From The Font
“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you…”
It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Old Testament prophet Elijah in the life of the Jewish people prior to Jesus. As Moses was the guy to whom God gave the Law, Elijah was the guy to whom God have miracles and His “spirit.” Of course, at the time, God’s “spirit” was thought to be something like God’s special attention rather than the Divine person of the Holy Spirit.
Elijah was a giant big deal. He was the one who had prophesied the ultimate victory of Israel over the whole world. He was the one who brought together military might, physical healing and spiritual power. And… Elijah didn’t die! He was taken up into Heaven by a chariot of fire (c.f. II Kings 2). The word was that he would be returning just prior to the coming of the Messiah.
So you can get a sense of what people thought when they heard about John... First, he was a miracle baby. His parents were old and they were barren and then - out of nowhere - they have this child. Then, his father Zechariah is struck unable to speak in the days before John’s birth… He has a dream and it told to name his son John. John embrace an Essene life style - like Elijah. He is known to be both holy and a miracle worker. And, on top of this, he has the guts to preach against the king.
When John said - of himself - that He was preparing the way in the desert, He was saying that He was embracing the work of Elijah. This wasn’t a reincarnation thing so much as a successor with the same power from God.
John was immediately connected with Elijah and everybody started to get very anxious. When John looked at Jesus and said “Behold, the Lamb of God” - the pressure cooker exploded. It’s impossible to compare that moment to anything in modern life. It was as shocking and unexpected as Trump’s election or the end of the Cuban Missal Crisis.
John the Baptist has, like St. Francis and St. Nicholas, been reduced in our time to a cutesy caricature of himself. But He was the real deal. He did penance, spoke the truth to the point of shedding blood and prepared the way for Jesus to begin His ministry.
Thoughts from Fr. Ryan
Of all the things that we Christians say to one another, none is more cliche and none is more rarely followed through on than “I’ll pray for you.” It’s not for lack of authenticity or genuineness or even good intentions, it’s just incredibly vague. The Baltimore Catechism says that “prayer is the lifting of the heart and the mind to God.” The Sign of the Cross is a prayer. “Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you, Save Souls!” is a prayer. The Rosary is a prayer. A novena of Rosaries is a prayer.
For the most part, unless the person you’re praying for is really OCD, the offer of prayers is accepted warmly and the gesture speaks for itself. Sometimes, though, especially when someone wants to make the gesture of praying for another (which is called “intercession”), it helps to make the offer of prayers more concrete. I’ve tried to get in the habit of being specific when someone asks for my prayers. I might say, I’ll offer my Rosary for you this evening or I’ll remember you at the Altar (which means I’ll pray for them during Mass). The concrete and specific offer of prayers is good for the person we’re praying for because it gives them a sense of the concrete value of prayer. It’s also good for us because it nails down how much and when we’re going to pray for this person.
The Spiritual Bouquet is a French tradition in which a person or a group lists the prayers, penances or acts of mercy which they intend to offer for the recepient. The Diocese of Alexandria sent a spiritual bouquet to Pope Benedict and to Pope Francis at the times of their repsective elections to the office of Pope. That bouquet took the form of a letter on fancy paper indicating that four hundred and twleve Our Fathers and six hundred and fifty Rosaries and seventy-four individual days of fasting and two hundred and six visits to the sick.
Basically, each parish put out a sign up sheet and people pledged whatever they wanted. Some only pledged a single Hail Mary, some pledged a dozen Rosaries. Each parish submitted their signup sheet and the Diocese combined them and sent them along to the Holy Father. I’d like to send the same kind of thing to Bishop Talley on behalf of our parish as a Christmas Gift.
This weekend, you’ll find a few sheets of paper at the back of Church. There’s no need to write your name or to stick to any formula. If you want to offer Masses or Rosaries or Holy Hours, just put what you want to do. If you want to offer some form of penance, perhaps fasting or “offering up” something, list that. If you’d like to do a work of mercy, indicate that. There aren’t any really rules to follow. I’ll compile the pledges and put them into a single list as part of a letter wishing Bp. Talley a Merry Christmas.
If you are unable to write your intentions on the page at Church, please feel free to email them to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. All pledges will be kept confidential and private.
Please be generous with your pledges of prayers, penances and mercies! Thanks!!
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
- Sunday Morning Catechism in the Hall after the 9:30a Mass unless otherwise indicated
- Dec 12/13 Advent Mission - Father Derek Ducote, presenter - following 5:30 p.m. Mass
- Dec 17 - Birthday Party for Jesus - following 9:30 a.m. Mass - Church Hall
- January 6 - Burning of the Greens -- following 5:30 p. m. Mass -- Church grounds
- January 10 - Wednesday Night Catechism - following 5:30 p Mass
For Your Information:
SUNDAY CATECHISM… will meet on SUNDAY following Mass (about 10:30 a.m.) in the Church Hall.
ANGEL TREE…Please check out the Christmas Tree in the Parish Hall where you will find ornament with ages of the children that we plan to “gift” this year as well as items that those children need and their sizes. If you have already made a selection, please return your gift (wrapped or in a gift bag) with the attached “Angel” ornament so the recipient can be identified. These gifts should be returned to the Center by December 13.
CHRISTMAS FLOWERS...if you would like to donate to the Christmas poinsettias and other Christmas decorations, there are envelopes at the entrance of church which can be used to include your cash or check and name of the person in whose honor the gift is being made.
ADVENT MISSION...Father Derek Ducote will be visiting with us to present an Advent Mission on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 12 and 13. The Mission sessions will be immediately following the 5:30 p.m. Mass and will take place in the church.
CHRISTMAS MASS TIMES… as Christmas falls on Monday this year, Catholics are obliged to attend Mass TWICE between Saturday 5:30 p.m. and Monday 9:30 a.m. It is possible, therefore, that if one usually attends the Sunday 9:30 a.m. Mass and the Christmas Eve Mass at 5:30 p.m., one would be attending Mass two times on Sunday to meet the obligation.
VINTAGE COOKBOOKS...in cleaning out some closets in the Church Hall, a box of 1974 St Edward cookbooks was found. If you would like to have one (or some), they are for sale at $5 each and are located on the table at the entrance of church.
2018 CALENDARS … can be found on the table at the entrance of church. Feel free to take one for home and one for your office as we have sufficient.
SCENES OF CHRIST...this weekend (Dec 9/10) at Parkview Baptist Church, 104 Kimbrough Blvd. walk thru from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. No charge. All are invited to attend and to begin in the church fellowship hall.
Our Return to the Lord
- Weekly Budget FY 2017-18 $1,917
- November Budget $7,668
- November income $8,250
- November Actual Expenses $7,211
- December Budget $9,585
- Collection December 2/3 $2,394
- December Income to Date $2,394
Stewardship John the Baptist’s call to repentance is echoed in the US bishops pastoral letter on stewardship:”Christians must beg God for the grace to know who they are, to whom they belong,how they are to live--the grace to repent and change and grow, the grace to become good disciples and stewards.
Special Collection (For weekend of Dec. 9-10) Help religious communities. “Your generous contribution helps us to care for our retired sisters and enables our younger sisters to continue in active ministry,” writes a religious sister. Your gift to today’s collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious helps provide medications, nursing care, and more for thousands of senior sisters, brothers, and religious order priests. It also helps ensure younger members can continue the good works of their elders
Mass Intentions for the Coming Week
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Marie Phillips Michele/Weaver
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
- Mon No Mass
- Tue 5:30p In memory of Curley Mills/Mills and Thompson families
- Wed 9:00a For Father Ryan’s special intention Olive Branch
- Wed 5:30p In memory of Joseph and Louise Testa/Magoun
- Thu 5:30p In memory of Rosa Gremshell
- Fri 5:30p In memory of Michael Mills/Mills and Thompson families
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Elvina Roussel/Florence
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
Altar Candles this week are provided by Margo Corulla
Assistants at Holy Mass
- 12/9 5:30p
- Lector: MA Gilfoil
- EMHCs: A Farlow & C VanderVieren
- 12/10 9:30a
- Servers: EL Marsh & C Marsh
- Lector: A Oliver
- EMHCs: A Keene & Volunteer
- 12/16 5:30p
- Lector: P Gilfoil
- EMHCs: P & B Wilks
- 12/17 9:30a
- Servers: C Donham & M Wood
- Lector: Youth
- EMHCs: B Smith & K Collins
- 12/23 5:30p
- Lector: A Farlow
- EMHCs: L Bullard & A Keene
- 12/24 9:30a
- Lector: D Ellerbee
- EMHCs: A Keene & Volunteer
Let us Rejoice in the Lord!
Happy Birthday Norman Ernst (Dec 12), Katherine Ernst Bedgood (Dec 14), Madeline Oliver (Dec 14), Johnny Gilfoil (Dec 15), Peggy Scurria (Dec 16)
Happy Anniversary Nap and MaryKathryn Book (Dec 14)
In Our Daily Prayers…
Our Holy Father Pope Francis and Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI; our Bishop David Talley and Bishop-Emeritus Ronald Herzog. Our President, our Governor, our Mayor and our national, state and local elected representatives, our family and friends
Our parishioners who are sick, shut-in, or otherwise in need of our prayers: Pat Bullard, Connie Copes, Elizabeth Crothers, Susan Gilfoil, Billy Hodge, Bill Kennedy, Redfield Kneipp (infant son of Bryan and Natalie), Becky and Michael Lancaster, Dale Magoun, Kathleen Mills, Sue Rome, Juanita Storey, and Delia Trichell.
Our parishioners who are under full-time care: Frances Kennedy, Andrew Lombardo, Sue Scurria. Also, Betsy & Jim Farrell and James Speyerer of Vicksburg, Consuelo Marsh of Lake Providence, and 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), Jackie Daniels (Lancaster), Carol Dipert (Rome), Reba Duncan, Renee Edwards and parents (VanderVieren), George Eisworth family (Dyer), Joe Farlow, Matt Farlow, Mike Farlow, Betina Finlayson, Madge and Don Finney (Dyer), Tracy Jones Fortenberry (Donham), Thom Gilfoil, Kathy Garley Hanlon (Gilfoil), Cooper Harris (R Wood), Alan Henley (Copes), Rudy Hernandez (Hodge), Bo Holloway, Lou Horath (Hernandez), Diane Johnson (Johnson), Jim Johnson(Dyer), Ben Lenhart (G Marsh), Megan and Jim Lensing (Gilfoil), LaLa Lopez (Hernandez), Will and Michelle (MS) McGuire (Gilfoil), Paul Meeks, Keith Melancon (Regan), Tucker Melancon (Johnson), Julia Moberly, Lindsay Mills, Debbie Mullin (Dyer), Wanda Murphy (Terry), Addison Petracca (S Marsh), Debbie Pettis (Rome), Wayne Pitre (Gilfoil), Dana Rogers (Dyer), Bailey Rome, Lee Rome, Tiffney Rome, Dianne W. Roper (Murphy), Linda Sanchez (Wilks), Andy Sevier, Chon Shiers and Deborah Shiers Stewart (Hall), Beverly Sibile (Gilfoil), Lazette Thomason (Dyer), David Thompson (Wilks), Elaine Trimble (Rome), Teresa Vidrine (Wilks), Elizabeth Watts, Conner and Hudson Wood (nephews of Bart)
Our collegiates: Ethan Beene, Courtney Ernst, Norman Ernst, Anna Ginn, Matt Hall, Nick Hall, Chris Hall, Kathleen Oliver, Maddie Oliver, Blake Sullivan, Lori Sullivan, Brice Wood
Those Catholics residing at Christian Acres, Louisiana Transitional Center for Women, and our local Detention Centers and for their families and loved ones.
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.