March 20, 2023 Column Father De Celles

Laetare Sunday. Today is Laetare Sunday, or “Rejoice Sunday,” the halfway
point in Lent, as the Church reminds us that in the midst of our sorrows for the
suffering of Christ for our sins, we need to always keep in mind the glory and joy
of the Resurrection and our redemption. The Rose Vestments symbolize this: the
dark purple yields to the lighter shade of rose.
Many are struggling to keep their penances this Lent. Others still haven’t
chosen a penance. Today we remember that there is still half of Lent remaining
to rededicate or increase our efforts to keep Lent holy. To those who haven’t
chosen a penance yet, get with it. To those who are struggling to keep their
penances, if your penance is too hard, it’s okay to change it to something that is
challenging but manageable in your situation; to those who just haven’t been
trying, no excuses—pick up your cross. And to those who have found their
penances manageable and doable, then perhaps you can add some more
penances, or intensify the ones you are currently doing.
Let the rest of Lent really be a time of holiness for each of us, as we carry
our crosses with Jesus.
40 Days? Have you noticed that there are actually 46 days from Ash
Wednesday to Holy Saturday (inclusive). This is because the counting of the 40
days has never included the 6 Sundays of Lent, because, historically, the 40
days were always days of modified fasting, and Sunday was never a day of fast
since it is the Lord’s Day. Moreover, though Good Friday and Holy Saturday are
not technically “Lent” but the “Triduum,” even so, the Triduum retains the
penitential character of Lent, so there are still 40 penitential days.
Calling all Candidates: Fairfax County School Board (FCSB). For the last few
decades, the county/government schools have gradually been becoming more
and more indoctrination centers for the leftist ideology. Many parents and kids
can testify to this, although some tell me that their particular school or teachers
avoid the woke/leftist indoctrination. In fact, I know many Catholic teachers who
tell me they are fighting the good fight to protect their students from this warped
and anti-Catholic ideology. Thank God for this, and God bless them.
Even so, the corruption permeates our government-run schools, teaching
our kids the exact opposite of what they learn at home and church. And even in
the best of classrooms, principals and teachers feel the constant pressure, and
leftist-influenced textbooks and library books imposed on them aggravate the
This will remain the case until we change the people making policy for
the schools—the members of the School Board. Currently, all 12 seats are held
by leftist activists who repeatedly disregard and disrespect parents’ and teachers’
concerns and protests.
This must change. And the only way to change that is through good
candidates coming forward to contest those seats: we need good, moral and
common sense folks to run for these seats. That might mean you.

I have given a lot of thought to this, trying to think of particular parishioners
who would be good candidates. But there are many of you who qualify for this
job, and could probably get elected, with the right support. Honestly, look at the
school board members now and you will see the bar is pretty low. We can do
much better.
I want you all to think and pray about this. Is this something you would
be good at? And more importantly, is the Lord calling you to do this?
This will, absolutely, involve sacrifice and not a little suffering. But this is
Lent, when we remember that sacrifice is at the center of a Christian life and
love—Jesus’ sacrifice of the Cross. We all talk about how much we love Jesus
and our children and our neighbor. But if He is calling you, are you willing to
make sacrifices for Him and His little ones?
If you might be interested, contact me and we can talk about it. I’m not
going to get involved in campaigning or endorsements, but I can try to give you
some practical pastoral advice.
Altar Rail. As you can see, our broken altar rail is repaired and back in place.
The artisan who works on this for us did an amazing job rebuilding and
reinforcing the pillars. However, we’re not finished yet. For safety’s sake, we
plan, in the next 2 weeks, to install marble supporting pillars, reinforced with
rebar, behind the rails. These will support the rail as people lean into it, and
should prevent any future accidents. In the meantime, I ask you to not lean on
the altar rails until we’re done.
German Bishops. Last week the German Bishops voted to adopt a set of
heretical practices and doctrines, despite the Pope’s outspoken warnings. Here
is a summary of the most damaging votes (quotes are from an article in The
“The final plenary meeting of Germany’s “synodal way” ended Saturday
after the approval of resolutions supporting women deacons, a re-examination of
priestly celibacy, lay preaching at Masses, same-sex blessings, and “gender
The German bishops embraced heresy in three particular votes:
— With 42 in favor, 10 against and 6 abstentions, to “advocate in Rome for
the admission of women to the sacramental diaconate for all those particular
Churches which desire this on the basis of their pastoral situation.”
— With 38 in favor, 9 against, and 11 abstentions, to “officially allow
blessing ceremonies…for couples who love each other but to whom sacramental
marriage is not accessible or who do not see themselves at a point of entering
into a sacramental marriage… “This also applies to same-sex couples on the
basis of a re-evaluation of homosexuality as a norm variant of human sexuality,”
as well as “remarried divorcees…couples after civil marriage…”
— With 38 in favor, 7 against, and 13 abstentions, to endorse changes in

the Church to support “gender ideology,” and that “all ordained ministries and
pastoral vocations in the Church should be open to the intersex and transgender
baptized and confirmed who sense a calling for themselves.”
Response from the Vatican and Bishops outside of Germany has been
slow in coming. But Bishop Strickland, of Tyler, Texas, stated: “The president of
every Bishop’s Conference around the world should denounce the schismatic
vote of the 38 German bishops.” God bless him.
Is this heresy? Clearly. Is the Church in Germany, at least those Bishops who
voted “in favor,” in schism? I don’t know what else you would call it. Maybe
there’s a legal subtlety here, but at best we can call it “de facto” schism.
In any case, this is a terrible and catastrophic event and wound to the life
and unity of the Church. God forgive them.
Our Response. We should continue to pray for unity of all professed
Catholics with the constant and universal teachings of the Church. In particular,
our Daily Family Rosary will henceforth include this as its primary
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles