July 9, 2022 Column Father De Celles

Security After Dobbs. As we celebrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs
decision, we also had to cope with concerns over the safety of parishioners and our
church as pro-abortion extremist threatened violence against Catholic churches. To
address these concerns I employed some emergency measures, including early closings
and calling on volunteers to actively assist providing physical security. I was
overwhelmed at the scores of folks who stepped forward to help—over 120 of you. Many
of those came to stand watch in the middle of the night.
I want to thank all those volunteers. I am confident that your diligence helped keep
us safe from any bad actors. I’m also aware that your very presence made it possible for
many of your fellow parishioners to worship at Mass in peace, feeling safe under your
watchful guard.
Going forward this week, we are stepping back somewhat from the more stringent
policies, although we will maintain a heightened level of alert for the next few weeks, in
a less intrusive way. For example, we have organized a small security group that will
keep physical watch of the grounds during the evenings and nights, and we have cameras
that allow for 24-hour live surveillance of the whole property. Those are only two of the
instruments we will be using to keep the parish safe.
But as always, the greatest “instruments” of protection are God’s grace and His
angels. We pray and trust in Him and them.

Preliminary Financial Picture. I am very happy to report that the very unofficial
(“unadjusted,” “pre-closing”) financial numbers for our fiscal year ended June 30, 2022,
were very positive. We showed a total offertory collection of $1,435,000, up 7.4% from
the prior year ($1,336,000). And overall offertory and other donations totaled
$2,081,000, up 12.7% from the prior year ($1,847,000). Moreover, net operating
income was also increased from the prior year.
Moreover, looking at this year’s total overall offertory and other donations of
$2,081,000, and comparing it to the same number ($2,121,000) from our last pre-COVID
year we find a decrease of 1.9%. Not bad, considering we are still recovering from the
COVID shutdown.
However, all of us have experienced about 9% inflation rate this year, not
including the cost increases of housing and gasoline. This has also directly affected the
parish’s expenses. Please consider this when you plan your offertory and other donations
to the parish this year: our costs are up 9%, are your donations to the parish up 9%?

Patriotism. The 4th of July is a day on which Americans celebrate patriotism. But not all
Americans, as we saw in various media reports over the weekend. Does God command us
to be patriotic? The answer is yes.
Jesus tells us that the two greatest commandments are first, to love God with all
your heart, mind, soul and strength, and second, to love your neighbor as yourself. St.
Thomas Aquinas explains that our first neighbor is our parents (family), but after that
our second neighbor is our country, or our “patria” in Latin, and our fellow countrymen.

So that the second great commandment applies first to parents and family and
second to country and countryman. We see this specified, if you will, in the 4th
commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” God gives you parents and family to
love and care for you, and in return calls you to love and care for them—to “honor” them.
And in the same way, God gives us our country and fellow countrymen to love and care
for us, and so we in turn must love and care for our country and countrymen.
Note however, Patriotism isn’t the same as loving the government, but rather
honoring the government and its just laws to the extend it/they are at the service of the
people of the country. Patriotism also involves participation in the life of our nation.
This includes everything from working diligently in school or at a job, to raising a good
and healthy family, to paying taxes, to participating in the public square and voting.

Patriotism also means defending our country, not only in the military (thanks!)
but also simply speaking out publicly to promote what you believe is genuinely good for
our country.
And patriotism means truly striving for the good of each other through just laws
and a sound economic system that allow each of us to provide for our own needs. But it
also requires a safety net for those who truly cannot provide for themselves.
Finally, it includes honoring the symbols our country.

Brown Scapular. Saturday, July 16, is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and
with this in mind, we will be enrolling folks in the Confraternity and investing them with
the Brown Scapular after all Saturday and Sunday Masses..
The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel memorializes the apparition of the
Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite priest, and her gift to him of the
“Brown Scapular” on July 16, 1251. “Take, beloved son,” she said, “this Scapular of your
order as a badge of my confraternity and for you and all Carmelites a special sign of
grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of
salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant.” The Carmelites
immediately began to wear this Scapular as part of their regular habit, and very soon
many non-Carmelites also began to wear it, usually in a smaller form of two small pieces
of cloth bound by two strings, worn around the neck, hanging down in front and back.
From the beginning it was understood that in order to participate in Our Lady’s
promises the wearer of the Scapular must be officially associated with the Carmelite
order. So the Carmelites established the “Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount
Carmel,” which any Catholic may be enrolled in through a short ceremony conducted by
a priest.
Even so, the Scapular is in no way a “a good luck charm.” As St. John Paul II

wrote, it is a sign that evokes “the awareness that devotion to her cannot be limited to
prayers and tributes in her honor on certain occasions, but must become a ‘habit,’ that is,
a permanent orientation of one’s own Christian conduct, woven of prayer and interior life,
through frequent reception of the sacraments and the concrete practice of the spiritual and
corporal works of mercy.”
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles