Fourth Sunday of Easter

May 11, 2019 Column Father De Celles

Mother’s Day. Motherhood is a miraculous gift and blessing—to mothers, husbands, children and to all society. Thank the Good Lord for the gift of mothers!
But the strange forces at work in our society today to degrade the body and undermine its meaning are also attacking motherhood. For example, think of all the amazing things mothers’ (and really all women’s) bodies go through and are designed for that help define “womanhood” and make it so incredibly special. Yet all this is rejected by those who tell us that sexuality is not inherently directed toward the creative love of motherhood and fatherhood. And by those who say that any man/male can just say “I’m a woman” and lay claim to all the dignity and identity of that gender. This is simply insane.
On this special day, and every day, may the Lord shower our mothers, living and deceased, with graces, and may we show them the love and respect that they deserve.

First Holy Communion. Last Saturday our Second Graders received Our Lord in Holy Communion for the very first time. What a great thing for these children, to receive our Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity; to have the Lord come to them in the flesh, and join them to Himself in this miracle. And what a beautiful thing to see these little ones receive with such innocence and faith.
The Lord tells us “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” Does this not refer in a particular way to the Eucharist, which is Christ Himself, who is the kingdom? The children believe simply because we assure them that Jesus is God, and so has the power to do anything He wants and will always tell us the truth, and that Jesus Himself said of the bread, “This is my Body.” And so they believe. So simple. Do we believe, as they do?
Let us pray for our little ones today, that they may always believe as they do today. But let us also pray for ourselves—that we may become like our little children.

Mary’s Month. By long standing tradition, the Catholic Church keeps the month of May as Mary’s month. So I encourage all of you to keep this devotion by praying the Rosary during this month—even every day. I especially encourage all families to pray the Rosary together at least once a week. Holy Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother, pray for us!

Spring and Summer. Spring has sprung, thanks be to God! But like all good things, this brings certain challenges, and when it comes to Mass attendance we can count on two particular challenges: more noise and less clothes. Both of these are understandable: as they become more active outside little ones seem to tend to be more active inside also, and as it becomes warmer outside, all of us tend to wear less clothing.
The only dress code we have St. Raymond’s is to use common sense, as well as Christian modesty, chastity and charity. Growing up in Texas I understand all about dressing for the heat. But let’s remember two things. First, please try not to dress like you’re going to the pool when you’re coming to Mass. On the other hand, if someone does come to Mass in a t-shirt let’s assume they have an important reason for doing so. The second thing to remember is that the more skin we show the more likely we are to be the near occasion of sin to others. So I ask all of you, wherever you are this summer—whether on the beach, on a date, or at Mass—please consider the spiritual well-being of others.
Also, we love to have little children at Mass. But all of us (including their parents) would also prefer if they would be peaceful and quiet at Mass. But that isn’t always the way it is—especially at this time of year. So once again I encourage all of you, in charity, to be patient and supportive of parents and children—parenting is especially difficult in the present cultural environment, so we have to help them every way we can. On the other hand, parents, please remember to do what you can, and when a child gets really out of hand at Mass, or if they continue to make noise (especially talking or shouting) please consider moving to the “Family Room” or the narthex until they quiet down. God bless you parents and your little ones!

Vacation Bible School. Every summer we like to offer our little children an opportunity for some special Catholic formation through a summer mini-camp we call “Vacation Bible School” (VBS). But to make VBS work we need volunteers. Sadly, after several weeks of asking for help in this bulletin, we haven’t been able to assemble enough volunteers to make VBS work. So, for lack of volunteers, I am forced to cancel VBS this summer.
This is greatly disturbing to me. I know everyone is busy, but we need folks to volunteer to make this parish, by the grace of God, all that it can be.

Legion of Mary. One great way to get involved in the parish, and to grow in devotion to Mary, is through membership in the Legion of Mary. The Legion has been a vital part of our parish almost since its founding. Sad to say, however, because of transfers, illness, and other factors, the membership has declined over the last few years to the point that we are in danger of having to close our parish praesidium.
The Legion, it is a world-wide organization, with a threefold purpose: 1) To make its members better Catholics and to mobilize the Catholic laity, 2) To raise the spiritual level of the entire community through direct contact with and interest in, every member and potential member of the Mystical Body of Christ, and 3) To accomplish this through Mary. The works undertaken by our parish praesidium include taking the St. Raymond’s bulletin and sacramentals/literature door-to-door within our parish boundaries, teaching CCD, taking the Pilgrim Virgin statue to parishioner homes, plus visiting our 150 Legion of Mary auxiliaries. If you would like to contribute toward this apostolic work, please contact Judy Mayer at 703-627-7320, or email

No Special Needs Collection. Every year on Mother’s Day we take a second collection for the “special needs” of the Parish. For years this collection has been designated to help pay off the parish debt. But this year, since you have paid off that debt, the question was raised, “What is our ‘special need’ this year?” Well, there are several things we could use the money for, but it occurred to me that, as a small token of respect and appreciation for what you have done in the past to pay off the debt, I will NOT TAKE UP THE COLLECTION this year. Of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t need you to keep giving generously, just not an extra amount this week. Thanks again.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles