From the Pastor – November 20, 2022

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine, they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” (Lk 23:35-38)

How many times have we gazed at a crucifix and seen that inscription: “I.N.R.I.”  We know it means something about Jesus being “King of the Jews,” even if we don’t remember that it comes from the first letters of the Latin inscription meaning “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews:  Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum.  The key is understanding what’s behind that inscription.  Is it just a “mocking” inscription provided by Pontius Pilate?  Was it placed there to enrage the Jewish Sanhedrin?  Or is it part of God the Father’s providential plan to reveal His Son to us?

To understand the role of Jesus as King, we have to understand a little bit of the Jewish concept of Messiah (literally meaning “anointed one”), a term used in the Old Testament to describe a king who was traditionally anointed with holy oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25. In Jewish eschatology the term referred to a future Jewish King from the Davidic line, who would be “anointed” and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age.

And here’s where Jesus comes in.  He comes to fulfill those prophecies.  He’s from the Davidic line; He ushers in a new age of the Messiah; He spends the majority of his preaching ministry focusing on one thing: the Kingdom of God.  After the Apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they began to fearlessly proclaim Jesus as “the Christ,” Christ being the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah.

And so we celebrate this weekend the Solemnity of Christ the King.  We place Him as King of our Universe (since He made it and governs it); as Kings of ourselves (since He made us); and Kings of our destiny (since He has ascended to the Father to prepare a place for us).

But nowhere is Christ’s “kingship” more apparent than on the cross.  By dying for us, Jesus gave us the most radical notion of leadership.  The King loves us – His subjects – so much that He leads not by a command, but by an example.  He died first.  And we follow.  That’s how we reach the kingdom.

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

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THANKSGIVING SCHEDULE

Masses on Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 will be at 8:00am at St. Henry Church

Thanksgiving Baskets

The St. Vincent de Paul Society would like to thank everyone for your help in providing Thanksgiving Baskets for the needy of our parish. With your help we are hoping to feed over 40 families for Thanksgiving this year.  Thanks for sharing your blessings with others.  “For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; a stranger, and you welcomed me.”  (Mt. 25:35)

Missionaries and Martyrdom

The North American Martyrs October 19, 2022

The only reason we know about Jesus Christ is that someone told us. More than likely, that person was our parents, but it could have been a priest, a teacher or even a friend. And the person who told us only knew about Jesus because someone had told him or her. And someone told that person, too. And so on. We trace that chain of people passing on their knowledge of Christ back to the Apostles, who were told by Jesus to: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:19-20). This statement of Jesus is called the “Great Commission” – the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his Apostles to spread His teachings to everyone. It is an important tenet in Christian theology emphasizing mission work, evangelism, and baptism; and it is the primary basis for Christian missionary activity today.

The interesting thing about missionary activity is the danger that has surrounded it since the beginning. Out of the eleven Apostles charged with the Great Commission, only St. John died of natural causes. The rest were martyrs. From the first century to the twentieth century, this has stood true. As the theologian Tertullian observed around the year 200 A.D.: “We have become more numerous every time we are hewn down by you. The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

As I stated in a recent weekday homily, one of the problems we face in America is the lack of martyrs. Compared to many countries, we received our Christianity in America fairly easily, and sometimes when things are easily obtained, they’re not appreciated as well. Although we know we’re of the same faith as the martyrs Peter & Paul in the first century and the martyr Maximillian Kolbe in the last century, their tombs are not among us. But we can at least recognize a few, the North American Martyrs, a group of eight Jesuit missionaries who spread the Faith among the Indians of Canada in the 17th century, and paid the price with their lives.

This weekend we celebrate “Mission Sunday,” and on Monday we remember the North American Martyrs: Sts. John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and their companions. These early Jesuit missionaries arrived in Quebec in 1625. Initially, their work was with the French settlers and traders and evangelizing the nearby Indians. Soon they extended their missionary efforts to the Huron nation about 800 miles west of Quebec (about 100 miles north of present day Toronto.) In Huronia, the first Jesuit missionaries visited the scattered Indian villages, and were welcomed by several Indian families with whom they lived. As the priests’ missionary efforts to the Hurons proved successful, more missionaries arrived, and they decided to construct a Christian settlement in Huronia where Indian converts and the missionaries could live. In 1639, they began building Sainte Marie. The first dwelling was a single bark-covered Huron-style cabin that housed ten Jesuits and five workmen. Sainte Marie grew to a fortified village with a residence for 27 priests and 39 French laborers, a church, storehouses for food and equipment, a hospital, and living quarters for visiting Indians. During the early years, the mission prepared hundreds of Indians for baptism and began constructing churches in the Huron villages.

Trouble soon came from the hostile Iroquois nation to the southeast, which began ambushing the supply route between Huronia and Quebec. In 1642, Father Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil were captured on a return trip to Sainte Marie from Quebec. Father Goupil was martyred while making the sign of the cross on a child. Father Jogues had his fingers eaten and was enslaved. Although he escaped and returned to France (where the Pope gave him special permission to say Mass without his fingers), he returned to the mission – and was subsequently martyred in 1646 (in present day New York).

By 1648 the Iroquois invaded Huronia. They destroyed several villages, including Teanostaye where Father Anthony Daniel was martyred. That winter, more than 6,000 homeless Hurons would find temporary shelter and food at Sainte Marie. In March 1649, the Iroquois captured Fathers Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant about three miles from Sainte Marie, and took the priests to Saint Ignace where they tortured and killed them. By May 1649, fifteen Huron villages had been destroyed. The survivors fled to Sainte Marie or to neighboring villages. The Jesuits, realizing that Sainte Marie could not withstand an attack from the Iriquois, burned the settlement and sought safety on Saint Joseph Island with the remaining Christian Indians. There they endured a winter plagued by starvation and disease. In December 1649, two more priests, Fathers Charles Garnier and Noel Chabanel, were martyred. In the summer of 1650, the surviving priests with about three-hundred Indians left Huronia. After a forty-nine day journey, they found sanctuary in Quebec.

The North American Martyrs were canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930. Their feast day is celebrated on October 19th in the United States. Those of us in the “developed” world would do well to remember these martyrs and the sacrifice of their blood which became the seed for the Church in our own country. And recognizing that the Gospel has not yet reached all nations, it is our obligation to support missionary activity in the “undeveloped” world.

St. Francis of Assisi – Blessing of the Pets

October 9 at Noon

Feast Day – October 4

Many of the stories that surround the life of St. Francis of Assisi deal with his love for animals. Part of his appreciation of the environment is expressed in his Canticle of the Sun, a poem written in Umbrian Italian in perhaps 1224 which expresses a love and appreciation of Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Mother Earth, Brother Fire, etc. and all of God’s creations personified in their fundamental forms.  Francis’ attitude towards the natural world, while poetically expressed, was conventionally Christian. He believed that the world was created good and beautiful by God but suffers a need for redemption because of the primordial sin of man. He preached the universal ability and duty of all creatures to praise God (a common theme in the Psalms) and the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of God’s creation and as creatures ourselves.  On Sunday, October 9th, all pets are invited into the courtyard between the church and the school at 12:00 noon, after the 10:30am Mass for the Blessing of the Pets.  Please make sure that your pets can play “nice” before bringing them over!

Rosary Congress Basilica of St. Stephen October 3-4, 2022

The first Rosary Congress was held in Poland.  Pope John Paul II wanted to visit his native country in 1979. The government with sanctions made the visit impossible. A prayer group went to God in prayer. Through inspiration they came to pray 7 days and nights, with Masses, Eucharistic Adoration and the Rosary hourly at their National Shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa. On the seventh day, all government sanctions were dropped. The Pope was allowed to visit his native country.

In 1988, The Rosary Congress came to the United States. John Downs, a quadriplegic, was inspired to organize the first Rosary Congress at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is patroness of the United States. Imitating the Polish people who prayed at their National Shrine, Our Lady of Czestochowa.  All who attended were encouraged to bring this Rosary Congress back to their towns and cities, enabling many to experience these powerful prayers.

In 1989, a New Orleans delegation attended the Second Rosary Congress at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This idea was brought back to the city. Many organized prayer groups, families and Adoration Chapels in the area agreed to help make this first Rosary Congress a success.  The Rosary Congress will be at the Basilica of St. Stephen next Monday, October 3 and Tuesday, October 4.  Please sign up in the back of church to take one of the slots to pray next week!

Willwoods Married Couples Retreat

October 8-9, 2022

Would you like to break away with your spouse and spend quality time enriching your marriage? Then join us on our upcoming Married Couples Retreat at the newly renovated St Joseph Abbey’s Christian Life Retreat Center in Covington, LA.

A Married Couples Retreat does not mean that someone is failing but rather it is a falling into the arms of our Lord. It is a weekend dedicated to giving you and your beloved the opportunity to find rest, strength, and enrichment, which is something we all need! A once a year commitment to attending a retreat as a couple is a great habit that will bless and deepen your love for God and each other! You may download a flyer here.

To register call (504) 830-3716 or visit www.FaithandMarriage.org . A suggested donation is requested but not required. Scholarships are available. Cost should never be a reason why a couple cannot make a weekend!

REMINDERS!

WEEKDAY MASS:   On Federal holidays the morning Mass at St. Henry Church is moved from 6:30am to 8:00am.  Such will be the case on Labor Day, Monday September 5, 2022

SCHOOL MASS: When the school Mass falls on a First Friday, it will be moved to the Thursday before that Friday.  Such is the case next week.

Feast of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter and Paul – November 18

The Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican (photo left), is the second patriarchal church at Rome (after the Basilica of St. John Lateran), and under the main altar lies the precious mortal remains of St. Peter, the “rock” on which Christ built his Church.  St. Peter was martyred during the persecutions of the Emperor Nero from 64-67 B.C.  He was crucified upside down in Nero’s circus (arena) for the enjoyment of the crowds and to cast blame away from Nero after the Great Fire of Rome in July, 64 A.D.  He was originally buried originally in a simple grave on the Vatican Hill.

The Basilica of St. Paul Outside the walls (photo right) lies over the remains of St. Paul, who was martyred during the same persecutions.  Since Paul was a Roman citizen (having been born in Tarsus), he could not be killed for sport in the arena.  He was martyred at the normal place for Roman executions on the Ostian Way.  He was decapitated by a sword, and his body was buried where his church now stands.

From the beginning – before the churches were built – Christians showed extraordinary devotion to the tombs of the two “princes” of the Apostles.  In a letter written in 210 A.D. by Caius, an eloquent priest of Rome, explains to Proclus the Montanist (who denied the authority of the Apostles and their Successor Bishops): “I can show you the trophies of the apostles. For, whether you go to the Vatican hill, or to the Ostian road, you will meet with the monuments of them who by their preaching and miracles founded this Church.”

Even during times of persecution, Christians adorned the tombs of the martyrs and the small oratories (places of prayer) which they erected over them, frequently prayed there. After Constantine the Great made Christianity legal in 313 A.D., he built the Lateran Basilica, as well as seven more churches in Rome and many more in other parts of the Roman Empire. The first two of these were the churches of St. Peter on the Vatican hill and that of St. Paul on the Ostian Way.

As St. Augustine so eloquently stated, “We erect churches or appoint priesthoods, sacred rites, and sacrifices to the martyrs; because the God of the martyrs is our God. Who, among the faithful, ever heard a priest standing at the altar which is erected over the body of a martyr to the honor and worship of God say, in praying, We offer up sacrifices to thee, O Peter, or Paul, or Cyprian; when at their memories it is offered to God, who made them both men and martyrs, and has associated them to his angels in heavenly honors…  We build not churches to martyrs as to gods, but memories as to men departed this life, whose souls live with God. Nor do we erect altars to sacrifice on them to the martyrs, but to the God of the martyrs and our God.”

The Proclamation Thanksgiving

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America’s National day of Thanksgiving, and sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.  Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Remember to Pray for the Faithful Departed!

Traditionally, the Church dedicates each month of the year to a certain devotion. In November, we remember the Holy Souls in Purgatory – faithful Christians who have died and gone before us but who still must atone for their sins. The time they spend in Purgatory cleanses them so that they may enter Heaven free from all effects of sin.

Praying for the dead, especially for those we have known, is a requirement of Christian charity. Our own prayers and sacrifices can be offered up to relieve their suffering. The following prayer, among others, can be incorporated into our daily prayers during this month: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is also granted to the faithful who fulfill the following conditions:

  • On any and each day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed (the ‘Eternal rest grant unto them…’ suffices)
  • Offer an Our Father and Hail Mary for the Pope’s Intentions
  • Make a good confession within a week and be free from all attachment to sin
  • Receive Holy Communion that day (or ASAP following if unable that day)

Please Pray for the Faithful Departed of our Parish

Charles Alexander, Flarencia Bardales, Margo Berger, Rose Bonds, Harry Boudreaux, Mr & Mrs Elmo J. Bourgeois, Marie Claire Brown, Marie Louisa Broussard Brown, Francisca Catrete, Robert Charlebois, Tommy Charlebois (Woods), Charles Connor Sr, Charles Connor Jr, Wilma Conner, Richard W. Cooper, Rose Cooper, John J. Coyle Jr, Mary M. Coyle, the Reverend Desmond G. Crotty, Gerry Deegan, Raymond Eli, Leonard Evans, Bobby Fuentes, Clinton Fuller, Clinton Fuller Sr, Armen Gamble, Lilian Madan Gamble, Skip Gamble-Aaron, Manuel George Sr, Manuel George, Michael George, Rose George, Joan Glynn, Ralph Goodman, Henry Hamilton Jr, Wessie Harrell, Hilda Heidingsfelder, Rose Jacobs, Earline Johnson, Helen C. Kennedy, Lilly Kennedy, Louise E. Kennedy, Sean Thomas Kennedy, Siminne B. Kennedy, Thomas Jos. Kennedy, Jared Keyworth, Melva Lorio, Louise & P.J. McMahon, Rafael Madan, David Mallory, Shirley Mallory, Vanessa Massey, Annette Matherne, Jon & Carol Matheson, Hillman Matherne, Deacon Paul Nalty, Buenaventura Pepino, Concepcion Pepito, Esperidiona Pepino, Monica Pepino, Prudencio Pepino, Anne Ponseti, John Ponseti, Luke Ponseti, Mark Ponseti, Mary Ponseti, Ted Ponseti, Thedore Ponseti, James J. Porter Sr, Wanda L. Porter, Earl & Louise Robinson, Earl & Rhea Robinson, Lynne Robinson, Julian Richard Rogers, Bruce Snider, Benjamin Bruce Sugg, Mr & Mrs Lloyd Templet, Neil & Georgia Mae Thompson, Beatrice Ward, Ralph Watermeier, Kathy & Gene Watt, Terry White Sr, the Guise & Fontenot Families, and the James Aza Woods Family.

(Envelopes to remember the departed in the back of church)

A New Program from Ozanam Inn

The Ozanam Inn will begin a new program in January to teach men and women working on the program there English and Math skills so they can pass the high school equivalency test (HISET), The Oz needs volunteers to work with these clients on these subjects on Friday mornings from 9:30am to 1:00pm. It isn’t necessary that the volunteers be educators. All that is needed is a willingness to help the clients improve their skills so they can have better opportunities in the job market, get back to living independently and enjoying an abundant life that Jesus has in mind for all souls.  All the teaching materials will be provided by the Oz.

An information program will be held at the Oz on November 2, 2022 at 5:00pm. If you are interested, please contact Deacon Rich Eason at 504-319-5214. Also, please reach out to others about this new program who may have an interest. Thanks so much for considering it. This is another wonderful opportunity to help Our Lord’s neediest souls.

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