Summer’s Close. With this Labor Day weekend, the summer “officially” comes to a close. Most of us try to make summer a time of slowing down the pace, working a little less and setting aside time to visit with friends and family, whether on vacations or just on a weekend or evening. It’s a good and healthy thing—very much in line with our human nature, the way God made us. I hope you had a good summer in this sense. Even if there were crosses, such as family or personal illnesses, I hope there was time for you to rest and recreate, and to thank the Lord for the opportunity to do so.
School Year Begins. Labor Day also means our kids are back in school—of course, this year most of them began last Monday. I hope and pray that all of you “kids” have a wonderful year of growing in knowledge and wisdom. Apply yourself to your school work, and to a reasonable amount of extracurricular activities, and excel as best you can. But remember that as important as grades and victories, etc., are, it is even more important to simply learn. And to learn not just what’s in the books, but to learn how to think, using reason and good judgment. Always respect authority, but remember not to accept everything on face value, even if it might be written in a book or relayed to you by so-called experts. Most especially, respect the authority of your parents, and the authority of Christ and His Church. I’m sorry to say, sometimes teachers, & coaches, with all good intentions, will tell you things that are just not right. Too many people today ignore facts or twist facts to agree with their own personal perspective or agenda. So, make sure you talk to your parents about what you’re learning in school, and what the people at school are doing and saying. God created us to live and learn first and foremost in the family, and our parents are our primary teachers. The family is the house of love: your parents love you more than any teacher or friend (as good as they are) could ever dream of—and Jesus loves you even more!
So, be curious and inquisitive, but always stay close to your parents and Jesus, and count on them to guide you through what I hope will be a wonderful year for all of you.
CCD/Religious Education. A complete academic education includes learning about Jesus Christ and His Church, so a new school year means we can’t neglect continuing our Catholic education. Like any good education, that involves work at home and in school. So, parents, teach your kids about their Catholic faith informally at home AND make sure they have some formal, systematic, academic learning as well—either at home (according to a disciplined plan), in Catholic schools, or in our parish CCD/Religious Education program.
Our CCD/RE school year begins next weekend. Registration forms are in the narthex, outside the RE office in the parish hall (downstairs) and online on our website. Please take advantage of this program so that the school year can be truly all it should be.
Masses Changes Begin Next Weekend. As previously announced, next Saturday and Sunday we begin to incorporate some small changes into the celebration of Mass. Most of the changes relate to using a little more Latin. To help you with that, we’ve done two things: 1) our website has a special page where you can listen to audio (with video of lyrics and notation) of all the Latin prayers we say at Mass (on the home page click “Common Mass Parts—Latin”); 2) we will have laminated pew-cards with side-by-side Latin and English in the pews next weekend. As a reminder, these are the changes:
— At all Masses with music (i.e., all Masses except the 7am) we will sing the “Sanctus” (“Holy, Holy, Holy”) in Latin.
— At the 8:45 Mass we will sing the following additional parts in Latin:
1) Opening Greeting: The priest will begin Mass with the Sign of the Cross and Opening Greeting in Latin, and the people will respond in Latin.
2) Mysterium Fidei: After the Consecration, the priest will sing, “Mysterium Fidei,” in Latin, but the people will still respond in English.
3) Per Ipsum: At the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest will sing, “Per ipsum et cum ipso et in ipso….,” in Latin, but the people will still respond with the usual, “Amen.”
4) Pater Noster: Both the priest and the people will sing the “Our Father” in Latin, “Pater noster” (we will practice this together before Mass).
5) Final Blessing and Dismissal: At the very end of Mass the priest will sing/say the final blessing and dismissal in Latin, and the people will respond in Latin.
— At the 8:45 we will use the Communion Rail for folks coming up the main aisle. You may receive Communion either kneeling or standing.
–The choir will sing at the 10:30 Mass, and the Schola will sing at the 8:45.
To date, I have received a lot of feedback on these changes, almost all positive. I hope that all of you will approach these relative minor changes with open minds and hearts. Thanks for your patience and trust.
Election Results. Sadly, the pro-family candidate received only 30% of the votes and lost in last Tuesday’s special election for the at large member of the Fairfax County School Board, leaving us only one pro-family member on the Board. What may be worse, the turnout was only 10%: think of all the thousands of pro-family voters who didn’t even bother to show up. How about you—did you show up? How can we defend the family and our children if we don’t even bother to vote?
Requiescat in Pace. Last Monday, our parish lost a very good man, as Jim Albanese died after a long fight with cancer. Jim leaves behind a young family of his wonderful wife, Andrea, and five young children, his parents (also parishioners), and so many friends. He inspired us all by his love for God and neighbor, and his unyielding devotion to and faith in Jesus and His Catholic Church. Jim especially moved us as he heroically accepted his suffering and death as part of God’s good plan, as mysterious as that is to all of us. He recognized that God had generously given him so many good things in this life, but promised even more and better in the life to come. He especially thanked God for his family, but humbly believed that God loved them even more than he did, and trusted He would always take care of them. Jim was not a saint, so he insisted that people pray for him after he was dead—so, let us pray for his soul! But he was definitely saintly, so I am confident he is on his way home to heaven.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles