From The Font
“We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage...”
The last fifty years have been a very “heady” time. Since the 1960s, we’ve been on a cultural roller coaster that has seen the end of legalized racism, the rise of legalized abortion, the collapse of public decency, the end of the cold war, the rise of the undeclared war in the form of “military action” and the greatest loss of Catholic population in human history. In our nation and in the entire western world, we’ve seen 1500 years of work spent creating a culture based upon the teachings of Jesus destroyed in less than a century. There’s literaly never been a worse moment in human history. Not ever.
Into this darkness, a fascinating thing is set to take place. Many of the same astronomical occurrences that drew the wise men to Bethlehem are set to take place again in nine months time. It’s truly remarkable! The same occurrences and concurrences of Jupiter, Virgo, Mercury, Venus and Mars that would’ve shocked the magi in the East into making their journey can be seen right now through any decent telescope. Jupiter’s retrograde motion means that the planet which the ancients called “The King Planet” will remain “inside” the torso (or womb) of Virgo (the virgin) for the next nine months when it will emerge beneath her at the same time that the sun will rise above Virgo’s head and the moon will be at her feet and she will be crowned with exactly twelve stars. If that sounds familiar, it’s in Rev 12.
The wise men saw this phemenon and knew something was up. So they did some complex math and went toward the place where Jupiter would’ve intersected Earth had its “downward” motion continued and that place was the kingdom of Judea. When they met Herod, they were sure his people would know - how do you miss that kind of astronomical sign? It is beyond astounding that the same arrangement of stars is coming together again and will be upon us this October - the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Just as the wise men were paying attention, so must we. After all, Epiphany is the celebration of the Light of God which conquers darkness… And boy, oh boy, do we need some darkness conquering light about now!
Thoughts from Fr. Ryan
What is Epiphany Chalk? I’m so glad you asked!
In the early Church, bishops were expected to travel to the home of each Catholic family to bless their home at the beginning of the year, around the time of Epiphany. As the Church grew in numbers, the bishop couldn’t do it himself. So bishops started sending priests out at this time of year to bless homes. As the Church continued to grow, even the priests couldn’t make it to everyone’s home near to Epiphany and so two traditions arose. First, priests were instructed to bless water at Epiphany and to use that water to bless chalk. The faithful would then take that chalk to their homes and inscribe a blessing upon their doorposts. They were told to write the initials of the wise men (Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar) in the midst of the year. For example, for 2017:
2 0 + C + M + B + 1 7
This inscription is designed to remind everyone who passes through the door of the true joy of Epiphany which is that the Lord extended the possibility of salvation to Gentiles (which is us) in addition to the Jews. While many of us simply assume that we’re heading for heaven (a very dangerous assumption, indeed!), the truth is that God chose the Jews first. As such, only the Jews had any reason to believe that the resurrection of the dead would apply to them. When the Wise Men from the East recognize God’s design, though, and they find the Christ child and are received by Him… WOW! Symbolically, this is the sign in the scriptures that Jesus came not only to save the Jews (symbolized by the shepherds), but also to save gentiles (symbolized by the magi). It’s an incredibly important moment and so we, as gentiles, mark our homes with the names of those gentiles who symbolize our admission into the promise of being chosen by God.
At Mass today, I’ll bless chalk and all are encouraged to take some to their homes. Simply make the marking that you see here above the door (on the frame) and perhaps add a prayer of thanksgiving that God is good.
I should add that this isn’t some kind of totem, taboo, magic or other wacky thing. This is kind of like making the sign of the cross with your house instead of your hand. It’s meant to convey a real blessing and then to remind us of God’s work in our lives. Beyond this blessing and marking, the chalk is not special and can’t be used to convey other blessings. You can’t, sadly, mark the cross on your misbehaving child or sassy mother-in-law!!!
What this little tradition can do is help to reinforce just how tangible, touchable and physical our Faith is. Catholicism is not meant to begin and end with the doors of the Church, it’s meant to extend to our homes, our families and our daily lives. Jesus never intended to establish a Church that would confine. Rather, He established a Church that would reach out and transform those who set foot inside and those who don’t!
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 10 Altar Society– Parish Hall – following 5:30 p.m. Mass
- Jan 17 Parish Council Meeting -- Parish Hall -- Following 5:30 p.m. Mass
For Your Information:
RELIGION CLASS will be held following Sunday Mass in the Church Hall.
HUNTER’S MASS will NOT be held on January 7 due to our “Burning of the Greens” event
STEWARDSHIP ENVELOPES 2017 Stewardship envelopes can be found at the entrance of church. If you do not find a box with your name on it, it is probably because you have indicated that you prefer not to use envelopes because you are doing automatic bill pay or some other method of conveying your monies to St. Edward. There is a page in the Stewardship book on which your contributions are noted each week/month/quarter so that at the end of the year you will receive a statement of your contributions. If there is someone who would like envelopes and there are none there, please advise the church office.
The Voice of the Basket
- Weekly Budget FY 2016-17 $1,865
- December Budget $7,460
- December Income (Reg $9,172; Bldg $455) $9,627
- December Actual Expenses $6,871
- January Budget $9,325
- Collection January 1 $1,663
- January Income to Date $1,663
Stewardship This weekend, we remember the three wise men from the East who came to pay homage to the infant Jesus, bringing him rich gifts of gold, frankincense,and myrrh. The gifts we bring--our timeandserviceandsomeshare of what we earn for the work we do--are equally precious in His sight.
Mass Intentions for the Coming Week
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Tommy Bishop/Yerger
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
- Mon No Mass
- Tue 5:30p In memory of Anna May (birth) & Curt (death) Farlow/family
- Wed 5:30p In memory of Louise Testa/Magoun
- Thu 9:00a In memory of Rosa Gremshell (Mass offered at the Olive Branch)
- Fri 5:30p For Paul and Meg Keene Thomas/Family
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Bruce Dorbeck/Andrews
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
Let us Rejoice in the Lord!
Happy Birthday Edward Yerger (Jan 7), C. W. Keene (Jan 9), Matilda Johnson (Jan 10, 2005), Ethan Beene (Jan 11), Pat Gilfoil (Jan 15)
Happy Anniversary Alyssa and Teddy Oliver (Jan 10)
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, Billy Hodge, 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, 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, Kathleen Oliver 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.