From The Font
“I am baptizing you with water”
The Greek word βαπτίζω (Baptizo) simply means “to submerge” or “to dunk.” In modern Greek, as in Ancient Greek, the word is closely associated with washing and cleansing.
The concept of washing with a water as a symbol of spiritual cleansing wasn’t new to the people listening to John the Baptist. In fact, the idea was very old by that time. From the moment that God told Moses to build the Tent of Meeting - which was the basic outline of the great Temple in tent-form - the priests were expected to wash themselves in a ritual formula using a huge basin located at the door of the Church. Our modern Holy Water fonts come from that original design first found in the Book of Exodus. The Temple Priests washed their hands, feet and heads before entering the temple and they had a whole series of washing before they could begin the work of sacrificing animals on the altar.
John the Baptist wasn’t alone in preaching and baptizing, either. At that time, there were whole communities of preachers called Essenes who had revivals like the one in today’s Gospel. The Jews were big fans of religious revival mostly because their religion was so duty-based. They had a list of things to do to “fulfill the law” and that was really all that mattered. When a preacher showed up talking about faith of the heart, the Jews perked up their ears.
It’s important to understand that John was not unique in his preaching or in baptizing people. It’s all the more powerful when we realize that Jesus chose to use the common relgious modes of the day to talk with people. Jesus is always looking to speak to us where we are. He’s always using language and symbol that we can understand. Sure, to understand the Bible, we need to understand the culture in which it took place… But Jesus didn’t stop speaking in 90AD when the Book of Revelation was written. He didn’t stop speaking in 100AD when the last people who saw Jesus with their own eyes died. Jesus didn’t stop speaking “back then” or in the middle ages or at Vatican II. Jesus is speaking to each of us right now… In words and ideas and symbols we can understand. We just happen to live in a world where everyone is fighting for our attention. How are we listening?
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 2019:
2 0 + C + M + B + 1 9
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.
This is also an ideal time to invite your pastor over to your home for a yearly blessing. In exchange for a cup of coffee and some conversation, I am very happy to make a big batch of Holy Water just for you and to bless your home which has the two-fold purpose of warding off dangerous spiritual activity and helping to remind you and your family that the home is not merely a place to keep out of the weather but a special place - instituted by God from His very birth at Nazareth - in which to grow in love and to become a kind of living icon in our families of the love in which the Holy Trinity abides. The house blessing is a wonderful tradition and a real opportunity in our little community.
Calendar of Events
- Confessions every 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
Sunday Morning Catechism in the Hall after the 9:30a Mass unless otherwise indicated
Jan 12/13 Third Sunday Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament (is moved to Second Sunday due to responsibility this month for St Joseph)
- Jan 13 Sunday Morning Catechism
- Jan 15 Pastoral Council Meeting – Parish Hall – following 5:30 p.m. Mass
- Jan 16 Wednesday Evening Catechism: Why do bad things happen to good people?
- Jan 20 NO Sunday Morning Catechism (Fr Ryan Covering Mass at St. Joseph & Waterproof)
- Jan 20 Youth Mass
- Jan 22 Pastoral Council
- Jan 27 Sunday Sunday Morning Catechism & First Holy Communion Lesson
For Your Information:
2019 CALENDARS & STEWARDSHIP ENVELOPES can be found on the table 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.
2019 FLOWER CALENDAR is on the bulletin board at the entrance of church. Please consider special events in your life or that of your family and consider putting flowers on the altar at least once this year for one of those events. If each family put flowers just one week, we would have fresh flowers for the entire year. Just pencil your name or intention in on the calendar and the church office will call to remind you of the date.
WEDNESDAY EVENING CATECHISM... Once a month, we will have adult catechism in the Church, after the 5:30p Mass. Guests are welcome! Topics for 2019 and the date are as follows:
- Jan 16: Why do bad things happen to good people
- Feb 13: Catholic Devotionals - The Rosary, Holy Water, Relics
- Mar 26–28 (Lenten Series): The Virtues We Need to Get to Heaven
- Apr 17: The Passion of Jesus
- May 15: The Encouragement that comes from the Truth
- Jun 19: The Old Testament in the Christian Spiritual Life
- Jul 17: Saints for US, Here and Now
- Aug 7: The Virtue of Hope
- Sep 11: Islam
- Oct 16: The Church in American History
- Nov 13: Hades, Sheol, Limbo, Purgatory & Hell PASTORAL COUNCIL..will hold its regular meeting on TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, at 6:00 p.m(after 5:30 p.m. Mass) in the Church Center. Appointed members of the Council: Josephine Hodge, Michael Lancaster, Ginny Marsh, Terry Murphy, Beth Sullivan and Blanche Wilks. Appointed as Trustees by the Bishop are Brian Johnson and Dale Magoun. Appointed by the pastor to serve as Finance Council Chair is Darryl Ellerbee. Additionally, serving on the Council in an ex-officio capacity as President of the Altar Society is Cathy VanderVieren. Mary Trichell heads up Buildings and Grounds. All members are requested to make special effort to attend. Parishioners are encouraged to attend and contribute to the discussions. SAINTS ALIVE...ANGELS AT WORK… Hodge funeral and Burning of the Greens
Our Return to the Lord
- Weekly Budget FY 2018-19 $1,917
- December Budget $9,585
- December Income $10,353
- December Expenses $9,953
- January Budget $7,668
- Collection Jan 6/7 $2,731
- Jan Income to Date $2,731
Stewardship Jesus, whom God called “my beloved Son,” is also the “servant” of whom Isaiah speaks in the first reading. We who are baptized in Christ must follow His example and use our time and resources in the service of God and neighbor.
Mass Schedule & Intentions for the Coming Week
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Curt and Anna May Farlow/family
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo for the Living & Deceased members of our Parish
- Mon NO MASS
- Tue 5:30p In memory of Angela Lusk/S Cox
- Wed 5:30p In memory of Joe Scurria/Meadows
- Thurs 9:00a In memory of Eva Reynolds (birth on 18th)/family Olive Branch
- Fri 5:30p In memory of Rosa Gremshell
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Matt Farlow/Lancaster
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo for the Living & Dead members of our Parish Family
ALTAR CANDLES this week are burning for the special intentions of Margo Corulla
Assistants at Holy Mass
- 1/12 5:30p
- Lector: A Keene
- EMHCs: L Magoun & M Rome
- 1/13 9:30a
- Servers: C Wood & C Sullivan
- Lector: B Sullivan
- EMHCs: N & M Ernst
- 1/19 5:30p
- Lector: A Farlow
- EMHCs: P & B Wilks
- 1/20 9:30a
- Servers: W Sullivan & H Ellerbee
- Lector: W Sullivan & A Collins
- EMHCs: B Smith & K Collins
- 1/26 5:30p
- Lector: M Rome
- EMHCs: P & M Gilfoil
- 1/27 9:30a
- Servers: EL & C Marsh
- Lector: K Collins
- EMHCs: N & M Ernst
Let us Rejoice in the Lord!
Happy Birthday Pat Gilfoil (Jan 15) & Renee Wood (Jan 18)
In Our Daily Prayers…
Our Holy Father Pope Francis and Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI; Bishop David Talley and Bishop-Emeritus Ronald Herzog, our President, Governor, Mayor and national, state and local elected representatives
Our parishioners who are sick, shut-in, or otherwise in need of our prayers: Pat Bullard, Connie Copes, Elizabeth Crothers, Susan Gilfoil, Josephine Hodge, Bill Kennedy, Becky & Michael Lancaster, Dale & Louise Magoun, Kathleen Mills, Sue & Mike Rome and Delia Trichell
Those under full-time care: Frances Kennedy, Andrew Lombardo, Sue Scurria, Jim Farrell of Vicksburg, Sharon Hansen of Gonzales, Consuelo Marsh of Lake Providence, Jean Cantrell, Marie Cedotal, 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), Tommy and Gail Byrd, Richard Chappuis (Johnson), Kay Collins, Karen Cobb, Jackie Daniels (Lancaster), Carol Dipert (Rome), Carole Ducote (Lancaster), Joe Farlow, Mike Farlow, JoAnn Phillips Finn (Hodge), Thom Gilfoil, Charlotte Green, Kathy Garley Hanlon (Gilfoil), Cooper Harris (R Wood), Bo Holloway, Diane Johnson (Johnson), Jeannie Kivett, Ben Lenhart (G Marsh), LaLa Lopez (Hernandez), Michelle McGuire (Gilfoil), Mathieu family in Delhi (Wilks), Tobie McKowen (Wilks), Keith Melancon (Regan), Tucker Melancon (Johnson), Lindsay Mills, Debbie Pettis (Rome), Sam and Betty Phillips (Hodge), Wayne Pitre (Gilfoil), Lee, Tiffney Rome, Dianne W. Roper (Murphy), Linda Sanchez (Wilks), Walter Scott, Andy Sevier, Spencer and Mary Sevier, Beverly Sibile (Gilfoil), Theresa Thom (Rome), Elaine and James Trimble (Rome), Adam Triplett (Reynolds), Teresa Vidrine (Wilks), Conner and Hudson Wood (nephews of Bart)
Our collegiates: Norman Ernst, Anna Ginn, Josh Hall, Chris Hall (USAF), Matt Hall (USMC), Nick Hall, Kathleen Oliver, Maddie Oliver, Bailey Rome, 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.