From the Pastor – September 17, 2023

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive?  As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Mt. 18:21-22)

When I was younger, my sisters and brother and I had a lot of little “family” jokes and expressions.  Sometimes when we’re together again, we use them to get a laugh.  In our teenage years those “inside jokes” tended to revolve around quotes from television shows or movies that we found funny.  Most of us can do imitations of Eddie Murphy’s more memorable gags or lines uttered by Bill Murray in “Caddyshack” or “Stripes.”  But one of the older expressions I remember when I was very young was “seventy-eleven.”  Of course, it’s not an actual number, but it was used by us as kids to express the biggest number possible.  Millions and billions (or even googols, which are 1.0 × 10100) weren’t real to us.  But “seventy-eleven” sounded really big.  So if we were going to use a number that Jesus would give in telling us how many times to forgive, we would say “forgive ‘seventy-eleven’ times.”

In the Gospel today, Jesus says “forgive seven times seventy-seven” times.  That’s a lot, but it’s a finite number.  In fact, it only adds up to 539.  If that were the case, we’d have to carry calculators around to make sure we were keeping track as to how many times we’d forgiven.  I would bet that most couples who’ve been married more than 20 years could say they’ve forgiven their spouses more than 539 times.  And then they kept forgiving beyond that.  Seven was used by Peter to indicate a constant stream of forgiveness.  Jesus took that number and put it off the charts.    We’re supposed to keep forgiving primarily because God continues to forgive us.  And most of us have offended Him more than 539 times.

This is a good weekend to remind ourselves that we should forgive.  As we recall the 9/11 attacks on our country not so many years ago, we might be tempted to relive those feelings of vengeance and that desire for justice nineteen years ago.  Although demands for justice are not necessarily wrong, we should look back on the last twenty-one years and realize that holding on to hatred, vengeance and “debts” tends to hurt us more than it hurts the people we “hate.”

If we’ve gotten over our “hatred” for those terrorists who attacked us, we might want to look around at other “grudges” we’re holding on to, perhaps even within our own families.  Maybe there’s someone we need to forgive for the “seventy-eleventh” time.

(Very Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty

Read more posts From the Pastor

Newsletter Sign Up

Apostolate Fair

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have one of the most important roles in our parish community by assisting the celebrant in distributing the Body and Blood of Our Lord to those at Mass and to those who are unable to attend Mass.

Adults 18 years and older who have received the three sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation) may serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

Lectors serve the parish community in a very special way; their goal is to engage the hearts and minds of the congregation as they proclaim the Word of God.

Ushers greet parishioners as they enter the church, assisting those who need help finding a seat and providing information and directions for new visitors to the church.  Ushers are also responsible for taking up and securing the collection.

Altar Servers play a very important role in the Sacred Liturgy. They are part of the procession, handle incense, help prepare the altar for Mass, aid with baptisms, and help with the sacred vessels.


Exaltation of the Holy Cross

During the week when we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Archbishop Aymond has asked that every parish offer Confession for two hours.  To that end, on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, Confessions will be heard in the Basilica of St. Stephen beginning at 5:00pm until 6:30pm.

Workshops for New Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

Basic workshops for new Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion will be presented this Fall by the Office of Worship. Due to COVID restrictions, workshops will be conducted on a virtual platform with a limit of 15 participants per session. Attendance at this workshop is required before a person can be delegated by the Archbishop to serve in this ministry. The complete schedule and more information can be found on the Office of Worship website at Participants are to be pre-registered by their parish before attending. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Worship at 504-861-6300 or

Notre Dame Seminary Centennial Film Sponsorships

Be a part of history by adding your personal, parish/ministry or business name to the credits as a supporter of WLAE-TV’s upcoming film: Formed: Notre Dame Seminary and the Path to Priesthood. Visit or for more info, email

WLAE is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. Donations must be received by August 31 for inclusion at the red-carpet premiere on September 15.  After the local and statewide public television premieres, the film will be available on YouTube @WLAETV.

Back to School

St. Stephen Catholic School is getting ready to restart school in the end of August for the youngest students and in early September for the older students.  I wish each parishioner could come to at least one school Mass (which is normally at 9:00 am on Fridays, unless a Holy Day of Obligation falls during the week) during the year to see what well-behaved, enthusiastic, and attentive students we have at St. Stephen’s.  Our first school Mass was on Friday August 18, 2023, and it was wonderful to have the Basilica full of singing!  Unfortunately, most of the children that attend St. Stephen Catholic School do not live in the parish and, therefore, attend Mass at their home parish.  However, you do know some of our students (and former students) who participate as altar servers at our Saturday 4:00pm Vigil and Sunday 10:30am Mass.  Those young men are representative of the quality of the students that we educate here in our parish.  If you know someone who is looking for a wonderful Catholic environment in which to educate their children, please have them investigate St. Stephen Catholic School!

St. Januarius September 19

According to various sources, Januarius was born in Benevento to a rich patrician family near Naples, Italy. At a young age of 15, he became a priest of his parish in Benevento, which at the time was primarily pagan. When Januarius was 20, he became Bishop of Naples. During the persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian in 305 AD, Januarius was arrested and beheaded at the Solfatara crater near Pozzuoli. According to the Roman Martyrology, “the body of St. Januarius was brought to Naples, and there honourably interred in the church, where his holy blood is kept unto this day in a phial of glass, which being set near his head becomes liquid and bubbles up as though it were fresh.”

The miracle of the liquification is the chief reason for the notoriety of St Januarius. The relic of blood is kept in a small flagon-shaped flask and resembles a dark and solid mass. On the Feast of St. Januarius (as well as at other times of the year) the reliquary is brought out and held by the celebrant in view of the assembly. Prayers are said by the people, begging that the miracle may take place. After a short period of time, the solid mass detaches itself from the sides of the glass reliquary and becomes liquid, sometimes even bubbling up. The celebrant then announces “the miracle has happened,“ and Te Deum (“We praise thee, O God”) is sung.  Then the reliquary with the liquefied blood is brought to the altar rail so that the faithful may venerate it by kissing the vessel.

Although skeptical scientists have provided a number of explanations for the “liquification,” those explanations have primarily pointed to higher temperature “melting” the solid mass. However, for more than a century, careful observations of the temperature in the presence of the relic have been kept, and it has been demonstrated that there is no direct relation between the temperature, and the time and manner of the liquefaction. While the Catholic Church has always supported the celebrations, it has never formulated an official statement on the phenomenon, and maintains a neutral stance about scientific investigations. Whatever the cause, devotion to St. Januarius is very great in Naples. The blood has failed to liquefy several times, each time coinciding with the outbreak of disease, famine, war or political suppression. It is for this reason that Neapolitans rejoice at each liquification.

St. Pius of Pietrelcina

September 23, 2023

Saint Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy. He was the son of farmers Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, and had three younger sisters and one older brother.

As a child, Francesco worked on his family farm by taking care of a small flock of sheep that the family owned, but by the time he was five years old, Franceso had already decided to dedicate his life to God.  In January of 1903, at the young age of 15 he was allowed to enter the novitiate with the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in Morcone where he took on the name “Friar Pio.”

Once he joined the Friary of St. Francis, he had several bouts of serious illness and religious ecstasy. Friars would report strange noises coming from his cell. Friar Pio frequently spoke about attacks from the devil, and it was there where these battles had taken place. Although he was very ill, he was ordained a priest in 1910 at the Cathedral of Benevento in southern Italy.

In 1916, Padre Pio moved to our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary located in San Giovanni Rotondo, near the Adriatic coast. While there, he taught in the seminary.

In August of 1918, he began experiencing a painful stigmata (wounds similar to the wounds of Christ) that would only be temporary. Over time these wounds became permanent, and remained on his body for the next 50 years. In the beginning, Padre Pio felt great humiliation at the wounds on his body. The visible stigmata on his body brought him pain and publicity, but he accepted his suffering. The Holy See initially imposed severe sanctions on Pio in the 1920s to reduce publicity about him. It forbade him from saying Mass in public, blessing people, answering letters, showing his stigmata publicly, and communicating with Padre Benedetto, his spiritual director. Throughout this difficult time, Padre Pio maintained his vow of obedience, even while being subject to numerous medical and psychological investigations.

Padre Pio died of a heart attack at Our Lady of Grace in San Giovanni Rotondo on September 23, 1968. Pope John Paul II beatified Padre Pio on May 2, 1999 and canonized him three years on June 16, 2002.

The Holy Name of Mary

September 12

By St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Richard of St. Laurence states “there is not such powerful help in any name, nor is there any other name given to men, after that of Jesus, from which so much salvation is poured forth upon men as from the name of Mary.” He continues, “that the devout invocation of this sweet and holy name leads to the acquisition of superabundant graces in this life, and a very high degree of glory in the next.”  After the most sacred name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so rich in every good thing, that on earth and in heaven there is no other from which devout souls receive so much grace, hope, and sweetness.

Hence Richard of St. Laurence encourages sinners to have recourse to this great name, “because it alone will suffice to cure them of all their evils;” and “there is no disorder, however malignant, that does not immediately yield to the power of the name of Mary.” The Blessed Raymond Jordano says, “that however hardened and diffident a heart may be, the name of this most Blessed Virgin has such efficacy, that if it is only pronounced that heart will be wonderfully softened.” Moreover, it is well known, and is daily experienced by the clients of Mary, that her powerful name gives the particular strength necessary to overcome temptations against purity.

In Our Parish

The parish office frequently receives calls from “parishioners” to have their children baptized, get a school voucher, get married or have permission to serve as a godparent. Being a “parishioner” at Good Shepherd Parish means that you either (1) reside in the parish boundaries (Leontine to Seventh Street, Carondelet to the River) or (2) you have completed a parish census form (3) have registered online at This isn’t our rule, it’s the rule of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.  To be a “contributing parishioner” (for the purposes of school vouchers) you must use parish envelopes or personal checks for donations.

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.