June 12, 2021 Column Father De Celles

Summer Begins. Praised be Jesus Christ! I hope that with this “re-opening summer” we can all take some time to travel and/or rest, relax and enjoy ourselves a bit. I’ll be taking a couple of short trips myself, although I don’t plan any long vacations.

            Even so, there are many things to think about this summer, and many things to do.

Fairfax County Public Schools. We need to do something about the abuse of our children being planned by our government schools. While we have all been worried about how best to guide and educate our kids through and past the pandemic shutdown, our government school ideologue-bureaucrats have been planning and scheming on how to effectively warp your children’s minds and hearts with homosexual, transgender, Marxist, woke and Critical-Race-Theory propaganda in the coming year.

            WE MUST ALL STAND AGAINST THIS. So, this summer we, especially FCPS parents but also all taxpayers, need to organize to fight this abuse. In particular, we must stand together against school board members’, administrators’ and teachers’ particular efforts. We must also work to change the board itself: did you know there is an active recall effort afoot? See https://openfcpscoalition.org/.

            We must also work to support school vouchers in Virginia, so that parents, not the government, can choose where their children will be educated. This will necessarily involve replacing our representatives in Richmond, including the governor, in this November’s elections. From what I can tell, the only candidate for governor who currently supports vouchers/school-choice is Glenn Youngkin (R).

This will all require some organizing and coordinating, something I think is the duty of the laity. So I ask parishioners who are interested in leading or helping in this effort to contact me or Mary Salmon, our Religious Education Director.

            Now some would say this is the Church, or at least the Pastor, interfering in politics. Let me assure you I make every effort to NOT do that, unless politics interferes with the Church. And since you and your children are part of my flock, and these leftist ideologues have so radically joined in a war against our children, parents and the Church itself, I see a positive duty to fight back—especially by encouraging the laity to do so.

            Remember, freedom of religion is a God-given right, and is guaranteed in the Constitution. Moreover the Constitution does not protect government from religion, but rather protects religion, and the religious freedoms of the people, from the government.

            Also, do not forget that the actions of the school board and teachers unions during the pandemic clearly revealed that their priority is not the best interests of your children, but are directed mainly by their own ideologies or self-interest. Remember how when polled, 60% of parents chose in person learning, but this board ignored the majority vote and went completely remote instead? Remember, what the Washington Post reported in June, 2020: “A day after [FCPS] announced its proposal for fall learning, teachers [unions] within Fairfax County Public Schools rose in revolt and refused to teach in-person, as the plan demands, until officials revise their strategy…”

            Think of how our children suffered so unnecessarily from the school shutdowns and online “learning,” while Catholic schools operated successfully, happily and healthy in-person.

            Finally, remember to pray for and support good teachers—and administrators— who are trying to fight the good fight for our kids in our government/public schools. None of what I have written above should in any way be misunderstood to undermine them or their good work. God bless them.

Scholarships to Catholic Schools. A month ago I wrote about the question of whether it is immoral to send children to the FCP schools. “Is it immoral—a grave sin? I’m afraid it just might be.” But at the same time I recognized that, “Many parents…believe they simply can’t afford, financially or otherwise, the alternatives.” While many parents recognize the problem and dedicate themselves to offsetting the nonsense of the schools by aggressively countering these errors at home and in the parish, I’m afraid that doesn’t work for most parents, for various reasons.

            So, last year I offered a one-time $2,000 scholarship for each parish child who switched from public school (k-12) to Catholic school. I have decided to renew that offer to families who make that change in the 2021-2022 school year.

            I have also decided to raise the amount of the scholarship we have available to all qualified parishioners who attend Catholic grade school from $500 to $1,000 and Catholic high school from $1,000 to $2,000. This amount is renewable every year, and is subject only to minimal qualification terms.

            Also, additional financial aid is available if a family truly can’t afford Catholic school, even with the above scholarships. These decisions are made on a case by case basis.

Finally, assistance to cover direct educational costs is also available to folks who homeschool.

Let me know if you’re interested.

Funding Scholarships. To fund the above scholarships I am asking all parishioners to consider donating whatever they can to the cause. Last year I had two families donate the funds to cover the full tuition for two children at Angelus Academy. But you don’t have to give that much: if you can give $5 or $50,000, please consider doing so.

Right now you can do this by mailing a check to the parish, and writing on the “memo” line something like “Scholarship Fund Donation.” You can also give through Faith Direct (there is a special fund set up there on the “my gifts” page).

            I especially appeal to those folks who don’t have children in school anymore. What charitable donation is more worthy than supporting the salvation of the children of our parish? What outreach program, or what “evangelization” effort, would be more effective? PLEASE, GIVE GENEROUSLY!

Regular Offertory Collection. As you can imagine, offertory giving has been way off during the pandemic—about a 17% decline per week from pre-pandemic weeks. Fortunately, with various special donations received along with some declining expenses, we’ve been able to just about break even so far this year.

            But with the post-pandemic re-opening, I need you to reconsider your regular offertory donations. I know many of you have continued to be very generous, and many of you have simply been unable to give. But with things changing for the better now, I do hope and expect the offertory to soon return to its pre-pandemic levels.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles