Our Special Collection this week is for the Catholic Communications Campaign

Parish News

A note to MBIC parishioners • Dear Father Ryan, the clergy and faithful of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Thank you very much for your hospitality to me while I resided with you following the flood at Saint Joseph Seminary College. I especially want to thank you for your generosity to me by helping me recover the items which I lost in the flood. Particularly, I would like to thank the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters, and many of the individuals who helped. I will remember you in my prayers and look forward to seeing you again. 
Thomas Kennedy, Seminarian

I’d like to add my sincere thanks on behalf of the Diocese and of Fr. Sklar, our Director of Vocations, to those who helped Thomas. The flooding which so impaired our community did multi-million dollar damage to the seminary in Covington and completely destroyed a great deal of uninsured personal property. Seminarians aren’t allowed to earn outside income and they don’t receive any personal stipends for living expenses and so they are entirely dependent upon the generosity of their families - if they have families - and of parishioners whom they will serve, but usually don’t know well. It’s a time for relying intensely upon the providence of God! Thank You to those who assisted the Lord in teaching Thomas that God will provide - may He reward you one hundred-fold. — Fr. Ryan

SMS Aspire Testing • This week, St. Mary’s school will conduct their annual standardized achievement testing. The purpose of these tests is not so much a numerical score as a real measure of how our students, curriculum, teachers and education methods are working together to prepare our kids for the future. This can be a nerve-wracking time, especially for our students who struggle with anxiety. Please take a moment this week to pray for all of our St. Mary’s family!

Misprints & Errors • Several people have expressed frustration about misprints and errors in the bulletin. We certainly apologize for those mistakes! While we do proofread and correct as we’re able, the real problem is that the parish is under a long-term contract with a printer who sells the ads on the back cover and, then, prints and the ships the bulletins from the New England area. That publisher requires us to upload our final document for printing on Tuesday. Because of that, we can’t print or correct last minute items. Unfortunately, Fr. Ryan has been unable to terminate that contract and so, for the foreseeable future, we will have to continue as we have been. Again, we do apologize for the annoyance of errors or outdated items in the bulletin. Thank you to those who have expressed their concern - your voice and your thoughts are sincerely appreciated!

TLMN Meeting Next Sun • The Traditional Latin Mass Society of Natchitoches will meet after the 5p Mass next 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.

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


From The Font

Jesus took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish… When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these… Feed my lambs.

In the 13th Century, Bishop Stephen Langton assigned chapter and verse numbers to the Bible which has been hugely beneficial in all aspects but one. Many Christians over the years have taken to reading one or two verses without the larger context of the whole story and that has led to no small amount of error.

It would be a mistake to read Jesus’ admonition to Simon Peter without the story of Peter and the Apostles fishing which directly precedes it. In that story, Simon decides to put out into the sea for a catch. They work hard, but catch nothing. Then, a random stranger gives them fishing advice from the shore (never a smart move in Louisiana - or ancient Israel for that matter). For some reason, the apostles take the advice and make a huge catch. Then, the apostles, one by one, “get it” that this is Jesus. They rush to the shore and Jesus has prepared a meal for them. It is while they’re eating this meal that Jesus asks Peter to declare three times that his love for Jesus is greater than his love for his brothers. With each of these declarations, Peter is then told to feed the children. 

The first thing we have to realize is that Jesus just gave the apostles orders anonymously. He told them what to do. That’s no accident. Peter is not being told to lead a stand-about Church that is afraid to tell people what they ought to do. Second, it’s the apostles in their willingness to accept the advice - a virtue we call humility - that sets the following events in motion. Jesus said in another place, “a seed which falls on fertile soil will bear fruit a hundred-fold.” The humble heart will resonate with the truth because it was made for the truth whether it knows it or not. It’s not really the job of the Church to till the soil, it’s the job of the Church to plan the seed - and that’s a big distinction!

The third lesson from today’s Gospel is that the Church must be ready to feed those who have accepted the command humbly and acted upon it. When someone hears the command and acts, they WILL recognize Jesus in the Church. Then, the Church has to be ready to feed them with teaching and sacrament. This will only work, though, if the Church (clergy and laity) love Jesus more than one another. We must always prioritize Jesus above each other. This is hard to accept… When we love Jesus, we grow in love for one another. But it is possible to love one another without loving Jesus… And that’s a real risk within the Church. Maybe it’s withholding a hard truth so as not to “hurt” someone we love. Maybe it’s being unwilling to risk a friendship to speak a word of admonishment… If, though, we prioritize our love of God, then we are equipped to feed Jesus’ lambs… 

Insights from Second Street

In the ancient and medieval world, the theme ofjourney was essential to understanding literature and culture. From Gilgamesh to Hercules to Odysseus to St. Paul, the journey was an essential metaphor for growth in virtue and in wisdom. No doubt, due to this, the theme of pilgrimage to designated Holy Sites was hugely important in the spiritual life of devotees to basically all religions.

Outside the city of Rome, the basilicas were seen as way-stations or end-points of these pilgrimages which gave the pilgrim an opportunity for rest, reflection, contrast from the barrenness or vice of the roadway(which symbolized daily life) and the mysteries of faith (that we call the Sacraments). Very early on in the Christian world, the pilgrimage was seen as the height of spiritual commitment. As the theology of sacramental confession and, later, indulgences grew, the pilgrimage was seen as a logical expression of repentance for past sins and desire to do penance along the way toward the goal of eternal life. As such, indulgenced pilgrimages were very common in the medieval world. Perhaps most famously, the Canterbury Tales recounts a fictionalized pilgrimage to the titular cathedral of Canterbury in England. 

One of the obvious problems with an indulgenced pilgrimage is that there’s no definite place to end it. Do I get the indulgence if I set foot anywhere in the town? Do I have to go to Mass at this Church or can I go over there? What if I get there and there’s no Mass to attend today? Do I have to check in with someone? It was necessary to decide on a concrete action by which the pilgrimage could be completed. And so we have the “Holy Door.” By passing through the Holy Door, the pilgrim completes his or her journey and symbolically arrives at his or her destination - hopefully changed and wizened by the effort.

That seems a bit dramatic in the age of cars when most of us are on a pilgrimage of 8-10 minutes on Sunday Morning… Still, the Holy Door serves as a sign and a symbol of our desire to grow in the spiritual life and to live life as a journey rather than a disjointed series of events. In Rome and throughout Europe, many great Churches have permanent Holy Doors which are sealed and unsealed at specific moments and which are typically associated with the reception of specific indulgences.

For this year of Mercy, which began in December, each of us can obtain an indulgence (up to once per day until November 27th) by walking through the Holy Door as a sign of repentance and acceptance of God’s Mercy. As with all indulgences, the indulgenced spiritual exercise (in this case passing through the door) must be accompanied by true detachment from sin, prayer for the Pope (e.g. The Apostles’ Creed, 3x Our Father, 3x Hail Mary & 3x Glory Be), Sacramental Confession and receiving Holy Communion in a state of grace. The entire package (spiritual exercise, detachment from sin, prayer for the Pope, Confession and Communion) has to be done to receive one indulgence and to the entire package has to be repeated for each indulgence. 

May this year of grace and the gift of a Holy Door in our home parish be a blessing of which we take full advantage! Thanks be to God for this Year of Mercy!

Year of Mercy

On October 16, 1978, for the second time in two months, the senior Cardinal Deacon of the Roman Catholic Church stepped on to the main balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square and announced "Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum!" And the people cheered. Onto the balcony walked a dapper sixty-two years young Karol Wojtyła. An unknown Cardinal from communist Poland, Wojtyła combined the names of the two popes of the Second Vatican Council and took the name of his predecessor. Pope John Paul II had the second longest papal reign in recorded history. His slow death from Parkinson's Disease and Septicemia spoke volumes to a world which had warmly embraced both abortion and euthanasia as part of an entire ethos which the Pope called "the culture of death." 

Honest historians will also make note of his profound effect upon Soviet Communism. His visits to Poland had a profound impact upon the world and his support of the Solidarnosc movement almost single-handedly brought a bloodless end to Polish Communism. 

Moreso even than these two great witnesses to the power of the Church and of God, Pope John Paul II's writings constitute one of the five or six most important bodies of philosophical and theological work in the last thousand years and they could well be in the top twenty-five for all of human history. His works on the meaning of suffering, the dignity of the human being before God and the radical and essential connection between the biological and the spiritual aspects of creation stand alongside the likes of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. (It's nearly certain that he will be named a Doctor of the Church in the years to come.) 

For most people, though, it's not his personal, intellectual or political accomplishments that stand out. He was the pope... They loved him. They saw his love for God and they saw his faith and his fearlessness and his passion and his humanity. They saw that a real person could love God and be loved by God. That personal witness, more than anything else, makes him a saint. And now, we can say with the crowds at his funeral, "Santo Subito!" Sainthood now! 

It is fitting that his memory and legacy are integrally connected to the Feast of Divine Mercy which originated in his homeland and which he inserted into the Liturgical Calendar. Divine Mercy was the defining characteristic of his life in this world and it is his constant experience in eternal life!

Intentions & Dedications

Mass Intentions

For the week of April 10th

  • Sat 4p Eugene Doll, Leola Walmsley, Sadie & Red Thomas
  • Sat 5:30p Justin Wyatt
  • Sun 9a Buddy Masson
  • Sun 11a Janis Abraham, Johnny Batten, Leola Walmsley, D.M. Sparks, Sp. Intentions
  • Sun 5p Pro Populo
  • Mon 6:30a Luther Cox
  • Mon 8a Wynell Peavy Crews
  • Tue 6:30a Tanner Darbonne
  • Wed 6:30a Mr. & Mrs. Dicky deVargas
  • Thu 6:30a Laurence Bonnett
  • Fri 6:30a Luke Edwards
  • Sat 8a Lawrence Carnahan, Jr.
  • 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.
  • 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 4/9-10
    • 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
  • 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