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

 

Second Sunday of Lent

Reluctant to Go to Confession? Confessions are a very
important part of Lent, so don’t forget to go. And please come
early in the Season, avoiding the long lines during Holy Week—
if for no other reason, out of charity to your priests.
I know some people are afraid to go to Confession and
so haven’t been in years. Some are afraid because they are
embarrassed by their sins. But remember, you can confess
behind the screen, so the priest won’t even know who you are
(and we almost never recognize a voice).
Others are afraid because they think their sins can’t be
forgiven. But remember, Jesus says: “Truly, I say to you, all sins
will be forgiven the children of man…” As long as you are truly
sorry for your sins and want and intend to try to stop sinning, the
priest, with the power of Jesus, will forgive you.
Some are afraid because they think the priest will be
angry with them. But that’s just not true. In all my 41 years of
going to Confession I’ve only had one truly unpleasant
experience. Okay, priests have bad days like all of us, but even
on a bad day priests won’t get upset with you. Priests love
forgiving sins—the bigger the better. And just because a priest
seems stern in the pulpit doesn’t mean he’s that way in the
confessional. A father may sometimes be stern when he teaches
his children to behave, but when an apologetic child comes to
him in tears, that same father opens his arms with tenderness. “A
lion in the pulpit, a lamb in the confessional.”
Some think they will shock the priest by what they’ve
done. As Ecclesiastes tells us: “there is nothing new under the
sun.” I’ve heard about 25,000 Confessions in the last 21 years,
and I have heard almost every sin imaginable—really. Nothing
shocks me anymore.
And finally, some are afraid the priest will tell someone
about their sin. This just doesn’t happen. In all my life I have
never heard a priest reveal the sins of anyone in Confession.
Priests are forbidden, under pain of automatic excommunication
(that can only be lifted by the pope himself), from ever directly
or indirectly revealing the particular sins of a particular penitent.
This is called the “seal of Confession,” and extends even to
revealing things that are not sinful that are discussed in the
Confession. (A great movie dramatizing this is Alfred
Hitchcock’s “I Confess.”)
So don’t be afraid. Come to Confession! Soon!
FORMED.ORG. A great way to get reacquainted or learn more
about the Sacrament of Penance is to make use of the online
video program at FORMED.ORG, called “The Transforming
Power of Confession, A Lent to Remember.” This 4-part series
offers reflections on the Paschal Mystery and leads you through
a step-by-step examination of the Rite of Confession. There’s
also a special “bonus” 5th video for children on how to make a
good confession—something parents may want to watch too.
While this is meant to be viewed over 4-5 weeks, it can be selfpaced
as well. You might want to watch it as a family, or gather
some friends together to discuss it (there’s a special leader’s
guide website to help with this). This is FREE for St. Raymond’s
parishioners who are registered with FORMED.ORG. If you
have not registered, just go online to
www.straymonds.formed.org. If you have any questions, see
the FORMED.ORG bulletin board in the narthex, or contact
Mike and Sheri Burns at formed@straymonds.org.
Parents Beware: Fairfax Public Schools at It Again. (Adults
only)
On February 8, 2018, the Family Life Education Curriculum
Advisory Committee (FLECAC) met to discuss infecting the
school curriculum with their twisted understanding of sexuality. I
was unable to attend, but a friend who did attend offered me these
notes from the meeting:
During the meeting, two regular citizen members of the
committee tried to offer amendments to the curriculum to remove
the phrase “sex assigned at birth,” which appears numerous
times in the lessons, along with the proposed teaching that it is
wrong for a delivery room doctor to say male and female
genitalia determine if the baby is boy or a girl.
Through parliamentary maneuvers, the amendment was
put off indefinitely without debate. The vote to cut off debate
passed 23-3. A motion for a roll call to put the members on
record was killed by voice vote so there was no debate and no
accountability.
Another citizen member made a motion that, somewhere
in the numerous lessons about various contraceptive methods
taught beginning in eighth grade, there ought to be something
about the possible health risks of certain contraceptives. This,
too, was shut down without debate, by a vote of 23-3. A roll call
of the vote was shouted down by voice vote.
Another citizen member made a motion to include a
discussion in the lessons about the health risks associated with
hormonal and surgical “transitioning.” This, too, was not
allowed.
One new member of the committee, was vociferous in
arguing that these motions should not even be discussed. One
high school student member said that transphobia stems from
white supremacy.
One county employee member asked why there was no
lesson on sodomy for the seventh graders, after all, there was a
lesson on fellatio and cunnilingus–my terms here: they used more
graphic vulgar terms. The chairman assured her that the
discussion of sodomy begins in the eighth grade. The chairman
apologized to the adults present for using those graphic terms,
even though those terms are scripted into the lessons for children.
Florida School Shootings. We all mourn and pray for the victims
and families of the February 14 shooting at Stoneman Douglas
High School in Parkland, Fla. Of course, now the finger pointing
begins, especially on partisan lines. I don’t know what the answer
is, but I think it is sadly ironic that most of the nation turns to God
in prayer after horrible events like this, while our schools refuse
to allow even any discussion of God before events like this. Is it
any wonder there is such violence in schools when we have
rejected and even mocked the teachings of the Prince of Peace? Is
it surprising that the national school system has suffered from
increasing violence and degeneracy ever since it began, a few
years/decades ago, to reject the Christian moral system that used
to teach our kids to know right from wrong?
February 14 was Ash Wednesday. Sin is the cause of all
these horrible things happening in society. And Jesus, and
repenting and believing in the Gospel, is the remedy. How is sin
effecting your schools, your family, your children, yourself? Lent
is a time to reflect on this. And to change.
Lenten Series. My talks on “The Mass and the Eucharist”
continue this Thursday at 7 pm in the Parish Hall. This week we
will look at what the Church’s Tradition teaches us about the
Eucharistic Mystery. All are invited—you need not have come
last week! Babysitting is available (call the office for
reservations).
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles