Our Special Collection this week is for St. Mary's School
Lenten Mission This Tue, Wed & Thu @ 6p • This 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. The Tuesday talk will be preceded by confessions in the Church from 5p - 6p. All are welcome to attend and there is no cost. The talks will be recorded - but we’ve never managed a whole mission without some technical snafu, so please plan to attend in person if you possibly can!
TLMN Meeting Sunday • The Traditional Latin Mass Society of Natchitoches will meet after the 5p Mass this Sunday for their monthly social. All are welcome to attend. If you’re able, bring a dish - the hall will be open before Mass for drop off.
Father Stephen to Depart for India • Next Sunday, Father Stephen will depart for India for several weeks. He will be visiting with the brothers of his order, with his religious superior and catching up with friends and family. Father will be gone from Feb 28 until March 16. Please pray that he might have safe travels and a blessed time of homecoming!
24 Hours for the Lord • Pope Francis has asked Bishops throughout the world to encourage Eucharistic Adoration during this Year of Mercy particularly by establishing “24 Hours for the Lord.” Bp. Herzog has asked the Minor Basilica to assist to the best of our ability on the First Friday and Saturday of March. And so, on Friday, March 4, we will have our usual morning Mass followed by Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament throughout the day with Benediction and Stations at 5:15p. Then, on Saturday, March 5, we will have our usual First Saturday Mass and Benediction, but the Lord will remain exposed in the Church until just prior to the 4p Mass. Sign up sheets will be placed on the back tables of the Church. Please make every effort to signup for a block or two of time before our Lord. We are one of only two pilgrimage Churches in our Diocese and so we need to step up and help Bp. Herzog fulfill this desire of Pope Francis in this Year of Mercy. God Reward You!
Interested in Becoming Catholic? • Are you or someone you know interested in becoming a new Catholic or a parishioner at the Minor Basilica? New instruction begins year round! Are you a Catholic who just feels disconnect from your faith and would like to ask a few questions? Contact our parish office for more information. Of course, there are no obligations - anyone interested is welcome.
A complete calendar of events can be found at minorbasilica.org/calendar
From The Font
“Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray.”
There is an inherent unfairness in the ministry of Jesus. He gives dramatically preferential treatment to some and what can seem like the cold shoulder to others. Peter, John and James are frequent recipients of the VIP treatment. They get to see the transfiguration! But they are also the ones who are told the wait in the Garden while Jesus is sweating blood. And therein lies the rub, as they say. To whom much is given, much is expected. Jesus knew quite well that Peter would be the rock upon which He would build His Church. Jesus knew that John would survive all the other apostles and would write his gospel amidst horrific persecution. He knew that James would be the first to be martyred. After all, it was James and John who asked Jesus to be seated on His left and right side when He came into His kingdom. It is precisely because Jesus had such great plans for these disciples that they were privy to experiences that the others were not.
In another place, Jesus tells a parable about seed that was sown in various kinds of soil. After He dismissed the crowd, He then gives the rest of the story to the apostles, leaving the people in the dark. In that moment, Jesus conscious says that He’s not giving the whole story. He’s only giving them pieces, it’s only the apostles who get the behind the scenes scoop…
Over and over again, Jesus treats people differently based upon what modern people would say are factors which “aren’t their fault.” Jesus is incredibly tough on the non-Jewish woman who is asking for table scraps, but He goes easy on the rich young man who is a Jew. John is the Beloved Disciple while Phillip and Jude seem totally off His radar.
What seems to us modern people as unfairness is, in fact, far more natural than the idol of “equality” that has been erected in the minds and hearts of our world. The one thing that we can all agree upon across all creeds and cultures is that we are in every way UN-equal. Each is unique and thus, by definition, not equal to anyone else. The great message of the Gospel is that our God loves each of us as individuals, adopts each of us as specially chosen sons and daughters and then freely chooses to die for us as a loving Father. This family-minded revelation is a direct affront to the factory mentality of modern equality. God doesn’t create all men equal. The Church cannot agree with the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. We can agree that each one is endowed with certain inalienable rights and that each man must be treated equally by law. But anyone with eyes can see that we are not equal. So thanks be toGod that He treats each of us with exactly the attention, discipline and grace that we need!
Insights from Second Street
Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow evil? The question of evil is sometimes called Theodicy by theologians. It is particularly challenging to answer in our culture where we are surrounded by the so-called Gospel of Prosperity where anything which isn’t a worldly blessing is considered a curse which results from unfaithfulness to God. In truth, God not only permits suffering - He uses it Himself to bring about the salvation of the world.
Suffering is the natural result of Original Sin. Our human nature and free will are just the same as Adam and Eve. In order to love God, we must be free. After all, there’s not praise for someone who does what they are forced to do. That freedom to love is also the freedom not to love. And when we exercise our freedom to love wrongly, we call that sin.
We all know that our sin can hurt others. Whether it’s a lie or an act of violence, my free will can effect or even destroy yours. Theoretically, God can prevent me from being free, but at what cost? This is the central problem of our question of good and evil. And from our exceedingly limited perspective, we might say that God should prevent bad people from being bad. Sounds reasonable enough. But, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If God prevents the free will of a person, He prevents that person from repentance and from doing good. He basically condemns that person to damnation. That becomes a very slippery slope. Ought God to damn the sixth grader who spreads a nasty rumor? Ought God to damn the teenager who drives drunk? Ought God to damn married couples that uses contraception or the husband that looks at another woman with lust in his heart? Where is the line?
Instead of preventing evil - which would, itself, require the evil of stripping us of our nature, God, instead, works all things to the good of those who love Him. So God offers repentance to the sinner - which is all of us - while caring for those victims of suffering in a way that is beyond our capacity to see.
Of course, that doesn’t make the grieving mother’s sadness in separation any less! It doesn’t help us to overcome our natural sentiment toward justice. But it provides abundant consolation to the humble Christian who realizes that he or she is a sinner and that his or her sin has plenty of victims of it’s own. That God would make repentance and conversion possible while also looking after the one who suffers is beyond what could be hoped in a loving savior.
So does God let bad things happen to good people? From our perspective, yes. Does God allow evil to remain? From our perspective, yes. Why? Because it is a necessary side-effect of our fallen human nature and because God intends to use that brokenness to our good. This thinking requires two key dispositions: humility and hope. Humility reminds us that we are all the recipient of God’s mercy in our sins. Hope orients us toward Heaven and eternal life and helps us to realize that “good” from the perspective of God is vastly different than “good” from the perspective of us. The mystery of evil is always a hard pill to swallow, but a Catholic understanding of suffering is, itself, an act of Hope in God who alone is truly good.
On The Liturgy
Can the Mass be evangelical? By that, I mean can someone who is not Catholic come to Sunday Mass and be converted by the experience? We know that in the Protestant community, the Sunday gathering is primarily oriented toward welcoming regulars and visitors and the whole experience is changeable based upon any number of factors. The Mass, though, is not very changeable. And when it’s done according to the book - as it’s supposed to be - there is very little in the way of courtesies, welcomes, invitations and the like. It isn’t suited to welcoming the uninitiated. At least, that’s what common sense would tell us… But, the remarkable reality is just the opposite. Where Mass is celebrated with a conscious eye to beauty, reverence, sacredness, supernaturally, solemnity and awe, conversions soar! It seems totally backwards… But the experience of the Church for the last 18 centuries has been that the more we orient the Mass to us, the fewer people a) remain Catholic and b) become Catholic. But, the more that we orient the Mass to God, the more people will devote themselves to it - even without explanation and understanding.
The simple reason for this is that the world we live in is tailored to making us feel welcome, included and comfortable. We choose everything from our friends to our clothes to our hobbies to accommodate our own preferences. When we do the same thing with our Church, it blends in seamlessly and loses any power it might have had to effect us. Pink Floyd described the situation as being “Comfortably Numb.” When the Church rejects the fitting-in mentality and proclaims Jesus in His eternal freshness, people are shocked from their numbness and jolted into life. At first, this offends. No one likes being awakened and pulled from a nice warm bed! But as the message of Jesus is proclaimed, a new kind of peace replaces the numbness and that peace truly satisfies.
For many years, the Church has tried desperately to find a place to fit in to the routine of modernity and Catholics have defected in huge numbers. Shocking numbers… The future of the Catholic Church is the history of the Catholic Church, it is Jesus, Himself. Not Jesus toned down. Not Jesus put into more appealing language. Not Jesus explained away. But Jesus, Himself, present in the Holy Eucharist - adored, respected, honored. How can people believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist when we chitchat in Church while He is there in the tabernacle? How can people see our true faith when we receive Him with little or no reverence and attention? What do visitors see when they see us at Mass? To answer my first question, yes, the Mass can be and is evangelical, but that power can be tempered or obfuscated if we give in to the temptation to become comfortably numb.
Intentions & Dedications
For the week of February 21st
- Sat 4p Harry Gongre, Jr., Armesto Corpuz, Sr., Elise James, Doris & Will Pierson
- Sat 5:30p Lillian Anne Giering
- Sun 9a Martha LaCaze, Mr. & Mrs. W. Peyton Cunningham, Sr.
- Sun 11a Jack Brittain, Sr.
- Sun 5p Pro Populo
- Mon 6:30a Judy Risty
- Mon 8a Antonio Esparza
- Mon 6p Pro Populo
- Tue 6:30a Corwin Aldredge
- Wed 6:30a Anne Giering
- Thu 6:30a Johnny Antoon
- Fri 6:30a Dr. Randell Webb
- Sat 8a Mr. & Mrs. Leo Abraham, Sr.
- Sat 4p Krista Sklar, Sadie & Red Thomas, Bostick & Maricelli Families
- Sat 5:30p Justin Wyatt
- Sun 9a Laura Jo Johnson
- Sun 11a Armesto Corpuz, Sr., Mary Moss, Janis Abraham, Richard Ragland
- Sun 5p Pro Populo
Our Sick & Recently Deceased
Mr. Ross Gwinn, 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, 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, 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, Marilyn Williams, Laura Young & Melinda Zolzer
Within the Sanctuary
- Sat & Sun 2/20-21
- 4p Lector K. Bundrick; EMHC R. & J. Lapeyrouse; Servers Thibodaux
- 9a Lector E. Bacon; EMHC J. Cunningham; Servers G. Fedelak, P. & M. Vienne
- 11a Lector J. Williams; EMHC L. Lee; Servers W, Lee, M. Leone
- Sat & Sun 2/27-28
- 4p Lector K. Hicks; EMHC N. Maggio & M. Hennigan; Servers Thibodaux
- 9a Lector R. Lavespere; EMHC J. Barrios; Servers Lirette
- 11a Lector G. Burke; EMHC C. Maggio; Servers C. Fisher, Sam Maggio