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 literally 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 phenomenon 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 very, very local. A bishop would have had a Cathedral Church and maybe two or three missions to serve. And so, he was generally expected to travel to the home of each Catholic family on a regular basis. Most bishops got into the habit of making their visits and blessing each 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 8
This inscription is designed to remind everyone who passes through the door of the true meaning of Epiphany which begins by realizing that the Lord made Himself known to us in a specific space and time.
While many of us simply assume that we’re heading for heaven (a very dangerous assumption, indeed!), the truth is that God chose a specific people - the Jews. 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 recognized God’s design and they find the Christ child and were welcomed 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 the gentiles we are, 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!!!
I also encourage you to make sure everyone in your home understands the basic message of the chosenness of the Jews and the meaning of the gentile wise men so that when people ask what that writing is - we’re able to use it for a little evangelization.
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
- January 6 - Burning of the Greens -- following 5:30 p. m. Mass -- Church grounds
- January 9 - Altar Society -- following 5:30 p.m. Mass
- January 10 - Wednesday Night Catechism - following 5:30 p Mass -- Parish Hall
- February 11 - Mardi Gras Potluck Brunch - following 9:30 a Mass -- Parish Hall
For Your Information:
SUNDAY CATECHISM... will meet on SUNDAY following Mass (about 10:30 a.m.) in the Church Hall.
STEWARDSHIP ENVELOPES…2018 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.
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.
ALTAR SOCIETY… will meet on TUESDAY, JANUARY 9 after 5:30 p.m. Mass in the Church Center. All the ladies of the church are asked to make special effort to attend this meeting as a support to the spiritual life of our church as well as support to the physical needs in the Sanctuary of the church! Please be in prayer for the success of this group as there are many spiritual needs for which this group can lend support.
FINANCE COUNCIL…will hold its regular meeting on TUESDAY, JANUARY 16 in the Church Center. Finance Council is comprised of Darryl Ellerbee, Chair; Dale Magoun and Brian Johnson, Trustees; and the Pastoral Council Chair. Members are requested to make special effort to attend.
PASTORAL COUNCIL..will hold its regular meeting on TUESDAY, JANUARY 16 at 6:00 p.m(after 5:30 p.m. Mass) in the Church Center. All members are requested to make special effort to attend. Parishioners are encouraged to attend contribute to the discussions.
WEDNESDAY EVENING CATECHISM... In the Church, after the 5:30p Mass 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!
Jan 10, 17, 24 Doing the Catholic Faith - What we do Every Day - What we do Every Week - What we do Every Month - What we do Every Year The Corporal Works of Mercy The Spiritual Works of Mercy Allowing God to Make us Happy
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.
Our Return to the Lord
- Weekly Budget FY 2017-18 $1,917
- November Budget $7,668
- November income (Reg $8,250) $8,250
- November Actual Expenses $7,211
- December Budget $9,585
- Collection December 30/31 $1,070
- December Income to Date $11,649
Stewardship The three wise me who came from the East to pay homage to the infant Jesus brought Him rich gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh as part of their worship. What gifts have I brought to this celebration to offer to the newborn Savior?
Special Collection This weekend’s second collection is our once-a-month Building Fund collection
Mass Intentions for the Coming Week
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Tommy Bagby/VanderVieren
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
- Mon No Mass
- Tue 5:30p In memory of Rosa Gremshell
- Wed 9:00a In memory of Curt Farlow/family The Olive Branch
- Thurs 5:30p In memory of Louise Testa/Magoun
- Fri 5:30p In memory of AnnaMay Farlow/birth anniversary/family
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Marie Phillips Michele/Finn
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo For the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
Altar Candles this week are provided by Angel Farlow
Assistants at Holy Mass
- 1/6 5:30p
- Lector: M Rome
- EMHCs: MA Gilfoil/L Bullard
- 1/7 9:30a
- Servers: C Donham & M Wood
- Lector: B Sullivan
- EMHCs: N & M Ernst
- 1/13 5:30p
- Lector: P Wilks
- EMHCs: B Wilks/MA Gilfoil
- 1/14 9:30a
- Servers: P Collins & C Wood
- Lector: A Oliver
- EMHCs: B Smith/K Collins
- 1/20 5:30p
- Lector: C VanderVieren
- EMHCs: A Farlow/L Bullard
- 1/21 9:30a
- Servers: C Sullivan & H Ellerbee
- Lector: Youth
- EMHCs: N & M Ernst
Let us Rejoice in the Lord!
Happy Birthday Edward Yerger (Jan 7), C. W. Keene (Jan 9), Matilda Johnson (Jan 10), Ethan Beene (Jan 11), Pat Gilfoil (Jan 15)
Happy Anniversary Alyssa and Teddy Oliver (Jan 10)
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, Bill Kennedy, Becky and Michael Lancaster, Dale and Louise Magoun, Kathleen Mills, Sue and Mike Rome, Juanita Storey, and Delia Trichell
Our parishioners who are under full-time care: Billy Hodge, Frances Kennedy, Andrew Lombardo, Sue 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, Hattie Brown (Lancaster), Jerry Bullard, Colton Bullock (Farlow), Richard Chappuis (Johnson), Jackie Daniels (Lancaster), Carol Dipert (Rome), Ainslee and Jared Duff, Reba Duncan, Renee Edwards and parents (VanderVieren), Joe Farlow, Mike Farlow, Kathy Garley Hanlon (Gilfoil), Cooper Harris (R Wood), Alan Henley (Copes), Bo Holloway, Diane Johnson (Johnson), Ben Lenhart (G Marsh), Megan and Jim Lensing (Gilfoil), LaLa Lopez (Hernandez), Michelle McGuire (Gilfoil), Stan Martin (Collins), Keith Melancon (Regan), Tucker Melancon (Johnson), Lindsay Mills, Wanda Murphy (Terry), Addison Petracca (S Marsh), Debbie Pettis (Rome), Wayne Pitre (Gilfoil), Bailey Rome, Lee Rome, Tiffney Rome, Dianne W. Roper (Murphy), Linda Sanchez (Wilks), Andy Sevier, Beverly Sibile (Gilfoil), 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
The family of Matt Farlow (brother of Cathy VanderVieren, Terry Hall, and Angel Farlow of our faith family) who died on December 27, 2017 in Baton Rouge. A memorial service is scheduled in Baton Rouge for January 13.
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.