Fr. Charles Smith. By now I assume you have all heard that effective Monday,
November 18, Fr. Charles Smith, our Parochial Vicar, will be transferred and promoted
to be the new Pastor at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Warrenton. There he will take Fr.
Jim Gould’s place, as Fr. Gould becomes Pastor at St. Francis de Sales in Purcellville. Fr.
Smith has done great job here these last 3½ years, a huge help to me, and I know to all of
you as well. I know you join me in thanking him, and are as confident as I am that he will
be a great Pastor.
All transfers are difficult for priests, but especially for first-time pastors. It’s a
very different job than being a vicar, and so, while exciting, it’s also a little nerve-
wracking. Plus, this transfer has two added complications: first, it is very short notice,
and second, Fr. Smith will be out of town on a long-planned trip to Rome the week
before the transfer.
Fr. Smith will be gone all this week, but he will be back to say his last Mass here
next Sunday, November 17, at 12:15. After that Mass we will have a going away
reception for him in the parish hall, and all are invited.
Some have asked me if they can give Fr. Smith a gift. It is not at all necessary, but
it is kind and a lot of people do it, so “yes.” Then they ask me what they should give him.
That’s harder. Honestly, the best thing to give a priest to make sure it’s actually useful to
him (he already has 20 rosaries in his drawer) is to give him a nice card with cash or a
gift card (maybe to Amazon). I know that sounds crass, but priests don’t make a lot of
money and these will go to help him buy things he really wants or needs.
But above all, keep him in your prayers.
Fr. Jordan Willard. Taking Fr. Smith’s place at St. Raymond will be Fr. Jordan Willard.
Fr. Willard was ordained in June 2017, and has been the Vicar at St. Theresa’s in
Ashburn since then. I don’t know Fr. Willard very well at all, but priests who do know
him well, tell me he is a very kind, pious and hardworking priest. And he’s only 30 years
old, so that will bring a different youthful perspective and energy to our rectory. Here is
his Bio from the St. Theresa website:
“Fr. Jordan Willard grew up in Hillsboro, Virginia as the third in a family of
twelve brothers and sisters, attending the parish of St. Francis de Sales in Purcellville.
He attended High School at an Opus Dei institute, The Heights School, in Potomac,
Maryland, and graduated in the spring of 2009.
“Thereafter, he entered military school at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University to study chemical engineering while in the NROTC program for the U.S.
Marines. Then, having felt God’s call, he transferred from Virginia Tech into seminary
for the Diocese of Arlington in the fall of 2010.
“Fr. Willard was sent to the Pontifical College Josephinum, where he completed
his undergraduate studies, obtaining a B.A. in Philosophy in the spring of 2013. He
continued theology studies at the Josephinum, and was ordained by Archbishop William
E. Lori of Baltimore to the Diaconate, June 4th, 2016. For his diaconate year, Fr.
Willard worked at St. Charles Borromeo Parish. The following year, he completed
studies at the PCJ seminary with a [Master of Divinity] in a class of 19 other
“On June 10th, 2017, Fr. Willard was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop
Michael Burbidge of Arlington, and thereafter was assigned to St. Theresa Parish.”
And another interesting fact taken from an article in the Herald before his priestly
“Deacon Willard…was born to Glenn and Joanna Willard in Lansing, Mich., in
1989. The whole family converted to Catholicism in 1996 after years of attending
We will have a reception welcoming Fr. Willard in the next few weeks. Stay tuned
for details. Please keep him in your prayers as well—transferring will be hard for him
Election Results. Last week’s election results were very disappointing, to say the least,
as pro-abortion and anti-family candidates won most of the local elections as well as
control of the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate. Look out for radical changes. It is
a sad day in Virginia.
But thank you all who voted well in the election, and those who worked so hard to
promote life and family. God bless you all. And keep your heads ups: as Jesus tells us so
often, “Be not afraid.” And continue the fight.
New Missalettes. For years I have been unhappy with the missalettes we use, especially
with the many “commentaries” they add (before Sunday readings, etc.), which are often
weak and misleading, and sometimes even factually erroneous or doctrinally heretical. So
for the last few years, I’ve been informally looking for a new missalette to use, and this
last year tasked Eva Radel, our parish secretary, with the job of researching and
evaluating all the missalettes out there. In the end we concluded that there are some
interesting choices out there, but all have their weaknesses. So we decided to go with a
slightly different version published by the same company.
The two main changes you will find are; 1) we will use only ONE missalette for
the whole year, versus 4 seasonal missalettes, and 2) the commentaries are gone. In
addition, the new missalette has larger print and includes more music options. You will
also find a few other small differences that will be helpful, I think, like having the
entrance and communion antiphons on the same page as the readings. We have also
purchased hard covers so that the missalettes will hold up better. The biggest downside to
them is that they are bulkier than the old versions.
We will begin using the new missalettes on December 1, the first Sunday of
Advent. They will take some getting used to, so be patient, after a few weeks of use, I’d
like you to start giving me your feedback. Again, this is the best we could find, and I
hope it will work well, but maybe it won’t. I need your help and patience. Thanks.
Birthday Party for Sofi TODAY. This Thursday, November 14, will be the 9 th birthday
of Sofi Hills. As many of you will recall, as a newborn baby she was left in our parking
lot, where she was found by a parishioner and rushed to the hospital. We continue to give
praise to the Lord Jesus for saving her life that day, and that she has grown into a healthy
vivacious little girl. And in celebration we’re having a birthday party for Sofi in our
Parish Hall, TODAY, November 10, after the 12:15 Mass. All parishioners are invited
and encouraged to come and say hello to our little Sofi!
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles