VACATION. Just got back from a week playing golf in Williamsburg. It had been awhile since I’d be able to get away: I stayed close to home all summer just in case I could help move the lighting project along, which wound up being unnecessary. Just so you know, we priests get 4 weeks of vacation plus 5 days of retreat every year. Since we work 6 (and sometimes 7) day weeks, the breaks are important to our physical and mental health. I know it is to me.
Something unplanned always happens on vacations. This time it was a tooth emergency. While eating dinner one night I bit down on my hamburger and heard a “pop” in my mouth—a tooth (with a 30-year-old filling) had cracked. Long story short I wound up driving back here the next day to have my dentist pull the tooth. So when you notice a gap in my handsome smile over the next few months, you know the story. In any case, I went back to golfing the next day and had a very relaxing time.
THREE DAYS OF ADORATION. From Tuesday, November 13, to Thursday, November 15, all the American Bishops will meet in Baltimore for their Fall General Assembly. With the exception of a few minor administrative matters the entire session will be devoted to addressing the sex abuse cover-up, including how to discipline lying or abusing bishops.
While the bishops have to step up and take responsibility and reform themselves, it is clear to me that the laity have a huge role in making this happen. There are various ways you can do this: letters or petitions to bishops (and the pope), funding, awareness, etc. But one key thing we can all do is PRAY. We are Christians, and we believe in the power of prayer. So use the power of Jesus dwelling in you from your baptism and pray constantly for reform.
With this in mind, I’ve decided St. Raymond’s will have Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the 3 days of the bishops’ assembly: from 7am on Tuesday to 7pm on Thursday. That’s a total of 60 hours straight, except during Holy Mass. And as your spiritual father I beg all of you to participate, signing up to spend at least 1 hour before our Lord on the altar. I’m very serious: it is important that we do this as a parish, coming together to beg the Lord to intervene for the conversion of sinful and weak bishops and priests, and for the consolation of victims.
So please sign up. In the next few days we’ll put a sign-up page on the parish website (straymonds.org), or you can email or call the parish office.
What do I do in Adoration? There really aren’t a lot of rules for what you do at Adoration. Basically you come, sit or kneel quietly, and pray. Bring your Rosary, your Bible or some other good spiritual book (even an interesting biography of a saint) to read between prayers. We’ll also have some prayer books available if you want to use those. But mainly come and be with Jesus.
An hour sounds like a long time, but it’s not really, if you split it up between praying the Rosary, reading, and just talking and listening to Jesus. As St. John Vianney once said, “Him looking at you, and you looking at Him.” It’ll do you great good, and joined with all the others adoring over the 60 hours it will be a mighty prayer for the greater good of the Church.
A HOLY WEEK. This Thursday, November 1, is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation. Since all Catholics are required (under mortal sin) to attend Mass, we have our usual extra Masses scheduled (see below).
The following day, Friday, November 2, is the Commemoration of All Souls, when we pray for all the souls who are awaiting entrance into Heaven as they are being purified in Purgatory, especially our loved ones. I invite you all to pray for the dead every day, but especially on this day and throughout the month of November. Even though this is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation, all are encouraged to attend Mass. In particular, I invite you to join me and our choir for a special Sung High Requiem Mass according to the Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin) that evening at 7pm. If you’ve never been to the EFM, don’t worry—just come. Even if you think the EFM is not your “cup of tea,” you will not regret having experienced this different, but very beautiful, form of Catholic worship. It will be a very prayerful experience. Trust me. (This is not the “low” Mass we offer on the 1st and 3rd Fridays, but Mass chanted by the priest, choir and congregation from beginning to end).
Of course, all this is proceeded by Wednesday, October 31, which is “Halloween.” As you know, I am not a fan of this day, since it not only tends to distract us from and trivialize the meaning of the important days that follow, but it is also used as a feast day by those that serve the devil (including Satanists, witches, etc.). Still, I understand the innocent fun, especially for kids, of dressing up in costumes and going trick-or-treating. But keep it balanced, and be careful not to let it, in any way, lead you or yours away from Christ, the Saints, or the Holy Souls.
VOCATION. I am overjoyed to announce that parishioner Jacquelyn (Jackie) Parman, daughter of parishioners, Don and Claudette Parman, has entered into the first stage of religious life as a postulant with the Cistercian Nuns of The Valley of Our Lady Monastery in Wisconsin. This is a very demanding vocation, so Sister will need our prayers—so please pray for her! And I’m sure she will also pray for us!
Parish Finance Report. Please find the Finance Report of the year ended June 30, 2018 inserted in this bulletin.
Operating Income (mainly from offertory and debt-reduction collections, and other donations) was $2,413,223, up $62,092 (or 2.6%) over the prior year, while Operating Expenses were $1,935,456, up $20,775 (or 1%) from the prior year, leaving us a Net Operating Income of $477,767, up $41,317 from the prior year.
We also had Extraordinary Income of $248,383 and Extraordinary Expenditures of $167,562, both related to the Lighting and Mural Project (except for $8,059 of other expenditures). This left us with a Net Surplus (the bottom line) of $558,588.
On the Balance Sheet side of things, we had cash of $148,352 in checking and $1,237,547 in savings, with $16,419 in Accounts Payable and a $0 balance on our Building Loan (down $387,917 from the prior year). We also had Restricted Assets of $88,881, i.e., Capital Campaign funds dedicated to paying for the Lighting and Mural Project.
Please feel free to contact me or Kirsti Tyson in the parish office with any questions about the report.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles