Christ House News

The next opportunity to serve Jesus through our neighbors is to help our parish’s Christ House Committee with the May 31 meal. You can help by donating your time to help prepare and serve the meal at Christ House. You can also help by donating funds (to purchase the main entree), side dishes and/or dessert. To sign up, please visit www.perfectpotluck.com. The user name is May Meal and the password is 1234.

Third Sunday of Easter

Mother’s Day. Motherhood is a miraculous gift and blessing—to mothers, husbands, children and to all society. Thank the Good Lord for the gift of mothers!
But the strange forces at work in our society today to degrade the body and undermine its meaning are also attacking motherhood. For example, think of all the amazing things mothers’ (and really all women’s) bodies go through and are designed for that help define “womanhood” and make it so incredibly special. Yet all this is rejected by those who tell us that sexuality is not inherently directed toward the creative love of motherhood and fatherhood. And by those who say that any man/male can just say “I’m a woman” and lay claim to all the dignity and identity of that gender. This is simply insane.
On this special day, and every day, may the Lord shower our mothers, living and deceased, with graces, and may we show them the love and respect that they deserve.

First Holy Communion. Last Saturday our Second Graders received Our Lord in Holy Communion for the very first time. What a great thing for these children, to receive our Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity; to have the Lord come to them in the flesh, and join them to Himself in this miracle. And what a beautiful thing to see these little ones receive with such innocence and faith.
The Lord tells us “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” Does this not refer in a particular way to the Eucharist, which is Christ Himself, who is the kingdom? The children believe simply because we assure them that Jesus is God, and so has the power to do anything He wants and will always tell us the truth, and that Jesus Himself said of the bread, “This is my Body.” And so they believe. So simple. Do we believe, as they do?
Let us pray for our little ones today, that they may always believe as they do today. But let us also pray for ourselves—that we may become like our little children.

Mary’s Month. By long standing tradition, the Catholic Church keeps the month of May as Mary’s month. So I encourage all of you to keep this devotion by praying the Rosary during this month—even every day. I especially encourage all families to pray the Rosary together at least once a week. Holy Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother, pray for us!

Spring and Summer. Spring has sprung, thanks be to God! But like all good things, this brings certain challenges, and when it comes to Mass attendance we can count on two particular challenges: more noise and less clothes. Both of these are understandable: as they become more active outside little ones seem to tend to be more active inside also, and as it becomes warmer outside, all of us tend to wear less clothing.
The only dress code we have St. Raymond’s is to use common sense, as well as Christian modesty, chastity and charity. Growing up in Texas I understand all about dressing for the heat. But let’s remember two things. First, please try not to dress like you’re going to the pool when you’re coming to Mass. On the other hand, if someone does come to Mass in a t-shirt let’s assume they have an important reason for doing so. The second thing to remember is that the more skin we show the more likely we are to be the near occasion of sin to others. So I ask all of you, wherever you are this summer—whether on the beach, on a date, or at Mass—please consider the spiritual well-being of others.
Also, we love to have little children at Mass. But all of us (including their parents) would also prefer if they would be peaceful and quiet at Mass. But that isn’t always the way it is—especially at this time of year. So once again I encourage all of you, in charity, to be patient and supportive of parents and children—parenting is especially difficult in the present cultural environment, so we have to help them every way we can. On the other hand, parents, please remember to do what you can, and when a child gets really out of hand at Mass, or if they continue to make noise (especially talking or shouting) please consider moving to the “Family Room” or the narthex until they quiet down. God bless you parents and your little ones!

Vacation Bible School. Every summer we like to offer our little children an opportunity for some special Catholic formation through a summer mini-camp we call “Vacation Bible School” (VBS). But to make VBS work we need volunteers. Sadly, after several weeks of asking for help in this bulletin, we haven’t been able to assemble enough volunteers to make VBS work. So, for lack of volunteers, I am forced to cancel VBS this summer.
This is greatly disturbing to me. I know everyone is busy, but we need folks to volunteer to make this parish, by the grace of God, all that it can be.

Legion of Mary. One great way to get involved in the parish, and to grow in devotion to Mary, is through membership in the Legion of Mary. The Legion has been a vital part of our parish almost since its founding. Sad to say, however, because of transfers, illness, and other factors, the membership has declined over the last few years to the point that we are in danger of having to close our parish praesidium.
The Legion, it is a world-wide organization, with a threefold purpose: 1) To make its members better Catholics and to mobilize the Catholic laity, 2) To raise the spiritual level of the entire community through direct contact with and interest in, every member and potential member of the Mystical Body of Christ, and 3) To accomplish this through Mary. The works undertaken by our parish praesidium include taking the St. Raymond’s bulletin and sacramentals/literature door-to-door within our parish boundaries, teaching CCD, taking the Pilgrim Virgin statue to parishioner homes, plus visiting our 150 Legion of Mary auxiliaries. If you would like to contribute toward this apostolic work, please contact Judy Mayer at 703-627-7320, or email jmayer9014@aol.com.

No Special Needs Collection. Every year on Mother’s Day we take a second collection for the “special needs” of the Parish. For years this collection has been designated to help pay off the parish debt. But this year, since you have paid off that debt, the question was raised, “What is our ‘special need’ this year?” Well, there are several things we could use the money for, but it occurred to me that, as a small token of respect and appreciation for what you have done in the past to pay off the debt, I will NOT TAKE UP THE COLLECTION this year. Of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t need you to keep giving generously, just not an extra amount this week. Thanks again.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Second Sunday of Easter

Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere! Christos Anesti!
Alithos Anesti! He is risen! He is risen indeed! What a
glorious day—the Lord has risen from the dead, conquering
sin and death and has crushed the head of the ancient serpent.
Alleluia! The world has been redeemed, salvation has been
won for all mankind—if only we will accept this infinitely
generous gift of Our Risen Lord Jesus.
Thanks to all who worked so hard to help make this
such a blessed Lent, Holy Week, Triduum and Easter Sunday.
And remember, today is just the beginning of this new Season
of Easter, as we continue to celebr ate the Lor d’s
Resurrection for 50 days—until Pentecost. We begin with the
8 days of the Octave of Easter, celebrating each day as if it
were Easter Day.
On behalf of myself, Fr. Smith, and Fr. Daly, may I
wish you all a Blessed, Holy and Happy Easter and Easter
Season! May the Risen Lord Jesus shower you with His grace,
and may His Blessed Mother Mary, St. Mary Magdalene, St.
Peter and St. John and all the holy women, disciples and
apostles who saw the risen Lord that first Easter Day keep you
in their care in this Glorious Season!
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles
X X X
EASTER VIGIL HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS, 2018
We began this celebration outside, plunged
in the darkness of the night and the cold. We felt an oppressive
silence at the death of the Lord, a silence with which each of
us can identify, a silence that penetrates to the depths of the
heart of every disciple, who stands wordless before the cross.
These are the hours when the disciple stands
speechless in pain at the death of Jesus. What words can be
spoken at such a moment? The disciple keeps silent in the
awareness of his or her own reactions during those crucial
hours in the Lord’s life. Before the injustice that condemned
the Master, His disciples were silent. Before the calumnies
and the false testimony that the Master endured, His disciples
said nothing. During the trying, painful hours of the Passion,
His disciples dramatically experienced their inability to put
their lives on the line to speak out on behalf of the Master.
What is more, not only did they not acknowledge Him: they
hid, they escaped, they kept silent (cf. Jn 18:25-27).
It is the silent night of the disciples who
remained numb, paralyzed and uncertain of what to do amid
so many painful and disheartening situations. It is also that of
today’s disciples, speechless in the face of situations we
cannot control, that make us feel and, even worse, believe that
nothing can be done to reverse all the injustices that our
brothers and sisters are experiencing in their flesh.
It is the silent night of those disciples who
are disoriented because they are plunged in a crushing
routine that robs memory, silences hope and leads to thinking
that “this is the way things have always been done”. Those
disciples who, overwhelmed, have nothing to say and end up
considering “normal” and unexceptional the words of
Caiaphas: “Can you not see that it is better for you to have one
man die for the people than to have the whole nation
destroyed?” (Jn 11:50).
Amid our silence, our overpowering silence,
the stones begin to cry out (cf. Lk 19:40)[1] and to clear the
way for the greatest message that history has ever heard: “He
is not here, for He has been raised” (Mt 28:6). The stone
before the tomb cried out and proclaimed the opening of a new
way for all. Creation itself was the first to echo the triumph of
life over all that had attempted to silence and stifle the joy of
the Gospel. The stone before the tomb was the first to leap up
and in its own way intone a song of praise and wonder, of joy
and hope, in which all of us are invited to join.
Yesterday, we joined the women in
contemplating “the one who was pierced” (cf. Jn 19:36; cf.
Zech 12:10). Today, with them, we are invited to contemplate
the empty tomb and to hear the words of the angel: “Do not be
afraid… for He has been raised” (Mt 28:5-6). Those words
should affect our deepest convictions and certainties, the ways
we judge and deal with the events of our daily lives, especially
the ways we relate to others. The empty tomb should challenge
us and rally our spirits. It should make us think, but above all it
should encourage us to trust and believe that God “happens”
in every situation and every person, and that His light can
shine in the least expected and most hidden corners of our
lives. He rose from the dead, from that place where nobody
waits for anything, and now He waits for us – as He did the
women – to enable us to share in His saving work. On this
basis and with this strength, we Christians place our lives and
our energy, our intelligence, our affections and our will, at the
service of discovering, and above all creating, paths of dignity.
He is not here… He is risen! This is the
message that sustains our hope and turns it into concrete
gestures of charity. How greatly we need to let our frailty be
anointed by this experience! How greatly we need to let our
faith be revived! How greatly we need our myopic horizons to
be challenged and renewed by this message! Christ is risen,
and with Him, He makes our hope and creativity rise, so that
we can face our present problems in the knowledge that we are
not alone.
To celebrate Easter is to believe once more
that God constantly breaks into our personal histories,
challenging our “conventions”, those fixed ways of thinking
and acting that end up paralyzing us. To celebrate Easter is to
allow Jesus to triumph over the craven fear that so often
assails us and tries to bury every kind of hope.
The stone before the tomb shared in this, the
women of the Gospel shared in this, and now the invitation is
addressed once more to you and to me. An invitation to break
out of our routines and to renew our lives, our decisions and
our existence. An invitation that must be directed to where we
stand, what we are doing and what we are, with the “power
ratio” that is ours. Do we want to share in this message of life
or do we prefer simply to continue standing speechless before
events as they happen?
He is not here… He is raised! And He awaits
you in Galilee. He invites you to go back to the time and place
of your first love and He says to you: Do not be afraid, follow
Me.

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere! Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti! He is risen! He is risen indeed! What a glorious day—the Lord has risen from the dead, conquering sin and death and has crushed the head of the ancient serpent. Alleluia! The world has been redeemed, salvation has been won for all mankind—if only we will accept this infinitely generous gift of Our Risen Lord Jesus.

Thanks to all who worked so hard to help make this such a blessed Lent, Holy Week, Triduum and Easter Sunday. And remember, today is just the beginning of this new Season of Easter, as we continue to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection for 50 days—until Pentecost. We begin with the 8 days of the Octave of Easter, celebrating each day as if it were Easter Day.

On behalf of myself, Fr. Smith, and Fr. Daly, may I wish you all a Blessed, Holy and Happy Easter and Easter Season! May the Risen Lord Jesus shower you with His grace, and may His Blessed Mother Mary, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Peter and St. John and all the holy women, disciples and apostles who saw the risen Lord that first Easter Day keep you in their care in this Glorious Season!

