January 20, 2013

January 20, 2013 Column Father De Celles

March for Life. This coming Friday, January 25, hundreds of thousands of Americans will gather on the Washington Mall to march to the Supreme Court in peaceful protest on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the terrible decision establishing the right to abortion in our country. I hope you will be there with me and 3 bus loads of your fellow parishioners to peacefully show your rejection of our nation’s continuing indifference to the senseless killing of over a million unborn babies a year.

If you’ve never been to the March you really ought to think of joining us this year. It is an incredible experience. Some people hear “March on the Mall” and they think of some sort of angry, even violent, demonstration. But it’s nothing like that. It’s actually an amazingly uplifting and prayerful experience as you walk in common cause with thousands of good people, mainly solid Christians (mostly Catholics, or so it seems). One thing you’d be struck by is the number of young people: little kids in strollers or holding their Daddy’s hand, and teenagers and college students smiling and laughing together, in between rounds of praying the rosary or chanting some youthful cheer for life. And they’re from all over the country—thousands travel hundreds, even thousands, of miles to be there. What a great thing—what a great sign of hope—to see the youth fired up about something as positive as life. But, again, not with anger, but with love.

Then there are older and middle aged people, men and women, and tons of priests and religious sisters. People from all ages, all walks of life, all there to stand in unity to defend life.

Sure, there some fools who show up and are loud and offensive. But those are very few and far between, and they come and go. Yes, there’s an occasional offensive sign, but there are thousands of other signs calling us to prayer and to witness for the love of Christ, and love for babies.

I have to admit something to you. Since the devastating elections in November, re-electing the most pro-abortion, anti-Catholic and pro-decadence president in our nation’s history, I’ve been trying to figure out where we go from here. What do we do to protect our nation and our Church from the evil that lies in store? I’m still thinking about it, but I know that one thing we have to do is pick ourselves up and, by the grace of God, stand strong when opportunities to be heard present themselves. And the March for Life is one of those opportunities. The forces of the Culture of Death have won a victory, but it will be fleeting. The Culture of Life is the Culture of Christ, and Christ cannot be defeated. Sure, sometimes we have our setbacks, but we rise again to fight and win another day. And that’s what I invite you to do in joining us on the Mall this Friday.

I know that many folks won’t be able to join us, for lots of good reasons. But if you can’t come down to the Mall, make sure you do something. Stop for a while at work and pray the Rosary. Come by the church (or a church near your work) and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Start a thoughtful and charitable conversation about the truth about abortion with your co-workers or friends. Do something to peacefully and prayerfully support the Culture of Life.

But if you can join us for the March, we have three buses leaving from the parish after a special 10:30am Mass. Space is limited, but still available, so sign up at the table in the narthex of the church. Come with us, and March for life!

No Priests, No Confessions. This weekend I’m away from the parish, off to South Bend, IN, to celebrate the wedding Mass of one of my nephews. Unfortunately, Fr. Daly is also away this weekend, but Fr. Daniel Hanley (an Arlington priest in graduate studies) and Fr. Philip Cozzi (chaplain at O’Connell High School) have volunteered to lend a hand. Even so, it still leaves a very hectic weekend for Fr. Kenna, so I decided to cancel confessions today, Sunday the 20th. Since the loss of 2 resident priests over the summer we’ve been able to keep most of the regular schedule intact. This Sunday is a rare exception, so I’m sure you’ll be patient and supportive.

But let this remind us all of the need to pray for and encourage vocations to the priesthood—especially for the Diocese of Arlington. Over Christmas we were blessed with the assistance of the two seminarians from our parish, Deacon Nick Barnes and Mr. Jacob McCrumb. It’s heartening to see them coming forward to serve, but there is still a tremendous need for so many more priests. And those priests are going to have to come from within our own ranks—from our boys and young men. So pray for and encourage vocations to the priesthood from our parish, and from your own families.

The Flu and the Sign of Peace. The flu epidemic is real, and it’s in our parish. Let’s keep each other in prayer so that those who are suffering will be comforted and healed quickly, and that those who are well will not be struck. Let’s especially pray for those who tend to be hardest hit by the effects of the flu, our oldest and youngest brothers and sisters. And thank you all for being so cooperative and understanding of my decision to forego the invitation to exchange a sign of peace at Mass in response to concerns over passing germs along.

My Letter on Fundraising/Collections. By now all of our parishioners should have received my letter presenting my request to prayerfully consider your current level of giving to the parish. Again, I don’t want to pressure you, and I respect your free and conscientious decisions in all this. But I do thank you for taking time to think about my request and respond as best you can.

Oremus pro invicem, et pro patria. Fr. De Celles