17th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2011

July 24, 2011 Homily by Fr. John De Celles St. Raymond of Peñafort, Springfield, Va. My homily this morning requires a careful balance of charity and clarity, modesty and precision. It will be difficult for some adults to hear, and a bit too “mature” for some younger ones to understand. I particularly hope I don.t offend the innocence of the little ones present. But it must be said, so I beg your patience. 43 years ago, tomorrow, on July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI issued perhaps the most important papal encyclical of the 20th century, called Humanae Vitae. And in … Continue reading

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2011

Homily by Fr. John De Celles St. Raymond of Peñafort, Springfield, Va. July 17, 2011 Last week a group of over 300 priests in Austria signed a letter they called a “Call to Disobedience,” in which the publicly dissented from a long list of Catholic teachings, and announced that they are going to completely disregard several important disciplinary laws of the Church. This, unfortunately, is nothing new. For several decades now there have been a lot of people publicly demanding changes to Church teaching —even when those teachings are divine truths, not changeable by any man, even a pope. Of … Continue reading

July 17, 2011

Due to an error in the bulletin last week, part of Fr. De Celles’ letter was inadvertently omitted. The following is his complete letter from July 17th. Yesterday, Saturday July 16, was the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, memorializing the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite priest, and her gift to him of the “Brown Scapular” on July 16, 1251. The origins of the Carmelites (The Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), are somewhat uncertain, but it seems the order originated when certain devout souls came together after the third crusade … Continue reading

July 10, 2011

This last week marked one year of service for me at St. Raymond’s. It has been an interesting year for me, a very good year in many ways, and certainly a challenging one. I’ve learned a lot about how to run a parish, and how not to, and how much more I still need to learn. I hope that it has been a good year for the parish as well, although only heaven really knows that. I thank all of you, especially the parish staff and the heads of committees, for your patience and assistance. Looking back at my first … Continue reading

July 3, 2011

July 3, 2011 Homily by Fr. John De Celles St. Raymond of Peñafort, Springfield, Va. Tomorrow our nation celebrates 235 years of freedom. As Catholics it is especially right for us to celebrate that freedom, since we believe that God created us in the beginning to live in freedom: in a very real way we are not fully human if we are not free. And yet as we celebrate freedom, particularly in the context of freedom from the yoke of a foreign King, we hear Christ telling us that in order to be truly free we must, as he says: … Continue reading

July 3, 2011

On this Fourth of July weekend, let us pray for our beloved nation and our nation’s leaders. Prayer for Government by Archbishop John Carroll, first bishop and archbishop of Baltimore, and of the United States We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name. We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of … Continue reading

June 26, 2011

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi. In most of the world the feast is celebrated on the following Thursday after Trinity Sunday, but in the United States it is celebrated on the following Sunday. The feast calls us to remember the munificent gift God gives us in the Blessed Sacrament, in particular the gift of Christ’s Real Presence that begins as the bread and wine are transformed—by the words of Jesus spoken by the priest at Mass—into the true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, and continues … Continue reading

June 19, 2011

Today, June 19, is, of course, “Fathers’ Day.” In a way, it is quite remarkable that our nation still celebrates this holiday, given the concerted effort over recent years to reduce or to denigrate the importance of fatherhood. Among other interest groups, the radical feminist movement made this a particular target of its efforts to change our culture in the ’60s and ’70s, as it labored to convince women to think of men as not necessary to their happiness. Women could “have it all,” even a home with children, without men figuring into the picture. At the same time, the … Continue reading

June 12, 2011

Today is the Solemnity of the Pentecost, remembering the day, 10 days after Jesus’ glorious Ascension into Heaven, that the Holy Spirit descended upon the nascent Church, about 120 disciples gathered in the upper room waiting and praying. 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. … Continue reading

June 5, 2011

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. This commemorates the true historical event when Jesus of Nazareth, who had died on the cross and risen from the dead, ascended by His own power in His human body into heaven, where he is now present, bodily, in eternity. The importance of the mystery of the Ascension is often overlooked or forgotten by Christians, but it must not be, since it is critical to our understanding of Christ and ourselves. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes: 665 Christ’s Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity … Continue reading