From The Font
“Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: ‘What is your opinion?’”
Everyone tends to think of the world through the lens of their own experience. In our society where ideas flood into our lives through TV and internet video and where most everyone can read, ideas about God and eternity and religion are abundant to the point of being meaningless. Everyone has an opinion on God and everyone believes that no one has any right to question or disrespect that opinion. At the time of Jesus, very few people could read, the written word was very, very rare and anyone who shared a personal opinion was as likely as not to be stoned by those in authority.
It’s in this context that Jesus asks those in authority to give their opinion about these two sons… Certainly, no official opinion existed about such a peculiar story and so anyone who spoke was taking a risk. Jesus knew that…
Nowadays, there’s no risk. There’s no threat in reading a story like today’s Gospel and coming to a quick conclusion about it… But that’s not necessarily a good thing. A little risk can help to focus our minds. What if a little bit of our salvation depended upon really thinking this story through? On the one side, you have the son who disrespects his father to his face, but ultimately has a little conversion of heart and respects his father’s orders. There’s a lot there about the short- and the long-term decisions we make. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to the need to repent of mistakes we made when we were put on the spot. Jesus is praising the guy who has the guts to admit his fault and do what’s right. On the other hand, we have the son who says the right things, but allows something to stop him. He converts the other way - from right to wrong. What if a third son had said yes, then decided to skip out on work and then came back around and went to work like he said?
There isn’t one right answer. An opinion on this story isn’t a yes or no kind of thing. And the real value isn’t in the final opinion, it’s in the willingness to think it over and to look at the aspects of the story that come to light when we don’t formulate a conclusion right away. That consideration is part of the kind of prayer that we call “meditation” and it’s a good thing to practice on more challenging passages like this.
Thoughts from Fr. Ryan
This past week, I attended a “convocation” - which is just a Catholic word for “convention” - of priests in New Orleans. As with any good convention, the highlight of the event was not the program, but the conversation and socializing. Some folks would call it “networking,” but this event wasn’t about social climbing or getting things done, it was about taking stock. It was a time of realization for most everyone.
I think there are three things, in particular, that most of the 432 priests in attendance realized.
First, a great many of our priests don’t agree that the Catholic Church is doing great and that everything is rosy. Modern Catholics have a bad habit of being naive optimists. Despite obviously declining number, lots of the Catholic clergy think that everything is fine and we just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing and it will eventually pay off. Some think we should go further. If we’ve already been progressive with our Sunday Mass and it hasn’t worked, let’s push it further still! If we’ve already replaced clarity with ambiguity and it hasn’t worked, what we need is to go further! Basically every priest I spoke with this week was ready to get serious about identifying problems and making changes.
Second, the age gap was very, very visible. We have a good number of priests who are over 65 in active ministry and we have a ton of guys under 45. We have basically no one in between. What’s more the over-65s and under-45s don’t think the same way. The younger guys are children of the 1970s and 80s whereas the older guys who are still working are children of the 1940s and 50s. Those differing approaches to preaching, teaching and leadership will have a real effect.
Third, I think most of the priests realized that we’re all well intentioned. All of us priests want to do what God wants and we want to see people come to knowledge and love of God. This is a big deal! For a long time, there’s been a sense that “young priests” are up to undo Vatican II or some such thing. This past week was incredibly refreshing because the speakers and the brother priests just didn’t treat each other with that kind of sentiment at all. I couldn’t have said that about events like this in years past.
It would seem that the Holy Spirit is doing something good in the Church in our area. We have a lot of work to do. We have some difficult transitions and adjustments ahead. But this week was incredibly encouraging for me.
That said, please, please pray for priests. From the time of St. Stephen the first martyr to right now, priests have a lot of weight on our shoulders and a lot of opportunities to make mistakes. Being a priest is who I am and it gives me a joy and a clarity that I would never have even known to hope for in a secular life - but it’s hard. Not because my schedule is full or because I don’t like this or that. It’s hard because most of the challenges are invisible and because the devil is a heck of a chess player. So pray for me and for all our priests and let’s hope that the Holy Spirit keeps up the good work!
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
- Oct 1 - Sunday Cathechism (for adults & kids) following Mass (about 10:30 a.m.) - Church Hall.
- Oct 4, 11, 18 - Wednesday Catechism following 5:30 p.m. Mass
- Oct 6 - First Friday Mass and Devotions
- Oct 7 - First Saturday Morning Mass at 8:30a
- Oct 7 - Blessing of Livestock & Pets in honor of St. Francis at 10a in the Parking Lot
- Nov 19 - Community Thanksgiving Service hosted by St. Edward Catholic Church -- 6:30p
For Your Information:
PRAYER FOR HURRICANE SEASON… O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children. The Sea of Galilee obeyed your order and returned to its former quietude; you are still the Master of land and sea. We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control. The Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land and spread chaos and disaster. During this hurricane season, we turn to You, O loving Father. Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with the passing of time. O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our Beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son in our behalf so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem where a stormless eternity awaits us. Amen. (Fr. Al Volpe, Cameron Parish, LA, originally dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Audrey in 1957)
FIRST SATURDAY MORNING MASSES Our Lady of Fatima called for special devotions to be offered on the first Saturday of each month. Beginning Oct 7, Father Ryan will offer Mass at 9a on the first Saturday of each month in the Church. All are welcomed and encouraged to attend.
BLESSING OF LIVESTOCK & PETS IN HONOR OF ST FRANCIS On Saturday, Oct 7, everyone is encouraged to bring their pets to the Church parking lot for a special blessing in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. The blessing will be offered at 10a.
THE WORD AMONG US is at the entrance of church for your daily meditation.
PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN… parish volunteers must be VIRTUS trained and go on line regularly at www.virtus.org for the latest training bulletins. Any questions or issues can be reported to the office. Printed resources are available on the table at the entrance to the Church. “Protecting our Children, Understanding and Preventing Child Sexual Abuse” includes Resources and Contact Numbers for reporting abuse. “Protecting God’s Children, Teaching Touching Safety Quick Reference Guide” The Diocesan Policy for the Protection of Minors and The Diocesan Code of Pastoral Conduct for Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Ministers, Administrators, Staff, and Volunteers are available in the Safe Environment section of the diocesan website at DioceseAlex.org or a copy may be requested from the Safe Environment Office (318) 445-2401.
PLEDGE TO HEAL...If you or a family member has been abused or victimized by a representative of the Catholic church or a member of the clergy, please believe in the possibility for hope and help and healing. Dr. Lee Kneipp, Clinical Psychologist, Victim Assistance Coordinator, Diocese of Alexandria encourages those persons to come forward and speak out. Dr. Kneipp is establishing support groups in the central Louisiana area for victims and family members. The focus of these groups is to further emotional and spiritual healing as an adjunct to therapy, in an atmosphere of others who understand the pain, betrayal, and fear associated with abuse. Dr. Kneipp can be reached at 318-542-9805. All calls are confidential.
WEDNESDAY EVENING CATECHISM will take place in three series in each year following a special 5:30p Mass in the Church. Talks will build upon one another, but every talk will work as a stand-alone event. Father will answer questions after each talk. Guests are welcome! Series 1 is Oct 4, 11 & 18. The topic will be prayer: Talking to God, Vocal & Mental Prayer, Rote & Spontaneous Prayer, Structured & Opportune Prayer, Novenas \ Calendar-oriented Devotions, Listening & Understanding God (Discernment), Mystical Experience, Sitting with God, Growing in the Divine Life, Advancing in Perfection
The Voice of the Basket
- Weekly Budget FY 2017-18 $1,917
- August Budget $7,620
- August Income (Reg $7,585; Bldg $504) $8,089
- August Actual Expenses $8,714
- September Budget $7,668
- Collection September 23/24 $1,262
- September Income to Date $6,538
Stewardship …The first son in today’s Gospel said he would do his father’s bidding, but did not. The second son balked at first, but then repented and did as he was asked. What service is God calling me to do? Which son am I more like?
Special Collection This weekend’s second collection is our once-a-month Building Fund collection
Mass Intentions for the Coming Week
- Sat 6:00p In memory of Colin Williams/Thompson
- Sun 9:00a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
- Mon No Mass
- Tue 5:30p In memory of Doris Guzman for death anni/ Florence
- Wed 9:00a In memory of Jackson Jumonville for death anni on 2nd/family Olive Branch
- Thu No Mass due to medical appointments
- Fri 6:00p In memory of Marie Phillips/Hodge
- Sat 8:30a In memory of Lillie “SeSe” Holstead for death anni on 1st/famil
- Sat 5:30p In memory of John C.B. Jumonville for death anni/family
- Sun 9:00a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
Altar Candles this week are provided by Betty Smith
Let us Rejoice in the Lord!
Happy Birthday Susie Murphy (Oct 1), Margaret Yerger (Oct 5), Sharyn Marsh (Oct 8) Happy Anniversary Sharyn and William Marsh (Oct 5)
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, Brian and Natalie Kneipp, 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 and Joe Scurria. Also, 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, 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), Austin Parker (Wilks), 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), Kelly Southern (Wilks), Lazette Thomason (Dyer), David Thompson (Wilks), Elaine Trimble (Rome), Teresa Vidrine (Wilks), 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 DOC 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.