Fifth Sunday of Lent

April 6, 2019 Column Father De Celles

Fifth Week of Lent: Passiontide. Today we cover the statues and crosses as we begin the last two weeks of Lent, called “Passiontide.” At this point in Lent some people often start to slip in keeping their Lenten penances, while others haven’t yet begun their penances at all. Passiontide reminds us to refocus or deepen our attention on the season and its purposes of repentance of sin, conversion of heart, and appreciation of Christ’s love manifested in His Passion and Cross. If you’ve been slacking in your observance of Lent, buck up. If you’ve neglected the season entirely, it’s not too late. And if you’ve been having a good Lent, then consider how you might take it up a notch these last days.
Let us beg our Crucified Lord to shower us with His grace in these last two weeks of Lent, and that we may be open to His grace and love Him in return.
Beginning tomorrow, Monday, evening confessions will go from 6pm until 7pm, and if the lines require it we will have 2 confessors available beginning Tuesday. If you have not been to confession this Lent please try to go before Easter, remembering that during Holy Week (beginning next Sunday) the confession lines are very long. So, if you haven’t been to confession this Lent, PLEASE COME THIS WEEK.
I also strongly encourage you to intensify your Lenten observance by taking greater advantage of opportunities offered in the parish. In particular, consider attending the Thursday evening Holy Hour and Meditation (7-8pm) on the Agony in the Garden, or Stations of the Cross on Friday at 6:30pm (and don’t forget Friday Soup Supper at 5pm). I also encourage you to attend at least one weekday Mass this week and next: what a beautiful way to refocus on Lent.

Palm Sunday, Procession. Next Sunday, April 14, is Palm/Passion Sunday. Please consider coming to the 10:30 am Mass and joining in the Solemn Procession with Palms at the beginning of Mass. This year we’re doing it a little different than the past in that we will begin by gathering in front of the church (not in the Parish Hall as in the past) before the start of Mass, and then, as usual, after some prayers and a Gospel reading, we will process into the church, and you can take your pew as usual. If you attend the 10:30 am Mass you don’t have to join in the procession, but may also simply take your seats in the church before Mass as usual and listen over the speakers in the church to everything said/sung in front of the church.

Holy Week. Next Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. Please plan ahead today to participate in the special and unique liturgies that mark these most solemn and sacred days of the Christian year, including Holy Thursday’s evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday’s 3pm Celebration of the Passion of the Lord (with Veneration of the Cross), and the Easter Vigil at 8pm on Holy Saturday evening.
As always, as your spiritual father I beg you to try to participate in all of these liturgies, especially the 3pm Good Friday service, with the Veneration of the Cross. Every year I am overwhelmed to see standing room only crowd patiently wait in line, many weeping, to venerate the cross of Christ. Some say, “but it’s a work day!” But I say: “it’s the hour of the Lord’s death! The most sacred hour in all time! Why would any Catholic want to be at work?”

YOU MUST SEE THE MOVIE “UNPLANNED.” Last Monday evening I did something a little different for me: I went to the theater to see a movie: “Unplanned.” I’ve been encouraging you to see this movie, and now I redouble that encouragement. It’s not the most sophisticated or slick movie you’ll ever see, and there are no well-known actors in it. But the story is gripping, and it will change the way you look at abortion, abortive mothers, and the abortion industry. I’m a pretty seasoned pro-lifer, but it moved me to tears and caused me to have a restless night sleep, trying to think what more I could do to defend the unborn, troubled expectant mothers and post-abortive mothers.
Just to remind you, “Unplanned” is the story of the conversion of Abby Johnson, from being the gung-ho director of a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Texas, to being a pro-life activist Catholic. Central to the story is how “everything changed” when she was asked to assist in an abortion and saw the live ultrasound images of a baby being killed in an abortion.
It is mainly that one scene (along with a few non-graphic scenes with blood) that the pro-abortion Hollywood establishment used as an excuse to give the movie an “R” rating. But that’s ridiculous—you can see scenes 10 times worse than this on mainstream primetime cable. The R rating comes only because Hollywood doesn’t’ want you and your teenagers to know the truth about abortion.
Yes, those scenes are disturbing, especially the ultrasound scene, but only if you believe abortion kills a living baby human being. (So I guess Hollywood is unwittingly admitting this fact!) I was shaken myself, even though the ultrasound was, as is usual, a black and white vague image of a baby—there was no blood, nothing graphic. Except the killing of the baby. That is upsetting, to say it mildly. But if your teenager is emotionally mature, and your think she/he can handle it, I think you should take them to see this. It reminds us and shows them “why we fight.”
So, go see this movie and bring your mature teens, and your friends, especially those who sit on the abortion-fence or who are tepid in their support for life. And if you can some how pull it off, bring a pro-abortion friend.

Scandals Ignored. Whatever happened to the controversy over Governor Northam’s black-face/KKK picture? Or the black-faced scandal of Attorney General Herring? Or the two rape charges against our Lt. Governor Fairfax? It seems the media and their party (the party of slavery and abortion) is giving them a pass—have you read anything about the scandals lately?
Maybe you heard that last week the two alleged rape victims requested a public hearing to tell their stories to the state legislature, but that was blocked by the Democratic leaders of the House.
As the New York Times even reported last week: “In the space of a week in early February, the public was stunned by revelations about each of the three highest statewide elected officials, all Democrats…Protesters and news crews swarmed the Statehouse. Calls for resignations came from fellow Virginia Democrats, Republicans and even 2020 presidential candidates. And then? “It just went poof,” said Natalie Draper, a librarian sitting in the back of a coffeehouse last week in Richmond. “It’s like it never happened.””
It seems George Orwell was right: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles