From the Pastor – September 10, 2023

Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt. 18:19-20)

Most priests tend to pray a lot.  I’m one of them.  At my ordination to the diaconate, I promised to pray the “prayer of the Church” called the Liturgy of the Hours.  It’s made up of Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Office of Reading and Night Prayer.  Of course, I also celebrate at least one Mass daily.  I also try daily to make a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, recite the Rosary, do some spiritual reading and pray other devotional prayers according to the season.

But I try not to “isolate” my prayer into those moments.  Priests are called to live a “life” of prayer.  So I also pray before each meal and before every meeting.  Even when I am meeting one-on-one with someone, I try to begin that encounter by asking for Divine Assistance.  And what is the origin of those communal prayer experiences?  It’s the Gospel this Sunday: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Of  course, we know that God is “always” present to us.  But we spend a great deal of the day acting like we’re all alone.  Even when we’re at work or at home, we might act like we’re only with our co-workers or our family or our friends.  Prayer with others reminds us of reality:  God is always present to us.  And that brings us to an important part of that quote: “gathered in my name.”  That’s why every time we Catholics pray we begin “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Just saying those words causes us to make the Sign of the Cross!

Jesus strongly emphasized prayer.  He told His disciples to pray “unceasingly.”  And He gave us a great example of prayer by repeatedly going off “to a deserted place to pray.”  And today He tells us something astonishing: “if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.”  That’s why we gather together in prayer – to beseech the Father for counsel, understanding and peace.

But what if two of us gather together to pray that we’ll win the lottery?  Will Our Heavenly Father grant it?  We have to remember another lesson on prayer:  “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?  Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”   That lottery win might not be the best thing for us… Most of us can recall asking God for something in the past, and later being glad that it didn’t happen.  As the country song goes “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”  Life is short.  Pray hard.

(Very Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty

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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!

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.

Feast Days

St. Monica Feast Day – August 27

St Augustine Feast Day – August 28

St. Augustine, a Roman African, was born in 354 in Thagaste (present-day Algeria) to a pagan father named Patricius and a Christian mother named Monica. At the age of 11, Augustine was sent to school at Madaurus, where he became familiar with Latin literature, as well as pagan beliefs and practices. At age 17, he went to Carthage to continue his education in rhetoric. Although raised as a Christian, Augustine left the church to follow the Manichaean religion, much to the despair of his mother. As a youth Augustine lived hedonistic lifestyle and had a longtime affair with a young woman in Carthage from whom was born his son Adeodatus.

Although his mother constantly prayed for him to become a Christian, Augustine’s mind traveled from philosophy to philosophy until meeting Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, who had a great influence on Augustine.

In the summer of 386, after having read an account of the life of Saint Anthony of the Desert which greatly inspired him, Augustine underwent a profound personal conversion, which led him to convert to Christianity, abandon his career in rhetoric, quit his teaching position in Milan, give up any ideas of marriage, and devote himself entirely to serving God and to the practices of priesthood, which included celibacy. A key to this conversion was a childlike voice he heard telling him in a sing-song way, tolle, lege (“take up and read”). As he was contemplating what it meant, he returned to his house and picked up Paul’s Letter to the Romans, from which he read: “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, in concupiscence.”

Augustine and his son Adeodatus were baptized by Ambrose at the Easter Vigil in 387 in Milan, and soon returned to Africa, where he sold his patrimony and gave the money to the poor. The only thing that Augustine kept was his house, which he used as a monastery. In 391 he was ordained a priest in Hippo and devoted himself to preaching. More than 350 of his sermons are preserved.

The Queenship of Mary Aug. 22

The Feast of the Queenship of Mary – the Coronation – was established in 1954 by Pope Pius XII in a document called Ad Caeli Reginam. The original date for this feast was chosen as May 31st, but was later moved to the octave day of the feast of the Assumption, August 22nd. The Catholic faith states as a dogma that Mary was assumed into heaven, and is with Jesus Christ, her Divine Son. Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood of Jesus Christ, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of eternal salvation.

Jesus Christ as Redeemer is Lord and King. The Blessed Virgin is Queen, because of the unique manner in which she assisted in our redemption, by giving of her own substance, by freely offering Him for us, by her singular desire and petition for, and active interest in our souls. Mary was chosen Mother of Christ so she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race.

As Pope Pius XII wrote: “From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.”

The Catechism tells us that “the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.” (CCC 966).

All devotion to Mary is intrinsically linked to the worship of Jesus Christ. However, devotion is different than the worship. Because God is infinite, we offer him worship – called “latria” in Greek. Devotion is different. We can be devoted to our parents or our closest friends. And we owe special devotion to the saints who have preceded us to Heaven. But to Mary is owed the highest devotion because of the special role that God chose for her in His plan of salvation. In Greek, devotion is called “dulia” and to Mary we owe the highest devotion or “hyperdulia.”

And as Queen of Heaven, Mary serves as a powerful intercessor for us. This intercession in no way diminishes the unique salvific mediation of Jesus Christ; rather, she reveals to us His power. As she herself states in her great “Magnificat”: her soul “magnifies” the Lord. Just as a magnifying glass doesn’t change the size of the thing it magnifies, but only makes it easier to see and understand, Mary does the same thing for us with Christ. She adds nothing to His greatness but she allows us to understand it and appreciate Him more and more.

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