Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

(This is a shortened version of my homily from Sunday, July 7. I thought I would share it with all of you.)
PATRIOTISM. The 4th of July is a day on which Americans celebrate patriotism. But not all Americans. As one newspaper headline read: “American patriotism is at a record low,” as it cited a new Gallup poll that shows a dramatic decrease when people are asked how proud they are to be American.
That may anger or sadden some of us, but is it wrong? Does God command us to be patriotic? The answer is, yes.
Jesus tells us that the 2 greatest commandments are first, to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and second, to love your neighbor as yourself. As St. Thomas Aquinas explains that our first neighbor is our parents (family), but after that our second neighbor, is our country, or our “patria” in Latin, and our fellow countrymen.
So that the 2nd great commandment applies first to parents and family and second to country and countrymen. We see this specified, if you will, in the 4th commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” God gives you parents and family to love and care for you, and in return calls you to love and care for them—to “honor” them. And in the same way, God gives us our country and fellow countrymen to love and care for us, and so we in turn must love and care for our country and countrymen.
Of course, the people in other countries are also our neighbors, and God commands us to love them also. But it’s a matter of priorities: we should love and help the people next door, but clearly before that we should take care of our families first: it’s a simple rule, “charity begins at home.”
And it’s the same thing with patriotism. We should love people in other countries, but first we should love, honor and care for our country and our countrymen.
Now, some today would equate, or conflate, “patriotism” with what has been historically called “nationalism.” Even good patriots use the term “nationalism” when I think what they really mean is “patriotism”. I wish they wouldn’t confuse the two.
Because historically “nationalism” is different from patriotism, in that historical nationalism would say not, “America first,” but “American, first, last and only.” Historical nationalism would even allow us to conquer foreign lands just because we think our nation is better and has a right to take whatever we want. That’s wrong—that is sinful.
But a patriot would not say, “American, first, last and only,” but rather, “America first, but then everyone else is second,” or better yet, “God, first, family second, and America third…and everyone else fourth.”
What about people who aren’t citizens, maybe they’re law-abiding non-citizen residents? Well, perhaps the term “fellow countryman” might include them, but even if it doesn’t, then it would simply mean that after citizens, these good people would come next in priority over all others.
But what about people who come to or remain in our country illegally —don’t we owe them honor and love, too? Yes, of course! But in order of nature and nature’s God, our priorities are family, countrymen, and then others.
Now we have to be careful. Just as patriotism isn’t historical nationalism, it also isn’t historical “nativism” —prioritizing people who are born here, so excluding immigrants. Patriotism, on the other hand, extends priority to all who share the same commitment to be part of the fabric of our country—including those whom God has moved here from other countries, and who are sincerely committed to Patriotism.
And Patriotism also isn’t the same as loving the government per se, but rather honoring the government to the extend it is part of the country and at the service of the people of the country. For example, we don’t honor the president because he’s in charge, or even because we like him as a person, but because he holds an office that is an important part of our country, and even a symbol of our country as a whole.
The thing is, Patriotism is not just an ideal, but has a practical everyday application. First of all, it means learning the history of our country, both the good and bad. But like a family that embraces the good memories and works to fix the bad, patriots celebrate the greatness in our history, even as we learn from and work to overcome our failures. But a patriot does not allow past failures to cause us to dishonor our country.
Patriotism also involves participation in the life of our nation. This includes everything from working productively in school or at a job, to raising a good and healthy family, to paying taxes. But it especially involves participating in the public square, including voting whenever there is an election, and even campaigning for candidates who truly want the best for our country.
Patriotism also means defending our country. So many of you have taken up arms to defend our country: thank you for your service, you are true patriots. But defending America also includes simply standing up for the good of our country, not being silenced by the politically correct crowd but speaking out publicly to promote what you believe is genuinely good for our country.
And Patriotism means truly striving for the good of each other. This means both providing opportunities for everyone to provide for their own well-being, primarily through just laws and a sound economic system, but also providing necessities for those who truly cannot provide for themselves.
And it means respecting each other in word and action. Like a family, we can argue, but also like a family, there are lines we know we should never cross, because we know that would be too much. Too often today our public discourse crosses those lines of respect and honor, and as patriots we cannot participate in this.
And Patriotism means honoring the symbols of our country. I have pictures of my family all over the rectory; they are just images on paper, but they remind me of my family and help me to honor and love them. It’s the same thing with the symbols of America. So, when the American flag passes or the National Anthem is played it is important to be patriotic and honor America by standing and maybe placing our hands over our hearts. When I look at a picture of my mother or father, I don’t think of the times they might have been too harsh with me—no, I focus on what made them so good, and the love between us.
So when we see the original American flag with 13 stars we shouldn’t see it as a sign of the injustices tolerated at our founding, but as a sign of the great and noble ideals enshrined in the founding—ideals like “all men are created equal”—that have propelled us to work to overcome those errors.
To some today, it seems patriotism is a dirty word, or a sign of partisanship. It should not be. Patriotism is an essential part of what it means to be a virtuous person, and a true Christian.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

God bless America! Oremus pro invicem, et pro patria nostrum.
Fr. De Celles

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Lead us not into temptation.” Last week I explained that the Italian Bishops had
changed the Italian translation of the “sixth petition” of the “Our Father” from, “and lead
us not into temptation,” to, “and do not abandon us in temptation,” arguing that the
ancient translation is too confusing.
Fortunately, the American Bishops have not even discussed adopting a similar
change. Which is a good thing, since noted experts in ancient Greek argue the new
translation is inaccurate, and the ancient translation—which we use—is correct.
Moreover, as noted theologian Monsignor Nicola Bux has observed, the Italian change
has caused many to “wonder whether the Church, for two thousand years, was not
mistaken in ‘obeying the Savior’s command,’ and whether it ‘conformed to His divine
teaching.’” He concluded: “If the petition in question was considered incomprehensible,
was it not enough to explain it in a catechesis?”
So let’s explain it in a catechesis, borrowing from the greatest catechist of the last
50 years, Pope Benedict XVI, writing in Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the
Jordan to the Transfiguration, pp. 160-164.
“The way this petition is phrased is shocking for many people: God certainly does
not lead us into temptation. In fact, as St. James tells us: “Let no one say when he is
tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and He Himself
tempts no one.” (Jas 1:13).
“We are helped a further step along when we recall the words of the Gospel:
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Mt
:1) [my emphasis added]. Temptations come from the devil, but part of Jesus’ messianic
task is to withstand the great temptations that have led man away from God and continue
to do so. As we have seen, Jesus must suffer through these temptations to the point of
dying on the Cross, which is how He opens the way of redemption for us. Thus it is not
only after His death, but already by His death and during His whole life, that Jesus
“descends into hell,” as it were, into the domain of our temptations and defeats in order
to take us by the hand and carry us out….
“A brief look at the Book of Job… can help us clarify things further. Satan derides
man in order to deride God: God’s creature, whom He has formed in His own image, is a
pitiful creature. ….God gives Satan the freedom to test Job, though within precisely
defined boundaries. God does not abandon man, but He does Him allow to be tried.
“….In order to mature, in order to make real progress on the path leading from a
superficial piety into a profound oneness with God’s will, man needs to be tried. Just as
the juice of a grape has to ferment in order to become a fine wine, so too man needs
purifications and transformations; they are dangerous for him, because they present an
opportunity for him to fall, and yet they are indispensable as paths on which he comes to
himself and to God…
“Now we are in a position to interpret the sixth petition … in a more practical
way. When we pray it, we are saying to God: I know that I need trials so that my nature
can be purified. When you decide to send me these trials, when you give evil some room
to maneuver, … then please remember that my strength goes only so far. Don’t
overestimate my capacity. Don’t set too wide the boundaries within which I may be

tempted, and be close to me with your protecting hand when it becomes too much for me.
It was in this sense that Saint Cyprian interpreted the sixth petition. He says that when we
pray, “And lead us not into temptation,” we are expressing our awareness “that the
enemy can do nothing against us unless God has allowed it beforehand, so that our fear,
our devotion and our worship may be directed to God—because the Evil One is not
permitted to do anything unless he is given authorization” (De dominica oration 25…).
“And then pondering the psychological patter of temptation, he explains that there
can be two different reasons why God grants the Evil One a limited power. It can be a
penance for us, in order to dampen our pride…. Let us think of the Pharisee who
recounts his own works to God and imagines he is not in need of grace.
“…. When we pray the sixth petition of the Our Father, we must therefore, on one
hand, be ready to take upon ourselves the burden of trials that is meted out to us. On the
other hand, the object of the petition is to ask God not to mete out more than we can
bear, not to let us slip from His hands. We make this prayer in the trustful certainty that
Saint Paul has articulated for us: "God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted
beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that
you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor 10:13)”

Independence Day. This Thursday is the 4 th of July, Independence Day, or we might say
“Liberty Day.” “Liberty” does not mean a freedom from responsibility, quite the
contrary. Liberty is a demanding servant and master—it both benefits us, and places
demands on us. Liberty demands that we defend it—that we sacrifice and fight to
preserve it. True liberty is a freedom to become the good men and women we have the
potential to be, that God calls us to be. As such, the most fundamental type or aspect of
liberty is Religious Liberty. So this Thursday, take time to give thanks to God for the
liberty He has given our nation, and to recommit yourself to both use your freedoms well,
and to continue to fight to preserve them.

Choir Takes the Summer Off. With Corpus Christi Sunday behind us, the choir will
take the rest of the summer off. I’m sure you join me in appreciation for all the beautiful
music they have provided us with this last year. The Mass is not about the music, but the
music our choir provides is definitely about the Mass, and helps us to more deeply enter
into the solemnity and reverence of the Holy Sacrifice. Thank you, choir members, and
especially Elisabeth Turco (director) and Denise Anezin (organist), and have a great and
restful summer.

Steve Adragna, Pro-Life Candidate. I do not publicly support or endorse any candidate
for public office. But I can tell you that pro-abortion extremist Kathy Tran is being
challenged for re-election as State Delegate for District 42 (our district) by pro-life Steve
Adragna, who is one of our parishoners. The election will be on November 5, 2019.
God bless them both. I beg you to consider being active in this election, primarily by
voting, but also with your checkbooks and volunteering to actively work for the defense
of human life in the Commonwealth.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

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.
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, “This is My body given up for you.” 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. So please consider the following. DO WE:
— genuflect before Our Lord present in the tabernacle?
— chat loudly in church as if the Lord of Heaven were not present?
— spend time with Our Lord during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament?
— dress modestly and respectfully at Mass?
— focus prayerfully on the miracle transpiring on the altar during Mass?
— receive Holy Communion reverently?
— observe the Eucharistic fast for one hour before Communion?
— examine our consciences so we don’t receive unworthily?
— 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 extend both hands, one on top of the other?
— Do we immediately reverently consume the Host?
— Do we stay after Mass to give thanks?
— 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.

New Altar Rail and Pulpit. In February I told you that I was considering installing a permanent marble communion rail, and perhaps a new pulpit, and requested your input/feedback. Although I hoped to hear from more of you, I did receive emails from 50 parishioners concerning the rail: 37 were in favor, 11 opposed, 1 deferred to my opinion and 1 was undecided. I also received 42 emails concerning the new pulpit: 21 in favor, 9 deferring to my opinion, 10 opposed, and 2 undecided. In sum, 78% of respondents either want a permanent rail or defer to my opinion, and 70% want (or to defer my opinion) a new pulpit.
Now, this was not a vote, nor was it a scientific poll. And as I said, I wish I had more responses. But it seems reasonable for me to conclude that I can proceed according to my best judgment. So, I have decided to install a permanent communion rail and a new pulpit.
I have looked at several preliminary sketches prepared by a church designer, I have decided on a marble rail with pillars matching the reddish/orangish pillars on the main and high altars and current pulpit. The rail will have small arches between the pillars, reflecting the arches throughout the church. Accepting the advice of many emailers we will not remove any pews to make room for the rail, so we will have to slightly reconfigure the steps in the front of the sanctuary, moving the second step back about 4 or 5 feet. Also, we will install communion rails in front of the statues of Mary and Joseph, so that folks sitting in the side transepts will also receive at the rail. We will also replace the carpeting in front of those statues with marble.
We will replace our pulpit with one that is slightly smaller but less confining for the reader, and more firmly constructed. It will however incorporate much of the current design, so that it will look like the “son of” our current pulpit.
The designer is working on a final plan for both the altar rail and pulpit. When it is available I will make it available to you. The installation will not be done until next summer, June of 2020. We won’t have to close the church, but we will have to be creative in configuring things for Mass.
Simple Pledge Drive. But two things have to happen before I can do this: 1) I must get approval of the Bishop, and 2) we must raise the money: the cost is estimated to be about $60,000 for the rail and $15,000 for the pulpit. In the coming weeks we will send out an email to all parishioners providing them with the opportunity to pledge. If you want the rail and new pulpit, please join me in paying for them. I will begin by pledging $500 myself. But if we don’t raise the money through these pledges, we will not move forward—the offertory collection will not be used to pay for this.

Scholarships to Catholic Schools. School is out, but this is the time when parents should look ahead to consider where their children will attend school next year. I truly regret that we don’t have a parish school that would provide an affordable quality education in a truly Catholic culture for all our children. But we don’t.
So, as an alternative the parish offers scholarships to our parish children to attend local Catholic grade and high schools. These scholarships are conditioned on the active involvement of the families in the life of the parish and are usually $500 for grade school students (or the difference between “in parish” and “out of parish” tuition rates) and $1000 to high school students. However, where the situation warrants, we will gladly give additional tuition aid—just ask. I PROMISE: If you want your kids in Catholic schools, I will do my best to help make that happen. Please contact me if you want to discuss this.
Please also remember our long-term special relationship with Angelus Academy, where I am Chaplain. Also, we also offer financial assistance to families who choose to homeschool.

“Religious Freedom Week.” “Religious Freedom Week” began yesterday, June 22, and will continue to next Saturday, June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. St. Raymond’s will keep this “Week” by:
· praying the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” after every Mass;
encouraging all parishioners to pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily at home, and perhaps also making the Novena to St. Thomas More.

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 is something we cannot fully understand because It’s 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.

Reaction to the Mural. I was so pleased to hear the comments of so many parishioners
last weekend who love the new mural. I love it too, and can’t wait for the 2 nd one to go up
in October.

“Religious Freedom Week.” Due to the efforts of our President Trump and his
administration we have made significant strides in defending religious freedom in the last
two years. But we must continue to be vigilant in defending this freedom. So, once again
we will join with the Bishops of the United States and commemorate “Religious Freedom
Week,” which begins next Saturday, June 22, the Feast of St. Thomas More, and ends on
June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. St. Raymond’s will keep this “Week” by:
 praying the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” after every Mass;
encouraging all parishioners to pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily at home,
and perhaps also making the Novena to St. Thomas More (see the insert in this bulletin).

Changing the Words of the Our Father. All week people have been asking me,
“Father, Father, is it true the Pope changed the Our Father?” The simple answer: NO. The
press once again has caused great confusion among the faithful by poorly reporting the
facts. Last month the ITALIAN BISHOPS’ Conference approved a new ITALIAN
translation of the Our Father, and last week this was approved by Pope Francis. The
German Bishops’ Conference thought about doing the same thing last year, but decided
not to. In any case, the American Bishops are not considering any such change, and I
can’t imagine they ever will, since that would be an ecumenical disaster, putting us out of
sync with most Christians in America.

Speaking of the US Bishops’ Conference. The Bishop’s met in Baltimore this last week
for their regular semi-annual meeting. Their last such meeting was last November, their
failed effort to address the problem of disciplining lying and abusing bishops in their
midst. This time they will address this issue by approving an implementation plan for
Pope Francis’ new rules issued last month, under which accusations against bishops
would be investigated by the archbishop of their province (the “metropolitan”). This is
different than accusations against priests, which are investigated jointly by the bishop and
an independent lay board. And remember, former cardinal-archbishop Ted McCarrick
was a Metropolitan archbishop for 20 years. (Note: as I write this on Wednesday there is
no news from the meeting).

Speaking of Lying and Abusing Bishops. Last week Archbishop Lori concluded his
investigation of the accusations against Bishop Michael Bransfield, suspended bishop of
our neighboring Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. Archbishop Lori’s
report is a sickening tale of homosexual sexual abuse and harassment, and of
misappropriation of millions of dollars of diocesan funds to finance a lavish and opulent
lifestyle, including large and small gifts to scores of cardinals, bishops and priests. In his
report Archbishop Lori revealed that he had personally received a $10,000 gift from
Bransfield.
(Note, there is nothing illegal in giving or receiving gifts, except when you give
away money that isn’t yours. Although I question their wisdom, in fairness to the
recipients, there are no accusations that they knew the money was “misappropriated,” and
Bransfield had a reputation as being independently wealthy, having inherited family
money. Even so, it seems imprudent to accept such gifts ….)
As in the case of McCarrick, the report’s findings, as shocking as they are, were
not a great surprise to many priests who had been hearing rumors about Bransfield for
decades. But it seems, that like McCarrick, he had many powerful friends in the hierarchy
who promoted and protected him. One can’t help but wonder if money played a role in
that….
Speaking of Church Finances. Every fall I publish a financial report to the parish and
invite and encourage anyone interested to ask any questions about the numbers. Some

people do ask, and as a former accountant I enjoy answering their questions. Also, in the
last 5 years we have been independently audited 3 times, with a very clean report each
time. Moreover, if you are ever concerned about the priest’s “lavish” lifestyle, I would be
happy to give you a tour of our rectory, which is comfortable, but is modestly furnished
and in need of new carpet and paint. Also, I have a finance council of 5 parishoners very
well versed in finances and accounting, who has access to all parish financial
information, and with whom I consult concerning all significant parish financial
decisions. Finally, several years ago I made a policy prohibiting gifts to me (e.g.,
Christmas, Birthday) from the vicar and staff, because it might appear inappropriate.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

The Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday

SAINT RAYMOND IS IN HIS CHURCH! I am so overjoyed that this last Wednesday
Phase 1 of our Mural Project was completed, as the painting of St. Raymond’s
miraculous sailing from Majorca took its place of honor next to our sanctuary. Recall the
power of God and the faith of our great Patron in this miracle, when St. Raymond, after
condemning King James for consorting with his mistress on the island of Majorca, bowed
his head in prayer and, by the grace of God, sailed 160 miles back to Spain using just his
great cape as both a skiff and a sail.
Special thanks today to the family of William Brill, a long-time parishioner and
usher who died in November 2017. Will loved our church and parish, and in memory of
this love, his family donated the funds for this mural. Please pray for the soul of this good
man, and for his family.
Phase 2 of our Mural Project, the painting of St. Raymond and Our Lady of
Ransom, should be complete in October. Thanks to artist Henry Wingate for his brilliant
work.

PENTECOST. Today we remember the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the
early Church, about 120 disciples gathered to pray in the upper room. As the Acts of
Apostles tells us:
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And
suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the
house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed
and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began
to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in
Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the
multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them
speaking in his own language…. So those who received his word were baptized, and
there were added that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 2: 1-6, 41).
Some call this the “Birthday of the Church.” Of course, other days are also called
the “Birthday of the Church,” for example, Christmas and Good Friday. Perhaps the best
analogy here is to relate this “birth” back to the creation of Adam; as Genesis tells us:
“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils
the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2: 7). As you may know, the
word “breathed” and “breath” here are translating two forms of the Hebrew words “ruah”
which means “breath” or “wind”—or “spirit.” So the “breath of God” or the “wind of
God” also points to the Spirit of God. In a parallel to the creation of Adam, during His
life on earth Christ had built up a body for His Church, not from the “dust of the earth”
but from the simple human beings He had brought together under the leadership of the
apostles. And in a certain sense it was like a lifeless body, as the disciples locked
themselves in the upper room filled with fear (but also hope). Until the Pentecost, when
the Lord breathed His Spirit, “like the rush of a mighty wind,” into that body and it came
to life, as we see in the above passage.
That Spirit remains alive and well in the Church today, coming to individual
members of the Church in various ways, but in particular through the Sacrament of

Confirmation. If only we would recognize and use with faith and confidence the gifts of
the Holy Spirit we receive in that sacrament!
But the Holy Spirit remains with the Church in many other ways as well,
continuing to give it life and making it the true Body of Christ on earth. It remains acting
in all the sacraments, and in the preaching of the Church, and in the love of Christians.
And it remains in the Church, acting through its hierarchical structure established by
Christ through His apostles.
Some ask, why don’t we experience the Holy Spirit like they did on that first
Pentecost—with the tongues of fire, the sound of the wind and the speaking in foreign
tongues. Many scholarly saints have proposed that in the very beginning the Trinity
deigned to show Its power and presence in the Church in these extraordinary ways in
order to draw attention to this new and world-changing phenomenon, and to found the
Church with a dramatic event that would always be a sign to all generations that the Holy
Spirit had entered the Church and world in a unique way that day.
But don’t we need that same kind of extraordinary and dramatic event/sign today?
Perhaps. Then again, don’t we actually have such a sign? What about the “sign” of the
presence of the living Body of Christ, the Church, still alive and vibrant 2000 years later,
not having 120 members, or 3000 members, but over 1 billion members (actually, 2
billion when we count all Christians) living in almost every nation on earth. What other
institution, group or society has survived in any comparable way for so long, and with
such an effect on human lives and human history? And considering all the frail and sinful
human beings who have found a home in her over all these centuries—whether layman,
priest, bishop or pope—to me it seems her survival and flourishing is the greatest sign we
could imagine or hope for of the Holy Spirit’s continuing power and presence in the
Church today.
Let us pray that the zealous fire of the Holy Spirit transforms our lives so that at
every moment we may live and breathe our faith, hope and love in Jesus Christ.

June and “Gay Pride Month”. “LGBTQ” activists commemorate June as “Gay Pride
Month.” While President Obama officially declared it a national commemoration every
year he was in office, President Trump has not. So it is not a “national” thing.
And it is definitely not a Catholic thing. As Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin
tweeted last week, “Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events
held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to
Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.” Good for Bishop
Tobin. Let’s follow his lead.
Hollywood Hypocrisy in Georgia. Many Hollywood-types have called for a movie
industry boycott of Georgia, due to the state’s new strict anti-abortion “heartbeat” law.
For example, Disney CEO Bob Iger said: "I think many people who work for us will not
want to work there….I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there."
Interesting. Disney is doing a heck of a lot of business in China, which, among other
abuses, currently has about 2 million Muslims in re-education (concentration) camps.

Disney has also recently filmed in several countries with strict laws against abortion. For
example, the new movie Aladdin was partially filmed in Jordan, which criminalizes
almost all abortions. So what’s wrong with Georgia? Can you say “hypocrites”?

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

The Solemnity of The Ascension of The Lord

Pro-Life Victory. Last week the Supreme Court issued a brief ruling upholding Indiana’s law that requires the remains of aborted babies to be interred or cremated separately from medical waste. Though a small victory, it is a pro-life victory in that it defends the state’s right to recognize the remains of the abortion as not “waste” but the remains of a human being. The ruling was per curiam (an unsigned opinion of the majority, without revealing who voted for or against).
However, some argue there was also a pro-life loss in the opinion, as the court simultaneously refused to rule (“expresses no view on the merits”) on a second part of the Indiana law which barred “the knowing provision of sex-, race-, or disability-selective abortions by abortion providers.” The Court stated: “Only the Seventh Circuit has thus far addressed this kind of law. We follow our ordinary practice of denying petitions insofar as they raise legal issues that have not been considered by additional Courts of Appeals.”
I do not consider that a loss, but rather perhaps a necessary strategic.
Consider what Justice Thomas wrote in his instructive concurring opinion: “The Court’s decision to allow further percolation should not be interpreted as agreement with the decisions below [of the Circuit Court]. Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement. In other contexts, the Court has been zealous in vindicating the rights of people even potentially subjected to race, sex, and disability discrimination…Although the Court declines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them forever. Having created the constitutional right to an abortion, this Court is dutybound to address its scope. In that regard, it is easy to understand why the District Court and the Seventh Circuit looked to Casey to resolve a question it did not address. Where else could they turn? The Constitution itself is silent on abortion.”
No loss here. Just groundwork for future victories.

The Ascension of the Lord. In most of the world this feast was celebrated as a Holy Day of Obligation last Thursday, 40 days after Easter as the Gospels record. But our Bishop and the Bishops of the neighboring Dioceses think it best to move it to Sunday so that all Catholics are better able to easily celebrate this very important feast.
And this is a very important feast, in as much as it celebrates the fact that Jesus ascended, body and soul, into heaven, and now dwells in heaven as a bodily person. This reminds us that God the Son came into the world “like us in all things but sin” –of the reality of His bodily incarnation, birth, death and resurrection–and redeemed us entirely, body and soul. Moreover, it is a pledge to us of the resurrection of our bodies on the last day, and the transformation of the physical world into a glorious, “new heavens and a new earth.”
This in turn leads us to remember the dignity of the human body: your body is part of who you are, it is “you” as much as your soul is “you.” Your body is you speaking and communicating yourself to other bodily persons. As such, the body itself has meaning and speaks to others of this meaning. This is an important truth to keep in mind these days, as many try to degrade the body and treat it as an accidental part of who we are. The body and bodily acts mean nothing but what you want them to mean, and so you can use or abuse your body and other people’s bodies any way you like, or you can ignore the basic truths that a person’s body tells us about them. This has become a key argument for those who advocate and promote all sorts of mental/emotional/behavioral problems, including pornography, homosexuality, “transgenderism” and “transsexualism.”
But that is contrary to common sense, the natural law (the way things clearly are designed to be) and divine revelation. And it is totally opposed to the dignity of the human body, which is so beautifully revealed to us in the mystery of the Ascension of the Lord: that the body communicates who we are and is so wonderful—so meaningful—that it is created to live in glory forever in heaven.

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 of praying of novenas (from “novem,” Latin for “nine”) for particular intentions.
The celebration of the Ascension on Sunday complicates the idea of a “Pentecost Novena.” Even so, I invite you to join me in praying a slightly shortened novena to the Holy Spirit. 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:
Sun.: That St. Raymond’s priests and parishioners may more actively exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit we have received.
Mon.: That the Holy Spirit may grant me an increase in His gift of wisdom.
Tues.: …His gift of understanding.
Weds.: …His gift of counsel.
Thurs.: …His gift of fortitude.
Fri.: …His gift of knowledge.
Sat.: …His gift of piety.
Sun.: …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 that we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Welcome Home, College Students. I want to extend my most sincere congratulations to all of our parishioners who are graduating from college/university this month. We’re all proud of you, and pray for you as you move on to the new challenges that await you.
I also want to welcome home all of the college students coming home for the summer. I look forward to seeing you around the church. Please keep your eye on the bulletin for various opportunities available to deepen your faith life over the summer, as well as social opportunities that will come up here in the parish and at nearby parishes.

Anniversary Thanks. On behalf of myself and Fathers Smith, Daly and Scalia I’d like to thank all of you who sent cards and gifts to us celebrating our anniversaries of ordination. They were not at all necessary, but still deeply appreciated.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Priest Transfers. This last Thursday Bishop Burbidge announced his annual list of priest transfers/assignment. Thanks be to God, Fr. Smith and I will be staying at St. Raymond’s another year. Unfortunately, no additional priest will be coming to assist us, but considering the priest shortage, I’m glad we still have two priests assigned here.
Most of the other transfers won’t directly affect us, and there are few major changes that you’d be interested in, except for one: Fr. Scalia, in addition to his current job as Vicar of Clergy (in charge of all the priests and deacons) will also become the pastor of St. James’ Parish in Falls Church. That is a large parish, much larger than ours, which means he won’t be coming to St. Raymond’s to help on Sundays any longer. Fr. Scalia is an excellent priest and preacher, so I was very glad that he asked to help out here when his other obligations permitted. I am happy for him getting to become a pastor again (this is where the real fun of being a priest is) but I’m worried that he will be overworked with basically two full-time jobs.
So, please keep Fr. Scalia in your prayers, and when you see him, thank him for all his help to us these last few years.

State Abortion Laws. If you’ve been following the news you’ve heard that several states have passed new laws placing new restrictions on abortion. Probably the most talked about is the Georgia law that prohibits abortions after the baby’s heartbeat can be detected—about 2 weeks after conception. This will basically make all abortions illegal in Georgia, since most women don’t know their pregnant until at least 5 to 7 weeks. Although aborting mothers will not be charged with any crime, doctors who perform abortions face long prison sentences. Also, there are no exceptions for rape and incest, or for the general “health of the mother,” but there are exceptions in the case of acting to save the mother from death or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment,” or if the pregnancy has been deemed “medically futile” (i.e., the child would die shortly after birth).
Of course the pro-abortion crowd is going berserk, especially over the lack of exception for rape and incest (which is less than ½% of all abortions). But if an unborn baby is a human being, why should he or she be punished for the brutal act of a rapist or incestuous relative? What did the baby do wrong? Many abortion activists are saying, “the rapist will get out of prison before the doctor does.” Well, maybe we need longer sentences for rapists, but intentionally and willfully killing an innocent baby, whether it’s in the womb or playing on a swing set, is killing a human being, and the punishment for that has always been the harshest. And doctors should know better.
That being said, I’m worried that pro-life legislatures may have gotten ahead of themselves, that this may not work politically. And if it doesn’t work politically, it could do great harm to the pro-life movement. Most of these laws stand a very strong chance of being overturned at the district and appellate level, and the legislatures seem to be counting on the cases all going to the Supreme Court. But remember, the SC doesn’t have to accept every case appealed to it. There’s an old saying in the courts, that “bad facts make bad law,” so that the SC often rejects cases that don’t have the fact pattern that makes for clearly resolving difficult legal issues. I’m afraid that might be the case here. Let us pray….

Georgetown Visitation. Some of you may be acquainted with Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, a Catholic girls’ high school in Washington considered by many to be an “elite” school. But last week it bowed to the elites of the world, at the sacrifice of its Catholicism, when it announced that it will include news about the so-called “same-sex marriages” of alumnae in the school’s alumnae magazine.
Sister Mary Berchmans, president emerita of the school, wrote: “The Church is clear in its teaching on same-sex marriages. But, it is equally clear in its teaching that we are all children of God, that we each have dignity and are worthy of respect and love….As I have prayed over this contradiction, I keep returning to this choice: we can focus on Church teaching on gay marriage or we can focus on Church teaching on the Gospel commandment of love…we choose the Gospel commandment of love.”
Sister, Sister, Sister. There is no “contradiction.” The Catholic teaching on marriage flows from Jesus’ actual teaching in the Gospel (and the rest of Scripture). It is a specification of how love expresses itself in marriage. Jesus tells us, “if you love me you will keep my commandments.” And when He teaches about the 6th Commandment, “you shall not commit adultery,” He specifically tells us that marriage is only between one man and one woman: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”
Should we worship a pagan idol (against the 1st Commandment) if not doing so would offend someone we love? No. Then why should we honor adultery (which “same-sex-marriage” is a form of) if not doing so would offend someone we love?
Fortunately, the Archdiocese of Washington issued a statement admonishing the school. It remains to be seen what action the new Archbishop will take against the school, if any.
As for me, all I can say is, no parent who wants their daughter to receive a solid and sound Catholic education should send her to Visitation.

Peter’s Pence. Every year we are required to take a second collection at Mass for “Peter’s Pence” which funds the Pope’s charitable giving. This year it will be taken on the weekend of June 29-30, 2019. I thought you might be interested in how your donations are being spent.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Vatican News, 27 April 2019.
“Pope Francis has donated 500,000 dollars to assist migrants in Mexico. The funds, from the Peter’s Pence collections, will be distributed among 27 projects promoted by sixteen Mexican dioceses and religious congregations, which requested assistance in continuing to provide food, lodging, and basic necessities to the migrants.
“According to a statement from Peter’s Pence, “In recent months, thousands of migrants have arrived in Mexico, having travelled more than 4,000 kilometres on foot and with makeshift vehicles from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Men and women, often with young children, flee poverty and violence, hoping for a better future in the United States. However, the US border remains closed to them….In particular, the aid is intended to assist the more than 75,000 people who arrived in Mexico in 2018, in six migrant caravans.…
“Thanks to these projects”, the statement concludes, “and thanks to Christian charity and solidarity, the Mexican Bishops hope to be able to continue helping our migrant brothers and sisters.””

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Confirmation. This coming Wednesday retired Bishop Loverde will be here to give the Sacrament of Confirmation to our teenagers. What an important night for these young men and women, receiving the fullness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Consider the effects of the Sacrament of Confirmation as outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1303-5).
Fundamentally Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace. Specifically, this means it:
— roots us more deeply in the divine filiation (sonship);
— unites us more firmly to Christ;
— increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us (specifically
the “Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom,
understanding, right judgment (counsel) and courage
(fortitude), knowledge, reverence, and piety;
— renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
— gives us a special strength to spread and defend the
faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ.
Let’s pray for our newly confirmed today that they may be open to and cooperate with the graces they will receive in Confirmation. But let us also pray for ourselves that we may do the same.

Crossroads Pro-Life. This last Thursday another Summer of Crossroads Pro-Life Walks Across America began. As you will recall, every summer for the last 20+ years, young adults walk on three simultaneous pro-life walks all the way across America from Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.. These young people hope to convert the hearts and minds of others by witnessing to the sanctity of all human life, from the moment of conception to natural death.
This year we have a particular share in the walk, as St. Raymond’s parishioner Victoria Bliss (daughter of John and Glenn Bliss) will be making the trek from San Francisco, the fourth St. Raymond’s parishioner to make the trip over the last few years. I’m sure you are as proud of her as I am, and will join me praying for Victoria and her companions, that they stay safe, healthy and holy, and win many converts to Christ and the pro-life movement.

Pope’s Decree on Abuse. Two weeks ago Pope Francis issued a decree titled Vos Estis Lux Mundi (“You are the light of the world”) to govern the treatment of clergy sexual abuse, especially of minors, by Church officials. I haven’t had time to digest it in full yet, but it basically extends many rules already in place in the U.S. to all the dioceses around the world.
However, two notable changes for the U.S. are: 1) it places clerical sexual coercion of seminarians and religious in the same category as abuse of minors and vulnerable adults; and 2) charges of abuse or cover-ups by bishops will be investigated by the Metropolitan archbishop of the accused bishop’s province, or if the Metropolitan archbishop is accused of abuse or cover up the Vatican will investigate.
This latter change (#2) is a huge disappointment to many, since, for example, 13 years ago former-cardinal Ted McCarrick was a Metropolitan archbishop and would have been in charge of investigating accusations against bishops in his province. Moreover, this is basically an adoption of the “Metropolitan model” proposed by Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, who Archbishop Vigano accused of being a protégé of Ted McCarrick.

Tolkien, the Movie. Many of us were looking forward to the release of the new Movie, “Tolkien,” a biopic about the young J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, best known for his authorship of, “The Lord of the Rings.” While the reviews generally give credit for a well-crafted movie, they also note how the film almost completely ignores the absolutely central role Catholicism played in Tolkien’s life and writing. According to Catholic News Service, director Dome Karukoski said they had cut a scene of Tolkien receiving Communion, because, “people felt it was boring,” and that, “Religion is so internal, it’s difficult to visualize. It’s like watching an encyclopedia.” Funny, I guess the directors of Oscar-winning/nominated films as “Ben Hur,” “The Ten Commandments,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “Chariots of Fire,” “A Man for all Seasons,” “The Song of Bernadette,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “The Sound of Music,” “Becket”, etc., didn’t get that message. Seems to me a classic example of Hollywood elite just not “getting” Catholicism or Christianity in general. Sigh.

In Case You Hadn’t Heard. From LifeSiteNews, two related stories:
May 6, 2019: “A homosexual pro-abortion member of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives posted a self-incriminating video showing himself verbally assaulting an elderly Catholic woman praying in peaceful protest outside a Planned Parenthood abortion mill in his district…Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims posted his video on Twitter, which was then retweeted by LiveAction.….”
“During the course of Sim’s nearly nine minute video in which he stalks, taunts, harasses and accuses the unnamed woman, the state representative repeatedly attempts to shove his smartphone camera in the woman’s face. She quietly walked up and down the sidewalk during Sim’s outburst, seemingly unperturbed as she prayed a rosary…”
“Who would’ve thought that an old white lady would be out in front of a Planned Parenthood, telling people what’s right for their bodies?” said Sims. “Shame on you.”…
“There’s no faith that tells you ‘you are right’ and everybody else is wrong. There’s no faith that tells you it’s your job to stand out here and shame people for something they have a right to do.…We can talk about your Christian faith,… about how your Christian faith believes in shaming people…in telling people that you know what’s right for their bodies….tells you that you know what’s right for their families….There is nothing Christian about what you’re doing….There is nothing loving, nothing kind. This is a racist act of judgment, and you have no business being out here.””
May 8, 2019: “….After the original video came to light, another video surfaced that Sims shared to Facebook, which shows him approaching three girls outside Planned Parenthood. “What we’ve got here is a bunch of protesters, a bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here,” he declares. “So, here’s the deal, I’ve got $100 to anybody who will identify these three, and I will donate to Planned Parenthood.”
“An adult woman accompanying them politely attempts to explain to Sims that they’re “actually just here praying for the babies, and we believe women deserve more” but walks away when it becomes clear he is ignoring what they’re saying.”

Remember. Remember back in January, when our very own state Delegate from Springfield, Kathy Tran, freshman Democrat, introduced a bill which would, among other things, allow abortion up to 40 weeks, including even as the woman is giving birth? Word has it there is a pro-life alternative candidate running against Del. Tran in the election this coming November 5, 2019.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

Fourth Sunday of Easter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles