Novena Prayers to Saint Thomas More

Prayer for Religious Freedom

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, we come before you  // to entrust our prayers and petitions for our Church, nation and families.  // We pray for the conversion of hearts to protect religious freedom,  // the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage. // We beg for your mercy and forgiveness  // for ways we have turned from your love,  // and pray in reparation for those sins committed against life and freedom. // We pray that our hearts be united to yours  // in order that all mankind may come together to worship and adore you  // in unity rooted in love and mercy. // We do this through the intercession of  // Our Blessed Mother, Mary Immaculate;  // St. Joseph, Guardian of the Church;  // St. Thomas More and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, our diocesan patrons; [St. Raymond] // and all the angels and saints. Amen.

 

 

Novena Prayers to St. Thomas More

 

Litany of St. Thomas More

(To be prayed each day after the Novena prayers that follow)

 

V. Lord, have mercy           R. Lord, have mercy. V. Christ, have mercy         R. Christ have mercy V. Lord, have mercy           R. Lord, have mercy. V. Christ hear us                  R. Christ, graciously hear us

V. St. Thomas More, Saint and Martyr,

R. Pray for us.

V. St. Thomas More, Patron of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers.

R. Pray for us.

V. St. Thomas More, Patron of Justices, Judges and Magistrates.

R. Pray for us.

V. St. Thomas More, Model of Integrity and Virtue in Public and Private Life.

R. Pray for us.

V. St. Thomas More, Servant of the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ.

R. Pray for us.

V. St. Thomas More, Model of Holiness in the Sacrament of Marriage.

R. Pray for us.

V. St. Thomas More, Teacher of his Children in the Catholic Faith.

R. Pray for us.

V. St. Thomas More, Defender of the Weak and the Poor.

R. Pray for us.

V. St. Thomas More, Promoter of Human Life and Dignity.

R. Pray for us.

V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.

R. Spare us, O Lord.

V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.

R. Graciously hear us, O Lord.

V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.

R. Have mercy on us.

 

Let us pray:

O Glorious St. Thomas More, Patron of Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, your life of prayer and penance and your zeal for justice, integrity and firm principle in public and family life led you to the path of martyrdom and sainthood. Intercede for our Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, that they may be courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life – the foundation of all other human rights. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

 

First Day

 

Dear St. Thomas More, in your earthly life, you were a model of prudence. You never thrust yourself rashly into any serious undertaking; instead, you tested the strength of your powers and waited on God’s will in prayer and penance, then boldly carried it out without hesitation. Through your prayers and intercession, obtain for me the virtues of patience, prudence, wisdom and courage.

Our Father…     Hail Mary…     Glory Be…

 

Glorious St. Thomas More, I beg you to take up my cause, confident that you will advocate for me before God’s Throne with the same zeal and diligence that marked your career on earth. If it be in accord with God’s will, obtain for me the favor I seek, namely _______.

 

V. Pray for us, O Blessed St. Thomas More.

R. That we may faithfully follow you on the hard road that leads to the narrow gate of eternal life.

 

Now is said the Litany of St. Thomas More.

 

Second Day

 

Dear St. Thomas More, in your earthly life, you were a model of diligence. You shunned procrastination, applied yourself with fervor to your studies, and spared no effort in achieving mastery in any skill. Through your prayers and intercession, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and persistence in my preparations for all undertakings.

Our Father…     Hail Mary…     Glory Be…

 

Glorious St. Thomas More, I beg you to take up my cause, confident that you will advocate for me before God’s Throne with the same zeal and diligence that marked your career on earth. If it be in accord with God’s will, obtain for me the favor I seek, namely _______.

 

V. Pray for us, O Blessed St. Thomas More.

R. That we may faithfully follow you on the hard road that leads to the narrow gate of eternal life.

 

Now is said the Litany of St. Thomas More, page

 

Third Day

 

Dear St. Thomas More, in your earthly life, you were a model of industriousness. You threw yourself wholeheartedly into everything you did, and you found enjoyment even in the most serious things. Through your prayers and intercession, obtain for me the grace of always having suitable employment, the grace to find interest in everything fitting, and the fortitude always to pursue excellence in whatever task God gives me to do.

Our Father…     Hail Mary…     Glory Be…

 

Glorious St. Thomas More, I beg you to take up my cause, confident that you will advocate for me before God’s Throne with the same zeal and diligence that marked your career on earth. If it be in accord with God’s will, obtain for me the favor I seek, namely _______.

 

V. Pray for us, O Blessed St. Thomas More.

R. That we may faithfully follow you on the hard road that leads to the narrow gate of eternal life.

 

Now is said the Litany of St. Thomas More.

 

Fourth Day

 

Dear St. Thomas More, in your earthly life, you were a brilliant lawyer and a just and compassionate judge. You attended to the smallest details of your legal duties with the greatest care, and you were unflagging in your pursuit of justice tempered by mercy. Through your prayers and intercession, obtain for me the grace to overcome every temptation to laxity, arrogance, and rash judgment in my (legal) duties.

Our Father…     Hail Mary…     Glory Be…

 

Glorious St. Thomas More, I beg you to take up my cause, confident that you will advocate for me before God’s Throne with the same zeal and diligence that marked your career on earth. If it be in accord with God’s will, obtain for me the favor I seek, namely _______.

V. Pray for us, O Blessed St. Thomas More.

R. That we may faithfully follow you on the hard road that leads to the narrow gate of eternal life.

 

Now is said the Litany of St. Thomas More.

 

 Fifth Day

 

Dear St. Thomas More, in your earthly life, you were a model of humility. You never allowed pride to lead you to take on enterprises beyond your abilities; even in the midst of earthly wealth and honor, you never forgot your total dependence on your Heavenly Father. Through your prayers and intercession, obtain for me the grace of an increase in humility, and the wisdom not to overestimate my own powers.

Our Father…     Hail Mary…     Glory Be…

 

Glorious St. Thomas More, I beg you to take up my cause, confident that you will advocate for me before God’s Throne with the same zeal and diligence that marked your career on earth. If it be in accord with God’s will, obtain for me the favor I seek, namely _______.

 

V. Pray for us, O Blessed St. Thomas More.

R. That we may faithfully follow you on the hard road that leads to the narrow gate of eternal life.

 

Now is said the Litany of St. Thomas More.

 

Sixth Day

 

Dear St. Thomas More, in your earthly life, you were a model husband and father. You were loving and faithful to both of your wives, and a diligent provider and example of virtue for your children. Through your prayers and intercession, obtain for me the grace of a happy home, peace in my family, and the strength to persevere in chastity according to my state of life.

Our Father…     Hail Mary…     Glory Be…

 

Glorious St. Thomas More, I beg you to take up my cause, confident that you will advocate for me before God’s Throne with the same zeal and diligence that marked your career on earth. If it be in accord with God’s will, obtain for me the favor I seek, namely _______.

V. Pray for us, O Blessed St. Thomas More.

R. That we may faithfully follow you on the hard road that leads to the narrow gate of eternal life.

 

Now is said the Litany of St. Thomas More.

 

 

 

Seventh Day

 

Dear St. Thomas More, in your earthly life, you were a model of Christian fortitude. You suffered bereavement, disgrace, poverty, imprisonment and a violent death; yet you bore all with the strength and good cheer for which you were known throughout your life. Through your prayers and intercession, obtain for me the grace to bear all the crosses that God sends me with patience and joy.

Our Father…     Hail Mary…     Glory Be…

 

Glorious St. Thomas More, I beg you to take up my cause, confident that you will advocate for me before God’s Throne with the same zeal and diligence that marked your career on earth. If it be in accord with God’s will, obtain for me the favor I seek, namely _______.

V. Pray for us, O Blessed St. Thomas More.

R. That we may faithfully follow you on the hard road that leads to the narrow gate of eternal life.

 

Now is said the Litany of St. Thomas More.

 

Eighth Day

 

Dear St. Thomas More, in your earthly life, you were a loyal child of God and a steadfast son of the Church, never taking your eyes off the crown for which you strove. Even in the face of death, you trusted in God to give you the victory, and He rewarded you with the palm of martyrdom. Through your prayers and intercession, obtain for me and mine the grace of final perseverance and protection from sudden and unprovided death, so that we may one day enjoy the Beatific Vision in your glorious company.

Our Father…     Hail Mary…     Glory Be…

 

Glorious St. Thomas More, I beg you to take up my cause, confident that you will advocate for me before God’s Throne with the same zeal and diligence that marked your career on earth. If it be in accord with God’s will, obtain for me the favor I seek, namely _______.

 

V. Pray for us, O Blessed St. Thomas More.

R. That we may faithfully follow you on the hard road that leads to the narrow gate of eternal life.

 

Now is said the Litany of St. Thomas More.

 

Ninth Day

 

Dear St. Thomas More, you spent your whole earthly life preparing for the life to come. Everything you endured prepared you not only for the glory God wished to bestow upon you in heaven, but for your work as the patron of lawyers, judges and statesmen, and steadfast friend to all who call upon you. Through your prayers and intercession, obtain for us aid in all our necessities, both corporal and spiritual, an follow in your footsteps, until at last we are safely home with you in the mansions our Father has prepared for us in heaven.

Our Father…     Hail Mary…     Glory Be…

 

Glorious St. Thomas More, I beg you to take up my cause, confident that you will advocate for me before God’s Throne with the same zeal and diligence that marked your career on earth. If it be in accord with God’s will, obtain for me the favor I seek, namely _______.

V. Pray for us, O Blessed St. Thomas More.

R. That we may faithfully follow you on the hard road that leads to the narrow gate of eternal life.

 

Now is said the Litany of St. Thomas More.

Corpus Christi- Solemnity Of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

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.

 

Through this Great Sacrament we are able to participate in the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, 2000 years after the event in history, as at Holy Mass the one same sacrifice of the Cross is offered on the altar and Christ becomes truly present under the appearances of bread and wine. At the altar He unites our sacrifices and love to His offered on the Cross to His Heavenly Father. In Holy Communion the Lord, Creator and Redeemer of the universe, comes to us personally, in the flesh, entering into us and abiding in us. And as the Mass ends, Christ remains inside of us as we take Him out into the world, and He gives us the grace to proclaim His glory. And he also remains in the tabernacle, truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity, to all who visit the church. And there’s so much more.

 

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, “I love you,” “This is my body given up for you,” and “Behold I will be with you always.” 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. If you tell your child “I love you” with a bored tone, or if you never smile or hug your child, what does this tell them, and how does it affect your love for them? On the other hand: if you speak with a sincere tone and if you show affection in your actions, it not only more clearly communicates love to them, it reminds you to always treat them with love.

 

So please consider the following. DO WE:

genuflect before Our Lord present in the tabernacle whenever we enter the church (usually before sitting in our pew) or whenever we pass in front of the tabernacle?

chat loudly in church as if the Lord of Heaven were not present?

drop by church during the day or evening to visit Our Lord in the tabernacle?

spend time with Our Lord during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament?

come to Mass dressed like we’re going to the Wedding Feast of Our King, or going to the beach?

dress modestly at Mass, remembering that immodest clothing can be a near occasion of sin for others?

focus prayerfully on the miracle transpiring on the altar during Mass, especially during and after the consecration?

receive Holy Communion reverently?

observe the Eucharistic fast for one hour before Communion?

examine our consciences so we don’t receive unworthily

confess our mortal sins to a priest before going to Communion?

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 wash our hands before Mass?

Do we extend both hands, one on top of the other, forming a throne for Our King?

Do we immediately reverently consume the Host in the sight of the priest/EMHC?

Do we examine our hands to make sure no particles remain?

Do we stay until Mass is over, and even afterwards to give thanks, or do we rush out of church as soon as possible?

Do we share our faith in the Eucharist with others?

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, especially on the annual Feast of Corpus Christi.

 

“Fortnight for Freedom.” Yesterday (Saturday) we began the third annual “Fortnight for Freedom” to pray for the protection of Religious Liberty, running from June 21 to July 4 (Independence Day). More than ever we need to pray, sacrifice, and give public witness as the Government continues to try force Christians, and especially Catholics, to accept a new secular morality, especially through recent regulations and court rulings contradicting our deeply held beliefs regarding contraception, abortion and marriage. These efforts deny our God given and constitutionally protected religious liberty and freedom of conscience. With all my heart, I strongly urge you to join us in prayerfully observing this “Fortnight for Freedom.”

 

Last week’s bulletin included a schedule of the Fortnight events taking place in the church. I’d also like to call your attention to other ways we will observe the Fortnight:

After every Mass we will pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” found in the pews (except when it is prayed during a Holy Hour before or after Mass).

All parishioners are encouraged to do one or more of the following:

Pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily

Pray the Rosary daily

Offering special penances/sacrifices

Pray the Novena to St. Thomas More.

 

Please see the 2-sided insert in this bulletin for a copy of the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” the “Novena to St. Thomas More.”

 

Vacation Bible School. Once again St. Raymond’s will be running Vacation Bible School this summer. This year’s program runs July 21 to 25 from 9:30am to noon, with the theme “Parade Around the Our Father.” All children in kindergarten through 6th grade are invited and encouraged to attend, and high school volunteers are needed. See the note below in the Religious Education section for more info. Please sign up as soon as possible.
Go Spurs, Go! I know all of you joined me in rejoicing and thanking God when the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA championship last Sunday. As you may recall, I was born and lived in San Antonio all my life until I moved here on my 31st birthday. What you may not know is that for many years I was Spurs season ticket holder. Sometimes I really miss Texas.

 

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 it is something we cannot fully understand because its 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.

Some say that this interpretation of the Trinity is paternalistic and misogynistic. But that is to misunderstand the Fatherhood of God through the confines of the human sexes—male and female. God is neither, so God’s Fatherhood is revealed in the life of mothers as well, although differently than in fathers. Even so, there are many reasons that God constantly identifies himself is as “Father.” Today, in this time of social upheaval and attacks on the family and the degradation of fatherhood and husbandhood it helps us to remember the absolute importance of fathers in the family according to God’s plan.

 

March for Marriage – this Thursday, June 19th.  All this reminds us of the need for a clearer understanding of the meaning and purpose of family  and marriage, as well as the importance of sharing this with others and defending it against those who would try to undermine it. In St. Raymond’s continuing efforts in these regards I urge you to join us this Thursday at the “March for Marriage” at the Capitol and Supreme Court. St. Raymond’s Parish will have a bus leaving from the church at 9:30 a.m. and returning after the event (around 4:30 p.m.). Signup sheets are in the vestibule, or you may sign up by emailing blaird48@gmail.com.

 

Fortnight for Freedom begins next Saturday. It has also become apparent that the attack on family and marriage has gone hand and hand with the attack on religious freedom, especially the religious freedom of faithful Christians, and most specifically faithful Catholics.  So related to our defense of family and marriage beginning next Saturday evening, June 21st, we will join Catholics around the diocese and nation in our third annual Fortnight for Freedom, from June 21st through the morning of July 4th—14 days of prayer, fasting and public witness to protect life, marriage, and religious freedom. See this week’s bulletin for the detailed schedule of events and practices.

Corpus Christi Procession—next Sunday. Next Sunday, June 22, immediately after the 12:15 Mass, we will have our annual Corpus Christi Procession. Carrying the Blessed Sacrament from the church, we will continue (with singing) around the parish grounds, pause for prayer and benediction on the patio behind the church, and then process back through the grounds into the church for final benediction. This is an ancient practice dating back at least to the early 12th century, as a form of public witness to faith in Jesus Christ in general, and in  His Real Presence in the Eucharist in particular. Such processions also remind us that having received Christ in Communion at Mass we are sent out with Him in us, to bring Him to the world we live in—the streets, the homes, the schools and the workplace. Please join us in this ancient and eloquent witness to our faith in and love of our Eucharistic Lord.

 

Fr. Barnes. I’m happy to report that our own Fr. Nicholas Barnes has returned to the diocese after finishing his graduate studies in Rome, earning his Sacred Theology Licentiate. Father has been assigned as parochial vicar of St. Mary’s in Old Town Alexandria (my “job” before I came here 4 years ago). Congratulations, welcome home and God bless you, Father, in your new assignment!

 

Fussy Children. As the summer heat increases, it seems so does the noise level in the church. Babies and toddlers are like that. I encourage all to be patient with our little ones, and kind to their parents. Like many of you, I sometimes find myself saying, “when I was a kid …” But I was a kid 50 years ago, and times have changed. As discussed above, the pressures and challenges on parents are more complicated than just 20 years ago. So, charity and patience at all times, please.

That being said, I also encourage parents to please remember that when a child gets a little too loud or out of hand you have the option to make use of our very nice “cry room” or the wide open narthex. Many parents find these options a great way to reduce their own stress. Dads and Moms, I know it’s hard, you’re trying your best—God bless you! I’m not scolding, just pointing out these options.

It’s tough to be a parent today, and it’s tough to be a Mass-going-Catholic. So let’s all be patient with each other. And let that patience be rooted in true charity—the love of Christ.

 

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Updated Departure Time for March For Marriage

Latest Update: Posted 1:30 PM June 18, 2014This is an update of the Details for the March for Marriage bus leaving from St. Raymond’s tomorrow.Due to the expected heat, we are delaying our departure to the rally and march. Please arrive at the parish at 10:30 a.m.  We will have some water on the bus, but you may want to also bring your own. Eat a hardy breakfast and bring a lunch. Consider the sun and heat in dressing – light clothing – and bring sun protection (e.g., broad-rimmed hat perhaps). I am actually bringing an umbrella to block the sun.

This is expected to be an exciting event. We now know that Bishop Loverde will be there as will Archbishop Cordileone from San Francisco.

AB Cordileone was recently criticized by the California Lt. Governor, Mayor of San Francisco, Dean of the Sacramento Episcopal Cathedral, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (who resides in the boundaries of his archdiocese when she is at home) for attending the supporting the March for Marriage. Bishop Loverde’s statement in support of the archbishop can be found here. Embedded in the statement you can link to Archbishop Cordileone’s response, which I commend to your reflection is a great meditation for your preparation to attend this march. I will also have copies of it available on the bus for you to read.

Looking forward to seeing you! Could you please respond to this email so I know that you have it. Also, there are a few more seats on the bus if you still have friends who want to attend.

Blessings,

Bob (703) 732-0681 (cell)

 

On June 19th, we will stand united in our nation’s capital and declare with one voice…

Why Marriage Matters!

 

As Catholics, we know that marriage is a sacrament through which God blesses the union of a husband and a wife with His grace. It brings men and women together to bless and sanctify one another, serve each other mutually and in live, and become ever more united in love with openness to new life. We know also that marriage is a natural way of being in relationship, based in the natural law, which fosters commitment, trust, fidelity, and cooperation between the sexes for the good of all humanity.

Join St. Raymond’s Parishioners:

Where?      Capitol Grounds, Washington D.C. Bus transportation provided by the parish.

When?           9:30 a.m.   Bus departs from St. Raymonds

11:00 a.m.Rally begins

12:00 p.m.Bring a lunch

1:00 p.m.   March to Supreme Court begins

3:00 p.m.   Bus departs DC for St. Raymonds

3:30 p.m.   Bus arrives at St. Raymonds

Sign up?     Signup in the foyer of the Church or by emailing blaird48@gmail.com.

Fortnight For Freedom

2014 Fortnight for Freedom (June 21st – July 4th)

More than ever our nation needs the 2014 Fortnight for Freedom (15 days of prayer, fasting, and public witness) to protect life, marriage, and religious freedom. As we enter this time, we will be expecting that:

The Supreme Court will announce the Hobby-Lobby case concerning the violation of religious liberty of a business to act in a Christian manner.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit will announce its decision concerning the Virginia State Constitutional Amendment protecting marriage as between one man and one woman.

The U.S. Department of Justice will continue to deny the religious freedom of many Americans by insisting on contraception (including abortion causing birth control) and sterilization being part of the HHS Mandate of ObamaCare. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports that there are over 96 cases filed with over 300 organizations and individuals as plaintiffs against the unconstitutional HHS Mandate.

 

Mark your calendars and join us in a prayerful witness for life, marriage, and religious freedom.

 

St. Raymond’s Schedule of Events

Saturday, June 21st, 6:00 p.m. after the 5:00 p.m. Mass – Litany Prayers

 

Sunday, June 22nd, 6:00 p.m. after the 5:00 p.m. Mass – Litany Prayers

 

Monday, June 23rd, 7:00 p.m. – Litany Prayers and Holy Hour

 

Tuesday, June 24th, 7:00 p.m. – Litany Prayers and Holy Hour

 

Wednesday, June 25th, 6:00 p.m. – Litany Prayers and Holy Hour, prior to 7:00 p.m. Mass

St. Raymond’s Parish requested day of abstinence

 

Thursday, June 26th, 7:00 p.m. – Litany Prayers and Holy Hour

 

Friday, June 27th, 7:00 p.m. – Litany Prayers and Holy Hour

U.S. Bishop’s requested day of fast and abstinence

 

Saturday, June 28th, 9:00 a.m. – Noon – Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Serve – Arlington Diocesan event featuring Bishop Loverde; Mr. John Garvey, President of CUA; and Jeanne Monahan, President, March for Life Education Fund

 

Saturday, June 28th, 6:00 p.m.  after the 5:00 p.m. Mass – Litany Prayers

 

Sunday, June 29th, 6:00 p.m. after the 5:00 p.m. Mass – Litany Prayers

 

Monday, June 30th, 7:00 p.m. – Litany Prayers and Holy Hour

 

Tuesday, July 1st, 7:00 p.m. – Litany Prayers and Holy Hour

 

Wednesday, July 2nd, 6:00 p.m. – Litany Prayers and Holy Hour, prior to 7:00 p.m. Mass

St. Raymond’s Parish requested day of abstinence

 

Thursday, July 3rd, 7:00 p.m. – Litany Prayers and Holy Hour

 

Friday, July 4th, 10:00 a.m. – Closing Mass and Litany Prayers

 

For more information about the Fortnight for Freedom – see www.Fortnight4Freedom.org.

Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost: Veni Sancte Spiritu! This Sunday’s readings tell us that the Holy Spirit first descended on the early Christians with “a noise like a strong driving wind,” and appeared like “tongues as of fire.” After this they “began to speak in different tongues” so that the people gathered in Jerusalem “from every nation under heaven” could hear them “speaking in his own language.”

That same Holy Spirit descended on each of us in Baptism, and came again to strengthen (“confirm”) His gifts in us in our Confirmations. By the baptismal indwelling of the Spirit we were united to the Divine life of Jesus Christ, and in Confirmation we were given the gifts to live the fullness of the faith amidst the great challenges of world. These gifts help us individually to get to heaven, by loving God and our neighbor, but they are also meant to help us proclaim the Gospel to all those around us, just as the first Christians did.

And the Holy Spirit does not merely come to individuals, He comes and dwells in the Church as One Body of Christ. Because of this no gift of the Holy Spirit is meant merely for personal enhancement separate from the Church, or contrary to the unity of the Church.

Let us pray to Christ and His Father, to renew in us the powerful presence of their Holy Spirit within each of us and within the whole Church. And let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to use His gifts to become the Christians we are called to be.

 

High School Graduations. This is the season of High School graduations, and many of our young men and women are rightly celebrating this great achievement. Congratulations to all of you!

It’s a time of mixed emotions for all of us. As the graduates look back they are filled with a sense of both joy and sadness; and as they look forward they are filled with hope, but also a little fear. Parents and family and friends share in these emotions.

With all this going on it can be easy to forget that the cause for our joy and hope is the Lord Jesus, who gave these young men and women all the gifts they have and will so diligently put to good use. When we look at them we should thank the Lord for His generosity. But we must also turn to Him to commend them to His continuing care. As rightly excited as they and we are about their future, the world they enter is a much more difficult, dangerous, and sinful place than the world many of us entered when we graduated high school years ago. They will need the Lord’s grace every step of the way to navigate the many challenges ahead.

What an exciting time for you, my young friends, my sons and daughters in Christ. Congratulations for all you have achieved, and my prayers go with you for a bright and happy future. Always remember that it was Christ who gave you everything you have, and it is Christ to whom you must look for everything you really need in the future. I know that He loves you infinitely more than we do—and we love you very much—and that He will never abandon you; I only hope you know that, and that you will always love and never abandon Him.

Remember, strive to use your gifts wisely, and rejoice in the “success” this brings you. But keep Jesus first in all things, so that throughout the successes and failures of life you may know His truth and love, and His peace and joy.

 

Speaking of Graduates. There is a special subset of graduates I’d like to honor—our Altar Servers: Josh Baldera, James Hildebrand, Tom Jackson, and Adam Murray. While many boys serve during grade school, to go on serving in high school shows an inspiring level of dedication. I’m very proud of all of our high school servers, but especially of these four graduates for having “finished the race.” I will have a few more things to say to honor each of them individually as each of them serves their final Mass in the next few weeks.

One server who I will not be able to honor properly at Sunday Mass is Patrick Gelbach. Although not a regular server at our Sunday Masses, Patrick has been serving at our Extraordinary Form Mass on Friday nights for several years. I thank him for his service and I’m proud to congratulate him for being named 2014 Valedictorian for St. John Paul the Great High School.

May the Lord Jesus bless all our graduates as they grow into the fullness of their life in Christ; by the power of His Holy Spirit may you continue to “fight the good fight…and keep the faith.”

 

New Priests and Assignments. Yesterday, Saturday, June 7, Bishop Loverde ordained 5 new priests for the Diocese of Arlington. Congratulations to them—and thanks be to God for their vocations.

Besides these ordinations, Saturday also included the annual announcement of new assignments for priests around the Diocese. As of this writing (June 4) I don’t know the list of transfers. (You can find them on the Diocesan website). I can only say that there will be no changes here at St. Raymond’s. But there will be some important changes around the Diocese—not the least of which will be a new pastor for our neighboring parish, Nativity.

Please keep all these priests in your prayers during the next few weeks. As we all know, change is difficult, especially when it involves moving to a new assignment and new residence.

 

Other Newly Ordained Priests. Next Saturday, June 14, two young men from our Diocese, Daniel Heenan and Zack Akers, will be ordained as priests at St. John’s in Leesburg.  They are members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP).The new Father Heenan will celebrate a “first Mass” here at St. Raymond’s on Friday, June 20. It will be a “High Mass” (a “Sung Mass”), which is very beautiful. I invite all of you to attend and pray for all the newly ordained, and for even more priestly vocations from the Diocese.

 

Save the Dates. The Third Annual “Fortnight for Freedom” will run from Saturday June 21 through July 4, and will include Eucharistic Holy Hours every day. I also encourage you to sign up for our bus to attend this year’s “March for Marriage” on Thursday, June 19th, in Washington. The March is sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage to defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Signup sheets for the bus are in the narthex, or contact blaird48@gmail.com.

 

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

The Ascension of the Lord. Today we celebrate the day Our Lord Jesus Christ ascended, body and soul, into heaven. Although we sometimes treat this as a sort of secondary feast, it is one of the most important days in history and of the liturgical year. It is also one of the central tenets of our faith, as every Sunday we profess our faith that Jesus “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.” Christ is alive in heaven, in His living and glorified Body.

This is important to us for many reasons. Consider first that he reigns forever, interceding with His Father for us, showering us with His grace and Holy Spirit. He has not abandoned us, but having sent us His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, remains united to us always, even as he waits to come again to earth on the last day.

Moreover, consider that He reigns as God in His human body and soul. He does not shed his humanity but embraces it forever as part of Himself. And so at every moment throughout eternity He keeps all mankind close to His heart. His humanity in heaven is a pledge of love for us in our weaknesses, a communication of his promise that we may also share in his heavenly glory.                         And what great dignity this also bestows on our human life, on us. In particular, what light it sheds on the nature of the human body: it was created for and is destined for heaven, not meant to be discarded at death, or manipulated or merely used during life on earth. If we would only remember this when we face the choice to sin or to love as we should—especially sins that more obviously affect the body. For example, when we leave the poor to be hungry or exposed to the weather; when we see skin color as a reason to demean other human beings; when we physically injure others or ourselves; when we abuse drugs or alcohol; when we view or treat bodies as the object of lust, to use for mere passing gratification.

Let this Solemnity of the Ascension remind us of the Lord Jesus’ abiding love and presence in our lives, of the great things he has in store for us in heaven, and of the great dignity of human life and the human body.

 

Novena to the Holy Spirit. 2000 years ago the Lord ascended into heaven on a Thursday, so that immediately after that first Ascension Thursday the apostles and the other disciples, with the Blessed Mother, began to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised. For nine days they prayed, and on the tenth day, Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit descend on them in a dramatic display of divine power. Those nine days of prayer are the origin of the pious Catholic custom praying of novenas (from “novem,” Latin for “nine”) for particular intentions, in particularly the Novena to the Holy Spirit, or the Pentecost Novena.

 

The celebration of Ascension on Sunday, sort of complicates the idea of a “Pentecost Novena.” Even so, I invite you to join me in praying a novena to the Holy Spirit, beginning today and closing on the Monday after Pentecost—a little different timing, but it works.

 

There are many different forms of praying Pentecost novenas, so to keep it simple, I propose the following. First, form a particular intention for each day:

 

Day 1: That the Holy Spirit may continue to pour out His gifts on the Church, especially Pope Francis.

Day 2: That St. Raymond parishioners, especially the parish priests and I, may more actively exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit we have received.

Day 3: That the Holy Spirit may grant me an increase in His gift of wisdom.

Day 4: …His gift of understanding.

Day 5: …His gift of counsel.

Day 6: …His gift of fortitude.

Day 7: …His gift of knowledge.

Day 8: …His gift of piety.

Day 9: …His gift of reverence, or fear of the Lord.

 

And then, in union with the Blessed Mother say this prayer each day:

                Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. Let us pray. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

 

Thanks to the Knights of Columbus. I’m sure all of you bought tickets from the Knights for the multi-parish car raffle sponsored by All Saints Parish. Sadly, none of the winners were from St. Raymond’s; looks like I have to wait another year for my new car. But I’m happy to report that the Knights’ share of the raffle proceeds came to a total of $16,618.00, half of this ($8,309.00) going to the parish to reduce the debt. Since we began participating in the raffle in 2007 more than $64,000.00 has been raised toward debt relief.

The raffle sales are only one of the many activities sponsored by the Knights in our parish—it seems like nothing big happens at St. Raymond’s without the Knights’ sponsorship or active assistance, and individual Knights are key volunteers in the parish. I encourage all men in the parish to join the Knights (“Saint John Bosco” Council) as great way of becoming more active in the life of the parish and the Church. For information, go to the Council’s website (stjohnboscokofc.org) or contact the parish office. Thanks again to our Knights!

 

Extraordinary Form and the Sacrament of Confirmation. I’m happy to announce that Bishop Loverde has decided to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation according to the Extraordinary Form (i.e. according to the rite in use  prior to 1971) at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More on October 21, 2014.  Although children (and adults) are normally confirmed in their own parish, this second option is available to all who have completed the proper formation/preparation in the parish. If you are interested, please contact me or the parish office of Religious Education no later than September 16, 2014.

 

Personal Note. A few Sundays back the petitions at Mass prayed for the soul “Larry De Celles.” Many of you have since approached me, concerned for my loss, some thinking this referred to my father. I deeply thank you all for your concern and prayers. Larry was my uncle who died recently, at the age of 92. May he rest in the eternal peace of Christ. (Happily, my Dad, Daniel, is still with us, at age 89).

 

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

The Ascension of the Lord. Today we celebrate the day Our Lord Jesus Christ ascended, body and soul, into heaven. Although we sometimes treat this as a sort of secondary feast, it is one of the most important days in history and of the liturgical year. It is also one of the central tenets of our faith, as every Sunday we profess our faith that Jesus “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.” Christ is alive in heaven, in His living and glorified Body.

This is important to us for many reasons. Consider first that he reigns forever, interceding with His Father for us, showering us with His grace and Holy Spirit. He has not abandoned us, but having sent us His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, remains united to us always, even as he waits to come again to earth on the last day.

Moreover, consider that He reigns as God in His human body and soul. He does not shed his humanity but embraces it forever as part of Himself. And so at every moment throughout eternity He keeps all mankind close to His heart. His humanity in heaven is a pledge of love for us in our weaknesses, a communication of His promise that we may also share in his heavenly glory.        And    what great dignity this also bestows on our human life, on us. In particular, what light it sheds on the nature of the human body: it was created for and is destined for heaven, not meant to be discarded at death, or manipulated or merely used during life on earth. If we would only remember this when we face the choice to sin or to love as we should—especially sins that more obviously affect the body. For example, when we leave the poor to be hungry or exposed to the weather; when we see skin color as a reason to demean other human beings; when we physically injure others or ourselves; when we abuse drugs or alcohol; when we view or treat bodies as the object of lust, to use for mere passing gratification.

Let this Solemnity of the Ascension remind us of the Lord Jesus’ abiding love and presence in our lives, of the great things He has in store for us in heaven, and of the great dignity of human life and the human body.

 

Novena to the Holy Spirit. 2000 years ago the Lord ascended into heaven on a Thursday, so that immediately after that first Ascension Thursday the apostles and the other disciples, with the Blessed Mother, began to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised. For nine days they prayed, and on the tenth day, Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit descend on them in a dramatic display of divine power. Those nine days of prayer are the origin of the pious Catholic custom praying of novenas (from “novem,” Latin for “nine”) for particular intentions, in particularly the Novena to the Holy Spirit, or the Pentecost Novena.

 

The celebration of Ascension on Sunday, sort of complicates the idea of a “Pentecost Novena.” Even so, I invite you to join me in praying a novena to the Holy Spirit, beginning today and closing on the Monday after Pentecost—a little different timing, but it works.

 

There are many different forms of praying Pentecost novenas, so to keep it simple, I propose the following. First, form a particular intention for each day:

 

Day 1: That the Holy Spirit may continue to pour out His gifts on the Church, especially Pope Francis.

Day 2: That St. Raymond parishioners, especially the parish priests and I, may more actively exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit we have received.

Day 3: That the Holy Spirit may grant me an increase in His gift of wisdom.

Day 4: …His gift of understanding.

Day 5: …His gift of counsel.

Day 6: …His gift of fortitude.

Day 7: …His gift of knowledge.

Day 8: …His gift of piety.

Day 9: …His gift of reverence, or fear of the Lord.

 

And then, in union with the Blessed Mother say this prayer each day:

                Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. Let us pray. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

 

Thanks to the Knights of Columbus. I’m sure all of you bought tickets from the Knights for the multi-parish car raffle sponsored by All Saints Parish. Sadly, none of the winners were from St. Raymond’s; looks like I have to wait another year for my new car. But I’m happy to report that the Knights’ share of the raffle proceeds came to a total of $16,618.00, half of this ($8,309.00) going to the parish to reduce the debt. Since we began participating in the raffle in 2007 more than $64,000.00 has been raised toward debt relief.

The raffle sales are only one of the many activities sponsored by the Knights in our parish—it seems like nothing big happens at St. Raymond’s without the Knights’ sponsorship or active assistance, and individual Knights are key volunteers in the parish. I encourage all men in the parish to join the Knights (“Saint John Bosco” Council) as a great way of becoming more active in the life of the parish and the Church. For information, go to the Council’s website (stjohnboscokofc.org) or contact the parish office. Thanks again to our Knights!

 

Extraordinary Form and the Sacrament of Confirmation. I’m happy to announce that Bishop Loverde has decided to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation according to the Extraordinary Form (i.e. according to the rite in use  prior to 1971) at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More on October 21, 2014.  Although children (and adults) are normally confirmed in their own parish, this second option is available to all who have completed the proper formation/preparation in the parish. If you are interested, please contact me or the parish office of Religious Education no later than September 16, 2014.

 

Personal Note. A few Sundays back the petitions at Mass prayed for the soul of “Larry De Celles.” Many of you have since approached me, concerned for my loss, some thinking this referred to my father. I deeply thank you all for your concern and prayers. Larry was my uncle who died recently, at the age of 92. May he rest in the eternal peace of Christ. (Happily, my Dad, Daniel, is still with us, at age 89).

 

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

 

 

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Graduations. Congratulations to all our new college graduates! You should be very proud of your accomplishment, and I pray for your many successes in the years to come. But I also hope that you remember to thank the Lord Jesus for all He has done for you these last few years, and I encourage you to trust in Him and His plans as you go forward. Stay close to Him and to His Mother Mary and they will stay close to you. God bless you all!

 

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

 

Save the dates for “Fortnight for Freedom.” Beginning Saturday June 21 and running through July 4 (Independence Day), St. Raymond’s will join Catholics across the country in keeping the Third Annual “Fortnight for Freedom” to pray and fast for the protection of Religious Liberty, especially with regarding the so called “contraceptive mandate” of Obamacare regulations, and challenges to traditional marriage. In addition to praying special prayers at home we will again have Eucharistic Holy Hours every day during the fortnight. We’ll have a schedule insert in the bulletin in the next few weeks with more details.

 

As part of this year’s Fortnight the Diocese of Arlington will sponsor a special morning of talks and prayer on Saturday, June 28, 2014, 9:00 a.m. to noon, at St. Joseph’s Church, 750 Peachtree, St. in Herndon. Bishop Loverde, Jeanne Monahan (President, The March for Life Education and Defense Fund) and Dr. John Garvey, (President, The Catholic University of America) will be speakers.

 

Save the date for the “March for Marriage.” This year the parish will be chartering a bus to attend this year’s “March for Marriage” on the Capitol Grounds in Washington. The March is sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage, partnering with other pro-family groups, churches and other people of goodwill to defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The March will begin with a rally at the Capitol and then proceed to the Supreme Court.  Our bus will leave St. Raymond’s at 9:00 a.m. and return by 3:30 p.m. Please join us! Contact blaird48@gmail.com for more information and to reserve your seats on the bus (please give name, number of seats, and contact phone and email).

 

Women’s Apostolate to Youth. Last week you may have noticed I was missing from several of the weekend Masses. I’m sorry, but it couldn’t be helped, as I had to give a few talks and offer Masses at the annual retreat for the Women’s Apostolate to Youth (WAY). I’m honored to serve as the chaplain of this “lay association of Christ’s faithful” for Catholic women in the Diocese of Arlington. The mission of WAY is to promote the spiritual well-being of children and youth and to provide spiritual formation and moral support for women who are called to work in dedication to this end, whether as mothers, teachers and catechists, etc.. One of the key works/apostolates of WAY is Angelus Academy. Another of the works is sponsoring the excellent “Daystar” Mother-Daughter Retreats (for girls in grades 7-9), which are held here at St. Raymond’s in the fall and winter. It’s always a treat for me to work with these good women, especially to assist at this annual retreat—I’m sure it does me more good than it does them. If anyone is interested in more information about this excellent group or its apostolates please contact Melissa Manaker at manakerm@gmail.com or 703-350-5015.

 

Ordination Anniversaries. For many years the third Saturday of May was the day for ordaining priests in the Diocese of Arlington. Consequently, most of the priests of the Diocese celebrated their ordination anniversaries in the last week or so. Last Sunday I celebrated the 18th anniversary of my ordination. I have to say it seems like yesterday that I knelt before Bishop John Keating (may he rest in peace) as he laid hands on my head and then anointed my hands with the sacred chrism. Then again, it seems like I’ve been a priest forever. Most of you know I had a career as an accountant before entering the seminary in 1991. As amazed as I continue to be that God called me to the priesthood, I can’t imagine doing anything else. There are times when it has not been so easy, times when it’s been downright overwhelming, and the responsibilities of being a parish vicar, administrator and pastor have been extremely challenging, to say the least. All too often I have not lived up to His expectations, or to my people’s hopes and needs, and every day I pray and wish I were a better priest and pastor. But in the last 18 years there has not been one day, not even one moment, that I have ever regretted, even in the slightest, answering the call to the priesthood. Despite my many failings and failures, my many weaknesses and sins, I love being a priest and thank the Lord every day that he allows me to serve Him and His Church—including all of you—in this most amazing vocation.

 

Because of that I can heartily encourage all the boys and young men of our parish to prayerfully consider if God is calling you to join me in this great vocation—and all parents of boys and young men to join me in this encouragement. And I ask you all to pray for your priests, and for the seminarians training to be your future priests (especially Jacob McCrumb and James Waalkes from our parish), and for all the boys and young men of St. Raymond’s who have not yet discerned the call that is theirs. Pray for us, that we may be the servants, the fathers and the shepherds God created and calls us to be for you. And join me in thanking God for this wonderful gift.

 

“Were we to fully realize what a priest is on earth, we would die: not of fright, but of love… Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption on earth… What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of his goods … Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest, and they will end by worshiping the beasts there … The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.” (St. John Mary Vianney, patron saint of parish priests).

 

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles