Parish News

A complete calendar of events can be found at

St. Mary’s Religious Hall of Fame • St. Mary’s has produced no less than nine priests, three nuns and a deacon in her 127 years in Natchitoches. In honor of that fact, we will create a religious hall of fame to celebrate those alumni in addition to our academic and athletics halls of fame. A temporary display will be installed this Friday at the 9a All School Mass. The display will be temporary because we’re asking anyone with pictures and\or historical information about our deceased hall of famers to come forward with that information.  The priests to be installed are Fr. Scott Youree Watson, SJ (c/o ’32),  Fr. Joseph Donald Simon, SVD, Fr. Wilbur Cloutier (c/o ’43), Fr. Leo Guillot (c/o ’44), Fr. Carson LaCaze (c/o ’48), Fr. R. B. Williams, OP, Fr. John Cunningham (c/o ’51), Fr. James Moran, (c/o ’74), Fr. Craig Scott (c/o ’83) and Fr. Louis Sklar (c/0 ’85). Dc. John Whitehead (c/o ’84) is our lone deacon. Sisters Thelma Ann Booty, Mary Hughes and Carmelite Maggio will also be featured. If you have any information about these St. Mary’s alumns - especially our more senior alumns- please email it to Fr. Ryan or to Mrs. Jacque Horton at St. Mary’s. While we have some data already, we don’t want to create a permanent display with inaccurate information. In the mean time, we encourage everyone to come out for our All-School Mass to honor these St. Mary’s alumni and their accomplishments in the Religious Hall of Fame!

Divine Mercy Sunday Celebration • As a special shrine for the Year of Mercy, we at the Minor Basilica are pleased to welcome Fr. John Zuhlsdorf of the Diocese of Madison, WI to offer a special Mass in honor of the Divine Mercy on Sun, April 3 at 3:30p. The Mass will serve as our indulgenced celebration for the Year of Mercy will begin by processing through the Door of Mercy up to the altar. All are encouraged to attend! (Please note that there will be no 5p Mass that Day.)

Confirmation Rescheduled • The Celebration of Confirmation has been rescheduled from Apr 22 to Saturday, May 28 at 4p. The change was necessitated by many of our students being unable to attend the scheduled deanery event at Holy Cross. Our sincere thanks to Bishop Herzog for his willingness to accommodate our young people! Thank you Bishop!

Mass at St. Mary’s • Masses for our community are offered twice a week at St. Mary’s on Monday and Saturday respectively. The Monday Masses are offered at 8a and only when school is in session. The Saturday Masses are offered at 5:30p and continue year round. These Saturday Masses do fulfill the Sunday obligation and are a bit more friendly to the mobility-impaired. Hopefully, we’ll see you there!


From The Font

Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” — The Gospel of St. John

The very idea of sins being forgiven was unthinkable to the Jews. For the Jews, sin was less spiritual and more about failure to follow the Law of Moses. A sinner was someone who didn’t tithe, who didn’t make it to the temple for the Passover sacrifice, who worked on the sabbath and who neglected his other duties. And who can forgive those failures? It’s not as if the past can be changed… So forgiveness was far less important than repenting - which was getting your act together and doing it right the next time. Start tithing! Get to the temple for the sacrifice! Stop working on the Sabbath! Because of this, mercy was less abstract and more practical. Showing mercy meant gambling that the person who had done wrong would do better given a second chance.

Jesus introduced an entirely new dimension. His mercy would forgive sins of the heart and it would restore the relationship with God that we call “Grace.” Jesus proposed that sin was not merely a failure to do something, but a depravation of our humanity linked to the fall of Adam and Eve. For Him, sin stained the baptismal garb and brought death to the soul. In this light, overlooking sin and giving second chances to do better in the future meant nothing without spiritual healing. And so Christ established His apostles as Church with the specific mandate to heal souls through the forgiveness of sin. This healing would then be solidified and strengthened through the eating of His body and blood entrusted to the apostles who would multiply the Sacrament just as He had multiplied the loaves and the fish.

For Jesus, the descent of the Holy Spirit was deliberate and purposeful. The Holy Spirit came to animate the newly established Church and to make possible the mission to forgive sins and ultimately to make salvation possible. This is the “good news” that Jesus sent His apostles to teach! He sent them with the command to preach and to baptize for the forgiveness of sin.

It is in this mission that the mercy of God in the Church is seen most perfectly. In Baptism, in Confirmation, in Confession the Christian recognizes his or her own sin, acknowledges their inability to save themselves and humbly asks, seeks and knocks for mercy. In the sacraments, the Christian receives the physical and spiritual healing which is the “fulfillment” that Jesus promises in the Scriptures. That extension of mercy restores life to the soul which opens wide the door to the Holy Spirit to help each of us to overcome our own sinful desires and to choose Christ and to be His witness to others.

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!

From Rome

The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.

Though mankind is stricken with wonder at its own discoveries and its power, it often raises anxious questions about the current trend of the world, about the place and role of man in the universe, about the meaning of its individual and collective strivings, and about the ultimate destiny of reality and of humanity. Hence, giving witness and voice to the faith of the whole people of God gathered together by Christ, this council can provide no more eloquent proof of its solidarity with, as well as its respect and love for the entire human family with which it is bound up, than by engaging with it in conversation about these various problems. The council brings to mankind light kindled from the Gospel, and puts at its disposal those saving resources which the Church herself, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, receives from her Founder. For the human person deserves to be preserved; human society deserves to be renewed. Hence the focal point of our total presentation will be man himself, whole and entire, body and soul, heart and conscience, mind and will.

Therefore, this sacred synod, proclaiming the noble destiny of man and championing the Godlike seed which has been sown in him, offers to mankind the honest assistance of the Church in fostering that brotherhood of all men which corresponds to this destiny of theirs. Inspired by no earthly ambition, the Church seeks but a solitary goal: to carry forward the work of Christ under the lead of the befriending Spirit. And Christ entered this world to give witness to the truth, to rescue and not to sit in judgment, to serve and not to be served.

— Vatican Council II, Gaudium et Spes, On the Church in the Modern World 

Intentions & Dedications

Mass Intentions

For the week of April 3rd

  • Sat 4p Bob Methvin, Frances Dexendorf, Calvert Scott
  • Sat 5:30p Justin Wyatt
  • Sun 9a Latif Ackel, Martha LaCaze, Leola Walmsley
  • Sun 11a Shirley Ragland
  • Sun 4p Pro Populo
  • Mon 6:30a Martha LaCaze
  • Mon 8a Mary Moss
  • Tue 6:30a Deceased Members of the Ray & Gwen Ponthieux Families
  • Wed 6:30a Leola Walmsley
  • Thu 6:30a Johnny Batten
  • Fri 6:30a Mr. & Mrs. W. Peyton Cunningham, Sr.
  • Sat 8a James Lasyone
  • Sat 4p Eugene Doll, Leola Walmsley, Red & Sadie Thomas
  • Sat 5:30p Justin Wyatt
  • Sun 9a Buddy Masson
  • Sun 11a Janis Abraham, Johnny Batten, D.M. Sparks, Leola Walmsley, Special Intentions
  • Sun 5p Pro Populo

Our Sick & Recently Deceased

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, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Charlene White, Glen & Mary Williams, Laura Young & Melinda Zolzer

Within the Sanctuary

  • Sat & Sun 4/2-3
    • 4p     Lector L. Johnson; EMHCs N. Maggio, M. Hennigan; Servers D. Bennett, J. Friedel
    • 9a     Lector S. Taylor; EMHC A. Barrios; Servers Lirette
    • 11a     Lector E. Bacon; EMHC J. Gill; Servers W. Lee, C. Fisher
  • Sat & Sun 4/9-10
    • 4p     Lector K. Hicks; EMHCs J. Gunter, C. Henry; Servers Thibodaux
    • 9a     Lector R. Lavespere; EMHC C. Green; Servers M. McCart, J. & G. Ingrish
    • 11a     Lector K. Bundrick; EMHC H. Johnson; Servers G. Fidelek, J. Burrell