Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae. This coming Wednesday, July 25, is the 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical reaffirming the ancient and apostolic teaching of the Church that contraception is a grave sin. In the years since, his words have been largely ignored by the world, even by Catholics. But they still remain as true today as ever. Moreover, his explanations of the reasons for and the consequences of disregarding this teaching have been proven out over the years. He warned that it would lead to increased sexual infidelity and “the general lowering of morality,” especially among young men, and that eventually men would lose respect for women, seeing them only as object of selfish enjoyment. Elsewhere he would specifically point to the immediate connection between contraception and abortion.
Over the last 50 years we have seen this all bear out as we’ve seen the dramatic and catastrophic increase in (to name a few): divorces, marital infidelity, pornography, abortion, prostitution, teenage pregnancy and promiscuity, child abuse, wife abuse, and acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism.
At the same time Pope Paul recognized that it was morally acceptable, for a just reason, to “regulate birth” using methods that take into account the “natural rhythms” of the fertility cycle of women. Today several highly scientific methods are available to couples in this regard. Usually referred to together as “Natural Family Planning” (NFP) they are very effective in both postponing and promoting conception. They have the full approval of the Church, and we actively promote their proper use.
Mark Your Calendars: Humanae Vitae Conference on September 8. To more deeply consider the meaning of Humanae Vitae, and the ramifications of contraception in general, St. Raymond’s will be sponsoring a conference to commemorate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, September 8. Speakers will include Fr. Tad Pacholzyk, Ph.D., Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia; Dr. Robert Royal, Editor-in-Chief of The Catholic Thing, and President of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C.; and Bob and Gerri Laird—Bob is Vice President for Program Development at The Cardinal Newman Society, and Gerri is a nationally known speaker and writer on marriage and family. I am really excited about this conference and hope you will be able to join us. Stay tuned for more information.
Pull Quotes. Below follows a few short quotes from Humanae Vitae. I encourage you to read (or reread) this important teaching document in toto (it’s relatively short: only about 20 pages). To that end, we have placed free copies of the encyclical near the doors of the church. Take and read.

A few important quotes from Humanae Vitae:
11. …the Church, calling men back to the observance of the norms of the natural law, as interpreted by their constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life. [Note: the term “marriage act” presumes this act belongs only in marriage, and so applies to that same act when it wrongly takes place outside of marriage].
16. Now, some may ask: …is it not reasonable …to have recourse to artificial birth control if, thereby, we secure the harmony and peace of the family, and better conditions for the education of the children already born? To this question it is necessary to reply with clarity: the Church is the first to praise and recommend the intervention of intelligence in a function which so closely associates the rational creature with his Creator; but she affirms that this must be done with respect for the order established by God. If, then, there are just motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions, for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier….
17. …reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. ….first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality…[M]en—especially the young….—have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man…may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion…Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities …Who could blame a government for applying [contraception] to the solution of the problems of the community…? from even imposing …contraception…?

St. Mary Magdalene. Today, July 22, would normally be the feast of this great saint, but because it falls on Sunday this year its celebration is suppressed in favor of the Lord’s Day. According to ancient Catholic tradition Mary was the sister of Lazarus and Martha, who grew up innocently enough in the small town of Bethany, but somehow left home and fell into a life mired in debauchery and filled with all seven deadly sins. In God’s mercy, however, she eventually heard Jesus preaching and was transformed by His words, grace and love, and her faith in and love for Him (“she has loved much”) led her to become the great repentant servant of the Lord Jesus, who would go on to stand at the foot of the Cross, be the first to see the Risen Christ, and the first to proclaim the Resurrection, even to the Apostles themselves.
It seems to me that the Magdalene is a great patron of all the women who are so debased by today’s overly sexualized and perverted culture. Although we don’t know the details of her sins, her life of sin would seem to have most certainly involved sexual sins. Having a longstanding tender affection for Magdalene, I tend to think she must have been corrupted and used by some man, causing her to fall from the graces of her family, and deeper into sin. In all this she would seem to be much like so many girls and women of our age, where so many overtly try to corrupt them and promote their sexual abuse. But most importantly, she reminds us of the saving power of the love and grace of Jesus, who lifted her up from sin and raised her to be the great saint of the Resurrection.
I particularly propose this great St. Mary Magdalene to all who struggle with contraception—women and men alike. May she help you to end the abuse of sexuality it represents and promotes, and may she lead you to the life of grace and true love in Christ.

Oremus pro invicem, et Sancta Maria Magdalena, ora pro nobis. Fr. De Celles

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WEEK 2018 (June 22-29)

My Post (4)

The U.S. Bishops are once again asking Catholics to pray for the protection of our religious liberty during the Religious Freedom Week from the Feast of St. Thomas More, June 22, to June 29, the Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul.

All parishioners are strongly encouraged to take part!

Please join us for:

Prayer for Religious Freedom Recited after all the Masses during the Religious Freedom Week.

Holy Hour for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty on Wednesday, June 27, at 6pm

And at Home:

  • Pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily (see below or here)

  • Pray the Novena to St. Thomas More (see here).

“Prayer for Religious Freedom”

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, we come before you

to entrust our prayers and petitions for our Church, nation and families.

We pray for the conversion of hearts to protect religious freedom,

the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage.

We beg for your mercy and forgiveness

for ways we have turned from your love,

and pray in reparation for those sins committed against life and freedom.

We pray that our hearts be united to yours

in order that all mankind may come together to worship and adore you

in unity rooted in love and mercy.

We do this through the intercession of

Our Blessed Mother, Mary Immaculate; St. Joseph, Guardian of the Church;

St. Thomas More and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, our diocesan patrons;

St. Raymond of Peñafort; and all the angels and saints. Amen.

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father’s Day. This Sunday Americans celebrate “Father’s Day.” What a blessing for children to be raised by a devoted father partnered with his good wife, their mother. Together father and mother are naturally suited to teach their children how to love, serve and lead others: how to be good citizens, good workers, good friends, and good neighbors, and of course good brothers and sisters, good parents and good spouses.
A good father teaches his children, especially his sons, how to be good and holy men, how to be responsible, hardworking and creative, and both strong and caring, just and merciful, brave and compassionate. By the way he treats his wife a good father teaches his sons how to treat all women with respect and love, and how to be a good and faithful husband and father; and he teaches his daughters what to look for in a good husband.
Without good fathers, especially married to mothers, things get very hard for the family, for children, and for society. Over the last 50 years many have tried to diminish the importance of fatherhood, and the result is more domestic violence and heartache, as well as social upheaval. Is it any wonder we see so many problems in society, especially related to young men who have not had a strong and loving father to teach them what it means to be a real man?
Most especially, fathers, I urge you to take responsibility for the religious and moral formation of your children. You take care of all their physical needs, why would you neglect their spiritual and moral life? Life is hard, but it’s impossible without God’s grace. And when their life on this earth is over, you want to be with them blissfully happy in heaven, and not wallowing in the pain of hell for eternity. So make it your first priority to bring them up in the devout practice of the Catholic faith—first and foremost by your good example.
Fathers, I commend you for the good work done and sacrifices you’ve made for your families. Always remember that Christ will not abandon you to do it all on your own—He will give you the grace to be the great man He created and calls you to be. Happy and blessed Father’s Day.

The Catholic Education of our Youth. In the last couple of years I’ve been trying to keep you updated on the developments in Fairfax County Public Schools, i.e., “transgendered” policy and related changes in Family Life Education. As I write this on Wednesday (June 13) I think of tomorrow’s meeting of the FCPS Board at which they will cast a final vote on changes to the “family life” curriculum, including:
— Using the phrase “sex assigned at birth” instead of “biological sex” to teach children that biology has no impact on being male or female;
— Teaching students about pre-exposure prophylaxis. Also called PrEP, this drug is designed for use by those who are engaged in sexual behaviors which put them at high risk of contracting HIV;
— Removing “clergy” from a list of trusted adults with whom children should talk about their concerns regarding sex and sexuality;
— No longer teaching that abstinence is the only 100% effective method of preventing sexually transmitted infections or diseases.
I continue to fear that in spite of the many good people working in FCPS (especially many good St. Raymond parishioners), the philosophy and curriculum of our Fairfax public schools puts our children at risk spiritually, morally, intellectually and emotionally, and pose grave dangers to their eternal salvation. Therefore, as your spiritual father, I strongly urge you to consider either removing your children from these schools, or proving robust remedial efforts at home to offset the effects of these risks (CCD and Youth Apostolate activities are a good start, but not near enough to offset the dangers).
To that end, I strongly urge you to consider either enrolling your children in Catholic schools or homeschooling your children in the coming school year. No school is perfect, even Catholic schools and “home schools,” but they seem to me the best alternatives for most of our children.
I realize that either of these alternatives may require great sacrifice on your parts. But isn’t that what fathers and mothers do for their children? Please remember, 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 enough to make up the difference between “in parish” and “out of parish” tuition rates) to $1000 for high school students. Moreover, where the situation warrants, we will give additional tuition aid—ask me and I’ll do what I can! Also, remember that a special Diocesan fund offers financial aid to many students.
I also want to reiterate and emphasize our long-term special relationship with Angelus Academy, where I am Chaplain. It is an excellent school, and I encourage you to consider the possibility. Also, we also offer financial assistance to families who choose to homeschool and need help in paying for certain direct costs related to this. Please contact me if you need such assistance.

“Religious Freedom Week” Begins this Friday. The last few years we’ve joined the U.S. Bishops in keeping a “Fortnight for Freedom” from June 22 through July 4. Because of the significant gains we have made in the last year and half, especially with a new federal administration that has strongly reversed the anti-religious efforts of the prior administration, I have been thinking it would be prudent keep this practice going, but to scale it back somewhat from the past. As it turns out, the Bishops had a similar idea, and have replaced the “Fortnight for Freedom” (14 days) with a “Religious Freedom Week,” which begins on June 22, the Feast of St. Thomas More, and ends on June 29, the Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul. We will adopt this timing and title, and keep this week in the following simplified way:
praying the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” after every Mass;
keeping our regularly scheduled “Holy Hour for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty” on Wednesday, June 27, at 6pm;
encouraging all parishioners to pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily at home, and perhaps also making the Novena to St. Thomas More.

I hope you will join in praying for our Church and our Country.

Lighting Project. Remember that the work to install our new lighting will begin in two weeks, on Monday, July 2, and will finish by September 1. We will not be able to use the church during the weekdays, so the Blessed Sacrament, along with all Masses, confessions, and all other church-activities, will be moved to Parish Hall from Monday through Friday. All Saturday and Sunday Masses and confessions will be held in the church. Thanks for your patience, and pray to St. Raymond for the successful completion of the lighting work.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

July 1- Sept 30 – All Group Activities Cancelled in Church Building

Due to Lighting upgrades within the church, all group activities are cancelled in our church from July 1 – September 30. All daily and weekend Masses remain the same except for the EFM (Latin Mass). Adoration of the Most Blessed Eucharist will be suspended over this period but Adorers are invited to still attend their holy hour in the Parish Hall during that time. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Parish Office at 703-440-0535.

HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE 2018

Holy Week Schedule 2018

 

Holy Week Confessions

 

Holy Thursday, March 29: No Confessions

Good Friday, March 30: 11:00am – 12:00pm/4:45pm–6:00pm (after the 3pm Liturgy)

7:30pm (until the line runs out)

Holy Saturday, March 31: 1:00pm–3:00pm

(Note: There are no Confessions on Holy Saturday at 5pm & no Confessions on Easter Sunday)

 

Holy Thursday, March 29

No Masses during the day at St. Raymond’s

(10:30am Chrism Mass at St. Thomas More Cathedral)

No Confessions on Holy Thursday

7:00pm “Mass of the Lord’s Supper”

  • After Mass, Night Watch is kept until Midnight in the Parish Hall

 

Good Friday, March 30

(a day of mandatory fasting and abstinence)

11:00am – 12:00pm: Confessions

3:00pm: “Celebration of the Lord’s Passion

(Veneration of the Cross & Communion Service)

4:45pm–6:00pm: Confessions (Confessions begin after the 3pm Liturgy)

7:00pm: Stations of the Cross

7:30pm: Confessions (until the line runs out)

 Holy Saturday, March 31

(a day of voluntary fasting and abstinence)

12:00pm: Blessing of the Easter Baskets

1:00pm–3:00pm: Confessions

8:30pm: Easter Vigil Mass

EASTER SUNDAY, April 1

Normal Sunday Mass Times: except no 5:00pm Mass

7:00am, 8:45am, 10:30am and 12:15pm

There will be no confessions on Easter Sunday

 

Fr. Mark Pilon (1943 -2018) Requiescat in Pace

Fr. Mark A. Pilon (1943-2018)

Pilon-Rev-Mark-A

 Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

And let perpetual light shine upon him.

May he rest in peace.

Fr. Pilon served as the parochial vicar of St. Raymond’s from 2009 -2012.

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS

Visitation

Date: Thursday, March 22nd

Time: 4:00pm to 7:00pm

Vigil Prayers will be offered at 7:00 p.m.

Location: St. Raymond of Penafort Catholic Church,  8750 Pohick Rd. Springfield, VA 22153

FUNERAL MASS

Date: Friday, March 23rd

Time: 10:30am

Location: St. Raymond of Penafort Catholic Church, 8750 Pohick Rd. Springfield, VA 22153

(All are invited to attend, please plan on carpooling)

Burial

Date: Friday, March 23rd

Location: Fairfax Memorial Park 

Time: Immediately Following the Funeral Mass 

Reception to Follow in the Parish Hall after the Burial