Immaculate Conception

580665_poster_lImmaculate Conception (moved to December 9th) is not a Holy Day of Obligation this year, but we do have additional Masses. Masses will be at 6:30 am, 8 am, Noon and 7 pm. Everyone is encouraged to attend Mass this day.

FORMED Advent Recommendations

This Advent go to FORMED for your preparation:
December 6th- The Real Story

Everybody knows the story of Santa Claus, the red–suited figure who lives at the North Pole and distributes gifts to good children every Christmas eve. But is there any historical evidence on which this jolly old character is based? Was there a real Santa Claus? To answer that question, host Mark Wilson, a distinguished historian and archeologist travels not to the North Pole but to modern day Turkey and Italy. There he uncovers clues that lead to the truth about the man behind the legend.

For more information, go to Ministries and Groups tab on the top of this website. Click on FORMED and go to December Recommendations.

First Sunday of Advent

Season of Advent. Today we begin the season of Advent, in preparation for Christmas.
Every year most people forget that the Advent season is primarily about preparing for
Christmas, and instead spend these weeks pre-maturely celebrating Christmas, and doing
so from a largely secularized perspective. And then when the actual 3 week Christmas
Season begins on Christmas Day, they put all the Christmas things away and go on with
life!
This pre-mature celebration isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if we see it as part of the
strong influence of Christianity on our culture. Many Catholics see people around them
start celebrating Christmas, and it’s such a wonderful feast they (Catholics) get all caught
up in it.
But it’s not completely harmless. First of all, much of this early celebration is
driven not by a Christian culture, but by commercial interests taking advantage of that
culture. Sadly, much of this is nothing more than retailers playing on our emotional
attachment to Christmas, in order to increase sales. Increasing sales is not a bad thing, but
the reduction of Advent to a period of rampant commercialism/materialism and
emotionalism is a terrible thing. All but forgotten is the spiritual/faith preparation to
celebrate the wonder of the birth of the Baby Jesus, our Creator come to redeem us from
our sins.
Please don’t let this happen to you this Advent. This is not to say you can’t take
part in the “cultural” celebrations, as long as you make sure to also spend time preparing
for the celebration of the Day that changed the world forever. Here are some suggestions:
— Catholics always prepare for Holy Days by doing penance. In Advent this
shouldn’t take on anything near the severity of Lent, but we should do some small
penance every day to remind us that nothing is more important than Christ, and that
everything we do is for Him.
— Add extra prayers to your daily routine. The Rosary is an excellent addition to
our prayers, especially meditating on the Joyful Mysteries, or at least praying one decade
every day, meditating on one of the Joyful Mysteries.
— Reading Scripture is an excellent way to renew your faith in Christ. Perhaps
challenge yourself to read one of the Gospels beginning to end in Advent. Or perhaps
read short passages daily from the Christmas-related texts: Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2, John
1:1-17.
— Of course, charitable giving is a great way to prepare for the gift of the Baby
Jesus. While it is a fine practice to give presents to people we love, it is an even better
practice to give to those who do not know us and cannot give anything back to us. So,
make sure you make generous charitable gifts—either directly to those in need or to
worthy charitable projects/institutions. The parish Giving Tree is one good way to do
this, as are some of the special collections.
— Receiving the sacraments is one of the most important things you can do in
Advent. Consider coming to Mass and Adoration during the week, and make sure you go
to Confession. As always, we will have confessions every weekday evening during
Advent, which means confession is available every single day during Advent (except
Christmas Eve).

— Most importantly, live the life that Christ came to give us: make every day about
loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.
Follow the 10 Commandments, live out the Beatitudes. Forgive others, and be kind,
patient, generous, and encouraging. Love one another as Jesus, who out of love for us
stripped Himself of the glory of heaven to be born in a cold manger, loves us.
— Also: take part in the many special events and liturgies scheduled in the parish
this Advent. Please keep the insert of the Schedule of “Advent & Christmas 2019
Events” from last week’s bulletin somewhere central in your house (on the fridge door?).
In particular, consider:
— Lessons and Carols. Next Sunday, December 8, I invite you to join me, the
lectors and the choir for “Lessons & Carols” at 7:00 pm. This is a wonderful program of
beautiful Advent music and Scripture readings. Some people think “Lessons” means I’m
going to give a lecture or something. Not at all. “Lessons” is simply an old English term
for readings from Scripture. By weaving together prophetic readings from the Old
Testament and pre-nativity readings from the Gospels, the readers lay out God’s
breathtaking plan for the birth of His Divine Son. The choir adds to the atmosphere of
joyful expectation by leading us in popular hymns and spreading their vocal wings in
leading us in carols and a few more complicated choral pieces—they are AMAZING.
And afterwards there will be an opportunity for joyful fellowship at a short reception
(with delicious seasonal refreshments). Trust me, this is a really wonderful
evening—you’ll have a great time. Every year the crowd gets bigger (last year we had
several hundred!) because everyone who comes loves it. Please join us.
— Advent Talks. In the past, my 3-part Advent Series on the Thursdays of Advent
has been in the form of a lecture or class. But this year I’ve decided to follow the format I
adopted for last year’s Lenten Series: I will present my Advent Series talks as half-hour
meditations in the church during a Holy Hour of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
We’ll begin with Exposition, then I’ll give a half-hour talk, followed by praying the
Rosary and then Benediction.
This year my topic will be “The Christmas Visitors: Angels, Shepherds and
Kings.” Please join us every Thursday during Advent, beginning this Thursday,
December 5, from 7pm to 8pm.

Immaculate Conception. Normally the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
falls on December 8 and is a Holy Day of Obligation. But this year December 8 is the 2 nd
Sunday of Advent, so the Immaculate Conception is moved to Monday, December 9, and
IS NOT a Holy Day of Obligation. But even though you don’t have to attend Mass, I
strongly encourage you to do so, as this great feast is integral to Advent, teaching us
about Mary’s perfect preparation to receive Christ. We will have Masses at 6:30am, 8am,
Noon, and 7pm.

Mural of Our Lady of Ransom Appearing to St. Raymond. Many of you have
been asking where our “second mural” is. Well, when working with artists I always
remember the great line from the movie “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” about the painting

of the magnificent Sistine Chapel ceiling. Pope Julius II shouts up to Michelangelo,
“when will you make an end?!” and the artist shouts down at the Pope, “when I am
finished!” So I encourage, but never pressure the creative process of artists.
But our patience has paid off, and I can announce that the new mural will
definitely be in place in time for Christmas. A little Christmas gift from Our Lady and
Our Patron.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Christ the King. Today is the last Sunday of the Catholic liturgical year, which ends with the celebration of the feast of Christ the King of the Universe.
Jesus told us His “kingdom is not of this world.” He was not establishing a territorial nation with rules enforced by imprisonment or armies. But He did not say or mean that His kingdom would “have nothing to do with the world.” Rather His kingdom, and kingship, would reign above the world and in men’s hearts, minds and souls, and so transform the world.
Because of this, the Church has always recognized a legitimate understanding of the “separation of Church and state.” It is true that some nations have been, or still are, officially “Catholic” nations. Some say this blurs the lines of that separation. But it all depends on what you mean by “separation.” If you mean, on the one hand, that the Church should not dictate the particular laws of civil society, while still having a strong influence on those laws, especially in promoting true morality, justice, virtue and charity, and on the other hand, that civil leaders and laws should not interfere in the spiritual, moral life or conscience of the Church and its members, then you have something approaching the historic Catholic understanding of separation.
This understanding is entirely compatible (though not identical) with the type of “separation” the American founders established for our nation, enshrined in the first amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The principle effect of this clause is to guarantee that the government can’t make laws that unnecessarily impinge on the rights of religions or churches, or interfere with people practicing their religion freely. There is nothing here, as some people claim, that denies the right of religion, Churches, and/or religious people to influence civil government and laws. In fact, the founding fathers believed that religion had an essential role in guiding the nation and its laws. As George Washington wrote: “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports…. [R]eason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Nowadays Islamic extremists (“Islamists”) are using despicable violence against the innocent to try to establish a world-wide theocracy in which the state and “church” (so to speak) are one, with no separation at all. We see something similar in Iran, where the Supreme Leader is the highest ranking Muslim cleric.
The Catholic Church has never sought to do this. It simply believes that it has a critical role in influencing public policy, and that its individual members have a right to live according to their faith-formed consciences and, especially through the right of free speech and the right to vote, to enact laws consistent with their understanding of right and wrong, good and evil.
Today, on the feast of Christ the King, we remember this, that while His Kingdom is not of this world, it reigns in the hearts and minds of all Christians. So that while Christ does not seek to establish His own worldly kingdom or nation, He does call all peoples living in the worldly kingdoms and nations to follow Him so as to live in true justice and virtue.
Does Christ the King reign in our hearts—or does something else rule there? And do we allow our King to rule the way we live in the worldly kingdoms, in both our day to day life with family, friends and customers, as well as in the “public square” of public speech and civil laws?

Thanksgiving. This Thursday is, of course, Thanksgiving Day. This is not a religious holiday, but it does clearly illustrate how the sense of the importance of religion is deeply rooted in our national self-understanding. As President George Washington wrote in establishing the first Thanksgiving Day in 1789:
“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.”
This week, remember Who you are giving thanks to. It’s fine to thank your family and friends for all their kindnesses, but in the end it is “Almighty God”—Christ the King—to Whom we owe our unending thanks. May He continue to bless us, and our beloved nation.
And what better way to begin Thanksgiving Day than by coming to our 10am Mass? After all, Eucharistic comes from the Greek word eukharistia, which means thanksgiving. I hope to see you there.

Impeachment Hearings. And as we give thanks to God, I also encourage you to pray that He bless our Congress and President, especially during the impeachment process currently taking place. I don’t want to share my personal opinions on this, but I do think we all need to beg God to guide our leaders at this difficult time, and pray especially that His will be done.

Advent. Next week we begin the season of Advent, beginning our new Catholic year with preparation for Christmas. I realize Advent coincides with the very hectic celebration of the worldly and commercial “Holiday Season,” but please don’t let that lead you to forget that Advent belongs to Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, Who was born in a lowly manger. To help in this regard the parish will offer many opportunities to help us keep focused on our spiritual preparation for Christmas. To this end, in this week you’ll find our annual insert with the full schedule of Advent and Christmas events. Please look this over carefully, mark your calendars, and keep it in a prominent place to remind you of parish opportunities to make this truly a holy season.

Fr. Jordan Willard. Please join us today (Sunday) after the 12:15 Mass for a welcome reception in the Parish Hall for our new Parochial Vicar, Fr. Jordan Willard. All are invited.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Welcome Father Willard

Ordination-2017
Fr. Jordan Willard, born August 15th, 1989, in Lansing, Michigan, grew up in rural Hillsboro, Virginia as the third in a family of twelve brothers and sisters, attending the Parish of St. Francis de Sales in Purcellville. Originally an evangelical in the Episcopal Church, he and the rest of his family converted to Catholicism in December 1, 1996, and began his Catholic, and progressive discernment towards the priesthood, as an altar boy. As a young lad, he also cultivated interests in military services and joined the Civil Air Patrol Cadet program. He attended high school at the Opus Dei institute, the Heights School, in Potomac, Maryland, and graduated in the Spring of 2009.

Thereafter, captivated by his years of service at the Lord’s Altar, and for developing love for the sciences, Fr. Willard pursued interests for a military career in the NROTC program for the Marine Corps at the military school of Virginia Polytechnic Institute while studying chemical engineering. Then, renewed with desire for the call of priestly ministry, he transferred from Virginia Tech into the 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 with a B.A. in Philosophy in the spring 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 Masters of Divinity in a class of 19 other priests.

On June 10th, 2017, Fr. Willard was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, and was first assigned as parochial vicar to St. Theresa Parish in Ashburn, Virginia. After two and a half years, November 14, 2019, he has concluded his first assignment and transferred to St. Raymond’s Parish.

Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Goodbye Fr. Smith! Welcome Fr. Willard! Today is Fr. Charles Smith’s last day in the parish before he moves to St. John the Evangelist in Warrenton as Pastor. His last Mass here will be today’s (Sunday’s) 12:15 Mass, which will be followed by a reception in his honor in the Parish Hall—please join us.
I’m sure you all join me in thanking Fr. Smith for his service to the parish these 3½ years. I particularly thank him for his hard work and personal kindness and support to me. God bless him as he begins his new work as Pastor.
Fr. Jordan Willard joined us on Thursday, and you will see him at the Masses this weekend. We will more formally welcome him next Sunday, November 24, after the 12:15 Mass, with an ice cream social in the Parish Hall—please join us. I am looking forward to working with Fr. Willard, and I know you will join me in making him feel at home.

40 Days for Life. And while I’m thanking people, I want to give a big thanks to all our parishioners who took part in the 40 Days for Life campaign. It was a great effort and incredible witness. There is nothing about it that is convenient. It is incredible that we have so many faithful witnesses for life. Some volunteers went every week of the 6 week campaign. Some went more than once in a day to fill an empty spot. Some stood there for several hours in a row. Some went on crutches. Some have been going for years and still go, not taking this year off for any number of valid reasons. Our Youth Group went together with volunteer chaperones and held the 40 Days for Life Banner.
Some went when the clinic was open. Others went when the clinic was closed. Their presence was vital in both scenarios as this is not simply a temporal battle but indeed a spiritual one.
As for our specific parish 34 hour commitment, close to 100 parishioners signed up, while others participated by just showing up. During our hours, the most spoken words on that sidewalk were those of the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.
This is who the people of Saint Raymond’s are. I am so honored to be your Pastor.

US Bishops’ Meeting. Last week the Bishops of the United States had their regular Fall meeting in Baltimore. Good news from the meeting included the election of Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles as the incoming president of the conference, along with Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit as incoming vice-president. Among the more interesting matters discussed were the long awaited Vatican report on the former cardinal Ted McCarrick (still not finished), and the Bishops’ letter on voting which re-affirmed that abortion is the “pre-eminent” issue in the public square. Here are excerpts from two interesting articles from the Catholic News Agency (CNA) about these discussions. Note, that CNA is the official news service of the US Bishops.
Re: McCarrick: By Rhina Guidos , Nov 11, 2019 (CNA)—“In a brief presentation…Boston’s Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley told the bishops gathered in Baltimore the Vatican may publish what it knows about the ascent to power of now-disgraced former U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick by Christmas, or perhaps the New Year….
“‘We made it clear to Cardinal (Pietro) Parolin [Vatican Secretary of State] at the leadership of the curia that the priests and the people of our country are anxious to receive the Holy See’s explanation of this tragic situation, how he could become an archbishop and cardinal, who knew what and when,’ Cardinal O’Malley said of meeting with the Vatican secretary of state in early November. ‘The long wait has resulted in great frustration on the part of bishops and our people and indeed a very harsh and even cynical interpretation of the seeming silence.’
“Cardinal Parolin said the Vatican’s intention had been to publish the report before the bishops’ November meeting, Cardinal O’Malley reported, ‘but the investigation has involved various dioceses in the United States as well as many offices’ at the Vatican and a much larger than expected ‘corpus’ of information than anticipated….
“Cardinal O’Malley’s approximately three-minute presentation was short on details, other than to say the Vatican had showed him a ‘hefty document that has been assembled.’”
_____

Re: Abortion: By Ed Condon, Nov 12, 2019 (CNA).—“…Cracks in the conference appeared as the bishops discussed amendments to a letter meant to accompany a series of videos aimed at helping Catholics engage with the American political process when Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago asked for a separate consideration of one of the amendments. “The cardinal suggested the insertion of a long paragraph into the text which would contextualize the Church’s position on life issues, and especially the teaching of Pope Francis.
“The committee considering the amendments, led by the USCCB president-elect Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, agreed to include an abbreviated version of Cupich’s paragraph, including language insisting that the ‘firm and passionate’ defense of the unborn should be matched with support for the ‘equally sacred’ lives of the poor, inform, elderly, and marginalized….
“Speaking in support of Cupich, Bishop Robert McElroy [San Diego] told the assembly that he was specifically opposed to the letter’s retention of language calling abortion the ‘preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself.’
“McElroy told the conference this language was ‘discordant with the pope’s teaching, if not inconsistent,’ and implied that a failure to accept Cupich’s proposed language was tantamount to a breach with the Holy Father’s magisterium. ‘It is not Catholic teaching that abortion is the preeminent issue that we face as a world in Catholic social teaching. It is not.’
“‘McElroy’s intervention triggered murmurs on the conference floor, with several bishops visibly distressed. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia responded to McElroy, saying that calling abortion the ‘preeminent priority’ was not just correct but necessary, pointing out that in the current American political context it was the most pressing concern. Chaput went on [to say]: ‘…I am against anyone saying that our stating that [abortion] is preeminent is contrary to the teaching of the pope, because that isn’t true. It sets up an artificial battle between the bishops’ conference of the United States and the Holy Father which isn’t true….I don’t like the argument Bishop McElroy used, because it isn’t true.’
“In a rare break with etiquette, the bishops in the hall broke into applause in support of Chaput.
“‘He wants us to think that to disagree with him [McElroy] – or [Cardinal] Cupich – is to disagree with the pope. It’s not true, but it works to undermine the conference leadership,’ another bishop told CNA immediately following the vote. ‘It doesn’t serve communion among us, or with the pope. It’s about personalities and power.’
“The final vote on the amendment declined to include Cupich’s longer text, with applause again breaking out when the result was announced…”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

seminarians.
“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
ordination: “
“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
Episcopal services.”
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
too.
 
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

Thirty First Sunday In Ordinary Time

Candidate Forum. Our Candidate Forum on October 24 was well attended, with about 125 folks. They tell me this is a lot for an event like this, much larger than most. But frankly, I was really hoping to fill the hall. I’m guessing that some folks didn’t show up when they heard that one of the candidates, incumbent Delegate Kathy Tran, would not attend. I just hope it was not a sign of a lack of interest in this election, which would be a huge mistake, since this is a very important election.
In any case, thanks to candidate Steve Adragna, who did attend and answer questions for 2 hours. And thanks to all who worked so hard to make the evening a success, especially Mychele Brickner who planned and organized everything for us, to Kathy Campbell who managed the evening, to Bob Laird who did an excellent job as master of ceremonies, and to the parish staff for once again making the boss look good.

Elections Adoration. As I said above, this is a very important election. In consideration of that, we will have 24 hours of Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, beginning at 7pm on Monday, November 4, and closing at 7pm on Tuesday, November 5, Election Day. Our prayer intention will be for the Commonwealth of Virginia and to beg the Lord Jesus for Godly elected officials.
As always, we need folks to commit to cover all these hours, especially late-night/early-morning hours. To volunteer please either call the office or go to the sign up page on our website: straymonds.org/ElectionsAdoration/.

Different Forms of Child Abuse. Most of you have heard by now, that a couple of weeks ago the pastor of St. Andrew’s parish was removed from his ministry after confessing to having sexual contact with a minor 25 years ago. It was a sad day for the diocese, especially for many of us who know that pastor well. But the Bishop did the right thing, removing him from ministry. Even though the abuse happened only one time, and so long ago, we need to take this very seriously, not only to see justice done for the past, but to strive to assure that all of our children are always protected. We must protect our children.
It’s strange, though. I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken advocate for strictly punishing priests found guilty of abusing children, as well as the bishops who cover up for those priests. But now a friend of mine has confessed. I never would have dreamt it, having always known him to be such a good man and priest. Yet he confessed it.
So, I will pray for him, and may God have mercy on him, but get him out of ministry and let justice be meted out to him as he deserves.
A hard thing. But necessary. Because we must protect our children, especially from this kind of corruption.
But as I thought about all this over the last few days, it came to me: “if that is the case, and it is, why don’t we protect our children from others in authority who seek to harm them?”
I want you to think about this with me. What greater abuse is there than killing a child? And yet, how many people have willingly voted for men and women who tell us they think it’s a good thing to kill the youngest most innocent of children —babies, before they’re born. How is that not abuse of children!?
And another example. For the last 3 or 4 years we’ve been struggling with folks who instead of helping a boy or girl get over any confusion about their gender, they promote that transgender confusion, and even to go so far as to give them drugs or to mutilate their bodies with surgery that will only change a few outward appearances, but not the fundamental biological life-long reality that boys are boys and girls are girls. And when another child objects to sharing a locker room with a transgender member of the opposite sex, they are told that there is something wrong with them. How is all this not abuse of children!?
And yet, how many Catholics have willingly voted for men and women who support the transgender agenda in our schools?
And another example. What about officials who say parents can’t be trusted to pass on moral values, even how a family should live, not to mention how society should function. And so they develop their own “family life education” that teaches the kids “family values” that run directly contrary to what their own family actually does value, like chastity and traditional morality and marriage.
Now, some may object to me comparing pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQ politicians to people who sexually abuse children. And, honestly, I hesitate to do so. But I don’t know what else to say. What is worse, the sexual abuse of a teen, or the killing of an unborn baby? Or the mutilation of a young body, or the psychological damage done to a child by a LGBTQ activist? It’s all abuse.
Now, I will give these politicians the benefit of the doubt, assuming they are confused, and genuinely think they’re doing the right thing. We cannot not judge their hearts, but we have to protect children from their actions. Because they are STILL WRONG.
And like a bishop who covers up for an abusive priest, voters are the ones who are enabling these politicians to continue their abuse. So when I say that there is almost no way a Catholic can vote for a candidate who is pro-abortion, or pro-transgender, or pro-gay marriage, I understand that these candidates might be otherwise talented people with a lot of good ideas, just like abusive priests might otherwise be very kind and well loved by their parishioners. But FIRST, WE MUST PROTECT OUR CHILDREN.
This week Virginians go to the polls to elect state and local officials, especially our own local state delegates and 4 members of the Fairfax County Public School Board. I can’t tell you the names of people to vote for. So you have to find out before you go into the booth. There are many voter guides out there. Or ask you friends. But find out.
And resolve with me today not to stay home on election day, but to vote. And to vote to protect our children from all who would abuse them.

Wedding Assistants. We are in need of women of the parish to help coordinate weddings at St. Raymond’s. This involves helping brides plan their wedding Mass and attending the rehearsal and wedding to help make sure everything runs smoothly. Please contact Pam Rinn at 703-690-4420 or prinn@verizon.net if you are interested.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A HOLY WEEK. With all the attention on “Halloween” this week, most people will forget what this week is really about: All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. These days are particularly important because they remind us that the Church of Jesus Christ is more than just the people we see at Mass, or even the 2 billion plus Christians on Earth. Because countless numbers of Christians have lived and died before us, and many of those are in Heaven, or on their way there.
This is what the Church means when it speaks of the “Communion of Saints”. Remember, the one Church has three states, or parts: first, all Christians on Earth (“The Pilgrim Church” or “The Church Militant”), second, all those in Heaven (“The Church in Glory” or “The Church Triumphant”), and third, all the souls in Purgatory (“The Church Being Purified” or “The Church Suffering”).
All Saints Day, Friday, November 1, is a Holy Day of Obligation (you must go to Mass, under pain of mortal sin) which reminds us of our unity with the Church in Heaven. Throughout the year we celebrate the feasts of particular “saints” whom the Church officially recognizes as “canonized saints”. But on ALL Saints’ Day we also remember ALL the other countless number of souls who have gone to Heaven, including many of our deceased parents and grandparents, and so many of our little children who have gone before us. This is their feast day! So, we honor them, and pray to them, asking the whole multitude in Heaven to assist us on our way to join them.
All Souls Day, Saturday, November 2, remembers our unity with the Church in Purgatory. Unfortunately, nowadays even the mention of Purgatory often triggers reactions of disbelief or even ridicule—even among Catholics. Yet this dogma goes back to the Old Testament (see 2 Maccabees 12:39-46). And as St. John tells us in Rev. 21:27 that “nothing imperfect shall enter into” Heaven. The thing is, almost all of us have at least some venial sin we cling to, or have some inordinate attachment to earthly things. We are not perfect. But in His great love and mercy, the Lord takes all of us who die with any imperfections (but having, before dying, properly repented of any mortal—“deadly”—sins) and He perfects, or purifies, us. This is what we call “Purgatory.”
And we must pray for the Souls in Purgatory—because even while they rejoice as they see themselves becoming more and more perfect, and drawing closer and closer to heaven, they do suffer the pains involved in change: much like an athlete rejoices as he becomes stronger and faster even as he endures the grueling pain of exercise and training. So, even though it is not a Holy day of obligation, the Church encourages us to go Mass on All Souls Day to offer that greatest prayer possible for the “Holy Souls.” With this in mind, I invite you to join us either at the regular 9am Mass or the additional noon Mass next Saturday.

ELECTION. State and local elections are now only 9 days away, Tuesday, November 5. Sadly, many Virginians will not vote in this so-called “off year election,” even though it will decide who write most of the laws and policies that govern our daily lives, and especially the lives and learning of our children in the public schools. Especially important this year are the races for our State Delegate (District 42) and Fairfax County School Board, where we have a chance to elect 4 of the 12 seats on the board.
So, I ask all of you to join me in voting, and also praying from now until November 5, begging Our Lord to give us the best leaders possible. I have also decided to have 24 hours of Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 7pm Monday, November 4, until 7pm Tuesday, November 5—before and during Election Day. Please see today’s insert for more information and join in this powerful prayer.
It is a grave sin not to vote in this election: we cannot let the leftists and secularists destroy our culture, society and families. We must elect officials who will represent us, and defend the principles that have made our state and nation great.

Speaking of Secularist Destruction. U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, a devout Catholic, gave an amazing speech at the University of Notre Dame on October 12. Let me quote from an article in the Wall Street Journal by William McGurn, on Oct. 14:
… The attorney general advanced two broad propositions. First, the waning of religion’s influence in American life has left more of her citizens vulnerable to what Tocqueville called the “soft despotism” of government dependency. Second, today’s secularists are decidedly not of the live-and-let-live variety.
“The secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor,” he said. “It is taking on all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake—social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”
Right out of central casting, critics stepped forward to prove his point. ….Paul Krugman accused Mr. Barr of “religious bigotry” and described his words as a “pogrom type speech.”…Richard Painter… saying Mr. Barr sounded like “vintage Goebbels.” …Lawrence Wilkerson…[compared] the attorney general …to the Spanish Inquisition’s grand inquisitor.
This is what we have come to expect when someone in public life mentions religion in a positive light. Many didn’t like Mr. Barr’s blaming secularism for social pathologies such as drug addiction, family breakdown and increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males. Yet few engaged his more arresting contention, which is that all these problems have spiritual roots. Whereas religion addresses such challenges by stressing personal responsibility, Mr. Barr argued, the state’s answer is merely to try to alleviate “bad consequences.”
“So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion,” he said. “The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites. The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the state to set itself up as an ersatz husband for the single mother and an ersatz father for the children. The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with this wreckage—and while we think we’re solving problems, we are underwriting them.”
The speech is easily findable online, both in video and text. Check it out.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE: Children’s Choir, “Schola.” I’m very excited to announce that we are starting a Children’s Schola, and invite all children in grades 3 – 8 to join. Now, our plan is not to entertain the children, or for the children to entertain us. Rather, this will be a serious experience in learning how to sing liturgical music, especially Gregorian Chant. When the children are ready they will join us at Mass, again, not to entertain, but to provide beautiful music to assist us in worshiping Our Lord. All those interested are invited to contact Eva Radel in the parish office.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles