June 16, 2013 (Father’s Day)

June 16, 2013 Column Father De Celles

Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all our Dads out there. It’s a great day to thanks our Dads for all they’ve done for us: all the love, patience, and sacrifices, and especially for the gift of life. It’s also a day to honor our fathers, living and dead, and to give them gifts as tokens of our appreciation, including our prayers (note: consider enrolling them in our triduum of Masses beginning today, using the large envelopes at the doors of the church).

Unfortunately, as our culture continues its rapid decline under moral relativism, this has also become a day to remind the culture, including many fathers and their children, about the true meaning and importance of fatherhood, as wells the threats against it. It seems that every year this becomes more and more necessary. Because whether we realize it or not forces in our culture are progressively demeaning fatherhood to the point that it may soon be debased beyond recognition.

Consider how some jurisdictions are now not even recording the fathers of children in their birth records, referring instead only to “parent 1” and “parent 2” and even “parent 3.” Consider that 41% of all babies in the U.S. are now born out of wedlock. Also consider the number of babies conceived in vitro or through artificial insemination, often with anonymous “donors.” And the incredible increase in the use of the pill and other contraceptives by women, which put the entire responsibility of conception on women/mothers. All this has the cumulative effect of reducing fathers to mere irresponsible “gamete donors.”

But all that is relatively old news. The silently growing threat for the last few years, and now just over the horizon, is the legitimization of “gay” relationships and “gay marriage.” The effects of this are many and multifaceted, but let’s just consider one. If the courts or legislatures can redefine the meaning of “marriage” from what everyone everywhere has always understood it to mean—the naturally occurring union of male and female in mutual love intent on the begetting and raising of children—what will keep them from redefining the meaning of “fatherhood”? If marriage is no longer marriage, why should fatherhood be fatherhood?

For example, why should a mere “male gamete donor” have any rights or responsibilities toward the product of their donation (i.e., children)—rights and responsibilities that up until now everyone, everywhere has always considered as belonging to the very nature of “fatherhood”? So that when government officials and professional experts (e.g., teachers, school administrators, doctors, bureaucrats) deem they know what’s best for a man’s children—even a married man raising his children in his own home—why would the gamete-donor’s (the father’s) opinions be considered?

Fatherhood is at risk of becoming meaningless and even extinct for legal purposes and at a macro-cultural level. But it can never be that for Catholics or other Christians, and we must protect our society and culture from this degradation. Because when fatherhood becomes meaningless, motherhood will soon follow, the family will disintegrate, and society will soon come crashing down on top of us.

Happy Father’s Day. Now get off the fence, and with the grace of Christ and in union with His Holy Church, join the fight against the encroaching morally relativistic culture: fight to protect fatherhood, motherhood and family.

This week: “Fortnight for Freedom.” This Friday we begin the “Fortnight for Freedom” to pray for the protection of Religious Liberty, running from June 21 (the vigil of the Feast of St. Thomas More) to July 4 (Independence Day). Please see the 2-sided insert in this bulletin for more information. On one side you’ll find a discussion of the reasons for the Fortnight and a summary of the activities I am inviting you to participate in, both as individuals/families at home and with fellow parishioners at the church. On the other side you will find the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” and the parish “Liturgical Schedule” for the Fortnight. With all my heart, I strongly encourage all of you to participate and raise up “a great hymn of prayer for our country.”

Fr. Barnes. Congratulations to Fr. Nick Barnes, who was ordained last Saturday, June 8, and celebrated his first Mass here at St. Raymond’s last Sunday. From June 26 to September 6 Fr. Barnes will be assigned as Parochial Vicar at Holy Spirit in Annandale. After that he will return to Rome for a year to finish his graduate degree in dogmatic theology.

New Priest in Residence. The changes in priest assignments in the diocese were also announced last Saturday. Fr. Kenna and I will be staying put another year, but we will be adding a new priest in residence: Fr. Paul Quang Van Nguyen. Fr. Nguyen is from Viet Nam and has been studying at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College (residing at Queen of Apostles in Alexandria) for the last year. His primary responsibility for the next 1½ years will be to complete his studies, so he is not assigned to any pastoral responsibilities in the parish. He will, however, offer Mass and hear confessions as he is available—which will be a big help. I am sure you will join me in welcoming Father to our parish.

Summer Music, and Choir. As we go into “Summer mode” you will note our customary changes to the music at Mass. In particular the 8:45 choir and the 10:30 schola will take the summer off, and the 5:00pm Sunday Mass will not have music (no organ or cantor). As you know, liturgical music is very important to me, so have no fear, all will return to normal in September.

In the meantime, as the choir takes its summer vacation I’m informed that several choir members will be moving over the summer, so we are in need of new choir members. I strongly encourage you to consider whether the Lord be calling you to join in this very important work for the parish. We have an excellent choir, but our choir members tell me that doesn’t mean you have to be a fantastic singer. Our music director, Elisabeth Turco, is a fantastic teacher and works with a variety of skill levels to bring out the best in each and all together. Also, the choir is open to teen members. For more info, please contact Elisabeth (turcoe@aol.com).

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles