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

Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Welcome Bishop Burbidge. We are pleased to welcome our Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Burbidge, to St. Raymond’s to celebrate today’s 10:30 Mass as the Diocese’s annual Respect Life Mass. We also welcome other guests from around the Diocese, especially members of the Northern Virginia guild of the Catholic Medical Association, headed by Dr. Marie Anderson, OB/GYN. Membership in the CMA is open to physicians, medical students, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, psychologists, and other allied health professionals. See their website for more information: https://www.novacathmed.org.

Parents Beware. We had a great turnout, over 175 folks, on October 9th for our presentation on the social engineering going on in our Fairfax County Public Schools. Cathy Ruse, Erin Lobato, and Laura Murphy gave excellent talks on the Family Life Education program, libraries and proposed boundary policy changes. Videos of the talks can be found on the parish website: click “FCPSB FLE PARENT TALK – Oct. 9” at the top of the home page. Thanks for all who helped make that such a success, especially Mychele Brickner.

CANDIDATE FORUM HERE THIS THURSDAY. As I mentioned last Sunday, our Religious Freedom Committee will be sponsoring a Candidate Forum for Virginia House District 42, this Thursday, October 24, at 7pm in the Parish Hall. Both candidates have been invited to participate; so far Steve Adragna (Republican) has accepted and incumbent Delegate Kathy Tran (Democrat) has been invited and is trying to rearrange her schedule to attend. I very much hope Del. Tran can participate, so we can all hear her views and positions, but if she is unable to attend, the Forum will still be held with Dr. Adragna.
November 5 is Election Day in Virginia, for state and local offices. Turn out for these “off year elections” (when a president or governor is not being elected) is typically about 29% of registered voters; compare that to 72% in the 2016 presidential election. And yet, in this election we are choosing the people who will have a direct impact on our daily lives on a local level. So we need to go out and vote, and I strongly encourage you all to attend this event so you can vote intelligently on Nov. 5.
As you know, the Church does not endorse individual candidates, and this forum will be conducted on a strictly non-partisan basis, granting equal respect and time to both candidates. We are inviting our neighboring parishes and other churches in the area to attend, and encourage you to bring your neighbors along.

Religious Liberty and Next Year’s Election. Too many people are focused on the 2020 election which is over a year away. Personally, I’m not paying a lot of attention to it yet, except to notice that the socialists are trying to take over the Democrat Party, which I hope doesn’t happen, since socialism has been repeatedly condemned by the Catholic Church. One of the reasons socialism is condemned is because it tends toward authoritarianism and has its own moral order which it tries to enforce. This, in turn, often leads to the oppression of religion, especially the Catholic Church.
Some read this and say, “Oh no, Father! That’s not what Socialism is about today!” Really? Consider this from candidate “Beto” O’Rourke last week during CNNs “Equality Town Hall.” O’Rourke was asked by the moderator, “Do you think religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities — should they lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage?” He responded, “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone, or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights of every single one of us.”
So, if you oppose the new Leftist/Socialist morality, you will be punished. Or, in the context of the “Equality Town Hall,” “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Saint John Henry Newman. Last Sunday several of our parishioners were on hand in Rome as Pope Francis proclaimed Cardinal John Henry Newman, a Saint of the Catholic Church. He is truly a saint for our times.
Newman was the 19th-century’s most important English-speaking Roman Catholic theologian, although he spent the first half of his life as an Anglican (Church of England, Episcopalian) and the second half as a Roman Catholic. He was a priest, popular preacher, writer, and eminent theologian in both churches.
Born in London, England, he studied at Oxford’s Trinity College, was a tutor at Oriel College, and for 17 years was vicar of the university church, St. Mary the Virgin. He eventually published eight volumes of Parochial and Plain Sermons as well as two novels. His poem, “Dream of Gerontius,” was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar.
After 1833, Newman was a prominent member of the Oxford Movement, which emphasized the Church’s debt to the Church Fathers and challenged any tendency to consider truth as completely subjective. Historical research made Newman suspect that the Roman Catholic Church was in closest continuity with the Church that Jesus established. In 1845, he was received into full communion as a Catholic. Two years later he was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome and joined the Congregation of the Oratory. Returning to England, Newman founded Oratory houses in Birmingham and London and for seven years served as rector of the Catholic University of Ireland.
Newman eventually wrote 40 books and 21,000 letters that survive. Most famous are his book-length Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, The Idea of a University and Essay on the Grammar of Assent.
To the surprise of many, especially considering his Anglican background and his status as a mere priest (not a bishop), Newman was named a cardinal in 1879, taking as his motto “Cor ad cor loquitur”—“Heart speaks to heart.” He died on August 11, 1890, 11 years later. [Cf., www.franciscanmedia.org).
Newman was a key inspiration to many of the greatest theologians of the 20th century, especially Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, who wrote of him:
“The characteristic of the great Doctor of the Church, it seems to me, is that he teaches not only through his thought and speech but also by his life, because within him, thought and life are interpenetrated and defined. If this is so, then Newman belongs to the great teachers of the Church, because he both touches our hearts and enlightens our thinking.”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Twenty Eight Sunday In Ordinary Time

Bishop Burbidge at St. Raymond’s. Next Sunday, October 20, our Bishop will be here to celebrate our 10:30 Mass. We’ll also probably have a few other guests, as this will be the Diocese’s annual Respect Life Mass. As you know, October is the Respect Life Month, so we are particularly honored to have His Excellency with us for this special Mass. We are also happy to be joined by members of the Northern Virginia guild of the Catholic Medical Association, headed by the eminent Dr. Marie Anderson, OB/GYN. But it is still our parish Mass, so don’t hesitate to attend as usual.

CANDIDATE FORUM AT ST. RAYMOND’S. As you know, November 5 is Election Day in Virginia, for state and local offices. Of particular and important attention to us are the races for seats on the Fairfax County School Board, and the race for State Delegate to represent Virginia House District 42, the district our parish is located in. Last week we sponsored a talk on some of the issues involved in the school board election. Thanks for all who took part.
Now, I am very pleased to announce that our Religious Freedom Committee will be sponsoring a Candidate Forum for Virginia House District 42, on Thursday, October 24, at 7pm in the Parish Hall. Both candidates have been invited to participate; so far Steve Adragna (Republican) has accepted and incumbent Delegate Kathy Tran (Democrat) has been invited and is trying to rearrange her schedule to attend. I very much hope Del. Tran can participate, so we can all hear her views and positions, but if she is unable to attend, the Forum will still be held with Dr. Adragna.
This is an important event, and I strongly encourage you all to attend—so you can vote intelligently on Nov. 5. As you know, the Church does not endorse individual candidates, and this forum will be conducted on a strictly non-partisan basis, granting equal respect and time to both candidates. The schedule is tentatively this: Each candidate will make a five-minute opening statement. Then questions will be presented to the candidates, with 2-minute answers from each candidate and a 1-minute rebuttal by each. At the end there will be a 3 minutes closing statement from each candidate.
Right now the plan is that some of the questions will be prepared beforehand by our Religious Freedom Committee (RFC), but others will be selected by members of the RFC from those submitted in writing by the audience during the event.
We are inviting our neighboring parishes and other churches in the area to attend. Please come and learn about the candidates.

October is “Respect Life Month.” Every October, the American Bishops call us to remember that almost 2,500 innocent Americans are killed every day by abortions, almost 900,000 a year, for a total of over 61 million dead since 1973.
But even as horrible as that death toll is, we can’t forget that abortion has other consequences as well—consequences that have been eating away at the moral and legal fiber of our nation and culture.
Of course, we cannot forget the consequence of abortion’s devastating effect on women. Especially the women who have been lied to and told, “it’s okay, it’s just a formless clump of cells.” But deep inside they know, or come to know, the truth of what they’ve done. These are the 2nd victims of abortion, but they are ignored and ridiculed for expressing their pain and feelings of guilt. We must not forget them, we must love them and do everything we can to help them heal, and to make sure that the evil of abortion will not continue to plague future generations of women. We must put an end to the real “war on women”—born and unborn.
But the consequences of abortion go beyond even that, as the establishment of a constitutional right to abortion is like a virus injected into the body politic slowly corrupting every other right, and the freedom that is the life’s blood of our great nation. Because there cannot be any human rights if human beings don’t have a right to life. If you’re not alive, you have no rights at all.
This is why, in 1776, when Virginian Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the only rights he felt it necessary to list were the most fundamental: “the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—with the right to life being first.
To this some say, “what about the separation of church and state?” When most of us think of the separation between church and state we think of the Bill of Rights. What does it actually say? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Notice, it’s not about protecting the government from the church, but protecting the individual and religions from the government.
Just as the “right to life” is the first listed in the Declaration, the right to freely practice our religion is the very first right listed (in the very first words of the very First Amendment) in the Bill of Rights. And rightly so. Because the freedom of religion is essential to the freedom of thought, to decide for oneself what one believes to be true, right and good. How can we defend any rights if we don’t have that right? And how can we defend any rights as being given to us from God Himself, as the Declaration states, unless we have a right to believe in God as we see fit?
But since the right to life necessarily precedes all other rights and liberties, when someone embraces a theory of man and society that rejects the right to life, he thereby perceives all other rights and liberties as not fundamental, natural or God-given, but simply invented by political expediency and political power. So, that when those in power find that the exercise of a certain right or freedom is not politically expedient to their agenda, they will quickly dismiss that “freedom” or “right.”
All too often our Catholic religion has come under assault not only by politicians, activists and pundits, but even by members of our government. Even under the present religion-friendly presidency, members of congress still beat the drum of religious prejudice and oppression. They tell us our religion can’t affect our public and civic lives or our political choices. For example, remember the words of Senator Dianne Feinstein calling into question how Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholicism might adversely affect her decision making as a federal judge, tell Barrett in her confirmation hearing in 2017: “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you.”
So what do we do? There are many ways we can effect change. First, we can still exercise our First Amendment right of free speech to tell our neighbors the truth about what’s going on. And in 3 weeks we can exercise our right to vote, not ashamed or hiding our faith-formed consciences, but exercising our God-given freedom of religion and voting like well-formed and well-informed Catholics.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Parochial Vicar’s Corner.

Prayer Before God: There is an oft repeated story that has numerous iterations, but basically is as follows. A rather shabby man is seen to go into the church daily around noon and spend a few minutes inside before exiting and going about his day. Finally, someone has the courage, or temerity to ask the man, “what is it that you do in the church for those few minutes daily around noon?” The man responds, “I merely go in and say Jesus, it’s Jim.” Depending upon the version, this is followed by some simple, heartfelt prayer that reveals a man of deep and pure faith. Finally, Jim is hurt, gets sick what have you, and winds up in the hospital. The staff are perplexed and edified by his cheerfulness and joy even as he is dying. When queried, he responds, it’s due to his daily visitor. The staff haven’t noticed anyone ever visiting Jim while in the hospital. Jim explains, every day Our Lord shows up in his room around noon, and tells him, “Jim, it’s Jesus.”

Cute story that it is, it hopefully, reminds us of the value of frequent visits to Jesus Real Presence in the Eucharist as contained in every tabernacle in every Catholic church. The red sanctuary light is a visible reminder that Jesus is present and we are in His house.

As the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium so clearly stated, the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian Life.” It is at the very center and heart of our faith as Catholics. That Real Presence remains in the tabernacle following Mass. Therefore, in church, we are in the “presence” of Our Lord and Savior. Time spent in church is time spent with Jesus, literally.

What an amazing gift to have Our Lord physically present with us. But, how often do we take advantage of that fact? How sad to never stop by and visit Our Lord. He waits for us with love beyond all telling, only hoping that we would come to Him and spend time with Him. It’s not even necessary to recite prayers in His presence, though commendable. Just being with Our Lord is consoling to Him and demonstrates a faith and love on our part. He knows our needs and what’s in our heart better than we do. Faith and love never go unrewarded by our God. The scriptures are filled with countless examples this. Stopping in and spending 15 minutes here, and half hour there, are invaluable to our spiritual life. Especially, when considering the hustle and bustle of life in Northern Virginia. Better still would be to give an hour, but come and give what one’s schedule allows.

How wonderful to have Eucharistic Adoration at St. Raymond every Wednesday following the 8:00 a.m. Mass, until Benediction prior to the 7:00 p.m. Mass. And, every Friday following the 8:00 a.m. Mass until Benediction at 3:00 p.m. To have Christ physically present in the Host in the Monstrance on the altar is a most excellent way to adore and spend time with Him. Please take advantage of the tremendous gift of graces offered by Our Lord when we spend time in His presence. Hopefully, we realize we are with our beloved. Our relationship with God is only authentic when it is seen and experienced as a profound love affair. When we truly love someone, we can’t wait to be with them. We look for reasons and excuses to spend more time with them. If we correctly see our relationship with Jesus as at the center of our being, and our heart, we would visit Him in His Real Presence in Church often.

Maybe, at first, we’re reluctant? We’re afraid of getting too close? We’ve been hurt and there is a “trust issue.” The idea of coming alone and sitting quietly with Our God could be intimidating or difficult for some. Maybe, I’m ashamed of my sins, and feel unworthy? The reality is, God’s love for us is perfect and He is so very pleased when we take the time to recognize His presence, thank Him, honor Him, worship Him, be with Him. In this society, we become so focused on doing, we could use the practice of just being with Our Lord. Remember, Mary chose the better part and it would not be taken from her.

St. Paul VI wrote in his Encyclical, “Mysterium Fidei:” “We beseech you to foster devotion to the Eucharist, which should be the focal point and goal of all other forms of devotion.”

As well as: “And they should not forget about paying a visit during the day to the Most Blessed Sacrament in the very special place of honor where it is reserved in churches in keeping with the liturgical laws, since this is a proof of gratitude and a pledge of love and a display of the adoration that is owed to Christ the Lord who is present there.”

And: . . . “just how worthwhile it is to carry on a conversation with Christ, for there is nothing more consoling here on earth, nothing more efficacious for progress along the paths of holiness.”

St. Paul VI notes in his Encyclical that the Eucharist is the ‘spiritual center” of the parish community, of the whole church and of all mankind.

St. John Paul II wrote in his Letter, “Dominicae Cenae:” “This worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament, both when we visit our churches and when the sacred species are taken to the sick and administered to them. Adoration of Christ in this sacrament of love must also find expression in various forms of Eucharistic devotion: personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, Hours of Adoration, periods of exposition, . . . “

Take the opportunity: Our Lord and Savior is always present and waiting for us in His church. He provides us with a wonderful opportunity to be with Him and love Him. Our coming to Him demonstrates our faith and love and desire to be in communion. Participating at Mass on Sunday is the center of, and perfect start to each and every week. Throughout the week we may keep in contact. Doing so will provide many graces. If we or family members are experiencing difficulties, time before the Lord has a salutary benefit. Forming a habit of stopping by and placing ourselves before Our God truly is so very efficacious.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. Charles Smith

Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

PARENTS BEWARE. In these times of social and moral upheaval and confusion it’s crucial that parents, taxpayers and voters be aware of the social engineering going on in our public schools, the indoctrination of our children with anti/contra-Catholic values. With this in mind we will be sponsoring a talk on, “What Fairfax County Public School Board Has in Store for Your Child,” on October 9, 2019, at 7pm, in the Parish Hall. Our main speaker will be Cathy Ruse, Senior Fellow of Legal Studies at the Family Research Council. She will be joined by Erin Lobato, founding member of Voices of Fairfax (and an active FCPS Parent), and Laura Murphy, member of the FCPS Family Life Education Advisory Committee.
This meeting is open to all, and I strongly encourage parents, taxpayers and voters to attend.

Reductio ad Absurdum. Sometimes in order to really understand how ridiculous an idea is we have to extend its internal logic out to its logical ends; when the logical end is proven to be absurd, we see the idea itself is absurd. We call this reductio ad absurdum, “reduction to absurdity.” So, for example, in the debate over climate change or environmental protection, some people believe that plants are living beings equal in status to human beings (the absurd “idea”). When we take the internal logic of this idea out to its logical ends, we conclude that plants should have the right to vote, and it is murder and grotesque to eat plants. Or…. that we should fill our sanctuary with a bunch of plants and then kneel before them begging for forgiveness for our sins against them. The end is absurd, so the idea (plants are equal to human beings) is absurd.
Unless you attend the Union Theological Seminary in New York, the oldest independent Protestant seminary in the country. As the Washington Examiner reported on September 18:
“Students at Union Theological Seminary prayed to a display of plants set up in the chapel of the school, prompting the institution to issue a statement explaining the practice as many on social media mocked them.
“‘Today in chapel, we confessed to plants…Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor. What do you confess to the plants in your life?
“‘We are in the throes of a climate emergency, a crisis created by humanity’s arrogance …Far too often, we see the natural world only as resources to be extracted for our use, not divinely created in their own right—worthy of honor, thanks and care. We need to unlearn habits of sin and death. And part of that work must be building new bridges to the natural world. And that means creating new spiritual and intellectual frameworks by which we understand and relate to the plants and animals with whom we share the planet.’
“‘No one would have blinked if our chapel featured students apologizing to each other….What’s different …is that we’re treating plants as fully created beings, divine Creation in its own right—not just something to be consumed. Because plants aren’t capable of verbal response, does that mean we shouldn’t engage with them? So, if you’re poking fun, we’d ask only that you also spend a couple moments asking: Do I treat plants and animals as divinely created beings?’”
In response, Jesus issued a statement (we call it “Genesis 1”), “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. …And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food;…everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”

Parish Finance Report. Please find the Finance Report of the year ended June 30, 2019, inserted in this bulletin.
Operating Income (mainly from offertory and long-term maintenance collections, and other donations) was $2,257,895, down $155,328 (or 6.4%) from the prior year, while Operating Expenses were $1,869,637, down $65,819 (or 3.4%) from the prior year, leaving us a Net Operating Income of $388,258, down $89,509 from the prior year.
The decline in Operating Income is mainly due to a noticeable decline in our offertory collection. From an analysis of the detailed accounts, I believe this is mostly due to some of our “larger” donors giving less this year because we paid off our debt at the very end of the previous year. That makes sense.
(Even so, some of the decline may reflect unhappiness with the Church’s response to the Bishops’ scandals (e.g., McCarrick), although I believe that was reflected more clearly in the decline in our donations to the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal, which was down by over $49,000 or 16%, from the previous year.)
We also had Extraordinary Income of $ 21,610 and Extraordinary Expenditures of $274,153, both related to the Lighting and Mural Project (except $27,787 for security cameras, and $22,264 for other expenditures). This left us with a Net Surplus (the bottom line) of $135,715.
On the Balance Sheet side of things, we had Cash of $134,852 in checking and $1,387,244 in savings, with $16,851 in Accounts Payable. Of the cash in savings, $256,611 is restricted, i.e., funds dedicated to paying for Long-Term Maintenance.
Please feel free to contact me or Kirsti Tyson in the parish office with any questions about the report.

Lighter Fare: Hats. I have a pretty small and drab personal wardrobe, a lot of black stuff, and a few things for golf. But one aspect of my wardrobe that is a more diversified and attracts some comments are my hats. I learned a long time ago I cannot survive without a hat: in the summer they protect my pale skin and bald head from burning, and in the winter they help keep me from catching the colds and sinus maladies I am so prone to.
The hats that provoke the most comments are my “clerical hats.” The “biretta” is the black square cap with three peaks, and a tuft on top, which can be worn both during Mass and outside of Mass with a cassock; I’ve been wearing this for years, especially when it’s chilly in the church. But a while back, a family member bought me a “cappello romano” (“Roman hat”), more commonly called a “saturno” because its wide, circular brim and rounded crown it looks a bit like the ringed planet Saturn. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI used to wear theirs pretty frequently. In any case, it’s pretty different, so I don’t wear it very often. But when I do, it gets noticed and asked about. So now you know.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Picnic. I hope you had as good a time as I did last Sunday at the parish picnic. From the looks of things and the feedback, it seems you did. It really is good to get together like this as brothers and sisters in Christ, a parish family, to get to know each other better and to have some good simple fun. Thanks to all who came, and thanks especially to all those who worked so hard to make it a success, including the Knights of Columbus and their wives (especially Phil and Alice Bettwy), and the parish staff. Particular thanks to Kirsti Tyson and Eva Radel who coordinated everything. But most of all, thanks be to God, especially for the wonderful weather, once again.
Also, thanks to the pro-family, pro-life Catholic political candidates who joined us, including parishioner Steve Adragna (running to be our state delegate), and Fairfax County School Board candidates Elizabeth Schultz (running for re-election as Springfield member) and Vinson Palathingal (running for “at large” member).

Disgrace at George Mason. The website TheCollegeFix.com reports that on September 10, George Mason University sponsored a “Consent Carnival” featuring bizarre and sexually themed games and booths, including a disgusting ring toss and bean bag toss. You can read a full description of the event on that website, which is too graphic to include here. Taxpayer dollars are paying for this—your money! And this isn’t unique to GMU, events like this happen all the time on college campuses.
Do you know what your kids are being exposed to at their colleges? If not, why not? And what are you doing about it? I’m all for letting college kids have some independence, let ’em grow up. But if parents are paying the bill, parents are still in charge and responsible. And even if you’re not paying, you’re still Mom and Dad. God bless you and your kids.

Amazon Synod. Some of you may have heard about the upcoming gathering of Bishops in the Vatican from October 6 to 27 to discuss issues relevant to the Church in the “Pan-Amazon” region of South America. Many serious concerns have been raised about the Vatican issued document, called the Instrumentum Laboris (“IL”) which officially summarizes the topics to be discussed at the synod. For example, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a 7-page critique of the IL, and in a recent interview, in response to a question whether the document includes heresy, responded:
“Heresy? Not only that, it also lacks theological reflection. The heretic knows Catholic doctrine and contradicts it. But here there is only great confusion, and the center of it all is not Jesus Christ but themselves, their human ideas to save the world.”
Other key prelates who have spoken out similarly include Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship; Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, former President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; Cardinal George Pell, former Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy and member of Pope Francis’s “Council of Cardinal Advisers”; Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, Cardinal Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura; Archbishop Carlo Viganò, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, and former Secretary-General of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
With these concerns in mind, Cardinal Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider have called for a “40-day crusade of prayer and fasting” from September 17 to October 26, 2019, for the Synod. They recommend we pray at least one decade of the Holy Rosary every day and fast once a week (eating only one full meal during the day, and two smaller meals, no snacking)
I invite you to join me in this “crusade” of prayer and fasting.

German Synod. Meanwhile, the German bishops plan to hold their own Synod in Germany from September 23 to 26, in which they plan to address issues “about which the Magisterium has made determinations,” including “the separation of power in the Church, priestly life, women’s access to ministry and office in the Church, and sexual morality.”
But the Pope, through his ministers, has told them they cannot do what they propose. In a September 4 letter Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, told Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German Bishops’ Conference, that:
“…plans for a Synodal Assembly must conform to guidelines issued by Pope Francis in June, especially that a synod in Germany could not act to change universal Church teaching or discipline.
“Ouellet also sent Marx a four-page legal assessment of the German bishops’ draft statues…The assessment, signed by the head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, says that the German bishops’ plans violate canonical norms and do, in fact, set out to alter universal norms and doctrines of the Church.
“In his legal review of the draft statutes, Archbishop Filippo Iannone, head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, noted that …‘It is easy to see that these themes do not only affect the Church in Germany but the universal Church and – with few exceptions – cannot be the object of the deliberations or decisions of a particular Church without contravening what is expressed by the Holy Father in his letter’.” (Catholic News Agency (CNA), September 12, 2019).
But the German Bishops have chosen to ignore the Pope. In a letter to Cardinal Ouellet, Cardinal Marx responded: “I cannot see why questions about which the Magisterium has made determinations, should be withdrawn from any debate, as your writings suggest” ….“Countless believers in Germany consider [these issues] to be in need of discussion…’
“Marx’s letter informed the Vatican that the German synodal process will continue as planned, despite recent instructions from the Vatican curia and pope, and will treat matters of universal teaching and discipline.” (CNA, September 16).

Schism. Two weeks ago, on the plane coming back from his trip to Africa, a reporter asked Pope Francis the question, “On the plane to Maputo, you acknowledged being under attack by a sector of the American Church. …are you afraid of a schism in the American Church…?” The Holy Father’s answer, which was widely discussed in the media, was long and somewhat confusing—at least to me. But it was interesting that both the question and the answer presumed the threat of schism comes from what the pope calls “rigid” Catholics, which seems to be a reference to what most people call “conservative” Catholics.
Now, let’s be clear. I’m not calling anyone a heretic or schismatic, and I pray to God neither heresy nor schism finds its footing. Nor am I making or intending any criticism of His Holiness. But I do wonder whether the real threats to the unity of the Church are coming from folks like Cardinals Sarah, Müller, Brandmüller, Pell and Burke, who defend traditional Church doctrine, or from those who oppose and want to change church doctrine. Is schism threatened by Catholics who are supposedly “critics” of the Pope, or from some of those whom the press usually refers to as the Pope’s “allies”?

God save us from heresy, and schism. God bless Pope Francis.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mary’s Birthday. Today, September 8, is the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, Mary’s birthday. Of course we don’t celebrate this liturgically today, because it’s Sunday, “The Lord’s Day,” but that does not mean we can’t celebrate it otherwise. So have a piece of cake, or maybe a piece of blueberry pie (I hear that’s Mary’s favorite).
On my Mom’s birthday all her children used to try to spend time with her. Today, spend time with your Blessed Mom, Mary. Of course by praying to her and with her (a family Rosary would be a great idea!), but also by recognizing her presence with you, and thinking, “what should I being doing in this particular situation, knowing the Blessed Mother is here with me. How should I be acting? “
Also, give her a birthday gift. Maybe a prayer, a Rosary, an act of kindness to someone, going out of your way to avoid temptation and sin… Make this a beautiful day for our Blessed Mother.

More Bishop Scandals. The scandals will continue as long as the Vatican and Bishops refuse to recognize the corrupt bishops still in their midst who continue to exercise power and influence.
Bishop Zanchetta, Vatican. According to an article on cruxnow.com, by Inés San Martín, Aug 28, 2019. “Despite being investigated for allegations of having sexually abused two seminarians, an Argentinian bishop close to the pope has once again been allowed by a judge to travel to Rome. The judge said that Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta …has a document from the Vatican saying he must return to Rome “to continue with his daily work” – even though he has been suspended from his job. Crux can confirm that the document…is a certificate signed by Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State….”
Bishop Joseph Hart, retired Bishop of Cheyenne. According another article by Christopher White, on that same website, same date: “….[P]olice in Cheyenne, Wyoming recommended to prosecutors that [Bishop Hart]…face criminal charges for the sexual abuse of minors. Prior to being named a bishop, Joseph Hart had served in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph …Although his ecclesial career has spanned over five decades, serving in two states where he was widely popular, he has been trailed by allegations of serial abuse…
“Now…he not only faces criminal charges, where he could become the first U.S. bishop ever to face criminal prosecution for abuse, but also the possibility of being stripped of his title of bishop and removed from the clerical state as a church trial in the Vatican is also underway. Hart turns 88 in September…By 2019, the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph had settled 10 cases of abuse against Hart. In two settlements alone – one in 2008 and another in 2014 – the diocese has paid out nearly $20 million dollars to more than 50 plaintiffs ….”
Mr. Ted McCarrick. Catholic News Service, Sep 3, 2019: “In an interview last month with Slate… Theodore McCarrick said he doesn’t believe he committed the acts of which he has been accused….McCarrick, 89…was dismissed from the clerical state in February 2019, after [a Church court] found him guilty of solicitation in the confessional, and sexual abuse of minors and adults, aggravated by abuse of power. ‘I’m not as bad as they paint me…I do not believe that I did the things that they accused me of.’”
The interview took place at, “the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kan….where he resides…[A] condition of his residence is that he remain on the grounds of the friary. …[H]e offered to pay out of pocket [for his room and board]…Fr. John Schmeidler…declined McCarrick’s offer.”
Ted still refuses to admit what everyone knows. According the article on Slate, he’s supposed to be living a “life of prayer and penance,” but an essential part of “penance” is admitting your sin! And why is he still living on Church property at the Church’s (i.e., parishioners’) expense? The Church never does this for any ordinary priest found guilty of abuse and de-frocked/laicized. Why the special treatment? The corruption continues.

New Year Begins. As summer ends all sorts of parish activities start up again. The coming days tell the tale and help us all begin on the right foot.
Parish Picnic. Next Sunday, September 15, we’ll have our annual Parish Picnic from 1-4pm here on the Parish grounds, behind the church. There’s Lots of food and fun for kids and adults alike—a great way to meet and get to know your fellow parishioners. For new parishioners (and visitors) this is a great opportunity to meet people and learn more about the parish; for the rest of us, this is one of the best chances we will have all year to welcome others into a deeper participation in the life and fellowship of our parish—don’t pass it up!
Religious Education (CCD). CCD begins this evening, September 8. Parents, don’t forget to bring your kids this evening, or on Monday or Tuesday, whichever day you’ve signed up for. If you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late, but time is running out. Please see the bright green registration forms in the narthex, go to the parish website or call the RE office ASAP.
And Parents, remember CCD is meant to supplement the work you do with them at home. Parents are the primary educators of their children—especially in the Faith. CCD is just here to help you do that. But do not use CCD as an excuse to neglect your part. Instead take this as a time to renew your own personal commitment to teach your kids the Faith. Life is hard, but it’s a lot harder without Jesus and His Church. And in the end, the odds are they will not retain their faith when they grow up if you and we don’t do our very best to teach them the Faith when they are young.
I’m particularly looking forward to teenagers coming to our High School program, where they will encounter some especially talented, experienced and knowledgeable teachers. My goal for this program is to be informative, inspiring and challenging, but not a burden to the kids or parents. So, while I’m confident the classrooms will be lively and challenging, I also discourage assigning homework.
RCIA (“Convert Class”). Another program set to restart is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Classes begin this Monday (tomorrow), September 9, at 7:30pm in the Rectory classroom (the “Maurer Room”).
If any adult you know is interested in becoming a Catholic, or is a Catholic in need of the sacrament of Confirmation (or First Communion and Confession) this is the course for them. Bob Ward, himself a convert many years ago, leads an information-packed discussion of the basics (and more) of the Catholic faith, and during the second semester Fr. Smith and I will join in teaching a few sessions. You can contact Bob and Bev Ward at 703-644-5873 or biblestudy@straymonds.org with any questions.
But the class is also designed to be a refresher course for all adult Catholics. So please consider joining this class—even on a week-to-week/topic-to-topic basis.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Happy Labor Day. This weekend our nation celebrates “Labor Day.” For some, this weekend is merely the end of Summer. But for many it’s a celebration of the hard work of so many Americans that has made our nation so successful in so many ways. We should rightly celebrate this, as “work” is one of the original gifts given to Man by God, as He gave Adam and Eve dominion (“lordship”) over all the earth and commanded them: “fill the earth and subdue it.” That “subduing” of the earth is the work/labor of Man, who was created in the image of the Creator. Man shares in God’s creative work by his labor, and when he works in ways consistent with God’s will, he grows in holiness.
Often, however, we don’t work in ways consistent with God’s will. Too often we work motivated by envy or greed. Sometimes we deceive or cheat our customers, co-workers, employers or employees. Sometimes we don’t give an honest day’s work for our wages, or we don’t pay fair wages to our workers. Sometimes we work too much and neglect our family and God, and sometimes we force our employees to do that. Some neglect work to engage in criminal activities or simple dependence on governments. Of course, some are retired after years of hard work, and some can’t work for a good reason—God bless them, and may they work in whatever way they can (volunteering, assisting friends, etc.) so that they may always participate in God’s creative work!

St. Frances Cabrini Isn’t Good Enough. Let me quote an article in the New York Post, on August 10:
“She was America’s first saint, a tireless advocate who founded an upstate orphanage, a school for girls in Washington Heights and 67 organizations for the needy in the late 1880s. But she wasn’t good enough to be named one of New York’s seven most important women.
“Francesca Xavier Cabrini and other female icons were denied honorary statues after a group controlled by First Lady [of New York City] Chirlane McCray tossed out the revered Catholic sister in favor of …a drag queen-turned-LGBTQ activist. This despite Cabrini getting the most votes in a poll of New Yorkers on who should be included. [Emphasis mine].
“‘The whole process was a charade,’ said Harriet Senie, who served on the panel that weighed the poll results and recommended to McCray that the city honor groups over individuals….
“The She Built NYC project, which started last summer when McCray set out to balance the male-female mix of statues of prominent New Yorkers, asked for the public’s input — and more than 1,800 suggestions poured in, with some 320 women nominated….
“Cabrini — who was known as Mother Cabrini and whose remains are entombed in a shrine at the former Mother Cabrini HS in Washington Heights — got 219 votes, which was tops.
“McCray, the wife of Mayor de Blasio, then formed a blue-ribbon panel to review the results and make its own recommendations on the seven winners, who will be memorialized by six monuments in the city, funded by about $5 million in taxpayer money.”
What more can I add to that. Imagine, an immigrant woman—one of the most prominent Americans of the 19th century, when women couldn’t even vote. A woman who worked untiringly to help other immigrants progress and assimilate into the American culture and economy. But she was a pious Catholic nun. She isn’t good enough for New York.

Cardinal Pell. Last week Cardinal George Pell, former Archbishop of Melbourne (Australia) and former Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy (Vatican) lost his appeal of his criminal conviction on a charge of child abuse in 1990. He has announced that he will appeal this decision to Australia’s highest court.
I am publicly on record as having no patience or leniency for priests who sexually abuse children. My gut level (pre-reason) response tends to be beat them with a baseball bat and then call the police. Now, this is hyperbole, and emotional, not my last best moral judgment in sound reason. That judgment would be to try them, and then thrown them in prison for the rest of their lives.
But I also believe that some priests are erroneously accused, and some for malicious purposes. I could be wrong, but I think Cardinal Pell falls into this category.
In support of this let me cite the decision of the appellate court, which voted 2 to 1 for upholding the trial court’s conviction. Which means 1 appellate judge, Justice Mark Weinberg, voted to find Pell “not guilty.” I can’t reproduce his entire 200+ page dissent (almost twice as long as the opinion of the rest of the court), but consider some of Justice Weinberg’s remarks:
“From … the complainant’s evidence, it can be seen that there was ample material upon which his account could be legitimately subject to criticism. There were inconsistencies, and discrepancies, and a number of his answers simply made no sense…
“An unusual feature of this case was that it depended entirely upon the complainant being accepted, beyond reasonable doubt, as a credible and reliable witness…Yet the jury were invited to accept his evidence without there being any independent support for it.”
“All of these witnesses [defending Pell] were important, but there were some whose evidence was critical…It can fairly be said that their evidence, if accepted, would lead inevitably to acquittal…The same result would follow, even if the only finding that could be made was that their evidence, as regards the events in question, was a ‘reasonably possible’ account of what had occurred.”
As Chief Justice Anne Ferguson summarized from the bench: “In Justice Weinberg’s view, there was a significant body of cogent and, in some cases, impressive evidence suggesting that the complainant’s account was, in a realistic sense, ‘impossible’ to accept. To his mind, there is a significant possibility that the Cardinal may not have committed the offences. In those circumstances, Justice Weinberg stated that in his view the convictions could not stand.”
To see the full opinion: https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VSCA//2019/186.html

More Scandal. As reported by LifeSiteNews, August 15, 2019 [Emphasis mine]:
“The Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Scranton have launched a “comprehensive investigation” into Monsignor Walter Rossi, the rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception….
“The investigation was announced just one day after a young man asked D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory at an August 13 Theology on Tap event about misconduct allegations against Rossi and why they haven’t been investigated…
“Rossi is [a priest of] the Diocese of Scranton but has been the rector of the basilica since ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick appointed him to that role in 2005. Rossi replaced now-Bishop Michael Bransfield….Earlier this year, accusations that Bransfield was a serial sexual harasser of young men were deemed “credible…Rossi has been working for the shrine in various capacities since 1997, according to his bio on its website.”
The article also reminds us that in June 2019, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò accused Rossi of being, “without a doubt, a member of the ‘gay mafia.’”
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

SUMMER WINDING DOWN. The end of summer is approaching. I, for one am sad to
see it go. I know most of the kids agree with me, although maybe some of you parents
don’t. I know for most of you school begins a little earlier this year. I hope you can have
one last week before that to rest and recreate a bit.
But I also know there’s lots of preparation to be done for the coming year. It’s
easy to let some things slip in this regard, especially aggravated by a certain sense of
denial and longing for the summer peace to continue. And then you find yourself in a
panic trying to get ready at the last minute.

Religious Education. One of the areas this affects the most is planning for our children’s
Religious Education, CCD. Every August I panic a bit as the RE/CCD office tells me that
registrations for the coming year are very low… And every September they shoot up to
more or less “normal” levels. But why would you put your poor Pastor through this?
Mary Salmon and Vince Drouillard have been hard at work for weeks preparing for the
new CCD school year which begins on Sunday, September 8. I am very excited about the
new year, especially our High School program.
Remember, parents are morally obliged to not only teach their children to love
Jesus but also to teach them what Jesus and His Church teach, to teach them about
Scripture and the Catechism. It’s very difficult for most parents to do this on their own in
any systematic and comprehensive way. Also I know many parents send their kids to
public schools. The problem is that the public schools present an environment and culture
that is in many ways antithetical to Christianity.
I know some of you parents went to public schools when you were younger and
don’t think they are so bad. But public schools have radically changed in the last 20
years—they are not the religiously neutral place they might have once been. I know this
is a particular problem for some of our immigrants from Catholic countries, some of
which actually taught Catholic doctrine in the public schools—public schools are not
like that in America, at all.
This is why I strongly encourages all Catholic parents to either homeschool their
kids or send them to Catholic schools. But, sadly, both of these are often too expensive or
otherwise impractical for parents. So they send their kids to public schools.
Fine, I respect your choice. But that still leaves you with the grave responsibility
to teach your children the faith in a comprehensive and systematic way, either at home
(with a real organized and thorough approach) or by sending them to CCD/Religious
education. And this obligation doesn’t end after 8 th grade: we have a great high school
CCD program.
Ask yourself: am I doing everything I can to get my kids to heaven, and keep them
out of hell? If you don’t educate them in the faith then the answer is almost certainly
“no,” which means you are risking not only the salvation of your children’s souls, but
your own soul as well..

Please, understand, I’m not trying to scare you. I just want you to know how
serious this is.

So many times I have parents complaining to me that when their kids grow up
they leave the Church and even fall into sinful lifestyles. Some of this is due to free will:
kids grow up and they can choose. But parents must do everything they reasonably can
do to make sure they have the tools and information to make a wise and informed choice.
So: SIGN YOUR KIDS UP FOR CCD NOW!!! Please. You can call or email
the office, or you can register online on our website.
And also—we can’t teach if we have no teachers!! We are in urgent need of
several catechists and aides. With all the problems in the world,

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Two More Mass Shootings. I know you all join with me in prayer for all the victims of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton last weekend. May the Lord grant eternal rest to those who were killed, and healing to those injured, and peace to all those effected by the attacks.
After yet another inexplicable vicious shooting, how can we not ask the question: what are the causes of this problem? Sadly, the initial reaction of many, especially leftist politicians and commentators, was not to ask that question, but to come with ready-made answers: it is the rise of “white nationalism” encouraged by President Trump. What a convenient, if wrong, answer for those folks who seem to have a completely knee-jerk hatred for the President.
So let’s begin with the question first: what is at the root of this problem? An excellent article by Valerie Richardson in the Washington Times last Monday, August 5, 2019, addressed this issue.
Is the cause of all these shootings white racism/nationalism? Richardson writes: “A May 2018 policy brief by the Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York…found that the perception that whites are responsible for nearly all mass shootings is a myth.…[T]he findings indicate that while a majority are [white], this proportion is just over half of the perpetrators (53.9 percent)…More than one in four shooters is black and nearly one in ten is of Hispanic descent…. The FBI has reported 850 domestic terrorism investigations, 40% of which involve racially motivated violent extremism, and most of those involve white supremacists….”
Is the mental illness the cause? “Amy Swearer, senior legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, said about two-thirds of shooters are found to have serious mental problems but that the media coverage has focused on those with an ideological bent such as racism or nativism.”
What else is to blame? “…the uproar over white nationalism has shifted the focus from what some researchers describe as the biggest drivers of mass shootings, including family breakdown, childhood trauma, mental illness, workplace crises, access to weapons and a fascination with previous shooters glorified in the media.”
What do almost all these acts have in common? “The Rockefeller study found that 96% of shooters were male, which is in keeping with other research.”
Does this mean there’s something wrong with being a male? No. It means there’s something wrong with the way we’re raising young males. “Warren Farrell, author of “The Boy Crisis,” said boys with minimal or no father involvement, or with “really messed-up families,” represent the vast majority of mass shooters, Islamic State recruits and the male prison population. ‘Boys without a sense of purpose start searching for other senses of purpose, and that may be in the form of God, and then it’s constructive usually, or that may be in the form of, ‘I want Americans to be America and I don’t want any immigrants to come into the country,’…’”
The fundamental problem, in my opinion, is not the president, or racism or even guns. The problem is our culture, and the loss of the sense of purpose, and order, and of God. A problem aggravated in young males by the constant barrage of sexual/gender confusion thrown at them by the left, including treating masculinity almost as a disease (e.g., “toxic masculinity”).
Historically, young men and boys were taught by fathers and other male role models to focus their masculine energy on socially and morally productive ends: working hard to provide for a family, defending the nation, serving God in religion, etc. But now the number of boys raised in fatherless homes has soared, and masculinity is under assault from every angle.
What is the solution? Stronger families headed by a father and mother. Rebuilding the culture to respect the natural family structure, and a just authority and order, as well as the recognition of the real difference between males and females. Respect for free speech, and respectful free speech, so that we can vent our grievances calmly without feeling we have to resort to violence in speech or action. And above all, and undergirding all this, a return to recognition that God has created and ordered things a particular way, and we should reverently follow His direction.

Fr. Peter Odhiambo Okola, AJ. Many of you will fondly remember Fr. Peter Okola, a priest from Kenya who was in residence here for several years (2009-2011) and is now vicar at Holy Spirit in Annandale. I’m sad to report Fr. Peter has been diagnosed and is being treated for cancer. With faith in Jesus, I am hopeful of his full recovery, but I ask you to please keep him in your prayers.

Welcome to New Parishioners. Summer is always a time we lose and gain parishioners, especially those in the military. So I’d like to welcome all who have joined us in the last few months. I hope you find St. Raymond’s’ to be a welcoming parish, and encourage you to get involved in our many liturgies, committees, and activities.
One thing to know about our parish is that we place great importance on the Grace and Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Flowing from this you will find a pronounced emphasis on reverence, especially during Holy Mass, what I call “emphatic reverence.” Nowadays reverence is a lost virtue. The word “reverence” comes from the Latin for “fear,” “revere,” and scripture tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” But this kind of fear is not like being in terror or afraid, but rather of being in “awe”: recognizing that God is the all-powerful Creator and sustainer of the whole world, and I am just a little tiny speck in comparison—and yet, He loves me. So Christian reverence is fundamentally rooted in love.
So we go out of our way here in our liturgies to be reverent, to remind ourselves we are in presence of God, the God who loved us so much He became one of us and died for our sins on the Cross, and gave us the Eucharist to be with us always, even to enter into us, especially in the mystery of His Sacrifice.
To encourage this reverence we follow some ancient customs of the Church that set the liturgy apart as radically different from the mundane world we live in. For example, we sing traditional Catholic hymns, which are different than most contemporary liturgical music that incorporates so many aspects of modern secular music. And we use the ancient language of the Church, Latin, to remind us we’re doing something very different, in union with the Church all the way back to time of Jesus. And we incorporate beautiful vestments and vessels to remind us that Mass is a participation in the heavenly banquet come down to earth. And at many Masses the priest turns with the people, so that facing in the same way as them he leads them in prayer before the Most High God.
It’s a little different. But then again, so is God. Welcome to St. Raymond’s.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles