Parish News

A complete calendar of events can be found at

Congratulations to ourSMS Graduates • The Parishioners of the Minor Basilica wish to extend our congratulations to and our prayers for the senior class of 2016:

Hannah F. Aviles, James A. Bankston, III, Barry C. Bertus, Jr., Thomas J. Celles, Reagan S. Cunningham, Ryan A.  Cunningham, Kenneth P. Darcy, L. Cheyenne Doty, Mazie C. DuBois, Matthew D. Gallien, Drake S. Hale, Joshua A. Hickman, Ellen E. Ingram, R. Warner Lee, Micheal VS. Leone, Thomas M. Lirette, Joshua R.  Lucky, Scott M. Maggio, Madelyn P. Matt, Nicholas C. Messenger, Nicholas K. Miller, Travis D. Mitchell, Donovan R. Ohnoutka, Victoria L. Prudhomme, Michael J. Sampite, David S. Smith, Madeline B.    Taylor, C. Tyler Vienne, Garrett A. Vienne, Hunter C. Vienne, Cade W. Woodard, and Cody R. Woodard

Monday Masses @ SMS • This Monday, May 9, will conclude the community Masses on Mondays at St. Mary’s. They will resume with the new school year - thanks to all who have joined us in prayer for our students, faculty, alumni & benefactors.

Indulgenced Feast Day • Friday is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. It is in an indulgenced Feast Day here at the Minor Basilica. Masses will be offered at 6:30a and 6p. All are encouraged to attend this feast day in particular as it marks the 99th anniversary of these exceedingly important apparitions.

Easter Flowers • This year’s Easter Flowers were donated in honor of:

Mr. & Mrs. Clayton Simons, Mr. Joseph Rhodes, Jr., Mrs. Jane Rhodes Foshee, Carl & Carol Green, Lea & Gus Broussard, N.O. & Agnes Evans, Robert DeBlieux, Bobby Ray Matthews, Mr. & Mrs. Leon Lacour, Roy W. SHiver, Mr. & Mrs. Monroe Johnson, Danny Ray Hall, James R. Litton, Helen Bostick, Rusty Bostick, Deceased Members of the Maggio and Perot Families, Flora Soileau, S.R. Soileau, Mr. & Mrs. L.M. Reed, Lydia Soileau, John R. Johnson, Mr. & Mrs. Ignace L. Faucheux, Steve & Jennie Leone Families, Billy & Lorenza Fair Families, Tom & Irene Niette, Marva Cunningham, Peyton & Mildred Cunningham, Alec & Margie Penny, Deceased Members of the Rambin Family, Deceased Members of the Shepherd Family, Bonnie Hartwell, Mr. & Mrs. D.M. Sparks, Jessica Smith, Mr. & Mrs. Dan Sparks, Mr. & Mrs. Archie Smith, JOhn Smith, Ted Tobin, Deceased Members of the Tobin & Williams Families, Gary Champagne, John Friedel, Juanita Bundrick, Deceased Members of the Bundrick & Ferrer Families

Priesthood & Religious Life • Every Catholic has an interest in the quality and quantity of our clergy and religious! All of us, from the young who are considering to their parents who must encourage to all of us who must pray have their parts to play. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about a possible vocation to the priesthood or religious life, call Fr. Sklar at (318) 757-3834.


From The Font

“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in His name…”

The story of the Ascension of Jesus is interesting not only for what happens, but for the way in which Jesus speaks His last words. Notice that when He talks about suffering and rising, Jesus, Himself, is the one doing the actions. But when He talks about preaching repentance, He is no longer the one doing the talking… That’s not by accident. A real study of scripture reveals one extremely important and almost always misunderstood reality: Jesus came to establish a Church.

From the establishment of the Old Testament priesthood in the book of Exodus to the creation of the Temple at the time of King Solomon to the reestablishment of the temple after the Babylonian Exile to the odd choices of names in the Gospel genealogies to the behavior of John the Baptist to Jesus’ choice to wear a seamless garment to the choice of His disciples and their instruction to the place of His first miracle to the odd events of the Last Supper to His instructions to the apostles after His Resurrection, the Bible tells the story of a living community which is growing in it’s understanding of and worship of God. It’s the story of a Church. And what’s more, Jesus gets very clear about both the purpose and mission of that Church. He gives clear and specific instructions for the worship of the Church, for the governance of the Church, for the teaching of the Church, for the mode of evangelization of the Church and for the way in which the leadership is to respond to the prophesied negative reception of the Church at various moments in what was then the future. 

Despite near constant persecution, the Catholic Church has survived and outlasted hundreds of similar organizations in history. The papacy has endured the most horrific popes. The theological teachings of the Church have endured the collapse of empires and are often ahead of modern psychology and science by centuries. Even modern particle physics lines up very nicely with St. Thomas Aquinas’ description of nature in the Summa Theologica, published 1485. When Christianity has been radically persecuted, the Church has thrived. Where heresy and error have threatened Her, She has thrived. When the Arian heresy created an alternative version of the faith and an Arian heretic took the the Seat of Peter, no error was taught. When Islam arose and killed millions and destroyed Churches en masse, the Church purred and triumphed. When reformation splintered Christianity, the Catholic Church regrouped and grew stronger. Even in our own day when error and threats abound, the Church thrives where the faith is really embraced. 

Perhaps the most compelling evidence for the clarity of Jesus’ teaching about the Church is how simply that teaching is issued. References are scattered throughout the Gospels, but no chapter is dedicated to it because it was clear in the minds of the apostles and was implemented almost immediately. The apostles were surprised by much that took place in those days, but not by the mission they were given: they were to establish the Church in every place they visited.

Insights from Second Street

This Friday is the 99th anniversary of what should have been a very small, largely insignificant event in a Portuguese backwater, especially compared to the raging continental war taking place in Europe in the second half of 1917. Three little children, under the age of 10, were shepherding some livestock in a field as they had been doing their whole short lives. They lived in a small town which was only famous for the fact that it was the only town in Europe named after the beloved daughter of Mohammad, founder of Islam - Fátima. While there were watching the flock and playing and saying their daily Rosary, a woman who glowed with bright light appeared standing on a stump. She talked with them and told them that she would be back to see them again on the 13th of the next few months. Despite all that was happening in the world, this little moment that was dismissed by everyone as a children’s fantasy would draw 90,000 visitors to witness the most astounding public miracle in modern history.

By all accounts, Our Lady’s appearance at Fatima shouldn’t have made many waves. She addressed three poor, backwoods children living in an enforced atheistic state under communist rule in the middle of World War I - the so-called Great War. The children didn’t set out to tell everyone about what happened! They shared the event with their families and friends, as one would expect. And yet, in only a few months and without anything resembling modern communication technology, Fatima turned into a hotspot for the spiritual and the skeptic alike. What’s more, the apparitions with it’s predictions given in the form of three “secrets” to be revealed at particular times has become the single most important spiritual event of the post-medieval world.

And, for the keen observer, this is to be expected. God doesn’t choose the obvious, well-equipped individual for His great missions. On the contrary, He chooses those who will best reveal His glory. Peter, the loose-tongued fisherman becomes the founder of His Church. Paul, the angry, violent, intellectually-prideful Jew, becomes the Apostle to the Gentiles. Francis, the arrogant rich kid, found a great religious order and Karol, a Polish boy living first under Hitler, then Stalin, then the USSR becomes the great Pope of our era. God doesn’t choose the great, He makes great the chosen! 

This must be our prayer for our students who graduate in these coming days from St. Mary’s, Natchitoches Central and Northwestern. They may well be excellent in many ways - but only when they find their place in God’s plan for them can they be great! Only when they reveal God’s glory acting not through their strengths, but through their weaknesses as well can they become the saints that we so need them to be!

Our Lady at Fatima promised that prayer, fasting and works of mercy would bring about great good in the world. She also promised that the world would get stranger before it got better. Let us all pray for our young people going out into this world that both their strengths and their weaknesses would be put to good use for the glory of God and for our betterment!

The Mass

The Second Vatican Council really got it’s start in the head of Pope St. John XXIII because of an intellectual discussion going on across Europe that was called the “Liturgical Movement.” That movement arose from bishops, priests and theological experts who were concerned about the way in which Mass was being celebrated. Despite what the official books called for in terms of Sacred Music, preaching, ceremonies and the like, most people were having a relatively monotonous experience of Sunday Mass. Solemn High Masses with incense and candles and the sprinkling of water and beautiful music and inspired, encouraging preaching were a great rarity. Instead, almost all Sunday Masses were “Low Masses” celebrated very simply with a few hymns sung while the priest offered the Mass almost silently. These Low Masses afforded almost no opportunity for the faithful to interact with the priest. Even Holy Communion was somewhat of a rarity at Mass. This Liturgical Movement wanted to convince priests to stop offering these minimalistic Masses and to pick up again the width and breath of the Church’s offerings!

Vatican II’s document on the Sacred Liturgy - the first of the Council’s sixteen documents to be published - said exactly what the Liturgical Movement had been saying. It called for priests to celebrate Mass more devoutly with better music and more enthusiastic preaching. It also called for new catechesis and instruction as to the symbols and meaning of the Mass.

That was fifty years ago, and yet, some of the same concerns raised by the Liturgical Movement that were the impetus for Vatican II are alive and well today. The concern that Masses are monotonous is expressed by the vast majority of Catholics. The accusation that priests are trying to do things as simply as possible, with minimal sacred music, no incense, no special blessings, no “extras” at Mass, etc, seems to be a pretty solid accusation. And this isn’t new to our time. Pope John Paul II recognized it plain as day in the 1980s, less than 20 years after the Council. He made a number of bold efforts to get priests, in particular, to get their acts together. Perhaps the most important one for us was a short document titled Domus Ecclesiæ. That document reestablished the title of Minor Basilica as a place especially dedicated to the work of offer the Liturgy that Vatican II called for. 

Some parishioners have asked why we use incense.  Some don’t like it. Others have expressed concern about the use of Latin or of Sacred Music. Some have expressed frustration because we’re obeying rules that have been unenforced in the past. These frustrations are a real - and they are a big part of the reason that Minor Basilicas exist at all. We’re here to do what the Church wants even when it’s hard, uncomfortable or unwanted. What we have to remember that the Church works… She has endured every culture there is and she will guide us to Heaven if we let Her… If we believe that the Church works, then we have to believe that what she wants from us is for our own good - even if we don’t like it. We could say that incense and solemnity are the Brussels Spouts that our Mother forces on us that we can grow up big and strong!

Intentions & Dedications

Mass Intentions

  • Sat 4p Donna Doll, Jimmy Scott, Terry Scott, Jay Ingram, Harry Gongre, Jr.
  • Sat 5:30p Anne Giering
  • Sun 9a Buddy & Becky Masson
  • Sun 11a Shirley Ragland, Janis Abraham, Sadie & Red Thomas, G.A. Beasley, Todd Roque
  • Sun 5p Pro Populo
  • Mon 6:30a Daniel
  • Mon 8a Boaz Squyres
  • Tue 6:30a Sadie Stroud
  • Wed 6:30a Mr. & Mrs. Fleming Thomas
  • Thu 6:30a Mary Jean Thomas
  • Fri 6:30a Oscar Vails
  • Sat 8a Clifford McCalister
  • Sat 4p Joe Bienvenu, Lallah P. Hill, Luther & Rae Laborde, Sp. Intentions
  • Sat 5:30p Justin Wyatt
  • Sun 9a John Bacon
  • Sun 11a Mike Bouchie, Lesley Bailey-Gates, Mary M. Young, Ann Lee Alford
  • Sun 5p Pro Populo

Our Sick & Recently Deceased

Lolette Allen, Teresa Arafa, Maudie Baranowski, William Lynn Basco, Gene Baudion, 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