April 6, 2024 Column Father De Celles

Blessed and Happy Easter! I hope you all had a joyful Easter, and that you joy has continued throughout this Easter Week.

                  I give thanks to the Blessed Trinity for the outpouring of grace and beauty during the Triduum, and I want to thank all the folks who helped make the liturgies of those days so reverent and solemn.

                  Most especially I have to thank the Altar Servers, who served the three great liturgies of the Triduum. We always have a special rehearsal earlier in the day for each of these ceremonies, so that means double duty for the boys. I can’t tell you how many people complimented me on their reverence and discipline. Many were also inspired to see the large numbers of boys and young men who served on Holy Thursday (32), Good Friday (34) and the Vigil (22). I was very proud of them all. Thanks also to Chet Bliss who served as Master of Ceremonies.

And the Choir! I can’t remember them ever sounding so magnificent. You should all know that they work extra hard during Lent, with all sorts of extra hours of practice during the week. And while singing beautifully, they also pull it off without dominating; their music truly serves and compliments the liturgy.

In this regard I have to particular give recognition and thanks to our Music Director, Elisabeth Turco. Not only is Elisabeth skilled in music and directing, her joyful kindness, even in discipline, is inspiring to anyone who watches her work. Her choir loves her, as does everyone who knows her, including her Pastor.

For those who don’t know much about her background, she has been our Music Director since 2007, and before that served in the same position at St. John’s in McLean for 20 years. Before that… She immigrated from her native Hungary, where she grew up in the region of Transylvania (yes, that Transylvania). She attended a classical music conservatory from age 6 through high school, and then received her Bachelor degree from Gheorghe Dima National Music Academy in Romania. She is THE BEST MUSIC DIRECTOR in our Diocese, and recently served as a member of the Bishop’s Diocesan Liturgical Commission. She is the mother of one adult son, whom she is very proud of, and she lives in McLean with her “wonderful” husband. Let’s pray that she stays for many years to come.

Thanks also to Julie Mullen and her flower committee; to Nena Brennan, our head sacristan, along with her family; to all the lectors, headed by Phil Bettwy and Patty Pacheco; to all the groups who ran the Soup Suppers; and to the ushers, headed by the omnipresent Patrick O’Brien. Special thanks also to the parish staff for all they did, especially Virginia Osella and Mike Thompson. And thanks to Fr. Bergida and Fr. Horkan for all their hard work, and to Fr. Rippy for all his help.

Finally, congratulations to our RCIA folks. We baptized and confirmed 2, and welcomed into full communion and confirmed 3 former Protestants. A warm and joyful welcome to them all.  Please keep them in our prayers, and seek them out to help them to become part of our parish. Also, thanks to Bob and Bev Ward for their dedication to their formation.

Divine Mercy Sunday. This Second Sunday in the Octave of Easter is also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday,” in recognition of the mercy that flows to all mankind from the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. Pope St. John Paul II established this designation in 2000, inspired by the writings of St. Faustina Kowalska. The Church gives a plenary indulgence for this Sunday: “…granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter….in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”).” You may go to confession “within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act.” For a brief explanation of indulgences, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1471ff.]

Easter Day or Transgender Day? Did you see that the President of the United States declared Easter Sunday to be “Transgender Day of Visibility”? I join the multitude of other voices calling this a blaspheme and a blatant vicious attack on Christianity, paring the central Mystery of our Faith, the Resurrection of Christ, with celebration of the perverse/insane degradation of sexuality which is “transgenderism.”

But once again the anti-Christian/anti-Catholic mainstream press defended him. The Associated Press, in its so called “fact checking,” once again erroneously called President Biden, “a devout Roman Catholic,” a title he gives himself. Fact Check: only folks who don’t understand or don’t like Catholicism would call our brother Joseph “devout.” In fact, his own Archbishop, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, on Face the Nation on Easter Sunday, said brother Joseph: “picks and chooses dimensions of the faith to highlight while ignoring or even contradicting other parts…a ‘cafeteria Catholic,’…” That’s quite an indictment from a man of Cardinal Gregory’s very liberal political and theological perspective.

It is true, as the Biden-apologists chant, “Transgender Day of Visibility has been celebrated on March 31 since 2009…. Every year since becoming president, Biden has issued a proclamation around the observance on that date.” However: there should be no such “day” in the first place. Moreover, the President is free to choose a different date, so that he could have moved it to April 1 (which would be entirely appropriate, no?). March 31 was arbitrarily set by a small interest group only 14 years ago, and almost no one knows about it; the date has no historic significance. Easter, however, was set as a date fixed in relation to the Spring Equinox, recalling the day Jesus Christ Himself chose to rise from the Dead 2000 years ago, and has been kept by Western Christianity, including Americans, ever since.

And think of this: the Resurrection of Christ is a testament to the dignity and integrity of the human body, as created for glorification in the Resurrection of the Dead. Diseases and other physical ailments can certainly be corrected if necessary for physical health, but the biologically unnecessary manipulation of a healthy body is always an attack on the person and immoral. Specifically, the drugs and surgeries involved in transgender “therapy” is nothing but mutilation, violence and desecration of the human body. Moreover, the Resurrection testifies to the fact that the body and soul are separate but one, making up the person, with the body being the outward manifestation of the person. Gender theory rejects this, and reduces the body to a mere machine, an outward shell, which has nothing to do with the person, and so can be manipulated and desecrated at will.

The devil is really enjoying this one: the day Celebrating his defeat, is a day now celebrating his work. God have mercy on our country. And change the heart of the president. Or give us a new one.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles