Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 15, 2024 Column Father De Celles

EUCHARISTIC MIRACLES OF THE WORLD. If you haven’t done so already, come see the panel exhibition of “Eucharistic Miracles Of The World,” designed and created by Blessed Carlo Acutis, in our Parish Hall today! Viewing hours are: Saturday, June 15, 9am to 7pm, and Sunday, June 16, 9am to 4pm. The display will also include a First Class Relic of Blessed (soon to be Saint) Carlo Acutis.

Happy Father’s Day. Today America celebrates Father’s Day, a day to thank and praise good Fathers who love, care for and make huge sacrifices for their families. Every child needs and has a God-given right to a loving father, especially a father married and loving his/her mother. Our very bodies and brains tell us this, as does all of human history: children are happiest and flourish in the home of a loving father and mother committed to each other in a loving marriage; and Scripture and Sacred Tradition teach this with absolute clarity.

But this is not what many in society are preaching today. The woke/marxist movement, as well as many of their less radical fellow travelers, are trying to transform society for the worse, beginning with tearing down the traditional family.

They are wrong: we need to have stronger traditional families, of mom, dad and kids; and that means strengthening the roles of mothers and fathers. Without that our culture will crumble—and with it our country and the world.

I know that not all families have both dads and moms for a variety of sad reasons. And families can survive and even flourish thanks to the grace of God and the dedication of self-sacrificing mothers, and perhaps grandparents or aunts and uncle.

But that is not how God designed things to work. That is not how human beings are made. That is not the best way to raise a family. So we, as Catholics and Americans, must do our utmost to support and promote marriage, and motherhood and fatherhood.

Dads, you are so important to the family and society. You know the statistics: if there is no father in the home kids are exponentially more likely to go to prison, get hooked on drugs or booze, be unemployed, commit suicide, on and on. And so with fatherless homes and families, society at large suffers more and more.

So, fathers, do what God made you to do, and gives you the grace to do, and be a man! And be the very best father—and husband—you can be. And THANK YOU for doing your best at that!

And all you boys and men who are not yet fathers, think of all this. Think of the great gift and responsibility of being a father that may lie ahead of you, and prepare. And don’t do stupid things to ruin your chances to be the best father possible. This involves many possible “stupid things;” but first and foremost, don’t engage in those acts that lead to fatherhood, before you are ready and committed to be a good father and husband.

Again, thanks Dads for all you do for your families, and our society. God bless you.

Traditions: Chapel Veils/Mantillas. You may have noticed, or been part of, the growing trend of women wearing veils (“chapel veil” or “mantilla”) on their heads at Mass. Where does this come from, what does it mean, and is it appropriate?

The origins of the veil go back to the modesty standards of the time of Christ, both for the Jews and pagans. St. Paul reflects this when he writes: “A woman brings shame upon her head if she uncovers it to pray or prophesy; She is no better than the woman who has her head shaved. If a woman would go without a veil, why does she not cut her hair short too if she admits that a woman is disgraced when her hair is cut short or shaved, then let her go veiled…” (1 Corinthians 11).

While this passage has been interpreted in different ways since it was written, it does remind us of the importance of modesty and humility in dress at Mass, especially for women (Men are weak in this regard, and are more distracted by a woman’s beauty than vice versa).

Veiling is also a reminder of the spousal relationship between Christ and the Church, like a bridal veil. In this context it also reflects the Catholic custom of covering things we consider sacred: a wife/bride is to be protected, cherished, respected, and adored. For example, we veil the altar, the chalice and also sometimes tabernacle. And, of course, consecrated nuns wear the veil.

Today, it is no longer the ordinary custom for the modest woman to wear in society. Even so, the Mass is a different “animal”: It is filled with all sorts of “uncommon” but, traditionally meaningful signs and symbols that express interior attitudes and virtues. So, for a woman to wear a veil at Mass to express humility, modesty and the bridal sacredness of the Church is very fitting.

After the changes in the Mass in the 1960s and 1970s, the requirement for women to veil was dropped; and they largely disappeared from Mass. But now, they are returning among the young and old alike. Some wear it as a sign of their desire for modesty and bridal openness and service. Others see it as a way of emulating the Virgin Mary, who most certainly wore a veil most of the time in public. And some say that it shows their desire to express their Catholic identity and/or love for the traditions of the Church.

I find all these reasons very edifying and admirable. So while I would never require the veil, nor condemn the absence of it, I do think it is appropriate and welcome. But only if the woman wants it—hey, I’m not a rigid backward-thinking priest!

Religious Freedom Week. Freedom of religion is the first human right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. And yet attacks on Christianity and Catholicism are on the rise and anti-Christianity has become the only form of prejudice allowed by our government and society.

Considering all this, it is more important than ever that we defend our Catholic Faith and we observe Religious Freedom Week, which runs from this Saturday, June 22, the Feast of St. Thomas More (and St. John Fisher), through Saturday June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. St. Raymond’s will keep this “Week” by:

· praying the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” after every Mass;

encouraging all parishioners to pray the “Prayer for Religious Freedom” daily at home, and perhaps also making the Novena to St. Thomas More.

Sacred Heart Flags. We still have plenty of Sacred Heart Flags available by the doors of the church. Take one home with you, put it somewhere to remind you and yours that June is the Month not of “pride” but of the humility and mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles