Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Parochial Vicars Corner

Religious Freedom is worth praying for. Noticeably, my St. Michael prayer at the end of every Mass is dedicated “for Religious Freedom in our nation.” This began in 2011 when I was parochial vicar at St. Veronica’s parish in Chantilly. The Bishop’s office had sent an email to the priests requesting support for the “Fortnight for Freedom.” The fortnight was an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to raise awareness about religious freedom and to promote its preservation through prayer and activism. This has become an annual event normally ending on July 4th, our national holiday, celebrating our freedom as a nation and people. The Bishop’s conference has also asked dioceses throughout the United States to observe a week of Religious Freedom coinciding with the feast of our patron St. Thomas More, June 22nd. His exercise of freedom of conscience cost him his life with his beheading on July 6th, 1535.

What does the U.S. Constitution say? The First Amendment states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

An established religion, such as The Church of England, was what the framers of the Constitution wanted to avoid. At one time the Anglican church was the established church in the colony of Virginia. A 1624 law mandated Virginians worship in the Anglican Church and support its upkeep with their taxes. Catholics, Presbyterians, Quakers, Baptists and Jews were forced to support a church and clergy contrary to their own opinions and views. Jesuit priests would secretly cross into Virginia from Maryland (originally a Catholic colony) to administer Mass and the sacraments to Catholics in Virginia who were not allowed freedom of worship until 1781.

The framers were also determined to enable citizens to practice their faith and worship without interference from the state. Both James Madison and Thomas Jefferson collaborated in authoring and passing the “Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom” in 1786. It stated:
“Be it enacted by the General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or beliefs, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions on matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or effect their civil capacities.”

James Madison wrote in the “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments” in 1785 that:
“We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the Institution of Civil Society and that religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance.” He spoke of these rights as “unalienable rights.”
Unalienable meaning, rights that cannot be given or taken away. In other words, rights that are natural to man.

What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church say? Paragraph 2108 of the Catechism states:
“The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error, but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity within just limits, from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the judicial order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right.”

In so stating the church recognizes several things. First, liberty or freedom is not defined as “license” to do as one pleases, so called freedom from constraint or restraint. Additionally, liberty is only free if it conforms to the truth. “What is truth?” (Qui es veritas) says Pontius Pilate.

We know as Catholics that Christ is truth. Ironically, Pilate had truth Himself standing before him. And, the catechism recognizes that there are just limits to religious freedom. Therefore, some actions are impermissible as just. Citizens practicing human sacrifice would be prohibited from such an action due to its manifest unjustness to the person sacrificed, whether they are willing participants or not. Paragraph 2109 discusses this further in saying:
“The right to religious liberty can of itself be neither unlimited nor limited only by a “public order” conceived in a positivist or naturalist manner.” The “due limits” which are inherent in it must be determined for each social situation by political prudence, according to the requirement of the common good, and ratified by the civil authority in accordance with “legal principles which are in conformity with the objective moral order.”

Perhaps we should be praying for “Political Prudence.” All the virtues seem to be in short supply these days, Prudence in particular. The objective moral order is the goal. Pray we achieve this.

So much in one prayer. It is important for us to pray for and support Religious Liberty. Freedoms and liberties can be taken away. The framers of the constitution understood this in providing for religious liberty as a key amendment to the document. Societies can be more or less free, more or less just, depending on the individuals comprising that society. Virtuous individuals will tend toward political virtue, non-virtuous ones will not. We each have a part to play in the building up of a Just, Free, Virtuous society that enables the human person to flourish.

Oremus pro invicem,
Fr. Charles Smith

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

(This is a shortened version of my homily from Sunday, July 7. I thought I would share it with all of you.)
PATRIOTISM. The 4th of July is a day on which Americans celebrate patriotism. But not all Americans. As one newspaper headline read: “American patriotism is at a record low,” as it cited a new Gallup poll that shows a dramatic decrease when people are asked how proud they are to be American.
That may anger or sadden some of us, but is it wrong? Does God command us to be patriotic? The answer is, yes.
Jesus tells us that the 2 greatest commandments are first, to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and second, to love your neighbor as yourself. As St. Thomas Aquinas explains that our first neighbor is our parents (family), but after that our second neighbor, is our country, or our “patria” in Latin, and our fellow countrymen.
So that the 2nd great commandment applies first to parents and family and second to country and countrymen. We see this specified, if you will, in the 4th commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” God gives you parents and family to love and care for you, and in return calls you to love and care for them—to “honor” them. And in the same way, God gives us our country and fellow countrymen to love and care for us, and so we in turn must love and care for our country and countrymen.
Of course, the people in other countries are also our neighbors, and God commands us to love them also. But it’s a matter of priorities: we should love and help the people next door, but clearly before that we should take care of our families first: it’s a simple rule, “charity begins at home.”
And it’s the same thing with patriotism. We should love people in other countries, but first we should love, honor and care for our country and our countrymen.
Now, some today would equate, or conflate, “patriotism” with what has been historically called “nationalism.” Even good patriots use the term “nationalism” when I think what they really mean is “patriotism”. I wish they wouldn’t confuse the two.
Because historically “nationalism” is different from patriotism, in that historical nationalism would say not, “America first,” but “American, first, last and only.” Historical nationalism would even allow us to conquer foreign lands just because we think our nation is better and has a right to take whatever we want. That’s wrong—that is sinful.
But a patriot would not say, “American, first, last and only,” but rather, “America first, but then everyone else is second,” or better yet, “God, first, family second, and America third…and everyone else fourth.”
What about people who aren’t citizens, maybe they’re law-abiding non-citizen residents? Well, perhaps the term “fellow countryman” might include them, but even if it doesn’t, then it would simply mean that after citizens, these good people would come next in priority over all others.
But what about people who come to or remain in our country illegally —don’t we owe them honor and love, too? Yes, of course! But in order of nature and nature’s God, our priorities are family, countrymen, and then others.
Now we have to be careful. Just as patriotism isn’t historical nationalism, it also isn’t historical “nativism” —prioritizing people who are born here, so excluding immigrants. Patriotism, on the other hand, extends priority to all who share the same commitment to be part of the fabric of our country—including those whom God has moved here from other countries, and who are sincerely committed to Patriotism.
And Patriotism also isn’t the same as loving the government per se, but rather honoring the government to the extend it is part of the country and at the service of the people of the country. For example, we don’t honor the president because he’s in charge, or even because we like him as a person, but because he holds an office that is an important part of our country, and even a symbol of our country as a whole.
The thing is, Patriotism is not just an ideal, but has a practical everyday application. First of all, it means learning the history of our country, both the good and bad. But like a family that embraces the good memories and works to fix the bad, patriots celebrate the greatness in our history, even as we learn from and work to overcome our failures. But a patriot does not allow past failures to cause us to dishonor our country.
Patriotism also involves participation in the life of our nation. This includes everything from working productively in school or at a job, to raising a good and healthy family, to paying taxes. But it especially involves participating in the public square, including voting whenever there is an election, and even campaigning for candidates who truly want the best for our country.
Patriotism also means defending our country. So many of you have taken up arms to defend our country: thank you for your service, you are true patriots. But defending America also includes simply standing up for the good of our country, not being silenced by the politically correct crowd but speaking out publicly to promote what you believe is genuinely good for our country.
And Patriotism means truly striving for the good of each other. This means both providing opportunities for everyone to provide for their own well-being, primarily through just laws and a sound economic system, but also providing necessities for those who truly cannot provide for themselves.
And it means respecting each other in word and action. Like a family, we can argue, but also like a family, there are lines we know we should never cross, because we know that would be too much. Too often today our public discourse crosses those lines of respect and honor, and as patriots we cannot participate in this.
And Patriotism means honoring the symbols of our country. I have pictures of my family all over the rectory; they are just images on paper, but they remind me of my family and help me to honor and love them. It’s the same thing with the symbols of America. So, when the American flag passes or the National Anthem is played it is important to be patriotic and honor America by standing and maybe placing our hands over our hearts. When I look at a picture of my mother or father, I don’t think of the times they might have been too harsh with me—no, I focus on what made them so good, and the love between us.
So when we see the original American flag with 13 stars we shouldn’t see it as a sign of the injustices tolerated at our founding, but as a sign of the great and noble ideals enshrined in the founding—ideals like “all men are created equal”—that have propelled us to work to overcome those errors.
To some today, it seems patriotism is a dirty word, or a sign of partisanship. It should not be. Patriotism is an essential part of what it means to be a virtuous person, and a true Christian.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Modified Mass Schedule

We will follow a Modified Mass Schedule from July 16-23. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there will be an 8 am Mass but no 6:30 am Mass. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we will have a 6:30 am Mass but not an 8 am Mass.

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

God bless America! Oremus pro invicem, et pro patria nostrum.
Fr. De Celles

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Lead us not into temptation.” Last week I explained that the Italian Bishops had
changed the Italian translation of the “sixth petition” of the “Our Father” from, “and lead
us not into temptation,” to, “and do not abandon us in temptation,” arguing that the
ancient translation is too confusing.
Fortunately, the American Bishops have not even discussed adopting a similar
change. Which is a good thing, since noted experts in ancient Greek argue the new
translation is inaccurate, and the ancient translation—which we use—is correct.
Moreover, as noted theologian Monsignor Nicola Bux has observed, the Italian change
has caused many to “wonder whether the Church, for two thousand years, was not
mistaken in ‘obeying the Savior’s command,’ and whether it ‘conformed to His divine
teaching.’” He concluded: “If the petition in question was considered incomprehensible,
was it not enough to explain it in a catechesis?”
So let’s explain it in a catechesis, borrowing from the greatest catechist of the last
50 years, Pope Benedict XVI, writing in Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the
Jordan to the Transfiguration, pp. 160-164.
“The way this petition is phrased is shocking for many people: God certainly does
not lead us into temptation. In fact, as St. James tells us: “Let no one say when he is
tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and He Himself
tempts no one.” (Jas 1:13).
“We are helped a further step along when we recall the words of the Gospel:
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Mt
:1) [my emphasis added]. Temptations come from the devil, but part of Jesus’ messianic
task is to withstand the great temptations that have led man away from God and continue
to do so. As we have seen, Jesus must suffer through these temptations to the point of
dying on the Cross, which is how He opens the way of redemption for us. Thus it is not
only after His death, but already by His death and during His whole life, that Jesus
“descends into hell,” as it were, into the domain of our temptations and defeats in order
to take us by the hand and carry us out….
“A brief look at the Book of Job… can help us clarify things further. Satan derides
man in order to deride God: God’s creature, whom He has formed in His own image, is a
pitiful creature. ….God gives Satan the freedom to test Job, though within precisely
defined boundaries. God does not abandon man, but He does Him allow to be tried.
“….In order to mature, in order to make real progress on the path leading from a
superficial piety into a profound oneness with God’s will, man needs to be tried. Just as
the juice of a grape has to ferment in order to become a fine wine, so too man needs
purifications and transformations; they are dangerous for him, because they present an
opportunity for him to fall, and yet they are indispensable as paths on which he comes to
himself and to God…
“Now we are in a position to interpret the sixth petition … in a more practical
way. When we pray it, we are saying to God: I know that I need trials so that my nature
can be purified. When you decide to send me these trials, when you give evil some room
to maneuver, … then please remember that my strength goes only so far. Don’t
overestimate my capacity. Don’t set too wide the boundaries within which I may be

tempted, and be close to me with your protecting hand when it becomes too much for me.
It was in this sense that Saint Cyprian interpreted the sixth petition. He says that when we
pray, “And lead us not into temptation,” we are expressing our awareness “that the
enemy can do nothing against us unless God has allowed it beforehand, so that our fear,
our devotion and our worship may be directed to God—because the Evil One is not
permitted to do anything unless he is given authorization” (De dominica oration 25…).
“And then pondering the psychological patter of temptation, he explains that there
can be two different reasons why God grants the Evil One a limited power. It can be a
penance for us, in order to dampen our pride…. Let us think of the Pharisee who
recounts his own works to God and imagines he is not in need of grace.
“…. When we pray the sixth petition of the Our Father, we must therefore, on one
hand, be ready to take upon ourselves the burden of trials that is meted out to us. On the
other hand, the object of the petition is to ask God not to mete out more than we can
bear, not to let us slip from His hands. We make this prayer in the trustful certainty that
Saint Paul has articulated for us: "God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted
beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that
you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor 10:13)”

Independence Day. This Thursday is the 4 th of July, Independence Day, or we might say
“Liberty Day.” “Liberty” does not mean a freedom from responsibility, quite the
contrary. Liberty is a demanding servant and master—it both benefits us, and places
demands on us. Liberty demands that we defend it—that we sacrifice and fight to
preserve it. True liberty is a freedom to become the good men and women we have the
potential to be, that God calls us to be. As such, the most fundamental type or aspect of
liberty is Religious Liberty. So this Thursday, take time to give thanks to God for the
liberty He has given our nation, and to recommit yourself to both use your freedoms well,
and to continue to fight to preserve them.

Choir Takes the Summer Off. With Corpus Christi Sunday behind us, the choir will
take the rest of the summer off. I’m sure you join me in appreciation for all the beautiful
music they have provided us with this last year. The Mass is not about the music, but the
music our choir provides is definitely about the Mass, and helps us to more deeply enter
into the solemnity and reverence of the Holy Sacrifice. Thank you, choir members, and
especially Elisabeth Turco (director) and Denise Anezin (organist), and have a great and
restful summer.

Steve Adragna, Pro-Life Candidate. I do not publicly support or endorse any candidate
for public office. But I can tell you that pro-abortion extremist Kathy Tran is being
challenged for re-election as State Delegate for District 42 (our district) by pro-life Steve
Adragna, who is one of our parishoners. The election will be on November 5, 2019.
God bless them both. I beg you to consider being active in this election, primarily by
voting, but also with your checkbooks and volunteering to actively work for the defense
of human life in the Commonwealth.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Corpus Christi Sunday. Today Holy Mother Church calls us to appreciate more fully the rich meaning of the Most Holy Eucharist. While we also do this on Holy Thursday, the other great mysteries we remember during Holy Week and the Triduum may cause us to not spend as much time focusing on the Sacrament as we might. So today’s feast was established to pause and look at the mystery more carefully.
How much of the truth about the Eucharist do we take for granted, or forget? How much do we not even know? Over the last 50 years many of the truths about the Eucharist have been downplayed, ignored, or even denied in preaching and catechesis. Thanks be to God, St. Raymond’s parishioners have developed a strong devotion to the Eucharist. Our beautiful church building testifies to this, saying: “this is the house of the Lord, where He is worshipped adored and loved, and where He remains truly, bodily, present.”
Even so, there is still much work to do for all of us. As St. John Paul II use to say, “the body speaks.” The bodily Eucharistic presence of Jesus Christ speaks to us saying, “This is My body given up for you.” But how do our bodies speak back to Him? Our bodily expressions of faith and devotion toward the Eucharist speak volumes, both to others and to ourselves. So please consider the following. DO WE:
— genuflect before Our Lord present in the tabernacle?
— chat loudly in church as if the Lord of Heaven were not present?
— spend time with Our Lord during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament?
— dress modestly and respectfully at Mass?
— focus prayerfully on the miracle transpiring on the altar during Mass?
— receive Holy Communion reverently?
— observe the Eucharistic fast for one hour before Communion?
— examine our consciences so we don’t receive unworthily?
— approach Communion prayerfully, not looking around or laughing?
— show some sign of reverence immediately before receiving Holy Communion: bowing or genuflecting, or even kneeling?
— If we receive in our hands:
— Do we extend both hands, one on top of the other?
— Do we immediately reverently consume the Host?
— Do we stay after Mass to give thanks?
— Do we teach our children to do these things?

I am always moved and edified by the level of reverence our parish displays at Mass and during Communion. But we can all use a reminder now and again.

