From the Pastor – June 19, 2022

Brothers and sisters, I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” (1 Cor. 11:23-26)

In terms of a feast in the Catholic Church, today’s Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (“Corpus Christi” in Latin) is a fairly recent one.  We all know that the Body and Blood of Christ are present at each Mass, but the addition of this special feast to the Church calendar was primarily due to the petitions of a Belgium nun named Juliana of Liège who lived in the 13th century. From a young age, Juliana had a great love for the Blessed Sacrament and longed for a special feast in its honor.  Her desire was increased by a vision she had of the Church under the appearance of the full moon having one dark spot.  The spot signified the absence of a day specifically honoring the Blessed Sacrament.  In 1208 Juliana also had a vision of Christ in which He instructed her to institute the Feast of Corpus Christi. The vision was repeated for the next 20 years, but she kept it a secret. When she finally told her confessor, he relayed it to the bishop.

Juliana petitioned a number of bishops and priests to institute the Feast, including Robert de Thorete, the Bishop of Liège. Since bishops could order feasts in their dioceses, Bishop Robert convened a synod in 1246 and ordered a Corpus Christi celebration to be held each year.

The celebration of Corpus Christi became universal only after Juliana and Bishop Robert died. In 1263 Pope Urban IV (also from Liège) investigated claims of a Eucharistic miracle at Bolsena, in which a consecrated host began to bleed. In 1264 he issued the papal bull making Corpus Christi a feast throughout the entire Latin Rite.  This was the very first papally sanctioned universal feast in the history of the Latin Rite.

While the institution of the Eucharist is celebrated on Holy Thursday, that particular liturgy also commemorates the washing of the apostles’ feet, the institution of the priesthood and the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Corpus Christi was established to be specifically focused on the Holy Eucharist.

A new liturgy for Corpus Christi was composed by St. Thomas Aquinas. This liturgy has come to be used not only on the Feast of Corpus Christi itself but also throughout the year at events related to the Blessed Sacrament. The famous hymn that Aquinas composed for Vespers of Corpus Christi, Pange Lingua, is also used on Holy Thursday during the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose. The last two verses of Pange Lingua are also used as a separate hymn, Tantum Ergo, which is sung at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament along with O Salutaris Hostia the last two verses of Verbum Supernum Prodiens, Aquinas’ hymn for Lauds of Corpus Christi. Aquinas also composed the propers for the Mass of Corpus Christi, including the sequence Lauda Sion Salvatorem, which we sing today.

So we thank Holy Mother Church for the great feast we celebrate today.  It’s a feast of food! I’m not talking about today’s fish fry and snowballs; Jesus becomes our food!

(Very Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty
msgr.nalty@gmail.com

The Basilica of St. Stephen!

While somewhat familiar to Catholics, the term Basilica originally referred to a style of building in use during the time of the Roman Empire.  Now it is a designation given by the Holy See to churches around the world.

There are two types of basilicas – Major Basilicas and Minor Basilicas. There are four Major Basilicas in the Church, and they are all in Rome.  They are St. John Lateran, the Basilica of Saint Peter, Saint Mary Major, and Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls.  Some argue that the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi and the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem are also designated Major Basilicas.

Minor Basilicas are those churches throughout the world that have been given a special designation by the Holy Father.  Many reasons exist for bestowing this title on a church.  It may be granted for architectural beauty, historical significance, liturgical renown, the presence of a special relic or work of art, or for any combination of these qualities.  A Minor Basilica shares a special relationship with the Holy See and with the Holy Father.  Various privileges and obligations of the Minor Basilica highlight this important attachment to the Holy See and the Supreme Pontiff.

The Papal document, Domus Ecclesiae, spells out the specific privileges granted to a Minor Basilica. One of most important of these is the Plenary Indulgence, which the faithful may receive who devoutly visit the basilica on certain days and participate in any sacred rite “or at least recite the Lord’s Prayer and the profession of faith.”

There are three signs that are present in a basilica that help one recognize the church as a basilica.  They are the ombrellino (little umbrella), the tintinnabulum (bells), and the symbol of the tiara and keys that is on the Vatican flag.  Each of these elements will soon be added to our new basilica as well as to our letterhead and website.

(to be continued)

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Corpus Christi Mass and Eucharistic Procession

Sunday, June 19, 2022

All are invited to participate in a Eucharistic Procession immediately following the 10:30am Mass next weekend.  The procession will exit the Church, turn right on Napoleon Avenue and then go around the school and the church before returning into the church for Benediction.  It will be lead by a crucifer, and we will chant Eucharistic hymns as we bring carry Jesus in the Holy Eucharist throughout our neighborhood!

We would like to invite First Communicants and young children (K-4th) to wear white attire to lead the procession.  Please meet in the front of the church near the confessional immediately after the 10:30am Mass and we will direct you.  Either bring your own decorated basket for rose petals, or one will be provided.  Anyone who can save rose petals (by putting them in the fridge) is also asked to do so. Any questions about the Corpus Christi Procession can be directed to Kathy Fayard at kfayard@yahoo.com

Ordinations to the Priesthood 2022

On Saturday, June 4, 2022, at 10:00 AM at St. Louis Cathedral, Archbishop Gregory Aymond will ordain Joseph Alfonse DiMaggio, III, Andy Gil Gonzalez, Lennin Arroyo Martinez, Jeffrey Austin Merritt, William Patrick Mumphrey and Kesiena Dennis Obienu for the Archdiocese of New Orleans as Priests. All are invited.  Priests and deacons are asked to bring their alb. Vestments will be provided. Reception at the Old Ursuline Convent to follow.

Upcoming Celebrations

The Ascension of the Lord
May 29, 2022

Pentecost Sunday
June 5, 2022

The Most Holy Trinity
June 12, 2022

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
June 19, 2022

Gift of the Holy Spirit

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts which assist us in furthering our sanctification and help “complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them.” The term “gift” means that the Holy Spirit bestows them; they are supernatural gifts operating in a supernatural manner. They are not gifts one simply invokes in times of emergency. The gifts are enumerated in Isaiah 11:2-3.

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are:
Wisdom – The gift of wisdom allows us to see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the joys and sorrows of our lives take on deeper meaning.

Understanding – The gift of understanding allows us to comprehend how we should to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by the conflicting messages in our culture about the correct way to live. Similar to “common sense,” the gift of understanding perfects a person’s speculative reason in the apprehension of truth. St. Thomas Aquinas described it is as a gift “whereby self-evident principles are known.”

Counsel (Right Judgment) – The gift of right judgment allows us to see the difference between right and wrong, and to choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Christ. This gift of truth allows the person to respond prudently and happily to God’s commandments.

Fortitude (Courage) – The gift of fortitude allows us to overcome our fears and to be willing to take risks as a follower of Christ. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, condemnation, or even physical injury and death. Courage gives us the firmness of heart to do good and endure evil.

Knowledge – By the gift of knowledge, we understand knowledge of the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about Scriptures, Sacred Tradition and the teachings of the Church. It is not simply an accumulation of facts and figures.

Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of piety or reverence, have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that Piety “is the gift whereby, at the Holy Spirit’s instigation, we pay worship and duty to God as our Father.”

Fear of the Lord – Fear of the Lord is more closely related to “awe,” and allows us to be aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love. This gift is described by St. Thomas Aquinas as a fear of separating oneself from God. He describes the gift as a “filial fear,” like a child’s fear of offending his father, rather than a “servile fear,” that is, a fear of punishment.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are something for which we need to pray. We beg the Holy Spirit to give us these gifts! And here is a good traditional prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thy Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy 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 Thy 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 Thee, 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, 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 Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

Votive Mass for Peace and Justice His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Rosary at 4:30 pm, Mass at 5 pm

We invite everyone to a Mass to be celebrated in St. Stephen Church by His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke this coming Tuesday.

Born in 1948 in Richland Center, Wisconsin, Raymond Leo Burke attended seminary in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., and Rome, where he was ordained a priest by Pope Saint Paul VI in 1975. Ordained a bishop in 1995 by Pope Saint John Paul II, he served for almost nine years as Bishop of La Crosse, where he founded the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and over four years as Archbishop of St. Louis.

He was named a cardinal in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Burke has written and spoken widely on Roman Catholic canon law, the Holy Eucharist, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the sanctity of human life. He is a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

There is no record in the parish archives of a Cardinal ever visiting St. Stephen Church, so this is a great honor for our parish!

Diaconal Ordinations

On Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 10:00 AM at St. Louis Cathedral, we will ordain Da- vid Michael Doyle, Cory Paul Ford, Long Thanh Pham and Kevin Alden Seay to the Transitional Diaconate for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. You are cordially invited to attend the ceremony.

Nine Church Walk

Thanks to our volunteers who greeted pilgrims taking part in the Nine Church Walk on Good Friday.  The pilgrims started arriving almost at the completion of our Holy Thursday vigil at 6:00am, and they continued even into the afternoon and evening.  There were many new faces in the church for the Stations of the Cross at 6:00pm.  We had our handy clicker to count numbers, so we know that more than 2,000 people came to visit St. Stephen’s on Friday.  I sat in the confessional from 9:00-11:00 am and Father Doug from 11:00am – 1:00pm, and we were rarely alone.  The line was continuous for the entire time.  Anybody who doubts the vitality of the Catholic Church in New Orleans need only to have seen the busloads of high school groups, CYO groups, and large families taking part in the walk to have their doubts removed.  I was so happy to greet many pilgrims from other parishes where I have served.  It was great to see old friends, but it made me so proud and happy to be able to welcome them to St. Stephen’s.  I heard nothing but good reports from the crowds at St. Henry Church and Our Lady of Good Counsel.  I wish I had been able to make it to St. Henry’s and Our Lady of Good Counsel, but between the Holy Thursday vigil, confessions, the 3:00pm Good Friday service, I didn’t have much time to venture out!  Thanks to everyone!

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

The Eucharistic Miracles of the World
Catalogue of the Vatican International Exhibition

With an extensive assortment of photographs and historical descriptions, the exhibition presents some of the principal Eucharistic Miracles that have taken place over the centuries and throughout the world. Most Eucharistic miracles involve incidences in which the Host has “turned into human flesh and blood.” Certainly, the Church teaches (and we believe) that the consecrated Host is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. Through Eucharistic miracles, Christ manifests His Presence in a more tangible and visible way. Interestingly, many Eucharistic miracles have occurred during times of weakened Faith. For example, a number of Eucharist miracles have taken place as a result of someone, often the priest himself, doubting the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Included in the exhibit are descriptions of many of the most famous miracles, including those of Lanciano, Orvieto and Siena. Each of them has received full approval by the Church. By means of the exhibit, one can “virtually visit” the places where the miracles occurred.

It is important for us to remember that while Eucharistic Miracles can help us more fully understand and live our faith (with Christ the Eucharist as its source and summit), these Miracles are only useful as long as they are closely focused on Jesus Christ. They cannot become autonomous. Miracles can strengthen the faith of believers and even non-believers, but they are valuable only if they direct us to the Eucharist instituted by Christ and present at each celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They must serve the faith. They must not and cannot add anything to the one and only, definitive gift of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. They are a humble reminder of the Real Presence and can impart a more fruitful and deeper knowledge of it.

Join us and see the different ways that Christ has manifested His Real Presence to increase our faith!

Trinity Sunday

masstime.us

Trinity Sunday, also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, is celebrated a week after Pentecost Sunday in honor of the most fundamental of Christian beliefs—belief in the Holy Trinity. We can never fully understand the mystery of the Trinity, but we can sum it up in the following formula: God is three Persons in one Nature. The three Persons of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are all equally God. They cannot be divided.  As the above diagram shows, each person of the Holy Trinity is a separate person, having been identified as such in the Holy Bible, but each are also the One True God.  It’s why we make the sign of the cross in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, rather than the “names.”  It’s a profound mystery that many other religions reject.  It’s not something that is easily explainable, but it was revealed by Jesus Christ through His Divine Word, and the Holy Spirit has filled our hearts and minds to help us understand it.  We reinforce our belief in the Holy Trinity each time we make the sign of the cross.

The origins of the celebration of Trinity Sunday go back to the Arian heresy of the fourth century, when Arius denied the divinity of Jesus Christ by denying that there are three Persons in God. To stress the doctrine of the Trinity, the Fathers of the Church composed prayers and hymns that were recited on Sundays as part of the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church. Eventually, a special version of that office began to be celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost, and the Church in England, at the request of St. Thomas à Becket (1118-1170), was granted permission to celebrate Trinity Sunday. The celebration of Trinity Sunday was made universal by Pope John XXII (1316-34).

For many centuries, the Athanasian Creed was recited at Mass on Trinity Sunday. While seldom read today, the creed can be read privately or recited with your family to revive this ancient tradition.

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.

NOVENA PRAYER FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT
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)

 

Congratulations to Susan Bourgeois and James Brady!

Archbishop Aymond will present the Order of St. Louis IX Medallion to our parishioners Susan Bourgeois and James Brady on Sunday, May 15, 2022, at 2:30 p.m. at St. Catherine of Sienna Church.  The Order of St. Louis IX award was established more than 40 years ago to honor those members of the laity who have contributed their time and talents to the church.

Even if you don’t know Susan and James, you know of their work!  Susan helps purify our altar linens, and is very involved with our CCD program;  James helps count the collections and is very active with the Knights of Columbus.  “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” (Mt 25:40).

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