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 that we abstain from meat on Fridays. One of the biggest symbols of our city is our St. Louis Cathedral, and even our professional football team is named after the Communion of Heaven. But how often do we discuss our faith with our neighbors? How often do we connect these items of our culture and think about them? Jesus came to preach the Gospel, which He emphasizes in the reading this Sunday. But then He entrusted that Gospel to us. Who’s going to preach the Gospel if we don’t.

I was flipping through e Catholic Catechism the other day and came upon this section:

“Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it.”

I knew I couldn’t do it on my own! So how are you responding to your duty to preach the Gospel? If you want, you can email me at to tell me!

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty