he truly ready to receive the feast. 

Why a fattened calf? Even a very rich man would only have a few fattened animals ready for a feast. Here we see that the Father is holding nothing back. He has completely forgiven the prodigal and the prodigal has repented entirely. 

Many other spiritual lessons can be gleaned by meditating and prayerfully considering the amazing parable of the Prodigal Son. All that is required is some quiet time, your favorite translation of the Bible (mine is the RSV) and an open heart!

Insights from Second Street

The Fathers of the Church were great makers of lists. They needed to identify and clarify broad and potentially confusing messages like “Preach the Gospel!” But what could that have meant to the thousands of Christians who lived and died before St. Jerome got around to compiling the New Testament? The fathers made a list of six items that they called the “Kerygma” - the fundamental teachings of “the Gospel:”

  1. We are made in God’s image and likeness, meant for a deep, loving relationship with Him. (Gen 1:27)
  2. Due to sin, we have broken this friendship with God. (Rom 6:23)
  3. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became man, died on the cross and rose from the grave for our salvation. (Phil 2:7-10)
  4. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and through Jesus our relationship with God is restored. (Eph 2:8)
  5. Through the (Catholic) Church which Jesus established while on Earth, we are given access to grace by Baptism and are nourished by the Eucharist and the Sacraments. (Mt 16:18)
  6. Through these Sacraments, the Holy Spirit changes us, His grace perfects us and He fulfills our ultimate desire which is “beatitude” in heaven. (Mt 5:48)

This simple summation of our beliefs as a Church gives real clarity to what we must do to gain eternal life. It clearly squashes some all-too-common errors like the common belief among our Protestant brothers and sisters that salvation is automatic. It acknowledges the essential role of repentance. It reminds us that we can’t decide for ourselves that which is right and wrong. It also makes clear our essential belief that Jesus came into this world for the express purpose of creating a Church. He didn’t just come as a teacher or a healer, but to establish a Church which would be a visible sign and instrument though which God would open wide the doors to salvation to all who are willing to humble themselves and show their love for Him by observing His commands. 

This Kerygma teaching that is traced back to the apostles, also ties together two themes which are particularly important today - the link between mercy and joy. It is God’s mercy that makes salvation possible. In justice, we would all be condemned because we have sinned and broken our covenant with God. But even though we deserve condemnation and we acknowledge that - God forgives and shows love where it is not deserved. In this mercy, we are saved and have access to the beatitude of heaven. That promise - contingent upon constant repentance and love-though-obedience - is what makes Christian joy possible! It is in knowing that we are forgiven without deserving it that we are free from the need to earn love or salvation and that we experience the freedom of the Children of God. That freedom allows us to endure any worldly struggle as merely temporary and sets our minds and hearts upon the eternal promise of spending eternity in Heaven with the one “Who first loved us.” This joy is not mere happiness or entertainment - it is strength. It is nothing less than the life-giving animation of the Holy Spirit! 

From Rome

— Vatican Council II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, On the Sacred Liturgy

Just as Christ was sent by the Father, so also He sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. This He did that, by preaching the gospel to every creature, they might proclaim that the Son of God, by His death and resurrection, had freed us from the power of Satan and from death, and brought us into the kingdom of His Father. His purpose also was that they might accomplish the work of salvation which they had proclaimed, by means of sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves. Thus by baptism men are plunged into the paschal mystery of Christ: they die with Him, are buried with Him, and rise with Him [16]; they receive the spirit of adoption as sons "in which we cry: Abba, Father" ( Rom. 8 :15), and thus become true adorers whom the Father seeks [17]. In like manner, as often as they eat the supper of the Lord they proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes [18]. For that reason, on the very day of Pentecost, when the Church appeared before the world, "those who received the word" of Peter "were baptized." And "they continued steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of bread and in prayers… praising God and being in favor with all the people" (Acts 2:41-47). From that time onwards the Church has never failed to come together to celebrate the paschal mystery: reading those things "which were in all the scriptures concerning him" (Luke 24:27), celebrating the eucharist in which "the victory and triumph of his death are again made present", and at the same time giving thanks "to God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Cor. 9:15) in Christ Jesus, "in praise of his glory" (Eph. 1:12), through the power of the Holy Spirit.

To accomplish so great a work, Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, "the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross", but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes. He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20) .

Christ indeed always associates the Church with Himself in this great work wherein God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified. The Church is His beloved Bride who calls to her Lord, and through Him offers worship to the Eternal Father.

From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree

Intentions & Dedications

Mass Intentions

For the week of March 6th

  • Sat 4p    Donna Doll, Msgr. Leo Guillot, Leola Walmsley
  • Sat 5:30p    Anne Giering
  • Sun 9a    Buddy & Becky Masson
  • Sun 11a    Shirley Ragland, Richard Williamson, Sr., Leola Walmsley, Leo Abraham
  • Sun 5p    Pro Populo
  • Mon 6:30a    Roberta Daigrepont Fuqua
  • Mon 8a    Jack Brittain, Sr.
  • Tue 6:30a    Deceased members of Ray & Gwen Ponthieux Families
  • Wed 6:30a    Justin David Wyatt
  • Thu 6:30a    Julien Vienne
  • Fri 6:30a    Steve Brown, Jr.
  • Sat 8a    J.H. Weaver
  • Sat 4p    Julien Vienne, Sadie & Red Thomas, Calvert Scott
  • Sat 5:30p    Justin Wyatt
  • Sun 9a    Leatta Rachal
  • Sun 11a    Harry Gongre, Jr., Janis Abraham, Johnny Batten, Elma Abraham
  • 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 3/5-6
    • 4p     Lector L. Johnson; EMHCs K. Hicks, C. Henry; Servers D. Bennett, J. Friedel
    • 9a    Lector S. Frederick; EMHC S. Taylor; Servers M. McCart, J. & G. Ingrish
    • 11a     Lector G. Norwood; EMHC P. Melder; Servers G. Fidelak, C. Fisher
  • Sat & Sun 3/12-3/13
    • 4p     Lector G. Norwood; EMHCs M. & J. Yankowski; Servers D. Bennett, J. Friedel
    • 9a     Lector J. Ackel; EMHC E. Odom; Servers The Lirettes
    • 11a     Lector E. Giering; EMHC J. Maggio; Servers Sam Maggio, J. Burrell