Thirty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time

November 14, 2015 Column Father De Celles

Archbishop Cordileone Here this Thursday. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, of San Francisco will be speaking at St. Raymond’s this Thursday, November 19, at 7:30, on the topic of “Marriage and Religious Liberty in America.”

As you are all aware, traditional marriage and family, and even the very meaning of maleness and femaleness, are heavily under attack by leftists and secularists in our nation. We’ve seen this in the push for normalization and even glorification (“celebration”) of same-sex sexual behavior and “marriage,” and the push to blur and even obliterate the definition of gender. At the same time, we’ve also seen some of our fellow Catholics, even cardinals and bishops, seem to push a similar agenda, in claiming that homosexual behavior is not evil (or even that it is good), and that marriage is not a permanent commitment “for life” and that what Jesus specifically called “adultery” now should be deemed morally acceptable.

Of course, all this defies science, nature, Scripture, and Catholic dogma, not to mention simple common sense. And it is actively undermining the very foundations of our social structure. And once foundations are weakened, much less decimated, the whole edifice above will surely collapse. How can our nation, or western civilization itself, survive? Marriage (true marriage, i.e., one male and one female) is the foundation of human society: from this union of mutual and complimentary love a family is built and nurtured: children learn how to love and respect each other, how to love and respect and learn from legitimate authority, how to respect and properly appreciate the dignity of the opposite sex, and how to grow into responsible caring adults. Then they take all these lessons and build civil and just communities, cultures and societies—neighborhoods, cities and states/nations. And if male-female Marriage is fundamental to all this, we see that the self-understanding of one’s own sexuality as naturally/biologically male or female is even more fundamental.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes this all seems overwhelming. We seem to be under siege from every side on these issues, as the world seems to be going mad.

But we have to fight back. Not with violence or hatred, of course, but with truth and wisdom. And with faith, hope and charity, and courage. And we cannot be discouraged, or give up. Because, while “for men it is impossible, all things are possible for God.” His grace has not abandoned us, and we must not abandon Him. We must fight on.

This is what motivated me to invite Archbishop Cordileone to speak to us this week. As the Archbishop of San Francisco, a city famous for its efforts to deconstruct marriage and sexuality, he is on the front line of the “culture wars.” Since arriving in San Francisco 3 years ago His Excellency has been under constant public attack as he has mounted a strong and outspoken defense of the Church’s moral teachings, especially with regard to same-sex attraction and “same-sex marriage.” In June he was the subject of a nationally publicized letter from 78 politicians and activists, including California’s Lieutenant Governor and the Mayor of San Francisco, criticizing his defense of Marriage. He has also been subject to months of public harassment for amending archdiocesan contracts with Catholic high school teachers to clarify the important moral responsibilities that teachers must accept while working at a Catholic school.

Moreover, as Chairman of the U.S. Bishop’s Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, he is keenly aware of the large scale consequences and the high stakes involved in this battle, especially the threats to religious liberty—our freedom to believe what we believe, and to act on those beliefs, both privately and publicly. He is at the tip of the spear of the Church’s defense and counterattack.

So it is truly a great honor to have this good shepherd and heroic defender of the Faith come to speak to our parish. As your spiritual father, I strongly encourage all of you to attend his talk and to invite your friends to join you. I’m hoping for a very large crowd, so I have decided to hold the talk in the church, not in the parish hall. (I will remove the Blessed Sacrament shortly before we begin so that we may proceed in an informal atmosphere without risking any sign of irreverence to Our Lord in the tabernacle). Please come to be informed and inspired by this good bishop, and to show him your support.


“BABY” SOFI. 5 years ago, in the early morning of November 14, 2010, the Lord delivered a newborn baby to the care of our parish. We first called her “Baby Mary Madeleine,” but now we know her as “Sofi”. To refresh your memories, and for those who were not with us then, I quote from what I wrote back then:

“Last Sunday morning, right before the 7am Mass, a parishioner noticed a small gym bag that was laying unattended by the light post near the Groveland Drive entrance to the parish parking lot. After dropping his family off at the front of the church, something told him (perhaps a guardian angel?) to investigate. Much to his surprise when he opened the bag he found a tiny new born baby. He immediately picked up the baby and raced into the church to get her out of the cold fall air and to call for help. Soon paramedics and police arrived and the baby was rushed to the hospital, where she was reported later to be in fine health.”

Sofi was soon adopted by a loving couple. But every year she has returned “home” to St. Raymond’s to celebrate her birthday. She will be with us again this year, as we celebrate her 5th birthday in the parish hall next Sunday, November 22, after the 12:15 Mass. Please, come and have some cake with our little Sofi.

Sofi is a special divine gift to St. Raymond’s, and a reminder to us of the love of God made manifest in the life  of every baby, born and unborn. Because of this, she will always be, in a certain way, our special responsibility: we must always keep her in our prayers in a special way. We should also keep her family in our prayers, that God may bless them for their generous love. And we must also pray for Sofi’s birth mother, who left her with us. Though we still don’t know who she is, the Lord Jesus knows her very well. May He bless for the love and courage she showed at a time which must have been terribly frightening for her, as despite her struggles she defended her baby’s life, giving her birth and entrusting her to us. Finally, we must recommit ourselves to defending, welcoming, and nurturing the life of all tiny babies, born and unborn. For the Lord has clearly given this to our parish as our special responsibility.


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles