Contemplating with St. Joseph - December 18, 2022

...My dear son, I will always be proud to be called Your father. I may not be here when Your Heavenly Father fulfills His plans in You. As long as I can be here, we will live together as a family of faith. Every single day, no matter what trials and challenges come our way, let us trust in God’s way for us. Let us be patient with each other, honest with each other. Let us support each other when we eed it and strenghten each other with God’s own loving patience. Let us learn God’s ways by loving others, forginging others and healing all who suffer. If You are to save Your Heavenly Father’s people from their sins, may God develop Your heart to love as God loves.

But for this moment, I cherish this time holding You, sleeping against my chest. As I await the singing that is the sign of Your mother’s return from the well, I know the angel was right: I will put my fears aside. For now the future is simple: I will teach You as my father taught me: to be a carpenter and to be a story teller. Together, we will love Your mother. Shaloam, my Son. Shaloam each day.

The Color For Joy - December 11, 2022

A pink candle that signifies joy makes sense since it is lit on Gaudete Sunday-names for the entrance antiphon for that Sunday’s Masss: “Rejoice (gaudete) in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice.” The joy is subdued, however, as the penitential violet of the other weeks lessens to rose as we move closer to Christmas.

As Advent is patterned in part after Lent, Gaudete Sunday is similar to the Lenten Laetare Sunday, which also represents joy and falls at the midpoint of Lent.

And that finally leads to the explanation for the pink candle. In the ancient Church on Laetare Sunday in Lent, the Pope gave a citizen a pink rose. The tradition has contined, as Popes bestowed golden roses on Catholic rulers and now more commonly, on places of devotion.

Following the papal rose custom, bishops and priests began wearing rose-colored vesments on Laetare Sunday. The Church then brought the Lenten practice of rose vestments to Advent on Gaudette Sunday. As a result, the pink candle gained a place in the Advent wreath.

Although the culture tells us it’s already Christmas, the Church reminds us through the pink candle of Advent that there is an appointed time for everything (Eccl. 3:1). The time now is for rejoicing-because the Lord is coming soon!

The Immaculate Conception - December 4, 2022

child mary

The Immaculate Conception is one of the most Catholic, most mysterious, and most misunderstood Catholic dogmas. The Immaculate Conception has nothing to do with the conceiving of Jesus within the womb of Mary - even though the Gospel reading at Mass that day is the account of the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel told Mary that she was to be the Mother of Jesus. It’s within the text of that Gospel that Catholicism gets the Immaculate Conception.

Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception, which means that from the first moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Ann, Mary was kept free from original sin by the power of divine grace. So the Immaculate Conception is about Mary’s conception in her mother’s womb. The Incarnation, on the other hand, refers to Jesus’ conception in his mother’s womb.

When the Archangel Gabriel addressed Mary in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, he said, “Hail, full of grace.” (kercharit men in Greek, from the root word charis, meaning grace). She was full of grace because of the Immaculate Conception, a divine gift to her from God. She didn’t earn or merit it. He freely gave it to her, so she could provide a worthy, spotless, and pure human nature for Jesus.

The Season of Advent in the Catholic Church - November 27, 2022

christmas advent wreath for website

In the Catholic Church, Advent is a period of preparation, extending over four Sundays, before Christmas. The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio, “to come to,” and refers to the coming of Christ. This refers, first of all, to our celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas; but second, to the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion; and finally, to His Second Coming at the end of time.
Our preparations, therefore, should have all three comings in mind. We need to prepare our souls to receive Christ worthily.

First We Fast, Then We Feast
That’s why Advent has traditionally been known as a “little Lent.” As in Lent, Advent should be marked by increased prayer, fasting, and good works. While the Western Church no longer has a set requirement for fasting during Advent, the Eastern Church, both Catholic and Orthodox, continues to observe what is known as Philip’s Fast, from November 15 until Christmas.
Traditionally, all great feasts have been preceded by a time of fasting, which makes the feast itself more joyful. Sadly, Advent today has supplanted by “the Christmas shopping season,” so that by Christmas Day, many people no longer enjoy the feast.

The Symbols of Advent
In its symbolism, the Church continues to stress the penitential and preparatory nature of Advent.

The Advent Wreath
Perhaps the best-known of all Advent symbols is the Advent wreath, a custom which originated among German Lutherans but was soon adopted by Catholics. Consisting of four candles (three purple and one pink) arranged in a circle with evergreen boughs (and often a fifth, white candle in the center), the Advent wreath corresponds to the four Sundays of Advent. The purple candles represent the penitential nature of the season, while the pink candle calls to mind the respite of Gaudete Sunday. (The white candle, when used, represents Christmas.)

Celebrating Advent
We can better enjoy Christmas—all 12 days of it, from Christmas Day to Epiphany—if we revive Advent as a period of preparation. Abstaining from meat on Fridays, or not eating at all between meals, is a good way to revive the Advent fast. (Not eating Christmas cookies or listening to Christmas music before Christmas is another.) We can incorporate such customs as the Advent wreath, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena, and the Jesse Tree into our daily ritual, and we can set some time aside for special scripture readings for Advent, which remind us of the threefold coming of Christ.

The Struggles of Our Life - November 20.2022

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He took the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.
Turning to her, he asked. “What do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.
He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity – the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

How Old Is Your Church? - November 6, 2022

If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.

If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534, because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to re-marry.

If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.

If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1605.

If you are of the Dutch Reformed Church, you recognize Michaelis Jones as founder, because he originated you religion in New Your in 1628.

If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England founded by Samuel Seabury in the American colonies in the 17th Century.

If you are Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.

If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your Church in London in 1774.

If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, NY, in 1829.

If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.

If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.

If you belong to one of the religious organizations know as “Church of the Nazarene”, “Pentecostal Gospel”, “Holiness Church”, “Pilgrim Holiness Church”, or “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, your religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past one hundred years.

If you are Roman Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and it is still the same Church.

“O God, I humbly beseech thee to teach me thy true religion, that leads to everlasting happiness, through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord. Amen.”

All Saints’ Day - October 30, 2022

On November 1st, the Feast of All Saints' Day, some Dioceses and/or Parishes have a custom of Blessing the Catholic cemeteries or individual graves. This practice reminds the faithful that our departed brothers and sisters in Christ are in need of our prayers, especially those who are still in Purgatory.


Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

CANDLES - October 23, 2022

candles image for website
When the people of Israel offered worship, in the Old Testament they did so amid the flicker of many lights. “So Solomon made… the lamp stands of pure gold, five on south side and five on the north, before the inner sanctuary” (1 Kings 7:48-49). So important were these candelabras that the main one, the Temple menorah, became the most recognizable symbol of all Judaism. In the New Testament, we find St. Paul preaching in a crowded room. St. Luke notes that ‘there were many lights in the upper chamber where we were gathered’ (Acts 20:8). Lights are so important that St. John warns us in the book of Revelation that if the Church is falling slack in its devotion, God will remove its lamp stand (Revelation 2:5).

The lamp was itself a symbol of Jesus Christ, who consistently spoke of His gospel and even of Himself in terms of light; “I AM the light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). As such, during the Easter Vigil liturgy, the priest holds aloft the paschal candle and proclaims, “Christ out Light” three times!

St. Jerome, who is probably the greatest scholar in the ancient world, states; ‘whenever the Gospel is to be read, the candles are to be lighted…’. Additionally St. Jerome also stated, ‘Your Word is a lamp unto my feet’ (Psalm 119:05). Finally, we have all noticed that a candle is constantly lit next to the Tabernacle; signifying HIS presence! This comes not only from Scripture (John 8:12), but from Tradition as well. As you will note from the sketch below, according to Jewish Traditions, the Priest of the Temple maintained a lit Menorah next to the veil, covering the Ark of the Covenant! The same is true today in Mother Church.

The Story of the Butterfly - October 15, 2022


A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never fly.

Know where you're going in life - October 9, 2022

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village,
An American tourist complimented a Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked him how long it took him to catch them.
“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.
“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.
The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The American asked “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”
The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”
“And after that?” asked the Mexican.
“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”
“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.
“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.
“And after that?”
“Afterwards? Well my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”
“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the Mexican.
“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking with your friends.”

Know where you’re going in life... You may already be there.


mans best friend

Here's the surprising answer of a 6 year old child.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that dogs' lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued,

"Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay for as long as we do."

SO: Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

• When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
• Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
• Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
• Take naps.
• Stretch before rising.
• Run, romp, and play daily.
• Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
• Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
• On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
• On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
• When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
• Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
• Be faithful.
• Never pretend to be something you're not.
• If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
• When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

That's the secret of happiness that we can learn from a good dog!!

St. Michael defend us in battle - September 25, 2022

I was asleep in bed with my wife. Suddenly, I awoke. I sat up very quickly and looked to my left. At the entrance to our bathroom, adjoined to our bedroom, was an enormous man. He was praying on both knees with his head lowered and his hands pressed together under his chin. Our vaulted ceilings are about thirteen feet tall. Even so, the back of his head was grazing the ceiling, so the size of this creature when standing would have been at least twenty-five feet tall. His white, ankle-length garment also glimmered with gold, and a solid-gold-colored sash was wrapped around his waist. His hair was a color in between blonde and light brown, and his feet, also very large but in proportion with the rest of his body, were strapped in brownish-bronze woven sandals. I could plainly see a cut or bruise on his upper left cheek, and while his garment was beautiful, it was soiled and discolored from what appeared to be wounds underneath the fabric. He looked extremely sad and very tired.
I was startled to say the least, not only by his presence in my room, but by the sheer size of him. I jumped out of bed and quickly reached in my night-stand drawer to grab a firearm I keep in my room for protection. No sooner did I point the weapon in the creature’s direction, when he turned his head and looked at me, saying, “Please don’t do that.”  At these words, a great calm came over me. I lowered the weapon to my side and just stared at him. His face was gentle, as were his eyes, but he still appeared heavy-hearted. He then said, “Tell the people to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, every day, and to offer it in reparation for the sins committed by the United States.”
Then the visitation stopped. In the days that followed, through contemplation and prayer, I was shown that this being is the Guardian Angel of the United States, and he is losing the battle for our country to satan and his demons. Our prayers, specifically the one he requested, strengthen not only him, but also all the angels who fight with him. He is petitioning us for help. I came to understand that we empower angels through our prayers, just as we empower demons with our sin. Our sins and indifference open the doors to the devils and their curses, but our prayers and petitions open the doors to God’s strength and blessings.
We are in grave need of prayer and penance, and sacrifices for love of God that give way to waterfalls of grace. May we surrender all that we are and all that we have to Jesus before the Day of Justice arrives. Woe to those who would take this period of mercy for granted and put off their conversions, thinking that they can wait until the last hour. To grow in holiness can only come by way of God’s grace and mercy. To grow in holiness takes time. And that time for grace and mercy is now.

 st michael in battle

Don’t Quit - September 18, 2022


When things go wrong as they sometimes will;
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high;
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit --
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you can never tell how close you are;
It may be near when it seems afar.
So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit --
It’s when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.

Get to Church -September 11, 2022

There is a 0.0296% chance that your child will become a professional athlete.

There is a 100% chance that your child will stand before Jesus.

 Get them to Church

Mark 9:42

What the holy souls have taught her over the years - September 4, 2022

The holy souls have repeatedly told her that the greatest help for them that they can obtain from those here on earth is the offering of holy Mass. Next to the Mass, the holy Rosary and the Stations of the Cross are very beneficial to them.  Any sacrifice we make--even the smallest ones-- offered specifically for them have a great value in the eyes of God, and greatly lessen their sufferings and time in purgatory.  The poor souls have told her that even the smallest prayer or sacrifice is like giving a cool glass of water to a parched sojourner traveling in the driest desert.  
They normally appear to her in their normal clothes, that is, the ones that they most often wore during their lifetime, and they often have the appearance of one earnestly begging and desiring help.  Sometimes they appear somewhat distraught but this presumably is to elicit compassion on the part of Maria.  They normally appear to her looking as they did in the prime of their life, however children and teenagers always appear as they did right before their deaths.  And while there are indeed some children in purgatory, their Purgatory is normally not very long or painful, since during their lifetimes they often could not have committed any grave sin since they did not attain much understanding or discernment, and are therefore not accountable to the extent that an adult is.
The holy souls have also told her that there are many, many degrees in purgatory, and that the lower parts of purgatory are the most difficult and the most purifying, and this is where those with grave (severe) sins go--that is,  grave sins that have not been forgiven in the sacrament of Confession. As each soul makes reparation for his/her sins that they have committed against God and there fellow man, they are slowly purified and therefore they slowly make progress to the higher levels of purgatory. The souls that appear to Maria are almost always souls that are residing in the higher levels of purgatory.  Essentially, the more repentant and sorrowful one is for the sins committed against God and neighbor during ones lifetime, the quicker one progresses from the lower to the higher degrees of purgatory.
The greatest complaint from the souls in Purgatory:
Abandonment by their loved ones. According to Maria, the greatest “complaint” of the souls in Purgatory is how they are almost completely forgotten by their family and loved ones--that rightly complain that they receive no spiritual help from those they themselves helped so much during life! How few prayers are ever offered up for them--even at their funerals! Yet prayer is precisely what they need the most! All the beautiful memorials, celebrations, tattoo’s etc. done and given in their honor, while they may be good intentioned, in reality do nothing for them and in no way help to relieve them of their suffering/purification.   
-Maria Simma

