Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

June 13, 2015 Column Father De Celles

Corpus Christi Procession. What a beautiful sight to see so many of you join in last Sunday’s procession. Once again, this year’s crowd was larger than last year’s—I have a hard time guessing, but I think we were close 300 people of all ages and backgrounds. Thanks so much to all of you, but especially those who took a hand in organizing things: the parish staff, the choir, the sacristans, the flower ladies, the Knights of Columbus, and so many other volunteers—forgive me for not naming you all. Let me give particular recognition to Patrick O’Brien, the overall coordinator. Also, let me sing the praises of our altar servers: we had a huge turnout and they did a great job of adding to the solemnity of the procession. God bless you all. For those who missed the procession—you missed a great event. I hope you can join us next year.


Next weekend: “Fortnight for Freedom.” Next Sunday we begin the “Fortnight for Freedom” to pray for the protection of Religious Liberty. The Fortnight will run from June 21 (the vigil of the Feast of St. Thomas More) to July 4 (Independence Day). Please see the inserts in this bulletin, our schedule of events and Bishop Loverde’s letter, for full details of the parish activities of this fortnight. We began the “Fortnight” 3 years ago as part of our effort to fight the rising tide of oppression against Christianity in the America, but over time it’s easy to lose focus and intensity. Even so, the tide continues to rise, as we see things like the “gay marriage” crowd trying to force Christians to participate in their “weddings” (e.g., the bakers and florists) and Fairfax Public Schools push acceptance of “transgender” into their classrooms and restrooms. Now is the time to recommit to the fight—with charity and patience, but with clarity and boldness. I strongly encourage all of you to participate in this year’s “Fortnight for Freedom!”


Summer Music. As in prior years the choir is now on hiatus for the rest of the summer (with a few exceptions). I want to thank all the choir members, especially Elisabeth Turco, our Music Director, for all their beautiful and hard work. I constantly receive compliments from visitors, especially visiting priests and bishops, about the quality of our music, most especially when the choir joins us.


Priest Assignments. Last Saturday Bishop Loverde ordained 7 new priests for the Diocese of Arlington. With retirements and other reassignments, this allowed the bishop to add an extra vicar to 4 large parishes that were in great need of another full-time priest. Unfortunately, St. Raymond’s was not one of those parishes—we will not be getting additional help, full-time or part-time. But the good news for us (at least I think it is), is that both Fr. Kenna and I will be staying in place to serve you for another year.

Locally, there will be a big change in our neighboring parish, St. Lawrence. Long-time pastor Fr. Christopher Mould will be moving to be pastor of St. Andrew’s in Clifton. Fr. Mould has been a good pastor to St. Lawrence for the 13 years he’s been there, and he will be greatly missed by his parishioners. And he’s also been a good friend to St. Raymond’s, and to me personally, in so many ways, and we will also miss him. Thankfully, he is being replaced at St. Lawrence by Fr. Ronald Gripshover, my classmate and good friend, and a great priest. Congratulations and thanks to both Fr. Mould and Fr. Gripshover, and all the priests moving to new assignments, especially the newly ordained. Let us pray for them and their parishes, old and new. And don’t forget to pray for Fr. Kenna and me too.


Summer Dress Code. The only dress code we have St. Raymond’s is to use common sense, as well as Christian modesty, chastity and charity. But it always seems that as summer heats up we can sometimes tend to forget about this “code.” Growing up and living in the heat of San Antonio, Texas, for 31 years, I understand all about dressing for the heat. But let’s remember two things. First, the clothes we wear always tell other people something about ourselves: when we dress in shorts and a t-shirt we say, “I’m relaxing right now,” and when we dress in a coat and tie, or in a nice dress we say, “I’m doing something important right now.” So, this summer please try not to dress like you’re going to the pool when you’re coming to Mass. On the other hand, I promise that if you ever do come to Mass in a t-shirt I will assume you are not saying “Mass is not important to me”, but simply “I have a really important reason why I couldn’t dress up for Mass as I usually do.” We should dress respectfully for the Lord, but we should also assume the best of one another.

The second thing I’d like you to remember is that the more skin and body parts we show the more likely we are to be the near occasion of sin to others. This is especially the case for women and girls. That’s not a sexist remark, unless it’s sexist to say that guys tend to react very strongly and irrationally to the female body. I don’t think it is, but if so, okay, I’m a sexist. So I ask you, wherever you are this summer—whether on the beach, on the street, on a date, or, especially, at Mass—please consider the spiritual well-being of others. Remember that Jesus said: “everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” And he also said: “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to anyone by whom they come!”


School’s Out…Some Rambling Advice to “Kids.” For most of our children and teenagers summer break begins this week. I hope you all have a great break, that you have time to relax and play and visit friends and relatives. Whatever you do, don’t waste your summer! Be active, whether having fun with your friends, traveling, reading a book, getting a summer job, whatever. I especially recommend a summer job to our teenagers—you learn a lot about life in a summer job. But even if you’re working this summer, or going to summer school, make time to take vacation and enjoy yourself. And spend time with family—let down your guard and let family trips become opportunities to reestablish or strengthen loving relationships with your parents and siblings. Finally, whatever you do, don’t take a vacation from God. Go to Mass every Sunday, and don’t forget confession! And remember His Commandments—you can have fun and be good at the same time! And finally, finally: be careful. I want to see you in the pew at the end of the summer, safe and sound. You remain in my prayers.


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles