Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae. This coming Wednesday, July 25, is the 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical reaffirming the ancient and apostolic teaching of the Church that contraception is a grave sin. In the years since, his words have been largely ignored by the world, even by Catholics. But they still remain as true today as ever. Moreover, his explanations of the reasons for and the consequences of disregarding this teaching have been proven out over the years. He warned that it would lead to increased sexual infidelity and “the general lowering of morality,” especially among young men, and that eventually men would lose respect for women, seeing them only as object of selfish enjoyment. Elsewhere he would specifically point to the immediate connection between contraception and abortion.
Over the last 50 years we have seen this all bear out as we’ve seen the dramatic and catastrophic increase in (to name a few): divorces, marital infidelity, pornography, abortion, prostitution, teenage pregnancy and promiscuity, child abuse, wife abuse, and acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism.
At the same time Pope Paul recognized that it was morally acceptable, for a just reason, to “regulate birth” using methods that take into account the “natural rhythms” of the fertility cycle of women. Today several highly scientific methods are available to couples in this regard. Usually referred to together as “Natural Family Planning” (NFP) they are very effective in both postponing and promoting conception. They have the full approval of the Church, and we actively promote their proper use.
Mark Your Calendars: Humanae Vitae Conference on September 8. To more deeply consider the meaning of Humanae Vitae, and the ramifications of contraception in general, St. Raymond’s will be sponsoring a conference to commemorate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, September 8. Speakers will include Fr. Tad Pacholzyk, Ph.D., Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia; Dr. Robert Royal, Editor-in-Chief of The Catholic Thing, and President of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C.; and Bob and Gerri Laird—Bob is Vice President for Program Development at The Cardinal Newman Society, and Gerri is a nationally known speaker and writer on marriage and family. I am really excited about this conference and hope you will be able to join us. Stay tuned for more information.
Pull Quotes. Below follows a few short quotes from Humanae Vitae. I encourage you to read (or reread) this important teaching document in toto (it’s relatively short: only about 20 pages). To that end, we have placed free copies of the encyclical near the doors of the church. Take and read.

A few important quotes from Humanae Vitae:
11. …the Church, calling men back to the observance of the norms of the natural law, as interpreted by their constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life. [Note: the term “marriage act” presumes this act belongs only in marriage, and so applies to that same act when it wrongly takes place outside of marriage].
16. Now, some may ask: …is it not reasonable …to have recourse to artificial birth control if, thereby, we secure the harmony and peace of the family, and better conditions for the education of the children already born? To this question it is necessary to reply with clarity: the Church is the first to praise and recommend the intervention of intelligence in a function which so closely associates the rational creature with his Creator; but she affirms that this must be done with respect for the order established by God. If, then, there are just motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions, for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier….
17. …reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. ….first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality…[M]en—especially the young….—have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man…may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion…Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities …Who could blame a government for applying [contraception] to the solution of the problems of the community…? from even imposing …contraception…?

St. Mary Magdalene. Today, July 22, would normally be the feast of this great saint, but because it falls on Sunday this year its celebration is suppressed in favor of the Lord’s Day. According to ancient Catholic tradition Mary was the sister of Lazarus and Martha, who grew up innocently enough in the small town of Bethany, but somehow left home and fell into a life mired in debauchery and filled with all seven deadly sins. In God’s mercy, however, she eventually heard Jesus preaching and was transformed by His words, grace and love, and her faith in and love for Him (“she has loved much”) led her to become the great repentant servant of the Lord Jesus, who would go on to stand at the foot of the Cross, be the first to see the Risen Christ, and the first to proclaim the Resurrection, even to the Apostles themselves.
It seems to me that the Magdalene is a great patron of all the women who are so debased by today’s overly sexualized and perverted culture. Although we don’t know the details of her sins, her life of sin would seem to have most certainly involved sexual sins. Having a longstanding tender affection for Magdalene, I tend to think she must have been corrupted and used by some man, causing her to fall from the graces of her family, and deeper into sin. In all this she would seem to be much like so many girls and women of our age, where so many overtly try to corrupt them and promote their sexual abuse. But most importantly, she reminds us of the saving power of the love and grace of Jesus, who lifted her up from sin and raised her to be the great saint of the Resurrection.
I particularly propose this great St. Mary Magdalene to all who struggle with contraception—women and men alike. May she help you to end the abuse of sexuality it represents and promotes, and may she lead you to the life of grace and true love in Christ.

Oremus pro invicem, et Sancta Maria Magdalena, ora pro nobis. Fr. De Celles

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Supreme Court Nominee. Back in October of 2016, just before the last Presidential election, I wrote: “I see this election as voting mainly for the Supreme Court. As I’ve said before, the Justices (Judges) on the Supreme Court are the most powerful people in our government, as they regularly uphold or throw out decisions by our elected officials—both the President and those in Congress—as well as decades, centuries, and millennia of precedents and common sense assumptions of Western Society. For example, it was one vote (on a 5 to 4 vote), so one Justice, who overturned the immemorial unanimous belief that marriage was only between a male and female and it was one vote/Justice who kept abortion a fundamental inalienable right….And that’s what it comes down to for me: The Supreme Court and abortion, traditional marriage, religious liberty/freedom of conscience, and the attack on common sense (the transgendered issue). And the next President will select up to 4 members of the Supreme Court.”
On Wednesday, June 27, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. When he was nominated to the court in 1988 by President Reagan, Kennedy did not have a clear track record on the bench and was not very well known, but the people thought he would be a strong pro-life and traditional values Justice, since he was reputed to be a “conservative” and a faithful Catholic. But Kennedy proved to be a huge disappointment. He was the “one vote,” the “one Justice,” I was writing about in October, who redefined marriage and upheld the right to abortion.
To replace him, President Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Like Kennedy, Kavanaugh comes to us with a reputation for being a conservative and a faithful Catholic. But unlike Kennedy, Kavanaugh is extremely well known to pro-life, pro-religious liberty and pro-traditional marriage lawyers as being one of them. I do not know him personally, but have spoken to several very close and trusted friends of mine who do know him very well, and they all vehemently assure me that Kavanaugh is the real deal. Praised be Jesus Christ!
When many of us voted in November of 2016, we were voting not so much for either of the troubling candidates, but for the Supreme Court Justices they would appoint. President Trump, love him or hate him, has fulfilled his promise to appoint pro-life,etc. justices, in both Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Unfortunately, the radical left has come unhinged, and are pledging to pull out all the stops to keep Kavanaugh from being approved by the Senate. With the increased vitriolic language and violent behavior of the left in the last year or so, I am greatly afraid for our nation, and especially for the wellbeing of Judge Kavanaugh and his family.
So I ask you to pray to Our Lord, with the intercession of Our Lady, that the process of Senate consent will be peaceful and just, and render a choice compatible with His Holy Will. “All things are possible for God.” In particular, I encourage you to pray to the two patron saints of lawyers, St. Thomas More and St. Raymond of Peñafort. I especially recommend the daily recitation of the new Prayer to St. Raymond of Peñafort:
“Glorious Saint Raymond of Peñafort, wise and holy patron, come to the aid of those entrusted to your care, and all who flee to your protection. Intercede for us in our need, and help us through your prayers, example, and teaching, to proclaim the truth of the Gospel to all we meet. And when we have reached the fullness of our years, we beseech you to guide us home to heaven, to live in peace with you, Our Mother Mary, and Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Brown Scapular. Tomorrow, Monday, July 16, is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, memorializing the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite priest, and her gift to him of the “Brown Scapular” on July 16, 1251. (The original Carmelite Brown Scapular is a long piece of fabric, as wide as the shoulders, worn down the front and back (reaching down to the feet) with a hole in the center for the head). “Take, beloved son,” she said, “this Scapular of your order as a badge of my confraternity and for you and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant.” The Carmelites immediately began to wear this Scapular as part of their regular habit, and very soon many non-Carmelites, both lay and cleric, also began to wear it, usually in a smaller form of a two small pieces of cloth bound by two strings, worn around the neck, hanging down in front and back. This practice continues to this day.
From the beginning, it was understood that in order to participate in Our Lady’s promises the wearer of the Scapular must be officially associated with the Carmelite order. So the Carmelites established the “Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel,” which any Catholic may be enrolled in through a short ceremony conducted by a priest.
Even so, the Scapular is in no way a “a good luck charm.” Rather, as Pope Pius XII wrote, it “is a sign and a pledge of the protection of the Mother of God.” And as St. John Paul II wrote, it is a sign that evokes “the awareness that devotion to her cannot be limited to prayers and tributes in her honor on certain occasions, but must become a ‘habit’, that is, a permanent orientation of one’s own Christian conduct, woven of prayer and interior life, through frequent reception of the sacraments and the concrete practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.”
Moreover, the wearer of the Scapular may not “think that they can gain eternal salvation while remaining sinful and negligent of spirit.” You can’t live a sinful life presuming that the Scapular will erase all sins on your death bed. Rather, the Scapular is more a pledge of the Blessed Mother’s intercession at the moment of death, to obtain for us from her Son the grace necessary to repent of any mortal sins. But grace is not magic, it is a gift that we must accept. The soul that lives a life of sin is less disposed to accept (or even strongly disposed to reject) that grace.
Note: the promises of Our Lady are private revelations, and so not something we have to believe. Moreover, they should only be understood in the light of Church teaching. Even so, confidence in her promises, and wearing of the scapular, has been strongly promoted by scores of popes.
With this in mind, we will be enrolling folks in the Confraternity and investing them with the Brown Scapular today, July 15, after both the 8:45 and 10:30 Mass. Scapulars will be provided, or you may bring your own.

Oremus pro invicem, Fr. De Celles

Litany and Prayer to St. Raymond of Peñafort

Litany and Prayer to St. Raymond of Peñafort

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

St. Raymond of Peñafort, pray for us.
Master of Preachers, …
Patron of Lawyers, …
Father of Confessors, …
Counselor of Penitents, …
Apostle to Gentiles, …
Evangelist to Israelites, …
Ransomer of Captives, …
Teacher of the Learned and the Ignorant, …
Friend of Princes and Paupers, …
Protector of Sailors, …
Comforter of the Aged, ….
Defender of Marriage, …
Champion of Religious Rights, …
Advocate of Reason, …
Guardian of Justice, …
Promoter of Freedom, …
Worker of Miracles, …

Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, …
Son of St. Dominic, …
Son of the Church, …
Holy Priest of Jesus Christ, …

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

Let us pray. Glorious Saint Raymond of Peñafort, wise and holy patron,
come to the aid of those entrusted to your care,
and all who flee to your protection.
Intercede for us in our need,
and help us through your prayers, example, and teaching,
to proclaim the truth of the Gospel to all we meet.
And when we have reached the fullness of our years,
we beseech you to guide us home to heaven,
to live in peace with you, Our Mother Mary, and Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Imprimatur: Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington, June 22, 2018

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

4 th of July. Thanks be to God for the many gifts He has showered on our beloved nation.
Some thoughts below about His role in our nation’s history.
Pope Saint John Paul II, Welcome to the New American Ambassador to the Holy
See, December 16, 1997 (excerpt)
The Founding Fathers of the United States asserted their claim to freedom and
independence on the basis of certain “self-evident” truths about the human person:
truths which could be discerned in human nature, built into it by “nature’s God.” Thus
they meant to bring into being, not just an independent territory, but a great experiment
in what George Washington called “ordered liberty”…. Reading the founding documents
of the United States, one has to be impressed by the concept of freedom they enshrine: a
freedom designed to enable people to fulfill their duties and responsibilities toward the
family and toward the common good of the community. Their authors clearly understood
that there could be no true freedom without moral responsibility and accountability, and
no happiness without respect and support for the natural units or groupings through
which people exist, develop, and seek the higher purposes of life in concert with others.
The American democratic experiment has been successful in many ways. …But the
continuing success of American democracy depends on the degree to which each new
generation, native-born and immigrant, makes its own the moral truths on which the
Founding Fathers staked the future of your Republic.
….Respect for religious conviction played no small part in the birth and early
development of the United States. Thus John Dickinson, Chairman of the Committee for
the Declaration of Independence, said in 1776: “Our liberties do not come from
charters; for these are only the declaration of preexisting rights. They do not depend on
parchments or seals; but come from the King of Kings and the Lord of all the earth.”
Indeed it may be asked whether the American democratic experiment would have been
possible, or how well it will succeed in the future, without a deeply rooted vision of divine
providence over the individual and over the fate of nations.
George Washington's First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789 (excerpt)
…it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent
supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the
Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his
benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United
States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may
enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the
functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every
public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my
own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to
acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than
the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character
of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential
agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United

Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct
communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by
which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude
along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage.
These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on
my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me I trust in thinking, that there are none
under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free Government can more
auspiciously commence.
By the article establishing the Executive Department, it is made the duty of the
President "to recommend to your consideration, such measures as he shall judge
necessary and expedient." …[T]he foundations of our National policy will be laid in the
pure and immutable principles of private morality; and the pre-eminence of a free
Government, be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its
Citizens, and command the respect of the world.
I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my
Country can inspire: since there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there
exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and
happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and
magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity: Since we
ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected
on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has
ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the
Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps
as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people….
Having thus imparted to you my sentiments, as they have been awakened by the
occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without
resorting once more to the benign parent of the human race, in humble supplication….so
his divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate
consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must
depend.
George Washington's Farewell Address, September 17, 1796 (excerpt)
Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and
Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of
Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these
firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the
pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their
connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security
for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths,
which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution
indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may
be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason
and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of

religious principle.
It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular
government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free
government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts
to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Oremus pro invicem, et pro patria. Fr. De Celles

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lighting Work Begins This Week. Remember that the work to install our new lighting
will begin this Monday, July 2, and will finish by September 1. The upstairs church will
be closed from Monday through Friday every week, and the Blessed Sacrament, Masses,
etc., will be moved to the downstairs Parish Hall during the week. The church will be
reopened every Saturday morning and all weekend Masses, etc. will be in the church as
usual. Thanks for your patience and cooperation. And please pray to St. Raymond that all
goes well with the lighting “fix” (see below).
Supreme Court Win for Pro-Lifers. “The US Supreme Court has struck down a portion
of a California law that requires [pro-life] pregnancy-help centers to provide women
with promotional material about abortion. Writing for a 5-4 majority, Justice Clarence
Thomas said: ‘California cannot co-opt the licensed facilities to deliver its message.’ The
decision, on free-speech grounds, suggests that pro-life forces will also succeed to
challenging similar legislation in Illinois and in Hawaii” [source: Catholic World News).
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Litany and Prayer to St. Raymond of Peñafort. In today’s bulletin we’ve included an
insert with a new Litany and Prayer to St. Raymond. I encourage you to incorporate at
least the “Prayer” at the end of the Litany into your regular daily prayers, and so draw
closer to our great Saint. I’d especially like you all to pray at least the prayer every day
during the electrical work in the church.
For years, I have been looking for a good prayer to our Saint, but have been
unsatisfied with what I’ve found. So, I thought I’d try to write something original, and I
am thankful to Bishop Burbidge for quickly giving his imprimatur so that it can be
prayed publicly in the Church.
A lot of Catholics have no idea who St. Raymond was, and most of those who do
think of him as simply a great Canon Lawyer. But, of course, he was much more than
that. So let’s look at the litany and prayer and consider what it’s trying to recall.
Let’s begin with the titles of the Litany:
— “Master of Preachers,” reminds us both that he was a phenomenal preacher and
the head (“Master General”) of the religious order called the “Order of Preachers”—the
Dominicans.
— “Patron of Lawyers,” reminds us of his role in editing and combining all the
various laws of the Church written over 11 centuries in order to issue a well-organized
and codified set of laws for the Church. He is called “Father of Canon Law,” and is
officially the patron saint of all lawyers.
— “Father of Confessors” and “Counselor of Penitents,” remind of his great
treatise, Summa de casibus poenitentiae, written as a scholarly guide for priests in the
confessional.
— “Apostle to Gentiles,” reminds us of his work to convert Spanish Moors
(Muslims, i.e., the “Gentiles” of his day), especially through thoughtful preaching, and of
his encouraging St. Thomas Aquinas to write his great treatise, Summa contra Gentiles,
to help in this regard.

— “Evangelist to Israelites,” reminds of his work to respectfully convert Spanish
Jews; it is said that he was responsible for the conversion of over 30,000 Moors and Jews.
— “Ransomer of Captives,” reminds us of his role in the foundation of Order of
Mercy, or Mercedarians, who were dedicated to ransoming Christian captives of the
Moorish pirates, even offering their own lives in exchange.
— “Teacher of the Learned and the Ignorant,” reminds of his ability to preach to
the well-educated as he was a university professor for many years, and to the under-
educated as he preached in Churches to the masses.
— “Friend of Princes and Paupers,” reminds of us his influential friendship with
people in high places, such as Kings and Popes, as well as his kindness and tenderness to
the poor and lowly.
— “Protector of Sailors,” recalls the miracle of Majorca, where, by the grace of
God, he turned his cape into both skiff and sail, to flee the island and sail to Spain.
— “Comforter of the Aged,” reminds us that he lived to be either 99 or 100 years
old, and is an example of Christian fidelity for the aged, as well as a special friend to
them.
— “Defender of Marriage,” reminds both of his important scholarly treatise,
Summa on Marriage, and his public rebuke of King James’ infidelity in Majorca (see
“Protector of Sailors,” above).
— “Champion of Religious Rights,” “Advocate of Reason,” and “Promoter of
Freedom,” all remind us how, in efforts to convert Jews and Muslims, he encouraged
reasoned discussion, including the famous public debate involving the leading Rabbi of
Spain in 1263. Although not up to modern standards, Raymond’s efforts represented
remarkable strides for religious rights and freedom of speech for his time.
— “Guardian of Justice,” reminds us that as one of the Church’s most expert
scholars of law as well as the Penitentiary of the Church, he was a historical promoter of
justice in both civil society and the Church, exercising his influence in a particular way
over Popes and Kings.
— “Worker of Miracles,” reminds of the many miracles he performed, from the
curing of the sick, to the conversion of obstinate sinners, to the miracle of Majorca.
— “Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” reminds of his great love and devotion to
Mary, and of her appearance to him in 1218.
— “Son of St. Dominic,” reminds us of his membership in the “Order of
Preachers” founded by St. Dominic.
— “Son of the Church,” reminds us of his deep love for Holy Mother Church.
— “Holy Priest of Jesus Christ,” reminds us that with all his amazing
accomplishments, he was first and foremost a priest.
The Prayer itself (which can easily be said separately from the Litany) is pretty
self-explanatory. But I call your attention to some nuances.
This prayer can be said by anyone, but it is first for our parish, and so it refers to
him as “patron,” and to “those entrusted to your care.” Then it mentions “all who flee to
your protection,” a subtle reference to his fleeing from Majorca. It speaks of his

“teaching,” as he was a teacher and scholar, and his help to “proclaim the truth of the
Gospel to all we meet,” referring to his constant preaching to Christians, heretics, Jews
and Muslims. Then it refers to “the fullness of our years,” alluding to his advanced age at
death. Then we ask him to “guide us home to heaven,” which is ultimate goal as our
patron. And finally the phrase says, “to live in peace,” is a reference to his prayer for us,
that “the God of love and peace set your hearts at rest… and brin[g] you at last to that
place of complete plenitude….in the vision of peace….”
4 th of July. Have a blessed 4 th ! Please join us for Mass at 10am to thank God for our great
country and to pray for it.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Religious Freedom Week. This week we continue Religious Freedom Week, which runs from June 22 through June 29. The week begins with the Feast of 2 saints who were killed by their king to silence their religious opposition to his policies, especially with regard to marriage: St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. Normally these two saints are celebrated as one feast, but since St. Thomas is our Diocesan Patron Saint, we celebrate his feast alone, and move St. John to another day (I celebrated his votive Mass yesterday morning, Saturday). Today we celebrate another saint who was killed by his king to silence his religious opposition: St. John the Baptist, who, in preparing the way for Jesus publicly condemned King Herod’s public incestuous marriage. Then we end the week on the 29th, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, two saints who not only represent the persisting teaching authority of the Church, but who were also put to death by a king for their leadership of the Church, which he saw as leading people away from absolute obedience to his supposed divine authority. Like many people of our time, Emperor Nero and many Romans blamed Christians for many of the problems of their age. And all during this week let’s keep in mind St. Raymond of Peñafort, who also got in trouble with a king. Very briefly, we recall how when our saint condemned King James of Spain’s consorting with his mistress on the island of Majorca. When the King tried to keep Raymond from leaving the island by threatening to punish any ship who took him aboard, St. Raymond, went to the shore, said a prayer, and famously and miraculously sailed 160 miles back to Spain using just his great cape as both a skiff and a sail. Let us look to these great saints for intercession and as examples of peacefully opposing unjust laws that seek to oppress us in living our Christian faith in every day life.
Fairfax Schools. This last year has seen a lot of victories for Religious Liberty—changes brought about largely by the new Trump administration. But the oppression still continues. An excellent example of that is found in last week’s long expected decision by the Fairfax County Public School Board to finally approve their new Family Life Education curriculum and related policies that further implement their “transgendered” agenda in our schools. The vote was unanimous, except for the 2 pro-family Catholics on the Board, Elizabeth Schultz and Tom Wilson. This was even though 90% of the public respondents disapproved of the changes. So much for representative government. Parents and taxpayers admit it: you’re too stupid to know what’s best for your kids or your tax dollars. Thank goodness for elite leftist totalitarians. Now, you might say this is not a religious liberty issue, and in part you’d be correct. But only in that it involves several other types of liberty and rights as well. This includes the freedom of parents to educate their children as they see fit, and to be the primarily educators of their children; the freedom to elect truly representative government, and the right to have their representatives listen to them and enact laws that the voters approve of. But it is also definitely a religious liberty issue in that these elitist board members
are purposefully trying to teach our children to reject the moral values of the religions that their parents are raising them in. It’s as if they say, “Sure, parents, you can do and say whatever you want at homes or in your churches, that’s okay. We have them all day, five days a week (sometimes 6 or 7 with extracurriculars) so we can undo all the BAD stuff you taught them and teach them CORRECT values.” So we have to keep fighting. It’s not just enough to win a pro-religious-liberty seat on the Supreme Court, we need to keep fighting to make the Court, the Congress and the Presidency solidly pro-religious-liberty. And we need to win back control of our schools by running more and electing pro-religious liberty candidates like Schultz and Wilson. But more than that, we have to be involve ourselves. Parents, you must be actively involved in your kid’s schools and classrooms. You must organize with other parents and taxpayers and work with organizations that support your values. And perhaps its time to stop supporting government run schools by removing your kids from them. And of course, we have to pray. So please join in our prayers this week for Religious Liberty, both at Mass and in your homes. And join us for this Wednesday’s Holy Hour for Life, Liberty and Marriage from 6pm to 7pm in the church.
Youth Group Activities this Summer. Our teens are at WorkCamp this week, so please keep them in your prayers, that they may be safe and come to know the Lord more intimately through the ancient practice of “ora et labora”—pray and work. Pray also that they may come to appreciate the dignity and needs of those less fortunate, and so grow in true love of neighbor. From July 13 – 15, a group of our kids will also be off for a weekend spiritual conference at Franciscan University. These are great weekends that can have a profound effect on their lives for years, and decades to come. So keep them in your prayers then too. And there are lots of other activities going on for them this summer, thanks to Jeanne Sause and our adult volunteers. Make sure your kids don’t miss out.
Special Thanks. After many years of service, two of our outstanding parishioners are retiring from the Parish Finance Council: Joe Cox and Matt Wheeler. Matt and Joe have been on the council almost since the beginning of our parish, long before I got here. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the hard work they’ve done, and the invaluable assistance and advice they’ve given me. The Finance Council is a committee required by Canon Law to give advice to the Pastor on financial matters of the parish, but I rely them to advise me on a wide variety of parish issues.
Thanks to Graduating Altar Servers. Fr. Smith and I ask you to join us in thanking the four young men who have served at the altar for so many years, and are now preparing to go off to college: John Paul Spinelli, Michael Weyrich, Jarod Slaton, and Brendan Kapp. They are fine young Catholic men, and I’m very proud of them. We’re going to miss them, but we wish them the very best, and promise them our prayers.
Lighting Project. Remember that the work to install our new lighting will begin in one week, on Monday, July 2, and will finish by September 1. The Blessed Sacrament, Masses, etc., will be moved to the Parish Hall during the week. All weekend Masses etc. will be in the church as usual.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father’s Day. This Sunday Americans celebrate “Father’s Day.” What a blessing for children to be raised by a devoted father partnered with his good wife, their mother. Together father and mother are naturally suited to teach their children how to love, serve and lead others: how to be good citizens, good workers, good friends, and good neighbors, and of course good brothers and sisters, good parents and good spouses.
A good father teaches his children, especially his sons, how to be good and holy men, how to be responsible, hardworking and creative, and both strong and caring, just and merciful, brave and compassionate. By the way he treats his wife a good father teaches his sons how to treat all women with respect and love, and how to be a good and faithful husband and father; and he teaches his daughters what to look for in a good husband.
Without good fathers, especially married to mothers, things get very hard for the family, for children, and for society. Over the last 50 years many have tried to diminish the importance of fatherhood, and the result is more domestic violence and heartache, as well as social upheaval. Is it any wonder we see so many problems in society, especially related to young men who have not had a strong and loving father to teach them what it means to be a real man?
Most especially, fathers, I urge you to take responsibility for the religious and moral formation of your children. You take care of all their physical needs, why would you neglect their spiritual and moral life? Life is hard, but it’s impossible without God’s grace. And when their life on this earth is over, you want to be with them blissfully happy in heaven, and not wallowing in the pain of hell for eternity. So make it your first priority to bring them up in the devout practice of the Catholic faith—first and foremost by your good example.
Fathers, I commend you for the good work done and sacrifices you’ve made for your families. Always remember that Christ will not abandon you to do it all on your own—He will give you the grace to be the great man He created and calls you to be. Happy and blessed Father’s Day.

The Catholic Education of our Youth. In the last couple of years I’ve been trying to keep you updated on the developments in Fairfax County Public Schools, i.e., “transgendered” policy and related changes in Family Life Education. As I write this on Wednesday (June 13) I think of tomorrow’s meeting of the FCPS Board at which they will cast a final vote on changes to the “family life” curriculum, including:
— Using the phrase “sex assigned at birth” instead of “biological sex” to teach children that biology has no impact on being male or female;
— Teaching students about pre-exposure prophylaxis. Also called PrEP, this drug is designed for use by those who are engaged in sexual behaviors which put them at high risk of contracting HIV;
— Removing “clergy” from a list of trusted adults with whom children should talk about their concerns regarding sex and sexuality;
— No longer teaching that abstinence is the only 100% effective method of preventing sexually transmitted infections or diseases.
I continue to fear that in spite of the many good people working in FCPS (especially many good St. Raymond parishioners), the philosophy and curriculum of our Fairfax public schools puts our children at risk spiritually, morally, intellectually and emotionally, and pose grave dangers to their eternal salvation. Therefore, as your spiritual father, I strongly urge you to consider either removing your children from these schools, or proving robust remedial efforts at home to offset the effects of these risks (CCD and Youth Apostolate activities are a good start, but not near enough to offset the dangers).
To that end, I strongly urge you to consider either enrolling your children in Catholic schools or homeschooling your children in the coming school year. No school is perfect, even Catholic schools and “home schools,” but they seem to me the best alternatives for most of our children.
I realize that either of these alternatives may require great sacrifice on your parts. But isn’t that what fathers and mothers do for their children? Please remember, the parish offers scholarships to our parish children to attend local Catholic grade and high schools. These scholarships are conditioned on the active involvement of the families in the life of the parish and are usually $500 for grade school students (or enough to make up the difference between “in parish” and “out of parish” tuition rates) to $1000 for high school students. Moreover, where the situation warrants, we will give additional tuition aid—ask me and I’ll do what I can! Also, remember that a special Diocesan fund offers financial aid to many students.
I also want to reiterate and emphasize our long-term special relationship with Angelus Academy, where I am Chaplain. It is an excellent school, and I encourage you to consider the possibility. Also, we also offer financial assistance to families who choose to homeschool and need help in paying for certain direct costs related to this. Please contact me if you need such assistance.

“Religious Freedom Week” Begins this Friday. The last few years we’ve joined the U.S. Bishops in keeping a “Fortnight for Freedom” from June 22 through July 4. Because of the significant gains we have made in the last year and half, especially with a new federal administration that has strongly reversed the anti-religious efforts of the prior administration, I have been thinking it would be prudent keep this practice going, but to scale it back somewhat from the past. As it turns out, the Bishops had a similar idea, and have replaced the “Fortnight for Freedom” (14 days) with a “Religious Freedom Week,” which begins on June 22, the Feast of St. Thomas More, and ends on June 29, the Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul. We will adopt this timing and title, and keep this week in the following simplified way:
praying the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” after every Mass;
keeping our regularly scheduled “Holy Hour for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty” on Wednesday, June 27, at 6pm;
encouraging all parishioners to pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily at home, and perhaps also making the Novena to St. Thomas More.

I hope you will join in praying for our Church and our Country.

Lighting Project. Remember that the work to install our new lighting will begin in two weeks, on Monday, July 2, and will finish by September 1. We will not be able to use the church during the weekdays, so the Blessed Sacrament, along with all Masses, confessions, and all other church-activities, will be moved to Parish Hall from Monday through Friday. All Saturday and Sunday Masses and confessions will be held in the church. Thanks for your patience, and pray to St. Raymond for the successful completion of the lighting work.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

July 1- Sept 30 – All Group Activities Cancelled in Church Building

Due to Lighting upgrades within the church, all group activities are cancelled in our church from July 1 – September 30. All daily and weekend Masses remain the same except for the EFM (Latin Mass). Adoration of the Most Blessed Eucharist will be suspended over this period but Adorers are invited to still attend their holy hour in the Parish Hall during that time. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Parish Office at 703-440-0535.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Deacon James Waalkes. Congratulations to parishioner Deacon Waalkes, who was ordained a deacon yesterday, Saturday, June 2! He will be called a “transitional deacon” in anticipation of his being ordained a priest next June. He will serve his first Mass as a deacon and preach his first homily here today, Sunday, June 3, at 10:30.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Today is “Corpus Christi Sunday,” a feast established to remind us that, even as Lent and Easter are over, the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection and His continued presence on Earth remains with us in a most sublime way in the Eucharist. In particular, we remember that the bread and wine really become the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ Himself—His Real Presence among us.
The Book of Revelation tells us that the angels and saints in heaven continually “fell down and worshipped” Jesus. So let’s consider how we react to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
— Do we show reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament? Do we genuflect before Our Lord present in the tabernacle whenever we enter the church (usually before sitting in our pew) or whenever we pass in front of the tabernacle? Do we chat loudly in church as if the Lord of Heaven were not present?
— How do we dress at Mass, especially on Sunday? Like we are going to the Wedding Feast of Our King, or going to the beach? Do we remember that skimpy clothing can be a near occasion of sin for others, and so dress modestly at Mass?
— How do we act during Mass? Do we focus prayerfully on the miracle transpiring on the altar, especially during and after the consecration? Do we chat and laugh with each other, ignoring the solemnity of the Mass? Do we turn the exchange of the “sign of peace” before Communion into a casual “meet and greet,” or carefully observe it as the ritual and prayerful sign of the peace of Christ that comes to us in the Eucharist?
— How do we receive Holy Communion? Do we observe the Eucharistic fast for one hour before Communion? Do we examine our consciences so we don’t receive unworthily (i.e., if we need to confess mortal sins or are otherwise prohibited from receiving)? Do we approach prayerfully, or are we looking around or laughing? Do we carefully show some sign of reverence immediately before receiving Holy Communion: bowing or genuflecting, or even kneeling? Do we prayerfully receive as a profound act of faith and love?
If we receive on the tongue: To avoid any chance of the Host being dropped, do we stand close enough to the priest, open our mouths and extend our tongues? Do we hold still our heads, tongues and mouths (not lurching, licking or biting) until we receive and the priest removes his hand?
If we receive in our hand: Do we wash our hands before Mass? Do we extend both hands, one on top of the other, forming a throne for Our King? Do we immediately step aside and reverently consume the Host in the sight of the priest or extraordinary minister? Do we examine our hands to make sure no particles remain?
— Do we remember that Jesus remains in the tabernacle after Mass? Do we stay a few minutes after Mass is over to give thanks, or do we rush out of church as soon as possible? Do we drop by the church during the week to visit Our Lord in the tabernacle? Do we spend time with Our Lord during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament? Do we share our faith in the Eucharist with others? Do we actively teach our children to do all these things?

I am continually moved by the Eucharistic reverence at St. Raymond’s. But sometimes we forget—myself included. And so, we redouble our efforts so as to give Him due worship.

Eucharistic Procession. To help us to refocus on our faith in the Real Presence, today, Sunday, June 3, immediately after the 12:15 Mass, we will have our annual Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession, walking with the Eucharist outside of the church while singing the Lord’s praises. Please join us in this ancient and eloquent witness to our faith in and love of our Eucharistic Lord.

Communion Rail. In September of last year, we introduced the use of a portable altar rail at the 8:45 Sunday Mass, in order to allow those who so choose, to kneel to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. Although everyone has a right to choose whether to kneel or to stand for Holy Communion, it is very difficult and time-consuming to kneel without a kneeler. This is really unfair. The portable altar rail/kneeler solves this problem.
But you will recall there was another reason I decided to use the altar rail: kneeling for Communion can bring important spiritual benefits. Kneeling is well-established as an important expression of and means of encouraging adoration of the Eucharist, which is why we are required to kneel during the Eucharist Prayer and the “Behold the Lamb of God…” That is also why for centuries we were required to kneel for Communion.
I have been very pleased with the popularity of the rail at 8:45: even though they have the option to stand, almost everyone at that Mass freely choses to kneel for Communion. Many people at that Mass have told me how much they appreciate this option to kneel, and many others have asked me to extend this opportunity to the other Masses that they attend at St. Raymond’s.
That seems like a reasonable request and a great idea: why shouldn’t everyone at every Mass have the opportunity to kneel if they want to? So, for the next few weeks I will be prayerfully considering setting out the altar rail for use at all Masses at St. Raymond’s, giving people the choice to receive either kneeling or standing. (Note: for practical reasons, Communion would still continue to be distributed in the transepts as usual, without a kneeler/rail).
Some might be worried that this will lengthen the time it takes to distribute Communion, but in fact, the opposite is true: the altar rail actually speeds up the distribution. Others might be worried that they might feel peer pressure to kneel when they don’t want to. Don’t worry, there will be no more peer pressure to kneel than there is peer pressure to stand when you don’t want to.
Let me know what you think: I’m very interested in your courteous and well-considered comments, suggestions and opinions. Please email me at fr.decelles@gmail.com, or mail or leave a note at the parish office.
(By the way, I appreciate all the input I’ve gotten on the exchange of the Sign of Peace. I will be sharing my conclusions with you on this soon.)

Priest Transfers. The changes in priest assignments was announced on Wednesday, May 30. I’m happy to note that there will be no changes at St. Raymond’s. Also, congratulations to my good friend, Fr. Kevin Beres, on his appointment as pastor of St. Peter’s in “Little” Washington.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

LOT’S OF STUFF TODAY!!

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The most fundamental dogma of our Christian faith is the Trinity. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 253-255) teaches:
“The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”. The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire….
“The divine persons are really distinct from one another. …”Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: “He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son” …
“The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another: “In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance.” Indeed “everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship”…”
It is extremely hard to fathom this mystery, and yet the Church has insisted on it since the earliest days as the sine qua non of being a Christian. And what would we expect of something that essentially reveals the inner life of the infinite and eternal God. And in this mystery we begin to understand what it means to be a Christian: to be invited to live life in unity and love with them.

Memorial Day. For many people Memorial Day has become a holiday marking the beginning of the Summer. But let us not forget it’s true meaning: to honor all the brave men and women who have died serving in the military of our beloved country. May we honor them tomorrow, and keep them in our prayers always. And may God reward them in eternity for their sacrifices on earth.

Parish Debt Paid Off. As I announced at last Sunday’s Masses, after 11 ½ years we have finally paid off our $10.5 million building debt: we are debt free. Thanks to so many of our parishioners, both current and former, who contributed so much to bring us to this day.
This a huge milestone for the parish and we plan to celebrate it in a special way at our annual picnic on September 16. I’ve already invited Fr. James Gould (my predecessor as pastor, the one who built the church) and Bishop Burbidge, and will soon send out invitations to parishioners who have moved away, especially those who were most actively involved in the building and the paying.
Thanks be to God for this great accomplishment!

Lighting and Mural Project Moves Forward. I’m also please to announce that this week we chose NOVA Power Systems in Sterling to install our new lighting. Work will begin on Monday, July 2 (in five weeks) and will finish by September 1. Although we will not be able to use the church during the weekdays, moving Masses, confessions, the Tabernacle, and all other church-activities to the Parish Hall, we should be able to use the church on the weekends.
To make this as simple as possible, we will be cancelling most events that would normally take place in the Hall (including weekends), unless they can be scheduled in a different location (including the Maurer Room, the Library or Angelus Academy). Parish Heads of Committees should contact the parish office to discuss any of their activities that might be affected.
We will also be temporarily curtailing some of the normal weekday liturgical events during this period, including Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesdays and Fridays, and the Extraordinary Form Mass on 1st and 3rd Fridays. I will let you know if there are any other temporary cancellations.
As I mentioned here about a month ago, the original bids that first came to us were way over our estimates—some twice what we had estimated. So, we rethought our expectations, keeping the basic goals the same. With that, we received several bids that are more or less in line with the budget. The company we chose, NOVA, was a little bit under our original budget, and will be implementing most of our original plans. Great news.

Lighting and Mural Capital Campaign. Thanks to all of you who made pledges to pay for the lighting and mural work. We have collected most of our pledges, but we still have about 23% uncollected. Please remember that we asked that all pledges be paid in full by June 30.
Also, if anyone feels that because of the changes in our plans for the lighting they need to rethink their pledge, I would understand. Please let me know if that is the case.
Finally, pray to St. Raymond that all works out as God wills.

Our Newly Confirmed. Congratulations to our 57 young parishioners who received the great Sacrament of Confirmation last Tuesday, May 22. Let us pray for them that they may be truly open to the graces and Gifts of the Holy Spirit they have received. And thanks to all those who worked so hard to prepare them for the sacrament—especially Mary Salmon and Vince Drouillard of our Religious Education office, as well as our CCD volunteer catechists and aides: Joann Alba, Cindy Leaf, Marcia Enyart, José Costacamps, Michael Turk, Ginger Avvenire, and Anne Gordon. Also thanks to the teachers at Angelus Academy, who prepared several of our kids as well. Thank you also to Jack & Kathy Campbell for organizing the reception following Confirmation.

Parish “Transitional” Deacon. Next Saturday, June 2, Mr. James Waalkes, from our parish (and former teacher at Angelus Academy) will be ordained a deacon at St. Thomas More Cathedral. He will be called a “transitional deacon” because we are anticipating he will complete his seminary studies next year and be ordained a priest next June. In the meantime, Deacon Waalkes will serve his first Mass as a deacon here next Sunday, June 3, at 10:30. More importantly, he will also preach his first homily at that Mass. Of course, all are invited to attend, and to congratulate him afterwards at Donut Sunday.

Next Sunday’s Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession. Next Sunday, June 3, immediately after the 12:15 Mass, we will celebrate Corpus Christi Sunday with our annual Eucharistic Procession. Processing with the Eucharist outside of the church building while singing the Lord’s praises is an ancient practice dating back at least to the early 12th century. By bringing the Eucharist outside of the church building and walking out into the world with the Blessed Sacrament, believers give public witness to their faith in Jesus Christ in general, and in the His Real Presence in the Eucharist in particular. Please join us in this ancient and eloquent witness to our faith in and love of our Eucharistic Lord.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles