Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Virginia March for Life This Thursday. Thanks be to God, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) now has a majority of solid pro-life justices, and it seems very likely that sometime in the next few years the Court will reverse, in whole or in part, its 1973 “right to abort” decision in Roe v Wade. As the pro-abortion forces face this probability, they recognize that one likely result of a SCOTUS reversal will be to return the issue to the individual state governments to deal with.
Sadly, not every state government is ready to deal with the issue with true justice. In particular, Virginia’s new Democrat-controlled Senate and House of Delegates are working on bills to overturn years of pro-life legislation in the state. (See last week’s bulletin).
To counter that effort, pro-life groups have joined forces to organize the second annual Virginia March for Life, at the State Capitol building in Richmond this Thursday, February 13. There will be a Rally at the Capitol at 11:45am, with the March around Capitol Square at 12:45.
St. Raymond’s will be taking 2 buses down for the March. Sign-up sheets are in the narthex. We will depart from St. Raymond’s at 8:30 a.m. (immediately following 8am Mass) and expect to return to St. Raymond’s by 5pm.
Please join us. For more information contact the office.

General Assembly Attacks Religious Freedom. The state senate and house are also attacking our religious freedom. As the Family Foundation writes:
“…this week House will debate and vote on two bills HB 1663 (D-Sickles) and HB 1049 (D-Levine) which elevate the fluid concepts of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” …to protected classes in every part of our state law. In states where these measures have been passed they’ve been used to specifically target organizations and people of deep faith with the intent to tear down their ministries, livelihoods and reputations….
“…. If these bills are passed and become law there’s no doubt that cases like cake baker Jack Phillips in Colorado and florist Barronelle Stutzman in Washington, who refused to lend their artistic talents to same-sex weddings, will become common in Virginia. Already, owners of a wedding photography and videography business in Virginia, Brett and Alex Sandridge, have received backlash after politely declining their services to a same-sex couple….
“…What’s more, …under these bills, churches, private Christian schools, as well as Christian colleges and universities…will be forced to allow biological males who identify as females to have access to female facilities and even room with students of the opposite sex. And…prohibit [faith-based child placement] agencies from being able to contract with the state and receive funding to carry out their mission.”

Super Bowl Commercials. It was an exciting Super Bowl 2 weeks back. I hope your team won—mine did! Both my parents and all my brothers and sisters were born in Kansas City, so that explains that. (But thanks be to God, I was born and grew up in Texas, so I’m looking forward to the refurbished Cowboys beating the Chiefs in next year’s Super Bowl).
Besides the game, the commercials are always of interest. I particularly enjoyed the Jeep ad featuring Bill Murray on a takeoff on his classic movie “Groundhog Day” (one of my favorite movies). On the other hand, some of the ads were simply inane or childish. Sadly, though, some of the commercials were downright offensive, even if subtly so. In particular, prominent commercials featured “LGBTQ” characters in prominent roles. For example, Ellen DeGeneres and her “wife” were a happy “normal” couple in an Amazon ad. Maybe you didn’t notice; I think we’re all getting a little too used to these things, which is exactly what they want: the normalization of degeneracy, desensitizing against the perverse.
But let’s not get used to. Rather, let us pray for people with LGBTQ problems, and continue to work to spread the truth.

Slow Month. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t gotten as much work done in the last few weeks as I would have liked. First there was a week of vacation, and then the last week or so I was significantly slowed down and hampered in my work by my annual major-winter-sinus-infection. Now I get word that a relative of mine has died out in Illinois, so I need to go out there for the funeral and will be gone from the parish for the next few days, including today/Sunday.
So, please let me apologize for my absences, and for my tardiness in responding to any emails or phone calls. If you are waiting for an overdue reply from me please try again—but after this Tuesday when I get back from Illinois.
When I was a young man, I used to work through any illnesses I had. But after too many times finding myself much worse off for doing that, and twice winding up in the hospital, in the last few years I’ve been much more careful about trying to avoid things that might lead me to get sick, and to take time off, or at least slow down and rest, when I do get sick. But I still feel guilty when I don’t give a full day and week of work.
I know a lot of you work very hard, even when you’re ill. Sometimes it’s because you have no choice (moms and dads!), but sometimes you have a choice, but don’t recognize it, or ignore it. There are lots of reasons for this, some noble and some not so noble. I encourage you all to consider this prayerfully. Remember that taking a sick day off from work sometimes not only saves you from getting sicker, but also winds up making you more productive at your work (including the work of parenting and studying). Also, sometimes we go to work (or church) when we have contagious illnesses, not thinking we can spread that to others.
I admire hard workers, and driven people. But I don’t like visiting them in the hospital.
Even so, I apologize for my unproductive month.

False Emails NOT from Me. From time to time over the last few years parishioners will let me know that someone is sending out emails, or even text messages, that claim to be from me, but clearly are not. So be careful. I’m never going to send you an email saying something like, “hey, I need you to send me some cash” or “How are you? I need a help real quick. Email me back immediately.” These are false emails, scamming or “phishing.” Anytime you get an email that looks suspicious, that has no real content except to ask for money or just a response, email me at the parish email address on the front of the bulletin, or call the parish office, to see what’s what. And know that as pastor I have access to lots more cash (of the parish) than almost all of you have, so I will never say something like, “send money now.”
There are a lot of bad people out there. Pray for their repentance, and be careful.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles

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