Summertime. Well, we’ve settled into the lazy days of Summer again, as folks take time to relax a bit, go on vacations or otherwise recharge their batteries after a long and busy year. This is very good—I love summer and look forward to my own vacation in a few weeks.
But remember, we never take a “break” or a vacation from God or our Catholic faith. Remember to pray, love God, live in charity with others, and keep the commandments.
If you are an active volunteer in the parish, especially at Mass (e.g., ushers, lectors, servers, EMHCs, etc.), remember that we count on your assistance, whether on Sundays or weekdays. So if you’re going on vacation, please remember to contact your group coordinator if you need to find a replacement, and if you’re going to be around try to step up as necessary to fill in for those who aren’t.
Most importantly, remember to go to Sunday Mass, which is usually a mortal sin to miss—but why would you want to? If you’re on vacation, wherever you travel there is most likely a Catholic Mass somewhere nearby. Have you checked masstimes.org? If it’s not possible for you to get to Sunday Mass on vacation (this might include, for example, if you’re camping out far away from the nearest Mass), there is no sin in missing Mass, but you should at least try to replace it with some prayerful activity, i.e., the rosary, reading the Sunday readings, etc. And if you know you might miss Mass on vacation, talk to me and I can give you specific dispensation.
And remember, even as we rest a bit this summer, the Devil never rests. So make sure you keep up with what’s happening in the community and the country, and in the Church. For example, there’s important stuff going on in politics and government that you need to think about now, well before Labor Day. For example, a lot of parents have missed the release of the Fairfax County School Board regulations implementing their new policy on “transgendered.” (By the way, I put this in quotes because there is not clear definition of this term, and its use is often misleading). Many others are postponing any reaction to them until after the summer. But by then it may be too late to effectively react.
Action Needed: FCPS. With all this in mind I’ve invited Elizabeth Schultz, Fairfax County School Board member (Springfield District) (and a parishioner at St. Andrew’s), to speak to us on Tuesday evening, July 26, about the new regulations, and other related issues. I strongly encourage parents of FCPS children, as wells as FCPS employees and any other interested parishioners (taxpayers, voters, etc.) to come and join in this discussion. Something must be done to end this governmental enforced abuse of our innocent children not to mention the usurpation of common sense, intellect and morality.
Catholic Schools and Homeschooling. One very reasonable response to the FCPS’s new policy and regs would be to remove your kids from the public schools and put them in a good Catholic school, or homeschool them yourselves.
As far as homeschooling, while it’s not “for” everyone, it’s probably “for” a lot more folks than we normally think. Although I used to have my reservations about it, I have become a big fan in recent years. I used to be especially concerned about “socialization” issues with homeschooling, but when I see how the homeschool families are so active together, in the parish and in the surrounding community, those concerns are long gone. Last week St. Raymond’s Home School Group had an open meeting to offer families an opportunity to learn more about home schooling in general and various opportunities for fellowship and support at St. Raymond’s. Another similar meeting will take place on Thursday, August 4 from 7-9 pm in the Parish Hall. For more information, contact Malia Cameron at 703-298-4133.
As far as Catholic schools, there are several nearby our parish that your children can attend. In particular I would refer you to our friends at Angelus Academy, at 7644 Dynatech Court, Springfield, VA 22153. It is a small independent school, but has a long history with our parishioners and provides a solid Catholic education. I am the chaplain, and say Mass and hear confessions there most weeks. Go to angelusacademy.org or call (703) 924-3996 for more information.
You should remember that the parish offers “scholarships” to assist parishioners both attending Catholic schools and to homeschooling families. For example, if you wish to attend one of the schools in another parish we will make up the difference in-parish vs. out-of-parish rates. Additional aid is available as needed. Please contact me with any questions—I am eager to help.
Teens: Work Camp and Steubenville. About 20 of our teenagers attended a week long Diocesan Work Camp 2 weeks ago, and about 40 went on a long weekend conference/retreat in Steubenville last weekend. All came back safely, and apparently very much moved by their experiences. Lots of good Catholic fun stuff going on this summer in our Youth Apostolate (“Youth Group”). If you’re a teenager and looking for something to do this summer that will be both fun and bring you closer to Jesus and to your fellow teens in the parish, check out our Youth Apostolate “box” in every bulletin, or contact Jeanne Sause, our Youth Director, at email@example.com or 571-334-9890.
Altar Severs: Kings Dominion. Altar servers are reminded that Fr. Smith will be leading a road trip down to Kings Dominion on August 16—a gift from the parish for your service. Make sure you sign up early with Kirsti Tyson in the parish office so we can plan ahead. We’ll also need parent-chaperones, so thanks for volunteering.
Knights of Columbus. The Knights of Columbus are a great group of men who serve God and His Church in so many ways. At St. Raymond’s they are the main men’s group, providing many coordinated opportunities to serve the parish, the surrounding community, and the Church. From sponsoring clothing and food drives, to running various parish dinners and events throughout the year, our Knights form the true backbone of the parish. When men ask me what they can do to get more involved in the parish my first question is: “are you a Knight of Columbus?” If the answer is “no,” I say, “then join.” If the answer is “yes,” I tell them “join in their activities.” If you are an adult male Catholic at St. Raymond’s, you should be a member of the Knights. If you are a Knight, you should be an active Knight. Fr. Smith and I are both Knights.
Thank you brother Knights for all the good work you do for us at St. Raymond’s. Special thanks to Phil Bettwy for his hard work over the last year as Grand Knight at St. Raymond’s (St. John Bosco Council). And congratulations to Phil Fick as he is promoted to serve as Grand Knight for the coming year.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles