August 13, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

The Baton Rouge Diocese mourns the loss of Father Mark Beard, pastor of St. Helena Church in
Amite, who was killed in a car accident on August 2 and laid to rest on Friday. He was 62 years old.

Father Mark received his call to the priesthood rather late in life following a profound conversion ex-
perience on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. He was ordained in 2009 and hit the ground running with
boundless energy and a passion for proclaiming the Gospel. He was a gifted storyteller and well-
known throughout the Diocese for his homilies and retreat presentations.

I pray that the loss of such a remarkable priest will encourage young men to consider a call to the
priesthood. Someone needs to take his place in celebrating the sacraments and teaching the Catho-
lic faith. May God grant eternal rest to Father Beard and consolation to his family and parishioners.

This Tuesday, August 15, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a
holyday of obligation. We will celebrate two Masses for the holyday, the Þrst at 12:00 noon and the
second at 5:45 p.m. Holydays sometimes involve sacriÞce on our part, but we know that such sacri-
Þces also bring blessings to our lives.

We will celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick next Saturday, August 19, immediately
following the 4:00 p.m. Vigil Mass. Any person who is seriously ill because of sickness, old age, or
injury may be anointed. The illness may be either physical or mental, and can include addictions.
Anointing is also allowed prior to undergoing surgery. Please spread the word to your family and
friends who may need the healing graces provided through this special sacrament. And please pray
for your fellow parishioners who are hospitalized, homebound, or struggling with cancer or some oth-
er serious illness.

Our R.C.I.A. process for people interested in joining the Catholic Church starts back up on Septem-
ber 6. We have Inquiry Meetings planned for every Wednesday in August at 6:30 p.m. in the Commu-
nity Room located in the House of Prayer and Study Building. Please invite your relatives, friends,
and neighbors who may have expressed an interest in learning more about the Catholic faith or who
wish to join the Church. For more information, please contact Wendy Enloe at 647-3696.

The New Orleans Saints begin their preseason schedule this weekend they play the Kansas City
Chiefs in New Orleans at 12:00 noon on Sunday, August 13. These NFL preseason games are not
very enjoyable to watch but nonetheless help to build excitement for the regular season. Coaches
use these games to Þnalize their roster and get the veterans up to speed, but dont really exert much
effort to win. The regular season starts next month, on September 10, when the Saints host the Ten-
nessee Titans in the Superdome.

LSU begins its much-anticipated second season under head coach Brian Kelly on Sunday Septem-
ber 3, against the Florida State Seminoles in Orlando. I enjoy attending these early season kickoff
games when possible but decided against traveling to Florida for this one. But I am seriously consid-
ering attending the Vegas Kickoff Classic in 2024 when LSU is scheduled to play USC in Las Vegas.

Congratulations to Deacons Don Allison, Terry Bellon, Billy Francioni, and Joe Perry who were or-
dained permanent deacons for our Diocese this Saturday at St. Joseph Cathedral.

In Christ,
Father Matt