New Altar Rail and Pulpit. In February I told you that I was considering installing a permanent marble communion rail, and perhaps a new pulpit, and requested your input/feedback. Although I hoped to hear from more of you, I did receive emails from 50 parishioners concerning the rail: 37 were in favor, 11 opposed, 1 deferred to my opinion and 1 was undecided. I also received 42 emails concerning the new pulpit: 21 in favor, 9 deferring to my opinion, 10 opposed, and 2 undecided. In sum, 78% of respondents either want a permanent rail or defer to my opinion, and 70% want (or to defer my opinion) a new pulpit.
Now, this was not a vote, nor was it a scientific poll. And as I said, I wish I had more responses. But it seems reasonable for me to conclude that I can proceed according to my best judgment. So, I have decided to install a permanent communion rail and a new pulpit.
I have looked at several preliminary sketches prepared by a church designer, I have decided on a marble rail with pillars matching the reddish/orangish pillars on the main and high altars and current pulpit. The rail will have small arches between the pillars, reflecting the arches throughout the church. Accepting the advice of many emailers we will not remove any pews to make room for the rail, so we will have to slightly reconfigure the steps in the front of the sanctuary, moving the second step back about 4 or 5 feet. Also, we will install communion rails in front of the statues of Mary and Joseph, so that folks sitting in the side transepts will also receive at the rail. We will also replace the carpeting in front of those statues with marble.
We will replace our pulpit with one that is slightly smaller but less confining for the reader, and more firmly constructed. It will however incorporate much of the current design, so that it will look like the “son of” our current pulpit.
The designer is working on a final plan for both the altar rail and pulpit. When it is available I will make it available to you. The installation will not be done until next summer, June of 2020. We won’t have to close the church, but we will have to be creative in configuring things for Mass.
Simple Pledge Drive. But two things have to happen before I can do this: 1) I must get approval of the Bishop, and 2) we must raise the money: the cost is estimated to be about $60,000 for the rail and $15,000 for the pulpit. In the coming weeks we will send out an email to all parishioners providing them with the opportunity to pledge. If you want the rail and new pulpit, please join me in paying for them. I will begin by pledging $500 myself. But if we don’t raise the money through these pledges, we will not move forward—the offertory collection will not be used to pay for this.

Scholarships to Catholic Schools. School is out, but this is the time when parents should look ahead to consider where their children will attend school next year. I truly regret that we don’t have a parish school that would provide an affordable quality education in a truly Catholic culture for all our children. But we don’t.
So, as an alternative 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 the difference between “in parish” and “out of parish” tuition rates) and $1000 to high school students. However, where the situation warrants, we will gladly give additional tuition aid—just ask. I PROMISE: If you want your kids in Catholic schools, I will do my best to help make that happen. Please contact me if you want to discuss this.
Please also remember our long-term special relationship with Angelus Academy, where I am Chaplain. Also, we also offer financial assistance to families who choose to homeschool.

“Religious Freedom Week.” “Religious Freedom Week” began yesterday, June 22, and will continue to next Saturday, June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. St. Raymond’s will keep this “Week” by:
· praying the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” after every Mass;
encouraging all parishioners to pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily at home, and perhaps also making the Novena to St. Thomas More.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Trinity Sunday. Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, celebrating the most
sublime mystery of our faith: that God is One, in three Divine Persons, Father, Son and
Holy Spirit. It is a “mystery” in that It is something that we know only because God has
revealed It to us, and is something we cannot fully understand because It’s divine nature
is so far above our human intelligence and experience. This does not mean It is irrational
or imagined—no more than Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is irrational or imagined
simply because it isn’t fully understood by 99.999…% of human beings. I don’t
understand how the world was created—it’s a mystery. But it happened.
I say It’s “sublime” because It reveals something amazingly wonderful about God:
that He is a personal communion of three persons sharing one life and one love. Hence,
St. John would say, “God is love,” and Pope Benedict XVI would say, “for God, life is
love.” So that at the heart of God’s essence…His being…who He most truly is, is this
eternal, total, complete, mutual self-gift between the three Divine Persons in love, that is
at the center of their absolute unity.
And I say “most” sublime because It is really the beginning of all meaning in life
and the end to which all life is directed: living in the love of God. We are created in the
image of this amazing Trinitarian love in order to share in it, both on earth (by loving
God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving each other, beginning in the
family) and in heaven. What a glorious Feast.

Happy Father’s Day! Today is also, of course, Father’s Day. It’s great when this secular
feast falls on the Christian Feast of Trinity Sunday, because the two help us to understand
important things about each other. We remember the familial relationship within God and
that at the head of this Divine Family is God the Father—from whom the Son is eternally
begotten, and from whom, with the Son, the Holy Spirit proceeds. So, the mystery reveals
the essential importance and role of fathers in the family, as well as the essential
importance of the family itself. But in doing so it places the dignity of fatherhood in
relation to the equal dignity of each member of the family, e.g., God the Son (Jesus) is
equal but obedient to the Father.

Reaction to the Mural. I was so pleased to hear the comments of so many parishioners
last weekend who love the new mural. I love it too, and can’t wait for the 2 nd one to go up
in October.

“Religious Freedom Week.” Due to the efforts of our President Trump and his
administration we have made significant strides in defending religious freedom in the last
two years. But we must continue to be vigilant in defending this freedom. So, once again
we will join with the Bishops of the United States and commemorate “Religious Freedom
Week,” which begins next Saturday, June 22, the Feast of St. Thomas More, and ends on
June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. St. Raymond’s will keep this “Week” by:
 praying the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” after every Mass;
encouraging all parishioners to pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily at home,
and perhaps also making the Novena to St. Thomas More (see the insert in this bulletin).

Changing the Words of the Our Father. All week people have been asking me,
“Father, Father, is it true the Pope changed the Our Father?” The simple answer: NO. The
press once again has caused great confusion among the faithful by poorly reporting the
facts. Last month the ITALIAN BISHOPS’ Conference approved a new ITALIAN
translation of the Our Father, and last week this was approved by Pope Francis. The
German Bishops’ Conference thought about doing the same thing last year, but decided
not to. In any case, the American Bishops are not considering any such change, and I
can’t imagine they ever will, since that would be an ecumenical disaster, putting us out of
sync with most Christians in America.

Speaking of the US Bishops’ Conference. The Bishop’s met in Baltimore this last week
for their regular semi-annual meeting. Their last such meeting was last November, their
failed effort to address the problem of disciplining lying and abusing bishops in their
midst. This time they will address this issue by approving an implementation plan for
Pope Francis’ new rules issued last month, under which accusations against bishops
would be investigated by the archbishop of their province (the “metropolitan”). This is
different than accusations against priests, which are investigated jointly by the bishop and
an independent lay board. And remember, former cardinal-archbishop Ted McCarrick
was a Metropolitan archbishop for 20 years. (Note: as I write this on Wednesday there is
no news from the meeting).

Speaking of Lying and Abusing Bishops. Last week Archbishop Lori concluded his
investigation of the accusations against Bishop Michael Bransfield, suspended bishop of
our neighboring Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. Archbishop Lori’s
report is a sickening tale of homosexual sexual abuse and harassment, and of
misappropriation of millions of dollars of diocesan funds to finance a lavish and opulent
lifestyle, including large and small gifts to scores of cardinals, bishops and priests. In his
report Archbishop Lori revealed that he had personally received a $10,000 gift from
Bransfield.
(Note, there is nothing illegal in giving or receiving gifts, except when you give
away money that isn’t yours. Although I question their wisdom, in fairness to the
recipients, there are no accusations that they knew the money was “misappropriated,” and
Bransfield had a reputation as being independently wealthy, having inherited family
money. Even so, it seems imprudent to accept such gifts ….)
As in the case of McCarrick, the report’s findings, as shocking as they are, were
not a great surprise to many priests who had been hearing rumors about Bransfield for
decades. But it seems, that like McCarrick, he had many powerful friends in the hierarchy
who promoted and protected him. One can’t help but wonder if money played a role in
that….
Speaking of Church Finances. Every fall I publish a financial report to the parish and
invite and encourage anyone interested to ask any questions about the numbers. Some

people do ask, and as a former accountant I enjoy answering their questions. Also, in the
last 5 years we have been independently audited 3 times, with a very clean report each
time. Moreover, if you are ever concerned about the priest’s “lavish” lifestyle, I would be
happy to give you a tour of our rectory, which is comfortable, but is modestly furnished
and in need of new carpet and paint. Also, I have a finance council of 5 parishoners very
well versed in finances and accounting, who has access to all parish financial
information, and with whom I consult concerning all significant parish financial
decisions. Finally, several years ago I made a policy prohibiting gifts to me (e.g.,
Christmas, Birthday) from the vicar and staff, because it might appear inappropriate.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles