From The Font
“No more shall people call you Forsaken, or your land Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight, and your land Espoused...” As the old saying goes, Life is hard, then you die. Religious folks are often accused of being overly fatalistic or pessimistic, but the last hundred years have made clear that neither wealth, nor luxury, nor power, nor technology, nor the YOLO mentality, nor free college, nor anything else seems to rid of those pesky realities of life. At the end of the day, all of us find ourselves facing the difficulties of life. We all lose those we love. Our bodies and minds slow down. Our hopes and dreams don’t play out the way we would like. Our new iPhones fail to live up to the hype and no amount of posting on social media helps us to deal with the basic challenges of being human.
Interestingly, science tells us that one and only one basic activity lifts us up and fills us with genuine, lasting and transformative hope, fulfillment and happiness. It’s not love and marriage - although they are both powerful, on their own they don’t really seem to last. It’s not success, accomplishment and what psychologists would call “self-actualization.” It’s not security and the feeling of safety. It’s not self-esteem. It’s not a drug-induced mildness.
It’s religion. The practice of religion does a lot of things that we as human beings need all at once. Faith gives us purpose, self-understanding, genuine humility and what psychologists would call “schemas” for interacting with one another. Faith gives us a framework to understand suffering and trials and to put those experiences to positive use for ourselves and others. Faith enables and ennobles sacrifice, goodness, other-centric behavior. In short, this sense of being adopted, accepted and chosen by God brings to life the words of our first reading. “No more shall people call you Forsaken... you shall be called My Delight…”
Religion, in a unique way throughout history, gives us as human beings - alone among the animals - a place in the greater metaphysical world which we all intuit. We know that we are not the animals and yet we know that we are not gods. Faith settles in that in-between and allows us to be who we know we are. In sum, it makes us more human and, so, it makes us happy.
Thoughts from Fr. Ryan
To all our guests and to those who we haven’t seen in awhile, WELCOME! For many, 2016 has been a heck of a ride. In many ways, we’ve found ourselves as Americans, as Christians, as Southerners and as human beings more and more divided one from another. From politics to ideologies to financial gains and losses, we seem to be breaking up into increasingly confusing and opposing camps over every little thing to the point that everyone who isn’t with me is against me.
As much as we’d like to pretend we’re immune to that, Christians aren’t making a very strong showing in this confusion. Younger and middle aged folks don’t seem to be convinced that Church is going to help them and so they’re just not coming. The Baptists, the Pentecostals and the Methodists are looking around (just as we are) wondering where the twenty-somethings are. They’re commissioning studies and polls and hiring marketing firms to figure out the next move.
What keeps me up at night isn’t the number of folks who listen to my little sermon on Sunday morning. It’s the number of people who just seem lost. I see people who looked to Bernie to give their struggles meaning. I see people who look to activism to give their lives a purpose. I see people who go to greater and greater lengths to take the perfect selfie so that they can rack up more digital hearts and thumbs and meaningless statistics. The number of people who died this year from accidents related to taking selfies and live-streaming videos is tragic.
At the same time as this is happening, I see folks telling themselves over and over again how happy and free and liberated and empowered they are. Of course, they say this while posting a video about how oppressed, repressed and attacked they are… (Which is trippy to say the least).
In all of this, I see people who more and more seem like a child of abuse rocking on the floor repeating a mantra like “I’m not really here. I’m not really here.”
Why say all this depressing stuff at Christmas time? Well, because this is what the first Christmas looked like too. The Jews were occupied by the Romans. There were all kinds of persecutions and abuse. A great number of the Jews had focused on politics as a way of getting out of their mess and they believed - as many do today - that supernatural religion was the merry delusion of their thick-skulled elders. These folks had doctors and Greek philosophers walking through the streets telling them the old darkness of mysticism was finally over and the new light of human reason had arisen! And into the declining faith of the Jews came the Messiah. He was literally everything the Old Testament said He would be and more. He worked supernatural miracles and he did it with remarkably little “new” teaching. Jesus chose the longest, darkest night of the year to be born for a reason. It’s also the last night in which the darkness is gaining. From this day on, the night is shrinking and the day grows longer… I bring up all this depressing stuff because I don’t have any reason to fear it - and that’s not a bad place to be at Christmastime!
Merry Christmas everyone!
Calendar of Events
- Confessions every Wed, Fri & Sat from 5p until Mass at 5:30p and on Sun from 9a until 9:30a Mass
- Pastoral Council meeting monthly on the third Tuesday after the 5:30p Mass
- Altar Society meeting every other month on the second Tuesday after the 5:30p Mass
- Jan 6 First Friday Devotional
- Jan 7 Burning of the Greens following Saturday Mass
For Your Information:
RELIGION CLASS will be suspended Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
HUNTER’S MASS...will NOT be held on December 24, 31, and January 7 due to holidays and our “Burning of the Greens” event (more information to follow).
CROSSES ...local resident, Lon Townsend, has given us a number of Crosses that she handmade. Father has blessed these crosses that can be found in a basket at the entrance of church. Please take one or two for each household. Also, if you see Lon, please thank her for her generous gift.
NO MASS ON TUESDAY… Father Ryan will be leaving after Mass on Christmas Day to spend time with his family and will return on Wednesday in time for 5:30 p.m. Mass.
OLL-VIDALIA COOKBOOK FOR SALE. The Ladies’ Altar Society and Men’s Club at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Vidalia, have published a cookbook titled, Manna on the Mississippi. The cookbook is comprised of over 320 recipes contributed by cooks throughout the Miss-Lou area and the U.S. Also included are recipes from some of our local Indian priests. The cost of the cookbook is $15 plus $5 per book if you want us to mail it to you. Contact Corinne Randazzo at 601-597-2917 or Pat Stein at 601-807-6383 to order.
The Voice of the Basket
- Weekly Budget FY 2016-17 $1,865
- November Budget $7,460
- November Income (Reg $6,817; Bldg $383) $7,200
- November Actual Expenses $7,598
- December Budget $7,460
- Collection December 18 $2,129
- December Income to Date $6,283
Stewardship For unto us is born this day a Savior! In response to so great a love, only the gift of my whole self will do. You have given us Yourself, dear Lord; in love and thanksgiving, I commit myself afresh to you.
Special Collection Traditionally at all Christmas Masses, a second collection is taken throughout our diocese for the education and formation of our priests. Through the Church Vocations collections, your generosity and prayers allow the church to continue to provide priests, sisters and brothers to serve our spiritual and physical needs. Please be generous.
Mass Intentions for the Coming Week
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Eva Reynolds (birth anniversary)/Bullard
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
- Mon No Mass
- Tue No Mass
- Wed 5:30p In memory of Paul VanderVieren (anniversary of death)/family
- Thu 9:00a In memory of May DiTomasso (Mass offered at the Olive Branch)
- Fri 5:30p In memory of John and Marie Johnson/family
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Bruce Dorbeck/Andews
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
Assistants at Holy Mass
- 12/24 5:30p
- Servers: N & C Hall
- Lector: P Gilfoil
- EMHCs: M Gilfoil & MA Gilfoil
- 12/25 9:30a
- Father will get volunteers
- 12/31 5:30p
- Servers: N & C Hall
- Lector: L Bullard
- EMHCs: Volunteers
- 1/1 9:30a
- Servers: M Oliver & C Sullivan
- Lector: A Keene
- EMHCs: Volunteers
Let us Rejoice in the Lord!
Happy Birthday Robbie Kivett (Dec 25), Emmy Lou Marsh (Dec 27), Jen Yabut (Dec 27), Emory Dukes (Dec 30)
Welcome to our faith family Charlotte McKay Marsh, infant daughter of Lance and Stephenie Ernst Marsh, was Baptized on Sunday, December 18, at St Edward the Confessor Catholic Church.
In Our Daily Prayers…
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, and the leaders of our church, including Bishop Ronald Herzog and Co-Adjutor Bishop David P. Talley; our President and President-elect, and the leaders of our nation as they and other world leaders seek peace in the world; our Governor and our legislators; success of our religious education program Our parishioners who are sick, shut-in, or in other need of our prayers: Pat Bullard, Connie Copes, Elizabeth Crothers, Susan Gilfoil, Bill Kennedy, Becky and Michael Lancaster, Dale Magoun, Kathleen Mills, Sue Rome, Sue Scurria, Delia Trichell, Our parishioners who are in the nursing home: Frances Kennedy, Andrew Lombardo, AND Jim Farrell, and James Speyerer of Vicksburg, Consuelo Marsh, Lake Providence, and our family members and friends, Jean Cantrell, Geneva Russell Our friends and relatives who need our prayers: Lee Adams (Smith), Ashley Weimer Alexander (Regan), Jenna Faye Allen (Florence), Margaret Baker (Magoun), Marie Farlow Bellard, Ruthie Boudreaux (Storey), Hattie Brown (Lancaster), Jerry Bullard, Colton Bullock (Farlow), Richard Chappuis (Johnson), Issac “DoDo” Crothers (Donham), Allison Crotwell (A Ginn), Jackie Daniels (Lancaster), Carol Dipert (Rome), Reba Duncan, Renee Edwards and parents (VanderVieren), George Eisworth family (Dyer), Joe Farlow, Rosemarie Finn (Hodge), Madge and Don Finney (Dyer), Tracy Jones Fortenberry (Donham), Thom Gilfoil, Kathy Garley Hanlon (Gilfoil), Jerry Ann Harmon (Hodge), Cooper Harris (R Wood), Alan Henley (Copes), Monroe Hill (K Dukes), Bo Holloway, Lou Horath (Hernandez), Kenlie Jackson (Dyer), Diane Johnson (Johnson), Jim Johnson(Dyer), Patsy Lancaster, Tut Lancaster (D Wood),Ben Legendre (Gilfoil), Ben Lenhart (G Marsh), LaLa Lopez (Hernandez), Will and Michelle (MS) McGuire (Gilfoil), Keith Melancon (Regan), Tucker Melancon (Johnson), Marie Phillips Michelle (Hodge), Lindsay Mills, Ashley Priest Moberly, Loyd Moore (Donham), Debbie Mullin (Dyer), Wanda Murphy (Terry), Addison Petracca (S Marsh), Debbie Pettis (Rome), Yvonne Phillips (Hodge), Wayne Pitre (Gilfoil), Dana Rogers (Dyer), Bailey Rome, Lee Rome, Tiffney Rome, Beverly Sabille (Gilfoil), Linda Sanchez (Wilks), Andy Sevier, Michael Stamper (Wilks), Lazette Thomason (Dyer), Elaine Trimble (Rome), Nicole Warren (Donham), Elizabeth, Randy and Camille Watts and Betty Kurfiss, Rusty White (Bullard), Conner and Hudson Wood (nephews of Bart) Our college students Will Donham, Courtney Ernst, Norman Ernst, Anna Ginn, Matt Hall, Josh Hall, Eric Nguyen, Roland Nguyen, Kathleen Oliver, Lori Sullivan Those Catholics residing at Christian Acres, Louisiana Transitional Center for Women, and Madison Detention Center and the families of all of these.
PLEASE LET US KNOW OF ANYONE WHO IS ILL OR HOSPITALIZED OR WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE A VISIT. PLEASE HELP US TO UP-DATE OUR PRAYER LIST BY ADVISING US OF ANYONE WHO SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE PRAYER LIST.