From the Pastor – May 5, 2024

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

One of the most interesting scenes in the Acts of the Apostles involves a vision of St. Peter where he saw Heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down containing all the earth’s four-legged animals, reptiles and birds of the sky. A voice told Peter to “slaughter and eat.” Since many of the animals were considered “ritually unclean” according to the Levitical law, Peter refused to eat, saying “I have never eaten anything profane and unclean.” The voice responded, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.” This vision happened three times.

On one hand, this vision is the basis upon which Christians dispensed with food restrictions, and it’s the reason why we in Louisiana can eat oysters, crabs, shrimp, crawfish, alligator, catfish, pork, rabbits, squirrels and even rattlesnake (all of which are forbidden in Leviticus), if we desire. In itself, that is a very good thing, because our ancestors here might have starved to death if they had tried to find domestic animals that were “kosher.” It means that our tastiest natural resources are fair game!

But Peter took something else from this vision as we hear in the first reading this Sunday. Peter also understood that all “people” were fair game. Peter’s experience was followed immediately by the visit of Cornelius, a Gentile. And as they were speaking, the Holy Spirit came upon the group, and allowed Peter to see that the gifts they had received were not limited to the Jewish people. Since most of us are Christians of “gentile” origin, that’s good news.

But this entire exchange underlines one of the important questions that Christians have asked for centuries: “who can be saved?” I frequently get this question from Catholics. And the short answer is that everyone can be saved. The more difficult problem regards the “how” of salvation. We are only saved by Jesus, whose incarnation as man restored the union between God and man that was destroyed by original sin. We are saved by being a “member” of His body, the Church. And that’s where the question becomes a little more complicated. How are we “members” of the Church? The Church proclaims this in the Second Vatican II document “Lumen Gentium” (the Light of the Nations). We are “full” members of the Church by being practicing Catholics, partaking regularly in the Sacraments. Further, catechumens (those preparing for the Sacraments) are members by their desire. Other baptized Christians are also incorporated by their Baptism, even if they don’t share the “fullness” of the Sacramental life. And even those who aren’t Christians but who acknowledge the Creator have place in the Body of Christ. And the Church goes even further to recognize that those who have not arrived at an explicit knowledge of God may be members if they, with His grace strive to live a good life. In the end, only Jesus can save us, and we do our part by being in Communion with Him.

(Very Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty

Read more posts From the Pastor

Newsletter Sign Up

Upcoming Events

May 5, 2024 –May Crowning at the 10:30am Mass and First Holy Communions.

May 12, 2024 – Blessing of Mothers at all Masses. Also, it is the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord.

May 17, 2024 – St. Stephen Catholic School kindergarten graduation ceremony at 9:00am Mass

May 19, 2024 – Pentecost Sunday

May 21, 2024 – St. Stephen Catholic School seventh grade graduation ceremony at 9:00am Mass

May 26, 2024 – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

June 2, 2024 – Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) with Eucharistic Procession after the 10:30am Mass

Willwoods Married Couples Retreat

May 18-19 & May 25-26

Would you like to break away with your spouse and spend quality time enriching your marriage? Then join us on either one of our upcoming Married Couples Retreats at the beautiful St Joseph Abbey Retreat Center in Covington. For more information or to register go to Don’t miss out on this great weekend get-a-way! A suggested donation is requested but not required. Scholarships are available. Cost should never be a reason why a couple cannot make a weekend.

Our Lady of Good Counsel Special Mass April 26, 2024 at 5pm

April 26, 2024 is the traditional Feast Day of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Although we usually have a special Feast Day Mass at Good Counsel, the 5:00p Mass at OLGC on Sunday, April 28, 2024 will honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in a special way.

Upcoming Ordinations

Priest Ordination
On Saturday, June 1, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Louis Cathedral, Archbishop Aymond will ordain Deacons Austin Barr, Jorge Gomez, and Cuong Tran to the presbyterate for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. You are cordially invited to attend the ceremony. Priests and deacons are asked to bring their vestments.


Easter Sunday is the day of the “Alleluia!” After forty days of Lenten sacrifice and fasting, we finally arrive at the most important day of our liturgical year, and the only word we have to express our inner joy is “Alleluia!!”

In the old Greek version of the Book of Tobias, in the Septuagint Greek translation of the Hebrew psalter, and in the original Greek of the Apocalypse we hear about this most holy word. It is part of the earliest Christian liturgies of which we have record.

It is a word composed of the divinely acclaiming verbal form Allelu and the divine pronoun term Ya (for YHWH or Yahweh). So, preserving its radical sense and sound, and even the mystical suggestiveness of its construction, it may be literally rendered, “All hail to Him Who is!”–taking “All Hail” as equivalent to “Glory in the Highest,” and taking “He Who is” in the sense in which God said to Moses: “Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel; WHO IS hath sent me to you.” The ancient Jewish and Christian tradition all point to the conclusion that the “Alleluia” belonged to the Hebrew liturgy from the beginning as a divinely authorized doxology. As to when it was first formed, much evidence points to it being one of man’s most ancient formulas of monotheistic faith–the true believer’s primitive Credo, primitive doxology, primitive acclamation. That in part would explain remarkable fondness for its liturgical use. As a rule the Church uses it wherever joy is to be emphatically expressed, especially as to triumph or thanksgiving.

The “Alleluia” is a great characteristic of Easter, as it has an important place in all of the liturgies, constantly appearing at the beginning and end, and even in the middle, of psalms, as an instinctive exclamation of ecstatic joy.

The very sound of the words should be held to signify a kind of acclamation and a form of ovation which mere grammarians cannot satisfactorily explain; this is the reason why the translators of the Old Testament have left it untranslated, and the Church has taken it into the formulas of her Liturgy or of the people who use it at any time or place where joy need be expressed for God’s greatness and love! Alleluia! Praise God!

Novena to the Holy Spirit

Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts
(to be prayed beginning May 13)

The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trbinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed y every Christian.

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.  (Say 7X Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be)


May Crowning of Mary

The month of May is traditionally dedicated to Mary in many cultures, since May is considered the season of the beginning of new life. In ancient Roman culture, May was dedicated to Flora, the goddess of bloom, of blossoms, and the Romans celebrated ludi florales (floral games) at the end of April, asking the help of Flora for all that blooms since May 1 was considered the beginning of growth. In the same way, the Blessed Virgin Mary gives us the newness of life in the person of Jesus Christ so that we might become new creations born into Eternal Life.

Since medieval times, we begin to see a connection between Mary and the month of May. Among the earliest witnesses are: Alphonsus X, King of Castille, Spain (+1284) with his “Cantigas de Santa Maria.” Here and elsewhere, both Mary and the month of May are greeted, welcomed and celebrated on specific days in May. Later, it became the custon in Italy to devote the whole month of May to Mary. On each day of the month, special devotions to Mary were organized.

Today, May crownings occur in many Catholic parishes and homes with the crowning of a statue of Mary. The ceremony traditionally takes place with young girls dressed in dresses carrying flowers (traditionally hawthorn) to adorn the statue. One of the girls (often the youngest) carries a crown of flowers or an actual golden crown on a cushion for placement by the May Queen (often the oldest girl) on the statue. The flowers are replaced throughout the month to keep them fresh.

Crowning Mary is associated with adding ornamentation to an icon of Mary, sometimes as simple as adding additional gold trim. Perhaps in homage to this, Pope Clement VIII (+1605) added two crowns to the icon of Mary with the Infant Jesus in the Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome. The crowns were eventually lost, but were replaced by Gregory XVI in 1837 in a Rite that was to become the standard practice for crowning.

Beginning Experience Weekend

Widowed? Separated? Divorced? Listen. Accompany. Heal. One weekend … All the difference. Join us for the Beginning Experience of New Orleans Weekend Retreat May 17-19, 2024 at the Cenacle on the Lake Retreat Center located at 5500 St. Mary Street, Metairie, LA. For more information including registration and fees, contact Registrar, Liz Reis at (504) 858-1813 or email Weekend program includes materials, two nights’ lodging and five meals. Beginning Experience is an international ministry founded by a Catholic religious sister and her divorced friend offering hope and healing for those who have lost their marriage through death, separation or divorce. The Beginning Experience weekend transforms lives and has helped thousands navigate the road through grief.

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

World Day of Prayer for Vocations will be observed on Sunday, April 21, 2024 also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.”

Today the Church throughout the world prays for vocations. Will you make a special effort to ask the Lord for vocations to the priesthood and religious life? Pray for the priests who have ministered to you throughout your life, both living and dead. Encourage your children, grandchildren, or other young people to consider a vocation as a priest or religious brother or sister. Pray a rosary for more young men and women in our diocese to respond to God’s call.

Here is the Message of His Holiness, Pope Francis for this 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations:

More Posts from this Category

Home Middle #3 Widget

This is a widgeted area which is called Home Middle #3. It is using the Genesis - Featured Page widget to display what you see on the Metric child theme demo site. To get started, log into your WordPress dashboard, and then go to the Appearance > Widgets screen. There you can drag the Genesis - Featured Page widget into the Home Middle #3 widget area on the right hand side. To get the image to display, simply upload an image through the media uploader on the edit post screen and publish your page. The Featured Page widget will know to display the post image as long as you select that option in the widget interface.