Christ House News

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

Fourth Sunday of Easter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Third Sunday of Easter

Catholicism Rejects Socialism. As you know, because of
bulletin deadlines (which take into account printing and shipping
time) I usually write this column on Wednesday mornings. This
Wednesday is May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, which
was established in 1955 by Pope Pius XII to counter the
celebration of May Day by Communist governments, and their
sympathizers in other countries. It recalls the Christian
understanding of the dignity of human work and workers, in
contradistinction to Marxism’s false notions.
The Church has a long history of defending workers,
but with the rise of Marxism (Socialism, Communism, etc.) in
the 19th century, the Popes were compelled to speak vociferously
against these inherently unjust ideologies. All this came to a
head in 1891, when Pope Leo XIII issued his monumental
encyclical, Rerum Novarum (“Of the New Things”), which is the
foundational document of the modern Catholic teaching on
“social justice.”
Sadly, many Catholics misunderstand this teaching.
Some Catholics even believe that Socialism is the way to social
justice. But as Pope Pius XI wrote in his 1931 encyclical
Quadragesimo Anno (“Forty Years”, referring to the fortieth
anniversary of Rerum Novarum): “Religious socialism, Christian
socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same
time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”
Now, one of the ways we respect the dignity of the
worker is allowing him time to rest from his labors, including
vacation time. I was supposed to be on vacation this week, but
my plans fell through. Even so, after Lent and Easter Week, I
need a rest, so I’ve been trying to limit my workload this week.
So to lighten my load today, let me quote at length some
passages from Rerum Novarum which might help us to better
understand the Catholic teachings that should inform our
perspective on the positions bandied about in current American
political discourse.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles
X X X
Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII, 1891:
4. To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on
the poor man’s envy of the rich, are striving to do away with
private property, and contend that individual possessions should
become the common property of all, to be administered by the
State…. They hold that by thus transferring property…the
present mischievous state of things will be set to rights,
inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever
there is to enjoy….[W]ere they carried into effect the working
man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are,
moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful
possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter
confusion in the community.
5. It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in
remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work
is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If
one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for
the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the
satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to
acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but
also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases.…
But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership
obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels.
Socialists, therefore…strike at the interests of every wageearner,
since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing
of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of
increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.
6. What is of far greater moment, however, is the fact
that the remedy they propose is manifestly against justice. For,
every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own.
….
14. The [Socialist] contention, then, that the civil
government should at its option intrude into and exercise intimate
control over the family and the household is a great and
pernicious error. True, if a family finds itself in exceeding
distress, utterly deprived of the counsel of friends, and without
any prospect of extricating itself, it is right that extreme necessity
be met by public aid…But the rulers of the commonwealth must
go no further …The socialists, therefore, in setting aside the
parent and setting up a State supervision, act against natural
justice, and destroy the structure of the home.
15. …The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual
invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would
run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents
or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they
entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the leveling down
of all to a like condition of misery and degradation….
17….There naturally exist among mankind manifold
differences of the most important kind; people differ in capacity,
skill, health, strength; and unequal fortune is a necessary result
of unequal condition. Such inequality is far from being
disadvantageous either to individuals or to the community. Social
and public life can only be maintained by means of various kinds
of capacity for business and the playing of many parts…
19. The great mistake made in regard to the matter now
under consideration is to take up with the notion that class is
naturally hostile to class, and that the wealthy and the working
men are intended by nature to live in mutual conflict. So
irrational and so false is this view that the direct contrary is the
truth. …Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor,
nor labor without capital. Mutual agreement results in the
beauty of good order, while perpetual conflict necessarily
produces confusion and savage barbarity. ….
32 …. The foremost duty, therefore, of the rulers of the
State should be to make sure that the laws and institutions…shall
be such as of themselves to realize public well-being and private
prosperity. …….[I]t lies in the power of a ruler to benefit every
class in the State, and amongst the rest to promote to the utmost
the interests of the poor; and this in virtue of his office, and
without being open to suspicion of undue interference–since it is
the province of the commonwealth to serve the common good.
And the more that is done for the benefit of the working classes
by the general laws of the country, the less need will there be to
seek for special means to relieve them…
47….If working people can be encouraged to look
forward to obtaining a share in the land, the consequence will be
that the gulf between vast wealth and sheer poverty will be
bridged over, and the respective classes will be brought nearer
to one another. A further consequence will result in the great
abundance of the fruits of the earth. Men always work harder
and more readily when they work on that which belongs to
them…
These …important benefits, however, can be reckoned
on only provided that a man’s means be not drained and
exhausted by excessive taxation.

Second Sunday of Easter

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

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

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

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

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

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

  

EASTER VIGIL HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS, 2018

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

Easter Triduum Schedule

Holy Thursday, April 18

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

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

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

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

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