Previous month:
July 2019
Next month:
September 2019

August 2019

A Talent is No Talent 'til You Use It

Bell“A bell's not a bell 'til you ring it 

A song's not a song 'til you sing it 

Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay 

Love isn't love 'til you give it away!”

These lyrics penned by Oscar Hammerstein sound a lot like Jesus' parable of the talents in this morning's gospel. 

How sad when people don't use their God given talents fully because of fear, selfishness, sloth or criticism from others. The best use of our talents is in some manner which benefits others and for Catholics, a use which builds up the church, supports fellow parishioners, serves the poor and praises God. Using our talents for the benefit of God and others frees us from self-consciousness about our shortcomings and false pride about our skills. 

I had a Xaverian brother for one of my religion classes in high school who used to tell us all the time, "Don't Keep the Faith, Spread the Faith." "Keep the Faith, man" had become a popular catch phrase at the time. Brother Fabius was right!


St. Fiacre

St. Fiacre is the patron saint of gardeners and it's great that our summer gardens are putting on a final burst of color before fall arrives. The parking shrubbery is covered with fragrant, white blossoms of clematis and the yellow cosmos are blooming (and seeding!), while the re-blooming roses are providing a final goodbye of color and fragrance.

The photo of St. Fiacre's garden comes from and shows Fiacre's oratory and stone hermitage in the background. 

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

JohnThere are many, many paintings of St. John's beheading and even of his severed, bloody head. I chose one which avoids the gruesome imagery, sometimes painted as a tour de force by the artist to display his skills in depicting blood, horror or violence. I trust these images already reside in your imagination.

Instead, his sanctity and courage shine forth in this painting, even though his powerlessness in the face of vengeance, hatred and jealousy is also on full display.

The opening prayer of today's mass praises John as not only having preceded him as his herald but preceding him in death as well. St. John the Baptist, a martyr for truth and righteousness, pray for us.

St. Augustine

AugustineSt. Augustine exercised a great influence not only on the early church, but on the development of church theology down through the centuries.

He is pictured by Fra Angelico at the moment of his remorseful conversion back to the faith of his youth. 

His thinking in three was instrumental in beginning modern theological discourse about the Trinity, an interior spirituality and personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ. 

He once remarked that God in his omnipotence could not give more, in His wisdom he knew not how to give more, in His riches He had not more to give, than the Eucharist.

Our modern spirituality can prosper if we get back to basics, especially a reverence and love for the Eucharist.


Saint Monica is a saint for our times. She herself likely struggled with drinking to excess and persistently prayed and witnessed Christ's love both to  her pagan husband, who converted on his deathbed, and her son Augustine, whose return to the faith is one of the most consequential and well-known in history.

Her persistence in prayer and intercession before God and man is a model of faithfulness and love. 

St. Miriam of Jesus Crucified

St. Miriam of Jesus Crucified

Sr. Miriam was canonized in 2015 by Pope Francis. Her whole life testifies to the reality of the supernatural realm; she enjoyed close relationships with Jesus and especially the Holy Spirit from an early age. 

Not only did her personal life display signs of piety such as stigmata, prophecy, ecstasy, even levitation, but she showed an openness to the Holy Spirit unusual especially for the pre-Vatican II church. The promptings of the Holy Spirit urged her not only to become a nun, but to eventually found monasteries in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. She died from a wound she incurred while carrying water to workmen at the monastery's construction site in Jerusalem. 



Untitled-1Ruth did not abandon her mother -in-law Naomi,  even when she had the opportunity to do so.

Tragedy had visited the family. Naomi had lost her  husband, and then her two married sons. Their wives, Ruth and Orpah, were non-Jews and could have remained in their native land. Ruth accompanied Naomi instead, returning with her to the land of the Israelites.

She eventually married Boaz, a Jew and gave birth to Obed, who gave birth to Jesse who gave birth to David. Thus was she included as an example of faithfulness in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

Poll: St. Michael the Archangel Prayer

There is a new poll available on our webpage: 15 second yes/no answer to whether we should say the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after all the weekend masses at Holy Cross.

As you know, the prayer was composed and added to the "old Latin mass" by Pope St. Leo XIII after he had a personal revelation about the need for the church to be protected against the power of Satan. This so-called Leonine Exorcism prayer was added to the prayers at the end of the Latin mass along with three Hail Mary's, The Hail Holy Queen, a prayer to God for assistance for his church and three aspirations to the Sacred Heart. The mass after Vatican II did away with these prayers.

The pope has asked the laity to say the St. Michael prayer and pray the rosary more frequently and to ask God's protection against Satin, especially since the recent revelations of the ongoing abuse crisis. Bishop O'Connell has asked us to consider praying it after masses.

The advantages are obvious and the need is great. Critics have warned against the multiplication of prayers at mass (e.g. we remember the Renew Prayer and others added by the bishop after mass.) They cite past history as evidence that the number of such prayers will proliferate. Others have observed the lack of effective action by church leaders since the pope made the request and criticized the pope's request as hypocritical and a distraction.

What do you think we should do?

St. Michael Prayer Survey

Survey as of 9/1, N=78

Yes 85%
No 15%

Queenship of Mary

Today's feast day has been linked from Pre-Vatican II times with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a devotion which we saw was initially popularized by St. John Eudes and then by St. Margaret Mary.

As with all Marian feasts, it points to a truth about the relationship between Mary and Jesus and the nature of the Incarnation itself. Having settled the controversy in the early church about whether Mary could properly be called the "Mother of God" or only Mother of Christ human nature, it is a logical and prayerful consequence to attribute Queenship to her since she is truly the Mother of the King of the Universe. While we may no longer think in metaphors about royalty as did previous generations of Catholics, celebrating Mary's queenship conveys an important truth about the Incarnation and the dogma of the Assumption. 

I chose this image of Mary, since it explicitly includes her maternity of Christ as the source of her exaltation.


St. Pope Pius X

PiusPius X was one of the first popes to be canonized in the modern age, which is partly responsible for so many churches, schools and Catholic institutions being named in his honor. 

He is known as the Pope of Holy Communion not only because he advocated the frequent reception of the Eucharist, but also lowered the age of First Holy Communion from 12 - 14 years of age to 7 or 8 years of age. 

This has rearranged the traditional order of the Sacraments of Initiation from Baptism-Confirmation-Communion to Baptism-Communion-Confirmation. 

Whenever we receive Eucharist we do so with limited understanding of so great a gift and mystery, but should always do so with the utmost reverence and love.


St. John Eudes

JeanEudesVatSt. John Eudes was a founder of the French School of Spirituality which advocated a strong, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, an important role for Mary as the mother who permitted his entry into the world and a deep, interior prayer life. He founded an association of diocesan priests who live as vowed religious and promote vocations to the priesthood and the formation of priestly candidates. They also preach missions and teach at the college level. 

St. John is perhaps best known for his promotion of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We do not think it is odd to see images of Jesus' and Mary's disembodied hearts, but these images presented no small obstacle to the spread of the devotion.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us!


Twentieth Sunday Ordinary Time

This Soup Is Tepid !

I once overhead a couple who were disgruntled over the temperature of their recently served soup call the waiter over in exasperation. "This soup is tepid," exclaimed one of the diners. "Why thank you," replied the waiter. This unleashed an angry vocabulary lesson on the hapless young waiter even worse than the cold soup.

Tepid, lukewarm disciples are the kind Jesus has said he will spit out. Many famous writers and philosophers have named the greatest sin of their age "indifference."  It discerns neither good nor evil. In fact, we have seen how often it either permits or even commits evil by simply encouraging people to go along.

Jesus isn't intent on fist fights breaking out at the dinner table or in the church parking lot, but he is intent on lighting the world with his truth and his love. The gospel should inflame us with passion. How would you like for someone to describe your faith like the complaining soup customers, as tepid? Wouldn't passionate, faithful, dedicated Catholic be better.

Passion motivates behavior. How many times at funerals do we learn that someone's passion was a hobby or a seashore location or their boat? Some of our most important passions should be fueled by a love of Christ. A mass I attend without fail, that I honor God in speech without fail, that I pray without fail, that I support charities in the name of Christ without fail. 

Let us heed the words of Christ and not be tepid, let's burn!



St. Roch

RochYes, who would have thought it, there is a patron saint of dogs and it's not St. Francis. St. Roch, a former nobleman who abandoned his riches for a life of poverty and pilgrimage on the road, began to pray for those whom he met afflicted with the plague. Many were cured and his fame spread. So unfortunately did the disease which he himself contracted, isolating himself in a forest to await his inevitable death. Instead a dog began visiting and bringing him food stolen from his master's table to sustain St. Roch. When the dog began licking St. Roch's sores, they were healed.

He is usually shown in the garb of a pilgrim (the shells, the staff and the drinking water gourd), displaying the pitiful sores of the plague in his groin and on his thigh with the dog as his side. The dog either lies at his feet, licks his wounds or provides bread. The saint was invoked as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers in time of plague and death.