Difficult things happen - August 28, 2022

Every problem is a chance for you to become a better version of yourself. Every challenge charts a path for growth and improvement.
Every setback carries the potential for powerful motivation. Every disappointment can lift you to a higher level of resolve.
Every inconenience has the power to inspire new resourcefulness. Every frustration gives you a way to strengthen your patience.
From each positive experience, you learn a few things. From each negative experience, you learn much more.
Of course you would not intentionally seek to be hurt or disappointed. But neither would you want a life where hurt and disappointment never happen.

Difficult things can happen, do happen, and amazingly, life finds a way to make them beneficial. Difficult things can happen, and that’s what makes the good things so very good.

The Trinity - August 21, 2022

We seem to consider mysteries in almost mathematical terms: they are problems so enigmatic, so contradictory that they cannot ever be solved. The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity does present us with a seeming contradiction. It tells us that three equals one, when we know that three doesn’t equal one. Yet, we have to believe it or forfeit the name of Christian, so we assent and we move on to the prayer at hand.

But mystery is not mathematics. It would be more helpful for us to think of mystery in terms of marriage, or indeed any deep human relationship. We cannot ever ‘figure out’ a spouse, but we can certainly grow in love, knowledge, and understanding of that person. The Trinity is the loving relationship we hope to know forever in heaven. If we are not growing in our love of that mystery, we are not growing any closer to heaven.

The word, ‘Trinity’, does not appear in the Scriptures. It is a theological term coined by Christians to describe the reality at the Heart of Divine Revelation. St. Matthew’s Gospel ends with Jesus’s command for the disciples to baptize, ‘in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’. St. Paul assumes this same mystery when he pronounces the benediction that we use in the Mass: ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit’.


Do You Know Me - August 14, 2022

Do You Know ME....?
I am an Apostle, but very few people know me! I am often times associated with Phillip, for we were both called at the same time. Though I am often times reffered to, erroneously, as a ‘brother’ of Christ; I am the son of Alpheus and Mary of Clopas.
Eventually, I became the Bishop of Jerusalem and was martyred. According to tradition, I was taken to the pinnacle of the Temple (the same one Christ was taken to when lucifer was tempting Him) and told to deny the Lord. When I wouldn’t, I was hurled from the pinnacle. When this did not kill me, they finished me off with a blow from a club.
I am the patron Saint of fullers (makers of bulkier cloth by beating them with a club) and at times, have been called the ‘Lesser’

I am...... James the Lesser

james the lesser 2021 small version

Do You Know Me - August 7, 2022

I was engaged to Valerian, a young pagan; on my wedding night I told my husband that an angel of God was protecting my virginity and urged him to convert; then he would be able to see the angel.

I urged him to go out on the Appian Way, to the third milestone, where the poor would point out the holy Pope Urbin to him. The Pope instructed Valerian and baptized him; he then returned to me, and the angel crowned us both. Valerian asked the angel for the favor of the conversion of his brother, Tiburtius; when this took place the two brothers devoted themselves to burying the victims of persecution. For this they were denounced and were executed by beheading. I placed their bodies in a sarcophagus and was in my turn condemned; I avoided the flames, however, and was to be beheaded, but, despite being struck three times, I survived for three days, during which I distributed my possessions to the poor and urged the Pope to turn my home into a Church. The Pope saw to my burial.

I have been regarded as the patron saint of singers and musicians, because in my account of my sufferings, that while I was preparing to celebrate my marriage, as the musical instruments were being played, I sang in my heart to God alone. In the first antiphon for Matins on my feast day we read. “While the musical instruments were playing, the Virgin Cecilia sang in her heart to her only Lord, may my heart, O Lord, and my body be immaculate, that I may not be put to shame.”

 I am..... St. Cecilia

st cecilia image


St. Helena Catholic Church
122 S. 1st. Street
Amite, LA, 70422

We, at St. Helena Catholic Church, are concerned with educating, directing, and sustaining all who visit. 

In particular those who draw near to the teachings and traditions of Holy Mother Church. 

We strive to achieve this by utilizing the Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude.