From The Font
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”
The Jews were an incredibly practical people. Much of the Law of Moses was devoted to simple hygiene. Even the mystical works of Elijah were grounded by a steady concern for the governance and policy of the sitting king.
All too often, people reading the words of Jesus tend to write into them modern notions of spirituality rather than taking them in the context in which the Gospels give them to us.
Take today’s Gospel… Jesus begins with soaring spiritual images of total dependence upon the Lord. What can we do, He asks, to extend our lives or array ourselves like the flowers? And if we were to stop reading with these soaring images, we might be left to think that trusting in the Lord is an entirely spiritual effort which demands that we abandon the world as completely as we can… But, as Jesus finishes His thought, the poetic becomes more practical and Jesus tells us - as He has been telling us for three weeks now - that right intention and right priority are the practical ways in which we live out bodily these spiritual truths.
The Lord doesn’t say seek only the spiritual, rather, He says seek them first… Just as love of spouse gives meaning and context to the mundane parts of family life, so love of God gives meaning and context to the command to love our neighbor.
The analogy from last week’s sermon about St. Therese and peeling potatoes illustrates this well. St. Therese hated to peel potatoes, but when she realized that by peeling potatoes she was loving and serving God and her sisters - it changed the everything even though she still hated peeling potatoes.
We are directed by God to seek Him first and to let that search for the knowledge and love of God give meaning and context to everything else. Then and only then can the poetic become practical. Only when we seek the Lord first can we find true freedom from the worry and anxiety that Jesus speaks about in the Gospel. Then our hearts naturally reach forth from Love of God to love of neighbor!
Thoughts from Fr. Ryan
This Tuesday - Mardi Gras - brings to an end the unofficial season of Carnivale (“Carne” = Meat, “Vale” = Farewell). Carnivale is that time between the Feast of Epiphany on Twelfth Night (Jan 6) and Ash Wednesday when Lent begins. What most of us don’t realize is just how many of our Mardi Gras traditions are religious traditions.
When the Carnivale tradition began, that time was actually three separate liturgical mini-seasons, hence the three colors of the King Cake. The “Octave” of Epiphany was an extra week of feasting which followed especially important feasts and it was celebrated with Gold vestments. Then came the Sundays after Epiphany which were akin to our Ordinary Time nowadays and Green vestments were used. Finally, about three weeks before Ash Wednesday, the season of Septuagesima (AKA “Pre-Lent”) began with the festive “Burial of the Alleluia.” The people would prepare a small grave and the priest, wearing a fancy purple cope, would take a banner or a sign with the word “Alleluia” on it and physically bury it in the ground. Symbolically, the Alleluia would rise from the dead on Holy Saturday. The whole thing had a kind of comically absurd charm that so many of our little Mardi Gras traditions have.
In addition to the Gold, Green and Purple coloring, the King Cake was made in a kind of braided circle which was meant to signify the long journey of the Three Kings. Finally, the Christ Child was placed in the cake as a token of good luck, prosperity and duty. Whoever found the child was given the privilege of hosting the next party and providing hospitality in the Carnivale Season.
While the King Cake is a classic French tradition, the Burning of the Greens is Germanic in origin. For many in the colder climes of Europe, the Carnivale Season began with a great bonfire which celebrated the Epiphany Light of Christ and reinforced that the source of that light was the Christmas we’ve just celebrated by building the fire from the evergreen boughs and trees used to decorate for Yuletide. The Burning of the Greens was an opportunity to orient the celebration and, with it, the new year.
The parades with their beautiful and elaborate “floats” owe their existence to the religious processions once common in Europe. At the very beginning of Mardi Gras, the floats would’ve almost all been religious, each topped with a saint or an angel. The riders would throw sweets indicating the blessings of God. Parades would’ve been organized by confraternities or sodalities with particular themes. While that style of religious procession never really thrived in the US, one can still see them alive and well in Spain where huge parades are held all through Holy Week with positively gigantic religious images carried through crowded streets. (It’s truly amazing to see! Click Here for a video. Don’t worry about the KKK costumes, they’re not what you think. They signify "Orders of Penitents." The KKK copied the design 300 years after it was popular in Spain.)
While Mardi Gras has strayed far from its religious origins, it’s important for us to remember the role that our faith has in affecting our culture. Some traditions lose their meaning - sure - but it’s our place to continually update them and, in doing so, to evangelize through culture and tradition.
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
- March 1 Ash Wednesday -- Mass at the Olive Branch at 9 a.m. and at church at 5:30 p.m.
- March 3 First Friday Devotions-- begin at 5 p.m.
For Your Information:
ASH WEDNESDAY… This week on Ash Wednesday we will have two services. The first service that day will be at 9 a.m. at the Olive Branch. The second service that day will be at 5:30 p.m. in the Church.
LENTEN DEVOTIONALS: Every Friday in Lent: 5:00p - 5:25p Confessions 5:30p - 5:50p Stations of the Cross 5:50p - 6:15p Holy Mass
On three Fridays, Father Ryan plans to prepare a Penitential Soup and invite those who would like to bring a simple salad and we'll offer a movie.
- 3/10, We'll show a "The Star of Bethlehem" (60m) about the connections between astronomy, the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation.
- 3/24, We'll show "The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima" (90m)
- 4/7, We'll show Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" (126m)
- Depending upon interest, we may also throw a meat-lovers feast on the Friday in the Octave of Easter, which is 4/21, and watch "Risen."
THE WORD AMONG US… The Lenten Edition of this publication can be found on the table at the entrance of church. We have secured enough copies for every family to have a copy for their home at no cost. You are encouraged to pick up a copy and use the daily readings and meditations to enrich your Lenten Experience!!!
SAINTS ALIVE…ANGELS AT WORK…Thanks to those who made coffee and doughnuts a reality last Sunday!!!
The Voice of the Basket
- Weekly Budget FY 2016-17 $1,865
- January Budget $9,325
- January Income (Reg $10,576; Bldg $676) $11,252
- January Actual Expenses $9,648
- February Budget $7,460
- Collection February 18/19 $1,974
- February Income to Date $6,336
Stewardship All of our giving--whether of alms or of service--must always be done for love of God alone and not for the applause of our brothers and sisters.
On Ash Wednesday we will take up the Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe. This Collection supports Catholic organizations that provide affordable shelter and training for seminarians in a region that still struggles with the effects of Soviet rule. By providing pastoral care, catechesis, and funding for building renovations, your donations help to restore the Church and build the future in the region. Please give generously to the Collection next week.
Next weekend, March 4/5 we will take up a collection for Black and Indian Missions. This collection exists to help diocesan communities to build the Church and preach the Gospel of Jesus among the African American, Native American, and Alaska Native people of God. Please give generously to the Collection next week.
Mass Intentions for the Coming Week
- Sat 5:30p In memory of SeSe Holstead/S Wood
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
- Mon No Mass
- Tue 5:30p In memory of Sally Joe Higdon/Magoun
- Wed 9:00a In memory of GusGremshell (Mass offered at the Olive Branch)
- Wed 5:30p In memory of Tommy Bishop/Yerger
- Thurs No Mass
- Fri 5:30p In memory of Sarah Phillips/family
- Sat 5:30p In memory of RacerHolstead (birth anniversary)/family
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
Assistants at Holy Mass
- 2/25 5:30p
- Servers: N & C Hall
- Lector: P Gilfoil
- EMHCs: MA & M Gilfoil
- 2/26 9:30a
- Servers: Blake, Carter, & Walker
- Lector: B Sullivan
- EMHCs: N & M Ernst
- 3/4 5:30p
- Servers: N & C Hall
- Lector: A Farlow
- EMHCs: M Rome & L Bullard
- 3/5 9:30a
- Servers: EL & C Marsh
- Lector: A Oliver
- EMHCs: K Collins & B Smith
- 3/11 5:30p
- Servers: N & C Hall
- Lector: S Harris
- EMHCs: P & B Wilks
- 3/12 9:30a
- Servers: M Oliver & C Sullivan
- Lector: G Mbenkum
- EMHCs: A Keene & L Magoun
In Our Daily Prayers…
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, and our Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI, and the leaders of our church, including David, our Bishop, and Ronald, our Bishop Emeritius; our President 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, Juanita Storey AND Robert Anderson of Delhi, Jim Farrell, and James Speyerer of Vicksburg, Consuelo Marsh of 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), Kyle and Marti Dukes Dill, 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), Rhonda and Lee Miller (CCopes), 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, Chon Shiers and Deborah Shiers Stewart (Hall), Michael Stamper (Wilks), Lazette Thomason (Dyer), David Thompson (Wilks), 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.