Our Special Collection this week is for Historical Preservation

Parish News

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!

SMS Book Fair • Tuesday is family night at the Spring Book Fair at St. Mary’s. Of course, all are welcome to stop by for the newest selections in children’s books. 

TLMN This Sunday • This Sunday, following the 5p Latin Mass, the Traditional Latin Mass Society of Natchitoches will host their monthly supper and meeting. All are welcome to attend - covered dishes are very welcome but not at all required.

SMS May Events • May is a wonderful time at St. Mary’s. Some of the events to anticipate which are open to the public are:

  • May Crowning, Fri, May 6, 8:30a in the Church
  • Baccalaureate, Sun, May 8, 11a in the Church 
  • Senior Graduation, Mon, May 9, 7p in the Gym
  • Junior Ring Mass, Thu, May 12, 6p in the Church
  • 8th Grade Graduation, Tu, May 17, 6p in the Church
  • End of School Mass, Fri, May 20, 9a in the Gym

Parish Pilgrimage • Our Parish pilgrimage to Fatima, Spain and Lourdes is approaching this October. We’ll have the opportunity to visit the Eucharistic Miracle of Santsarem, the incredible sites of Our Lady’s all important apparitions at Fatima, the famous pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compastella (including the incredible Botafumiero) and the medieval city of Avila where St. Teresa lived. For those experiencing ailments, the miraculous shrine at Lourdes is considered the place to visit. We will have three days in that city to visit the holy sites and to experience the miraculous waters. Those interested can find more information on our pilgrimage website at HolyTravels.org/tour/MinorBasilica  There are five seats we’d really like to fill up before the trip in order to make certain venues a little easier to access.  If someone you know is interested in making a spiritual pilgrimage to these holy sites, please invite them to take a look at our website or to call the office. Thanks!

Bishop’s Appeal • The Bishop’s Annual Appeal raises funds to support certain essential works of the diocese of Alexandria. Each year, the Bishop highlights certain works that the diocese provides. This year, he noted the excellent work being done by our own Fr. Louis Sklar, Director of Vocations. If you haven’t received any correspondence regarding the appeal and were unable to fill out an in-pew form, additional copies are available on the back tables of the Church. Thanks in advance for your generosity. 

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


From The Font

“When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, ‘It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.’”

Why was it necessary that the Word of God be spoken to the Jews first? We’ve seen this kind of talk from Jesus more than once. In our world of Political Correctness and Equality, the idea that anyone should be favored over another is basically evil… But both Jesus and His disciples - even Paul who only began to follow Jesus after His Passion - understood that the Jews are the chosen people and thus, they enjoy a kind of priority.

This sense of priority isn’t necessarily a good thing for the Jews, especially the Jewish leaders. God is going to hold it over their heads that they were the chosen ones who rejected their birthright. Of course, that’s a theme that goes all the way back to Jacob and Esau. Paul is going to visit that theme often in His preaching, especially when he’s speaking harshly to Christians who have fallen back into their old ways. Perhaps most boldly, Paul in his letter to the Galatians will say “O you foolish Galatians! You who have seen these things, have you forgotten?” Almost every Christian can resonate with that reality in one way or another… How many of us were so in love with God and His Church as kids but now struggle to experience that same sense of consolation from the Lord? How many of us felt so close to God in moments of real need or struggle and now find ourselves giving into silly temptations? 

St. Paul isn’t so much trying to be a jerk as he is reminding everyone of the fact that God has chosen them and loved them. The Gentiles are happy to hear the Jews chewed out a bit, but they aren’t going to get off the hook when they need a talking-to. Each of us, too, needs to be reminded that God has chosen us. He has considered each of us worthy of His attention. And it is in this love that God challenges and admonishes us. 

Even the last moments of our first reading, where Paul and Barnabas leave the city shaking “the dust for their feet,” is an admonishment intended to encourage the Jews to faithful rather than to dismiss them entirely. After all, Paul is leaving plenty of believers behind - he’s not abandoning them. The gesture of challenge is as essential part of being a member of the family of God. It’s part of teaching. It’s part of parenting. It’s part of forming body and soul. While the Jews are special because of the fact that they were chosen first. Each of us need not be threatened by that. We have been chosen, each of us, and that is the heart of the matter!

From Rome

This past week, Pope Francis published a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation entitled Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”). The secular media both on the “right” and the “left” has engaged in a great deal of exaggeration and willful misrepresentation by picking one or two sentences and phrases (or even footnotes!) and using them to put words into the mouth of our Holy Father. (This has become all too common and so I usually recommend that we just plan to ignore the secular media’s coverage of the Pope. It’s sad, but probably necessary in this day and age.)

Let’s start with a word about the kind of document the Pope wrote. It’s a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. The Post-Syndal part means that the Pope is summing up the discussion of one or more Synods of Bishops. A synod is a special meeting of Bishops presided over the Pope. (A local Diocese could also host a Synod of Priests which would be presided over by the local bishop.) The Second Vatican Council recommended regular Synods called by the Pope to discuss various matters of importance in the Church. For example, Pope Paul VI called a synod on evangelization. Pope St. John Paul II called synods on education, the family, the Church in Africa and many others. Pope Benedict XVI called synods on the Church in the Middle East and on the role of Scripture in the life of the Church. Vatican II encouraged that these synods be followed by a written report from the Pope explaining what was discussed and encouraging the world’s bishops to make that discussion part of the life of the Church in their local dioceses. And so a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation is a document which follows upon a Synod of Bishops, which summarizes the discussion, and then encourages the Bishops, in particular, and all of us, in general, to grow in our understanding of the topic that was the subject of the Synod. We should note that these documents are not where Popes generally engage in new teaching. Usually, Synods are about the best way to speak the Gospel to the Church rather than a discussion of what the Church teaches. Typically, new teaching or law or policies are established in documents issued “Motu Proprio” or in the form of “constitutions.” And so when we read this document, we’re not so much looking for new teaching as for new ways of communicating what the Church teaches.

Amoris Laetitia is a little over 250 pages long and is broken into nine chapters. Chapters one, four and five are particularly moving. The Pope explains the dignity and vocation of marriage, the kinds of love within marriage and the fruitfulness of marriage, specifically the wonderful joy of children. Chapters six, seven and eight are more difficult as the pope speaks to leaders in the Church about the various challenges of the modern world. In these chapters, the Pope exhorts bishops and priests to prioritize the true needs of the faithful and not to become overly bogged down in anything that might separate us from God and Heaven. The Holy Father writes, “discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits (¶305).” And again, “In every situation, when dealing with those who have difficulties in living God’s law to the full, the invitation to pursue the via caritatis (“way of love”) must be clearly heard (¶306).” He adds a quotation from the Book of Daniel “Atone for your sins with righteousness, and your iniquities with mercy to the oppressed, so that your prosperity may be prolonged” (Dan 4:24[27]).” These encouragements are a powerful reminder to all that the Church has a place for everyone and that even those who find themselves unable to receive Holy Communion must not be made to feel like outsiders. This is doubly true in light of the Pope’s recent efforts to make the process of investigating the nullity of failed marriages (“annulments”) clearer and less encumbered. 

Pope Francis concludes his document with a short meditation on the spirituality of Marriage and the role of prayer in the family. All in all, the document is largely a repetition of Pope St. John Paul II’s document Familiaris Consortium. 

Despite many headlines, Amoris Laetitia makes no changes to the law of the Church regarding Holy Communion. The policy of the Church from the time of the Apostles has been simply that those who are in a public state of sin must refrain from Holy Communion for the sake of their own souls. St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians teaches that anyone who “eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. (I Cor 11:27-9).” It has never been the role of the priest to discern the state of the soul of the one who approaches for Holy Communion. Rather, the one who approaches unworthily - because of a unconfessed mortal sin or because of a more complex circumstance - puts himself in grave spiritual danger. The Church’s role is to teach that hard fact, lest anyone’s sin be made greater because of a failure of the Church to teach the truth. As the Pope says, “In every situation, when dealing with those who have difficulties in living God’s law to the full, the invitation to pursue the via caritatis (“way of love”) must be clearly heard.” And love requires us to speak the truth when someone is putting themselves in harms way!

That said, if anyone who is reading this is interested in pursuing restoration with the Church, either through an annulment or in some other manner, please know you are welcome to speak with Fr. Ryan or any priest in town. We are ready and waiting to be that way of mercy and of love that Pope Francis speaks of so often. The Lord’s Mercy is here waiting for you -let’s all pray together that many, many seek it out!

Intentions & Dedications

Mass Intentions

For the week of April 17th

  • Sat 4p Mike Bouchie, Frances Dezendorf, Bostick & Maricelli Families
  • Sat 5:30p Justin Wyatt
  • Sun 9a Becky Masson
  • Sun 11a Virginia Bruce, Julien Vienne, Jack Brittain Sr., Leo Abraham Jr., B.A. Cohen 
  • Sun 5p Pro Populo
  • Mon 6:30a Joe Madden
  • Mon 8a Br. Anselm Kuehler
  • Tue 6:30a Ross Gwinn
  • Wed 6:30a Sp. Intentions
  • Thu 6:30a Sp. Intentions
  • Fri 6:30a Daniel Chesal
  • Sat 8a Julien Vienne
  • Sat 4p Raymond Arthur, Parents of Levi & Vonnie Thompson
  • Sat 5:30p Anne Giering
  • Sun 9a Laura Jo Johnson
  • Sun 11a Richard Ragland, Janis Abraham, Harry Gongre Jr., Don Dobbs
  • 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 4/16-17
    • 4p     Lector G. Norwood; EMHCs R. & J. Laperyrouse; Servers Thibodaux
    • 9a     Lector J. Cunningham; EMHC E. Bacon; Servers R. & R. Cunningham
    • 11a     Lector E. Giering; EMHC T. Whitehead; Servers Sam Maggio, M. Leone
  • Sat & Sun 4/23-24
    • 4p     Lector K. Bundrick; EMHCs M. & J. Yankowski; Servers D. Bennett, J. Friedel
    • 9a     Lector S. Frederick; EMHC J. Barrios; Servers J. Miley, P. & M. Vienne
    • 11a     Lector G. Burke; EMHC L.Lee; Servers A. & J. Parker