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

  

EASTER VIGIL HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS, 2018

We began this celebration outside, plunged in the darkness of the night and the cold. We felt an oppressive silence at the death of the Lord, a silence with which each of us can identify, a silence that penetrates to the depths of the heart of every disciple, who stands wordless before the cross.
These are the hours when the disciple stands speechless in pain at the death of Jesus. What words can be spoken at such a moment? The disciple keeps silent in the awareness of his or her own reactions during those crucial hours in the Lord’s life. Before the injustice that condemned the Master, His disciples were silent. Before the calumnies and the false testimony that the Master endured, His disciples said nothing. During the trying, painful hours of the Passion, His disciples dramatically experienced their inability to put their lives on the line to speak out on behalf of the Master. What is more, not only did they not acknowledge Him: they hid, they escaped, they kept silent (cf. Jn 18:25-27).
It is the silent night of the disciples who remained numb, paralyzed and uncertain of what to do amid so many painful and disheartening situations. It is also that of today’s disciples, speechless in the face of situations we cannot control, that make us feel and, even worse, believe that nothing can be done to reverse all the injustices that our brothers and sisters are experiencing in their flesh.
It is the silent night of those disciples who are disoriented because they are plunged in a crushing routine that robs memory, silences hope and leads to thinking that “this is the way things have always been done”. Those disciples who, overwhelmed, have nothing to say and end up considering “normal” and unexceptional the words of Caiaphas: “Can you not see that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed?” (Jn 11:50).
Amid our silence, our overpowering silence, the stones begin to cry out (cf. Lk 19:40)[1] and to clear the way for the greatest message that history has ever heard: “He is not here, for He has been raised” (Mt 28:6). The stone before the tomb cried out and proclaimed the opening of a new way for all. Creation itself was the first to echo the triumph of life over all that had attempted to silence and stifle the joy of the Gospel. The stone before the tomb was the first to leap up and in its own way intone a song of praise and wonder, of joy and hope, in which all of us are invited to join.
Yesterday, we joined the women in contemplating “the one who was pierced” (cf. Jn 19:36; cf. Zech 12:10). Today, with them, we are invited to contemplate the empty tomb and to hear the words of the angel: “Do not be afraid… for He has been raised” (Mt 28:5-6). Those words should affect our deepest convictions and certainties, the ways we judge and deal with the events of our daily lives, especially the ways we relate to others. The empty tomb should challenge us and rally our spirits. It should make us think, but above all it should encourage us to trust and believe that God “happens” in every situation and every person, and that His light can shine in the least expected and most hidden corners of our lives. He rose from the dead, from that place where nobody waits for anything, and now He waits for us – as He did the women – to enable us to share in His saving work. On this basis and with this strength, we Christians place our lives and our energy, our intelligence, our affections and our will, at the service of discovering, and above all creating, paths of dignity.
He is not here… He is risen! This is the message that sustains our hope and turns it into concrete gestures of charity. How greatly we need to let our frailty be anointed by this experience! How greatly we need to let our faith be revived! How greatly we need our myopic horizons to be challenged and renewed by this message! Christ is risen, and with Him, He makes our hope and creativity rise, so that we can face our present problems in the knowledge that we are not alone.
To celebrate Easter is to believe once more that God constantly breaks into our personal histories, challenging our “conventions”, those fixed ways of thinking and acting that end up paralyzing us. To celebrate Easter is to allow Jesus to triumph over the craven fear that so often assails us and tries to bury every kind of hope.
The stone before the tomb shared in this, the women of the Gospel shared in this, and now the invitation is addressed once more to you and to me. An invitation to break out of our routines and to renew our lives, our decisions and our existence. An invitation that must be directed to where we stand, what we are doing and what we are, with the “power ratio” that is ours. Do we want to share in this message of life or do we prefer simply to continue standing speechless before events as they happen?
He is not here… He is raised! And He awaits you in Galilee. He invites you to go back to the time and place of your first love and He says to you: Do not be afraid, follow Me.

Easter Triduum Schedule

Holy Thursday, April 18

No Masses during the day at St. Raymond’s
(10:30am Chrism Mass at St. Thomas More Cathedral)
No Confessions on Holy Thursday
7:00pm: “Mass of the Lord’s Supper”
• After Mass, Night Watch is kept until Midnight in the Parish Hall

Good Friday, April 19
(a day of mandatory fasting and abstinence)

11:00am – 12:00pm: Confessions
3:00pm: “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion”
(Veneration of the Cross & Communion Service)
4:45pm – 6:00pm: Confessions (Confessions begin after the 3pm Liturgy)
7:00pm: Stations of the Cross
7:30pm: Confessions (until the line runs out)

Holy Saturday, April 20
(a day of voluntary fasting and abstinence)

12:00pm: Blessing of the Easter Baskets
1:00pm – 3:00pm: Confessions
8:00pm: Easter Vigil Mass (different from last year)

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

HOLY WEEK. Today we enter the holiest week of the year, commemorating the holiest week of all time, when the God of heaven and earth, creator of all the universe, God the Son, eternally begotten of God the Father, condescended to suffer and die in our flesh for the sins of all mankind. The week Jesus offered Himself as a living sacrifice out of love for His Father and for us.
A week that changed the world forever, echoing throughout history until the end of time. And so today we remember it, not just as something that happened 2000 year ago, but as something that is alive today. And we use the gifts of intellect, reason, sensation, emotion and faith to take us back, to walk and be with Jesus, and with Mary, John, Peter, Magdalene, Pilate and Caiaphas…and Judas. To see what they saw, hear what they heard, feel what they felt, and even touch what they touched.
And so we use visible, audible and tactile realities to draw us into these events: we sing hymns, look at pictures or watch movies, read and listen to Scripture. We pray the Sorrowful Mysteries fingering our Rosaries, and we walk the Stations of the Cross. And we actively participate in the very special liturgies of this week, that outwardly and ritually express the holy mysteries.
We begin today with Palm Sunday of Our Lord’s Passion, as we hold the palms and greet Jesus triumphantly entering Jerusalem at the beginning of that first Holy Week. And then we listen as multiple readers proclaim the drama of the Passion of the Lord from St. Luke’s Gospel, and verbally join “the crowd,” even shouting with Caiaphas, “Crucify Him.”
And then there’s Holy Thursday. There are no Masses all day long anywhere in the Diocese, except for one: the morning Chrism Mass at the Cathedral. There the Bishop gathers with the priest of the Diocese to consecrate the holy oils and to renew their priestly promises, signifying the priests’ distinctive communion with the apostles and share in their ministry, as they came together with Jesus to prepare to celebrate the Passover.
Finally, on Thursday evening the parishes celebrate their only Mass of the day: The Mass of The Lord’s Supper (7:00pm). Here we celebrate the institution of the Sacraments of the Priesthood and Eucharist at the first Mass celebrated by Our Lord just hours before He was to suffer. Afterwards we process with our Eucharistic Lord from the church to the Parish Hall, just as the apostles walked with Jesus from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane, and there we watch and pray until Midnight, recalling Our Lord’s agony and betrayal.
We awake on Good Friday to a church that is stripped as much as possible of all decoration: the altar is stripped of its cloths, and the candles, crosses and rugs—every moveable ornament—are gone. This reminds us how the first disciples were stripped of all consolation and how the Lord was stripped of all outward appearance of human dignity during His trial and suffering, and how He was finally stripped of His clothes, to be hanged naked on the Cross. Recalling all this, we join in Our Lord’s suffering by fasting and abstaining from meat (see rules elsewhere in this bulletin). From noon to three, wherever we are, we try to observe a time of quiet recollection—perhaps in church, but also even at work or home—recalling these are the hours Jesus hanged on the cross.
And then at 3 o’clock, the hour of His death, we all gather in the church for the solemn Celebration of the Passion of the Lord. Every year I am profoundly moved by this most unique liturgy, as our church is filled to the brim with the faithful who come together as one body to stand with the Mary, John and Magdalene at the foot of the Cross. Their senses and faith lead their minds and hearts back over the centuries to Calvary, as their eyes see the Cross and all the eloquent rituals, and their ears hear the words of the Gospel, the prayers and the glorious yet sorrowful music of the choir. And then they walk up slowly and reverently, many in tears, to gently touch or tenderly kiss the wood of His Cross. And finally, their tongues taste the goodness of the Lord, as He comes to console them in Holy Communion.
As I do every year, as your spiritual Father, from the depth of my heart, and invoking whatever filial respect I may call upon, I beg you not to miss this most unique and Holy Liturgy. I know this may mean taking off from work, and that the church and parking lot are crowded, and that it’s a very long liturgy. But it is the holiest hour of the year, the hour of the death of Our Lord. What in the world could be more important than this?!
Then on Holy Saturday, though no Masses are said during the day we join the whole Church waiting “at the Lord’s tomb in prayer and fasting” by our somber prayerful reflection and voluntary continuation of the fast and abstinence of Good Friday (as the Church strongly encourages). But then, when the sun goes down on Saturday evening, the Light of Christ shines forth as we begin the celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord with the Easter Vigil Mass (8:00pm), with all sorts of unique ceremonies: the blessing of the Easter Candle; the chanting of the Exsultet; a richly extended Liturgy of the Word; celebration of adult Baptism, reception into the Church, and Confirmation. It is a glorious Mass, and I encourage all to attend. (However, lasting two hours, it can be tough for little ones).
And don’t forget we have Confessions all week (except Holy Thursday), and daily Mass Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. (See below for the entire schedule). And above all, live out the holiness of Christ in your life: love Him with all your heart, be open to His grace, love your neighbor, keep the commandments, and pray. Let this truly be a holy week at every moment and in every way!

Pro-Life. Thanks to all who took part in 40 Days for Life last weekend. As one of our very active parishioners wrote me: “…while we always manage to cover our hours, the response for this campaign was nothing short of outstanding – amazing. I was truly humbled at the participation level. Seems like folks were tripping over each other to participate. Sometimes we had upwards of 12 on the sidewalk at a time.” God bless you all.
Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, go see the movie “Unplanned.” Surprise of surprises, even with greatly limited mass media advertising and an unnecessary R-rating (as compared to other films) this strong pro-life movie came in 4th overall at the box office in its debut weekend. This is a movie that helps pro-lifers understand “why we fight.” So please see this movie, and take your teenagers if they are emotionally mature enough (see last week’s column).

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Fifth Week of Lent: Passiontide. Today we cover the statues and crosses as we begin the last two weeks of Lent, called “Passiontide.” At this point in Lent some people often start to slip in keeping their Lenten penances, while others haven’t yet begun their penances at all. Passiontide reminds us to refocus or deepen our attention on the season and its purposes of repentance of sin, conversion of heart, and appreciation of Christ’s love manifested in His Passion and Cross. If you’ve been slacking in your observance of Lent, buck up. If you’ve neglected the season entirely, it’s not too late. And if you’ve been having a good Lent, then consider how you might take it up a notch these last days.
Let us beg our Crucified Lord to shower us with His grace in these last two weeks of Lent, and that we may be open to His grace and love Him in return.
Beginning tomorrow, Monday, evening confessions will go from 6pm until 7pm, and if the lines require it we will have 2 confessors available beginning Tuesday. If you have not been to confession this Lent please try to go before Easter, remembering that during Holy Week (beginning next Sunday) the confession lines are very long. So, if you haven’t been to confession this Lent, PLEASE COME THIS WEEK.
I also strongly encourage you to intensify your Lenten observance by taking greater advantage of opportunities offered in the parish. In particular, consider attending the Thursday evening Holy Hour and Meditation (7-8pm) on the Agony in the Garden, or Stations of the Cross on Friday at 6:30pm (and don’t forget Friday Soup Supper at 5pm). I also encourage you to attend at least one weekday Mass this week and next: what a beautiful way to refocus on Lent.

Palm Sunday, Procession. Next Sunday, April 14, is Palm/Passion Sunday. Please consider coming to the 10:30 am Mass and joining in the Solemn Procession with Palms at the beginning of Mass. This year we’re doing it a little different than the past in that we will begin by gathering in front of the church (not in the Parish Hall as in the past) before the start of Mass, and then, as usual, after some prayers and a Gospel reading, we will process into the church, and you can take your pew as usual. If you attend the 10:30 am Mass you don’t have to join in the procession, but may also simply take your seats in the church before Mass as usual and listen over the speakers in the church to everything said/sung in front of the church.

Holy Week. Next Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. Please plan ahead today to participate in the special and unique liturgies that mark these most solemn and sacred days of the Christian year, including Holy Thursday’s evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday’s 3pm Celebration of the Passion of the Lord (with Veneration of the Cross), and the Easter Vigil at 8pm on Holy Saturday evening.
As always, as your spiritual father I beg you to try to participate in all of these liturgies, especially the 3pm Good Friday service, with the Veneration of the Cross. Every year I am overwhelmed to see standing room only crowd patiently wait in line, many weeping, to venerate the cross of Christ. Some say, “but it’s a work day!” But I say: “it’s the hour of the Lord’s death! The most sacred hour in all time! Why would any Catholic want to be at work?”

YOU MUST SEE THE MOVIE “UNPLANNED.” Last Monday evening I did something a little different for me: I went to the theater to see a movie: “Unplanned.” I’ve been encouraging you to see this movie, and now I redouble that encouragement. It’s not the most sophisticated or slick movie you’ll ever see, and there are no well-known actors in it. But the story is gripping, and it will change the way you look at abortion, abortive mothers, and the abortion industry. I’m a pretty seasoned pro-lifer, but it moved me to tears and caused me to have a restless night sleep, trying to think what more I could do to defend the unborn, troubled expectant mothers and post-abortive mothers.
Just to remind you, “Unplanned” is the story of the conversion of Abby Johnson, from being the gung-ho director of a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Texas, to being a pro-life activist Catholic. Central to the story is how “everything changed” when she was asked to assist in an abortion and saw the live ultrasound images of a baby being killed in an abortion.
It is mainly that one scene (along with a few non-graphic scenes with blood) that the pro-abortion Hollywood establishment used as an excuse to give the movie an “R” rating. But that’s ridiculous—you can see scenes 10 times worse than this on mainstream primetime cable. The R rating comes only because Hollywood doesn’t’ want you and your teenagers to know the truth about abortion.
Yes, those scenes are disturbing, especially the ultrasound scene, but only if you believe abortion kills a living baby human being. (So I guess Hollywood is unwittingly admitting this fact!) I was shaken myself, even though the ultrasound was, as is usual, a black and white vague image of a baby—there was no blood, nothing graphic. Except the killing of the baby. That is upsetting, to say it mildly. But if your teenager is emotionally mature, and your think she/he can handle it, I think you should take them to see this. It reminds us and shows them “why we fight.”
So, go see this movie and bring your mature teens, and your friends, especially those who sit on the abortion-fence or who are tepid in their support for life. And if you can some how pull it off, bring a pro-abortion friend.

Scandals Ignored. Whatever happened to the controversy over Governor Northam’s black-face/KKK picture? Or the black-faced scandal of Attorney General Herring? Or the two rape charges against our Lt. Governor Fairfax? It seems the media and their party (the party of slavery and abortion) is giving them a pass—have you read anything about the scandals lately?
Maybe you heard that last week the two alleged rape victims requested a public hearing to tell their stories to the state legislature, but that was blocked by the Democratic leaders of the House.
As the New York Times even reported last week: “In the space of a week in early February, the public was stunned by revelations about each of the three highest statewide elected officials, all Democrats…Protesters and news crews swarmed the Statehouse. Calls for resignations came from fellow Virginia Democrats, Republicans and even 2020 presidential candidates. And then? “It just went poof,” said Natalie Draper, a librarian sitting in the back of a coffeehouse last week in Richmond. “It’s like it never happened.””
It seems George Orwell was right: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles