Archives for February 2009

From the Pastor – February 28, 2009

This week we celebrate the “Rite of Election” when the new catechumens will be inscribed in the “Book of the Elect.” In the early Church, the word  “Catechumen” was the name applied to those who had not yet been initiated into the sacraments, but who were undergoing a course of preparation for that purpose. The word can be found in Galatians 6:6: "Let him that is instructed (katechoumenos, the “catechumen”) in the word, communicate to him that instructs him [the (katechounti, the “catechist”) in all good things." Other parts of the verb “to catechize” occur in 1 Corinthians 14:19; Luke 1:4; and Acts 18:24.  Since the acceptance of Christianity involved belief in a body of doctrine and the observance of the Divine law  (“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations... teaching … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 21, 2009

In this week's Gospel we hear a story about Jesus forgiving sins. In the long history of religion, Jesus was the first person to claim that one's sins can be forgiven by God here on earth. While there is hardly a virtue or moral teaching of Christ that cannot be found in the beautiful writings of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato or Cicero, the idea of forgiving sins on earth was so novel that the scribes called it “blasphemy” – literally speaking evil of God! Last Sunday, the Holy Father spoke about rediscovering the value of Confession for the forgiveness of sins.  Commenting upon the Gospel reading from last Sunday's Mass, in which St. Mark recounts Jesus' miraculous healing of a leper, the Pope explained how "according to ancient Jewish Law leprosy was considered not just as an illness but … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 14, 2009

This Sunday we hear the story of Jesus healing a man struck with leprosy. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacillus lepr, and is characterized by the formation of growths in the skin, mucous membranes, peripheral nerves, bones, and internal viscera, producing various deformities and mutilations of the human body, and usually terminating in death. Without treatment, people with leprosy are visibly disfigured and often have significant disability; they have long been feared and shunned by others. Since leprosy is mentioned so often in the Bible, most of us in developed countries think of it as something from the past. Not so. During 2007, over 250,000 new cases were reported. About 90% of these cases occurred in the following eight countries: India, Brazil, Indonesia, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 7, 2009

We live in a city that is pretty Catholic. In fact, one would say that we have a good “Catholic Culture” here in New Orleans. Many streets are named after saints (St. Charles, St. Bernard, St. Claude, St. Louis, St. Peter, St. Roch) and holy things (Elysian Fields, Felicity, Hope). Many churches dot our city, although, sadly, many have been closed. And we generally follow a lot of Catholic customs. We have a “king cake” to remember Epiphany and the visit of the “kings” to the baby Jesus. We celebrate the beginning of Lent by our celebration of Mardi Gras, and even non-Catholics come to our churches to receive ashes. We honor St. Joseph and St. Patrick with altars and parades. Throughout the year many restaurants serve fish specials on Fridays because of the pre-Vatican II requirement … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 1, 2009

We've got a few weeks before Mardi Gras, and most of our preparation during this time might be on parties and parades and balls and food. But it's not too early to think about Lent. None of us want to wake up on Ash Wednesday with a headache trying to think of something to sacrifice during Lent! The traditional activities of Lent include prayer, fasting and alms-giving. So how will you incorporate that into your Lent this year? Will you go to Daily Mass? Will you abstain from meat or alcohol or sweets? Will you decide to give larger donations to the Church so that it can provide greater outreach to the poor? Now is the time to make some resolutions. Let me tell you what I will be doing in the parish during Lent. Of course, I have my own personal Lenten sacrifices, but there are a few … [Read more...]