St. Maximilian Kolbe

KolbeSt. Maximilian Kolbe was a zealous missionary who travelled around the world to spread the gospel, establishing missions not only in his native Poland, but Japan and India as well.

He had begun a thriving publishing venture both in Japan and in Poland in addition to his pastoral and spiritual work. These publications criticized the Nazis and marked him for imprisonment when the Nazis invaded Poland.

While he was interred in Auschwitz, he minister to his fellow prisoners and when ten randomly chosen prisoners were set apart for execution in retaliation for an escaped inmate, Kolbe volunteered to take the place of one of the victims.

For this and his life of holiness, he was canonized as a "Martyr of Charity," the first in the church's history so designated. 

He is shown in a statue on Westminster Cathedral holding a book in which he points to the double crowns of purity and martyrdom which Our Lady had shown to him in a vision.


St. John Berchman


Main Altar Frieze at St. John Berchman Cathedral, Shreveport, LA

One of the saints on the feast of the calendar today is St. John Berchman, a Belgian Jesuit scholastic who died in his twenties while studying in Rome of the "Roman fever," possibly malaria. His life was remarkable for its simple holiness and his striving for perfection, without being susceptible to some of the overly scrupulous behavior we sometimes see in young saints. The frieze depicts his Last Holy Communion, or Viaticum, shortly after which he died.


Annotation-2019-08-13-094928A chapel was erected and eventually a cathedral over the site where an American postulant nun, Mary Wilson, was cured by an apparition of John Berchman on her sickbed.  In December, 2016 the full relic of his heart was brought from Belgium to Shreveport to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the apparition - the final miracle required for his canonization. 


St. John Berchman is patron saint of altar servers, since he himself served masses as soon as was old enough, with zeal and piety. 

Music at the 5 PM Sunday Mass ?

With the selection process underway for a new music director, it may now be possible to have music at the Sunday 5 PM Mass. 

Please help us decide by taking a 30 second survey. Music or no Music ?

    This survey has closed as of 9/4/2019



All respondents
Chart_Q1_190819 (2)
Rarely or never attend 5 PM
Always AND sometimes attend 5 PM

Interestingly, there were identical percentages for the Always attend 5PM mass considered alone or with sometime attenders of the 5 PM included.

The survey is still open.

Bronze Statue of Hachkiō

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hachkiō was a Japanese Akita who accompanied his owner, Hidesaburō Uenō, a professor at Tokyo University, home from the train station each evening. Uenō had purchased the dog as a puppy and the young dog left the house each evening to greet Uenō at the commuter train and walk him home.
One day at work, Uenō suffered a fatal stroke while delivering a lecture and did not return home.
Nevertheless, Hachkiō insisted on leaving home each evening and waiting for his master’s return at precisely the time the usual train was due at the station. The dog did this in fair weather and foul for 9 years, 9 months and 15 days until his own death from cancer at age eleven.
The dog continued his daily vigil without much fanfare and sometimes not much appreciation from commuters, until one of Uenō’s students wrote about the dog’s remarkable loyalty and Hachkiō became a local celebrity. Over the years the story grew more famous and the dog became celebrated in Japanese culture as a example of loyalty and fidelity.
Perhaps you know an Americanized version of Hachkiō ’s story from the 2009 movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale starring Richard Gere, Joan Allen and Jason Alexander. His story has been told in numerous films and children’s books as well.
Jesus only admonished the servants who awaited their master’s return from a wedding to remain alert for a few hours. Later his own inner circle abandoned him to sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane and ran away entirely during his passion and death.
Is our own time limit for waiting, especially for the Lord, entirely too short? Let us ask for the grace to be faithful.

Fanciful Reunion of Hachkiō with the Professor

Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time


This is the tallest public storage facility built by this company and is located in the Bronx, New York. It stands 12 stories tall and boasts 4,000 units. Ironically, some of the apartment buildings the Bronx is famous for can be seen dotting the horizon, bearing a striking resemblance to the proud new structure.

I can’t help but thinking of these modern storage units whenever Jesus tells the parable of the rich property owner who has so much, he must build someplace else to house his goods. Despite expert advice that renting one or more of these units is always bad economics, people still do it - mostly because they can’t bear to part with “their stuff.”

It’s not simply greed or economic insecurity that drives such motives, it’s refusal to accept the reason Jesus gives for the rich man’s blindness - refusal to admit we don’t get to take our stuff  with us on our final trip, nor guarantee  anyone else will treat it as a treasure.