February 1, 2020 Column Father De Celles

Presentation of the Lord. This feast always falls on February 2, and according to
liturgical rules, since it is a feast of the Lord Jesus (i.e., versus a feast of Mary or a saint)
when it falls on Sunday, as it does this year, it replaces the regular Sunday of Ordinary
Of course this feast recalls the presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple 40
days after His birth, as prescribed by the Law of Moses. It also recalls the prophetic
prayer of Simeon, the Nunc Dimittis, said every night in the Liturgy of the Hours of the
Church, and the prophetic proclamations of the prophetess Anna.
This feast is also called “Candlemas”, because historically it was the day priests
would bless the beeswax candles for use in the Church, symbolizing the line from the
Nunc Dimittis, that Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.”
Traditionally, this is considered the last of the Christmas feasts, for obvious
reasons (i.e.., the date is determined by Christmas and it is a feast of the Baby Jesus). So,
perhaps one last time we can say, “Merry Christmas.”
Virginia Pro-Abortion Legislators. Well, Virginia voters are reaping what they sowed.
The new pro-abortion majority in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate are passing
extreme pro-abortion bills as fast as they can. As I write this they are about to approve
new laws that would eliminate almost all the hard fought protections won in the past by
pro-life advocates, like us. According the Family Foundation these laws will:
— Allow almost anyone, not just physicians, to perform abortions, including
physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners and even midwives;
— Eliminate virtually all requirements of informed consent prior to an abortion,
including providing written educational materials which describe a “full, reasonable and
comprehensible medical explanation of the nature, benefits, and risks of and alternatives
to the proposed procedures or protocols” and “an instruction that the woman may
withdraw her consent at any time prior to the performance of the procedure”;
— Eliminate the requirement for an ultrasound before performing an abortion so
that the mother has the opportunity to see her baby’s image and hear her baby’s
— Remove the 24 hour wait period between the ultrasound and abortion (which
paves the way for abuse and coerced abortions);
— Eliminate ALL health and safety regulations and oversight from the state’s
abortion centers that have proven so very necessary, leaving them with no accountability;
— Remove any civil penalties for an abortionist who has failed to do these things.

Virginia March for Life. So, as we gain ground on the federal level, with a presumed
pro-life Supreme Court, we have to turn our attention now to the state level in a special
way. Which is why our parish will once again participate in the Virginia March for Life
in Richmond on Thursday, February 13, 2020. We have 2 buses reserved, so sign up
to join us (the sign up sheets are in the narthex).
Pro-lifers lost the Virginian election last November, but the peaceful battle goes
on. And we must continue to fight. Please see the insert in this bulletin, and join us on the

bus to Richmond!

Speaking of the March for Life. On Friday, January 24 th , 4 busloads of St. Raymond
parishioners joined hundreds of thousands of other pro-lifers from around the nation at
the annual National March for Life on Washington Mall. It was a great day, with a huge
crowd, fair weather, and… the President of the United States. Thanks be to God,
President Trump became the first president to every attend the March for Life—a huge
sign of how far we have come. Here is an excerpt from his remarks:
“For 47 years, Americans of all backgrounds have traveled from across the
country to stand for life. And today, as President of the United States, I am truly proud to
stand with you.
“…The life movement is led by strong women, amazing faith leaders, and brave
students who carry on the legacy of pioneers before us who fought to raise the conscience
of our nation and uphold the rights of our citizens. You embrace mothers with care and
compassion. You are powered by prayer, and motivated by pure, unselfish love.
“…All of us here today understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and
sacred gift from God. Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and
sanctity of every human life.
“When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s
creation. When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love that each child
brings to a family. When we watch a child grow, we see the splendor that radiates from
each human soul. One life changes the world. From my family — and I can tell you, I
send love and I send great, great love.”
I want to thank all those who joined us on the Mall, and all who were there in
spirit, praying. I want to especially thank Liz Hildebrand for doing a heroic job of
organizing everything (and being so patient and kind to me). Also, thanks to Sheri Burns
who organized the Chili Dinner afterwards. And thanks to all those who helped them.
God bless you all. God bless America.

Flu-Season and the Sign of Peace. With “Flu Season” in full swing we now also have
the frightening news about the “Coronavirus” coming out of China. Although I recognize
our risks regarding the latter are minimal at present, all things considered, for the safety
of all and to ease the concerns of many, I have decided we will not exchange the “Sign of
Peace” during any Mass for the next few weeks. Thanks for your patience, understanding
and charity.

Feast of St. Blaise. Speaking of illnesses, tomorrow, Monday, February 3 rd , is the Feast
of St. Blaise, the day we traditionally bless throats. So, throats will be blessed at end of
the morning Masses and also (without Mass) at 5pm and 7pm.

Mass Obligation for Travelers. All Catholics should know that they are bound to attend
Mass on every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, and that failure to do so is a mortal
sin, unless there is a grave reason (personal illness, caring for someone else who is ill,

dangerous weather conditions, etc.).
When one is traveling this obligation is sometimes mitigated by circumstances,
e.g., if you’re in a foreign city where there are no Catholic Churches, of course you are
not bound to go to Mass. Sometimes when you’re preparing to travel you’re not sure if
there will be opportunities to attend Sunday Mass. To ease your conscience and make
travel less stressful, Fr. Willard and I have the authority to grant dispensation or
commutation (replace the Mass with some other form of prayer) from Sunday or Holy
Day Mass to any of our parishioners for particular days. So if you are planning to travel
and you are not sure you will be able to attend a required Mass, just ask us, and we’ll be
happy to help you out.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles