From The Font
“Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.”
Many modern Christians believe that the primary purpose of Jesus’ teachings are about living a good life in this world. Some say the Gospel is about getting along with one another. Others say it’s about being our best selves. Others say it’s about happiness or liberation.
The Gospel tells us a different story. The Gospel tells us that Jesus came to teach us how to get from this life to eternity. The Gospel tells us that Jesus embraced suffering and temptation and hard work and penance as part of a genuine process of changing from not-ready-for-heaven to ready-for-heaven. If that process isn’t finished in this life, we have the possibility of completing it in Purgatory, but we still need to hit certain benchmarks in order to get to Purgatory. If our lives end before that mark, we will go to hell and there’s no way to appeal that nor can we simply pretend that it doesn’t exist.
Jesus begins His ministry with real penance - real suffering - as an example for us. He began His life with real suffering. His childhood is marked by running from Herod’s soldiers to Egypt. His years of youth are marked by hard work and religious observance. His years of ministry are marked by homelessness, poverty, the hatred of governmental and religious authority and, finally, a gruesome trial and execution.
His promise of Resurrection and new life more than makes up for whatever trials we are given to endure… But those promises aren’t accessible without the trials they follow. Just as none of us can be healthy by eating whatever we want and none of us can by happy by treating people in our lives however we like - so none of us can be holy by giving God whatever we feel like giving Him.
Even for God, Himself, penance was so necessary that He began His ministry with it. So for us, this Lenten fast is no mere religious exercise, it’s an essential part of being a follower of Jesus and of reaching those benchmarks in order to be ready for our own judgement for eternal life.
Thoughts from Fr. Ryan
This Lent, I’m going to be preaching somewhat off script. Rather than give a scriptural meditation and a practical application for the Gospel of the week as I typically do, I’m going to explain the Mass. There’s an old maxim in Latin: Lex Orandi; Lex Credendi. It means the way of prayer is the way of belief… It means that what we pray, we come to believe. If our prayers are tepid or anemic or even theologically wrong, then our belief will become weak or erroneous as well. There is an extension of the maxim which goes Lex Orandi; Lex Credendi; Lex Vivendi. It means that the way of prayer is the way of belief which is, in turn, the way of living. And so given time, weak or error-ridden prayer will lead to weak and error-ridden belief which then, in turn, lead to weak and error-ridden living of the Christian Life.
To see this is action, we could point to one of my pet peeves: talking in Church. Years ago, when the priest faced the crucifix rather than the congregation and Holy Communion was only received after a recent confession and Holy Communion was only received on the tongue while kneeling, Churches were virtually silent. There was an awe and reverence which permeated them. Few considered talking in Church, it just didn’t make sense because. Jesus was there in the tabernacle. If we fast-forward to now, Mass is accessible and understandable. The priest faces the congregation like a talk show host or a professor in a seminar. We receive Holy Communion casually in the hand, sometimes months or years since our last confession. We don’t have a sense of reverence in Church… In many ways, the holiness of Jesus in the Eucharist has become a mental construct more than something we can feel around us. Our beliefs become less experiential and more intellectual. And isn’t that why the young are less interested in Church? Scientists and experts tell us the young want experiences not ideas. And it’s not just the young. Since the changes regarding Holy Communion, only about 1 in 5 Catholics attends Mass regularly and of those 1 in 5, only about half believe that Jesus is present in the Holy Eucharist.
The dramatic change in our prayer has become a dramatic change in our belief… And that change in our belief has become a dramatic change in our behavior. We may remind ourselves that it’s irreverent to talk in Church, but we don’t feel it around us like warm air - we have it as a category in our brains…
We could look at other aspects of our faith as well and see similar shifts in prayer leading to shifts in belief and ultimately in behavior. We don’t go to confession because we don’t believe in sin or hell and we don’t believe in those things because the Church removed over 100 fasting days from the Church calendar and removed a dozen prayers from the Mass in which we acknowledge personal sin and ask for forgiveness. We have created a cult of personality around the priest because he faces us and says basically all of the prayers aloud. The minutes of hearing father’s voice skyrocketed in the 1960s…
This Lent, I hope that by digging in more deeply to our most important prayer, we can build a real foundation for our growth in Faith!
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
March 15 Lenten Devotions - Mass and Stations of the Cross
- March 12 Altar Society meeting - Following 5:30 p.m. Mass - Church Hall
- Mar 26–28 Lenten Series: Virtues We Need to Get to Heaven
- April 21 Easter Egg Hunt - Church grounds - 10 a.m.
For Your Information:
BISHOP DAVID TALLEY MOVED TO MEMPHIS… On Mar 5, Pope Francis reassigned Bp. Talley to the Diocese of Memphis in Tennessee. Bp. Talley has some very specific gifts which the Diocese of Memphis is in serious need of. It’s good for them, but sad for us. Bishop Talley was a remarkable bishop and a real blessing for us. I hope we’ll all pray for him and for the bishop Pope Francis will send us. In April, when Bp. Talley official leaves, eleven priests of the diocese called the “College of Consultors” will elect an administrator. That priest will do the day to day administration until a new Bishop is appointed. That process usually takes between six and eighteen months and we won’t have any idea of who the Bishop is until an official announcement is made. If any news at all becomes available, I will pass it along as soon as possible. Again, please pray for Bishop Talley and his successor!
EASTER EGG HUNT….will be on Holy Saturday, April 21, at 10 a.m. on the church grounds. Stephenie Marsh and Kate Copes will give leadership to this event. Stay tuned to learn how you can help!
LENTEN SERIES...Virtues We Need to Get to Heaven...March 26-28 in Hall following 5:30 p.m. Mass.
Our Return to the Lord
- Weekly Budget FY 2018-19 $1,917
- February Budget $7,668
- February Income $10,845
- February Expenses $ 9,324
- March Budget $9,585
- Collection March 2/3 $3,232
- March Income to Date $3,232
Stewardship Today’s first reading describes the offering of first fruits the people of Israel were to present to the Lord in thanksgiving for their deliverance from Egypt and the gift of the promised land. Is my offering at today’s Mass an appropriate response to the many blessings the Lord has given me?
Our Second Collection today is for Black and Indian Missions. Please be generous.
Mass Schedule & Intentions for the Coming Week
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Marie Phillips Michele/Weaver
- Sun 9:30a Pro Populo for the Living & Deceased members of our Parish
- Mon NO MASS
- Tues 5:30p In memory of Angela Lusk/Nettles
- Wed 5:30p In memory of Joe Scurria/G Cox
- Thurs 9:00a In memory of May DiTomasso Olive Branch
- Fri 5:30p In memory of JCB “Chipper” Jumonville on death/family
- Sat 5:30p In memory of Becky Lancaster/Bullard
- 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
- 3/9 5:30p
- Lector: P Wilks
- EMHCs: B Wilks & Volunteer
- 3/10 9:30a
- Servers: P Collins & C Wood
- Lector: A Oliver
- EMHCs: N & M Ernst
- 3/16 5:30p
- Lector: M Rome
- EMHCs: A Farlow & C VanderVieren
- 3/17 9:30a
- Servers: C Sullivan & Volunteer
- Lector: Emmy Lu & Henry
- EMHCs: K Collins & B Smith
- 3/23 5:30p
- Lector: C VanderVieren
- EMHCs: L Magoun & A Keene
- 3/24 9:30a
- Servers: W Sullivan & A Collins
- Lector: D Ellerbee
- EMHCs: N & M Ernst
Let us Rejoice in the Lord!
Happy Birthday Levi Washington (March 10), Bobby Reynolds (March 12), Abby Ellerbee (March 12), Shannon Wood (March 15), Mary Trichell (March 16), Andy Nguyen (March 17), Alyssa Oliver (March 17)
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, Dale & Louise Magoun, Kathleen Mills, Sue & Mike Rome and Delia Trichell
Those under full-time care: Frances Kennedy, 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), 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, Thomas Joseph O’Dowd (Army Ranger/Italy/M Scurria O’Dowd), Debbie Pettis (Rome), Sam and Betty Phillips (Hodge), Wayne Pitre (Gilfoil), Lee and 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 (USMC), Matt Hall (USArmy), 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.