Goodbye Fr. Smith! Welcome Fr. Willard! Today is Fr. Charles Smith’s last day in the parish before he moves to St. John the Evangelist in Warrenton as Pastor. His last Mass here will be today’s (Sunday’s) 12:15 Mass, which will be followed by a reception in his honor in the Parish Hall—please join us.
I’m sure you all join me in thanking Fr. Smith for his service to the parish these 3½ years. I particularly thank him for his hard work and personal kindness and support to me. God bless him as he begins his new work as Pastor.
Fr. Jordan Willard joined us on Thursday, and you will see him at the Masses this weekend. We will more formally welcome him next Sunday, November 24, after the 12:15 Mass, with an ice cream social in the Parish Hall—please join us. I am looking forward to working with Fr. Willard, and I know you will join me in making him feel at home.
40 Days for Life. And while I’m thanking people, I want to give a big thanks to all our parishioners who took part in the 40 Days for Life campaign. It was a great effort and incredible witness. There is nothing about it that is convenient. It is incredible that we have so many faithful witnesses for life. Some volunteers went every week of the 6 week campaign. Some went more than once in a day to fill an empty spot. Some stood there for several hours in a row. Some went on crutches. Some have been going for years and still go, not taking this year off for any number of valid reasons. Our Youth Group went together with volunteer chaperones and held the 40 Days for Life Banner.
Some went when the clinic was open. Others went when the clinic was closed. Their presence was vital in both scenarios as this is not simply a temporal battle but indeed a spiritual one.
As for our specific parish 34 hour commitment, close to 100 parishioners signed up, while others participated by just showing up. During our hours, the most spoken words on that sidewalk were those of the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.
This is who the people of Saint Raymond’s are. I am so honored to be your Pastor.
US Bishops’ Meeting. Last week the Bishops of the United States had their regular Fall meeting in Baltimore. Good news from the meeting included the election of Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles as the incoming president of the conference, along with Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit as incoming vice-president. Among the more interesting matters discussed were the long awaited Vatican report on the former cardinal Ted McCarrick (still not finished), and the Bishops’ letter on voting which re-affirmed that abortion is the “pre-eminent” issue in the public square. Here are excerpts from two interesting articles from the Catholic News Agency (CNA) about these discussions. Note, that CNA is the official news service of the US Bishops.
Re: McCarrick: By Rhina Guidos , Nov 11, 2019 (CNA)—“In a brief presentation…Boston’s Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley told the bishops gathered in Baltimore the Vatican may publish what it knows about the ascent to power of now-disgraced former U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick by Christmas, or perhaps the New Year….
“‘We made it clear to Cardinal (Pietro) Parolin [Vatican Secretary of State] at the leadership of the curia that the priests and the people of our country are anxious to receive the Holy See’s explanation of this tragic situation, how he could become an archbishop and cardinal, who knew what and when,’ Cardinal O’Malley said of meeting with the Vatican secretary of state in early November. ‘The long wait has resulted in great frustration on the part of bishops and our people and indeed a very harsh and even cynical interpretation of the seeming silence.’
“Cardinal Parolin said the Vatican’s intention had been to publish the report before the bishops’ November meeting, Cardinal O’Malley reported, ‘but the investigation has involved various dioceses in the United States as well as many offices’ at the Vatican and a much larger than expected ‘corpus’ of information than anticipated….
“Cardinal O’Malley’s approximately three-minute presentation was short on details, other than to say the Vatican had showed him a ‘hefty document that has been assembled.’”
Re: Abortion: By Ed Condon, Nov 12, 2019 (CNA).—“…Cracks in the conference appeared as the bishops discussed amendments to a letter meant to accompany a series of videos aimed at helping Catholics engage with the American political process when Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago asked for a separate consideration of one of the amendments. “The cardinal suggested the insertion of a long paragraph into the text which would contextualize the Church’s position on life issues, and especially the teaching of Pope Francis.
“The committee considering the amendments, led by the USCCB president-elect Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, agreed to include an abbreviated version of Cupich’s paragraph, including language insisting that the ‘firm and passionate’ defense of the unborn should be matched with support for the ‘equally sacred’ lives of the poor, inform, elderly, and marginalized….
“Speaking in support of Cupich, Bishop Robert McElroy [San Diego] told the assembly that he was specifically opposed to the letter’s retention of language calling abortion the ‘preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself.’
“McElroy told the conference this language was ‘discordant with the pope’s teaching, if not inconsistent,’ and implied that a failure to accept Cupich’s proposed language was tantamount to a breach with the Holy Father’s magisterium. ‘It is not Catholic teaching that abortion is the preeminent issue that we face as a world in Catholic social teaching. It is not.’
“‘McElroy’s intervention triggered murmurs on the conference floor, with several bishops visibly distressed. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia responded to McElroy, saying that calling abortion the ‘preeminent priority’ was not just correct but necessary, pointing out that in the current American political context it was the most pressing concern. Chaput went on [to say]: ‘…I am against anyone saying that our stating that [abortion] is preeminent is contrary to the teaching of the pope, because that isn’t true. It sets up an artificial battle between the bishops’ conference of the United States and the Holy Father which isn’t true….I don’t like the argument Bishop McElroy used, because it isn’t true.’
“In a rare break with etiquette, the bishops in the hall broke into applause in support of Chaput.
“‘He wants us to think that to disagree with him [McElroy] – or [Cardinal] Cupich – is to disagree with the pope. It’s not true, but it works to undermine the conference leadership,’ another bishop told CNA immediately following the vote. ‘It doesn’t serve communion among us, or with the pope. It’s about personalities and power.’
“The final vote on the amendment declined to include Cupich’s longer text, with applause again breaking out when the result was announced…”
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles