Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 28, 2014 Column Father De Celles

Mr. Edward J. Kenna, Rest in Peace. Two weeks ago I mentioned in this column that Fr. Kenna’s 92 year old Dad, Edward, had been ailing. On Thursday, July 17, Mr. Kenna passed away peacefully in his bed, surrounded by his family as they prayed the Rosary. His Requiem (funeral) Mass was held last Monday in Pittsburgh. Mr. Kenna was a devout Catholic man, and beloved husband (married 63 years to his wife Dorothy), father (of nine) and grandfather (of 19). He was also a veteran of World War II (U.S. Army). Please keep him

in your prayers, that he might pass onto his heavenly reward. Please also keep Fr. Kenna and his family in your prayers.


Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


AAA Women for Choice. Last Saturday several parishioners joined me at a dinner celebrating the 25th anniversary of AAA Women for Choice in Manassas. The name is surprising to some pro-Lifers, who usually associate “choice” with the pro-abortion crowd, but the women at AAA have tried to help women in “crisis” pregnancies to know they have many choices other than abortion, e.g., keeping their babies, adoption, etc.. Situated next to an abortion mill in Manassas, AAA, headed by Patricia Lohman, has saved the lives of over a thousand babies, and offered spiritual, emotional, financial and practical support to their mothers. They are an amazing group. Congratulations on 25 years! If you’re interested in helping out through volunteering, donations, etc., you can call them at (703) 330-9312.


  1. Every summer I have very brief little panic attacks on some Sundays as I see a sharp decline in Mass attendance. I recover very quickly as I remember that folks are on vacation. I hope all of you are enjoying your summer, and that you are able to get away on vacation. It’s very important to do that, especially for families to have time to spend together relaxing and having fun.

I was on vacation the week before last, going to my nephew’s wedding in South Bend, IN. I drove out to the wedding by myself, and decided to avoid the traffic and frenzy of the interstate highways, and instead took the back roads, the scenic view. Along the way I stopped to visit family in various cities, and to play golf 3 times (on my first day I hit my new “best score ever”!). It was great to see so many of nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, not to mention all four of my brothers and sisters, and their spouses. And it was a great little trip. But now, back to work.

One request: if you want to help your pastor have a less stressful summer, please don’t forget to keep up your weekly donations to the parish when you go on vacation. Just drop the envelope from the Sunday(s) you’re away in the following week’s collection. Better yet, sign up for Faith Direct (


Sung High Mass (EFM). Please remember to mark your calendar for August 15, for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation. As I announced 2 weeks ago, the 7pm Mass that evening will be offered as a Sung High Mass of the Extraordinary Form, with the talented musical ensemble “Suscipe Quæso Domine,” (a.k.a., “The Suspicious Cheese Lords”) serving as our guest choir. I invite all of you to experience this very beautiful form of Mass. For those of you who cannot attend, we will, of course, also have our Vigil Mass the evening before and Masses during the day.


More Religious Discrimination from Our President. Last Monday President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting “all companies that receive a contract from the federal government from discriminating against their LGBT employees.” [LGBT: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender]. The executive order purposefully excludes an exception for employers who object to these rules on religious grounds. Moreover, it was issued after a bill containing similar protections for “LGBT employees” was passed by the Senate but rejected by the House of Representatives last year. But even that bill, as passed by the Senate, included protection for the religious liberty of employers.


This new “law” will apply to almost everyone who does work for or with the federal government, including individual Catholic small business owners and groups like Catholic Charities.


Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo (chairmen of the U.S. Bishops’ Committees for Religious Liberty and Marriage) immediately issued a statement rightly noting: “In the name of forbidding discrimination, this order implements discrimination.”


The statement went on to say:  “With the stroke of a pen, it lends the economic power of the federal government to a deeply flawed understanding of human sexuality, to which faithful Catholics and many other people of faith will not assent… As a result, the order will exclude federal contractors precisely on the basis of their religious beliefs.”


Moreover, the Bishops’ statement correctly notes: “The executive order prohibits ‘gender identity’ discrimination, a prohibition that is …predicated on the false idea that “gender” is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be chosen at variance from one’s biological sex. …For example, a biological male employee may be allowed to use the women’s restroom or locker room provided by the employer because the male employee identifies as a female.”


When will this president’s attacks against religious believers end? The Constitution prohibits our government from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and yet the president ignores this fundamental liberty to invent new liberties for special classes based on sexual preference or “identity.” How do those strange and imagined liberties trump the specific and natural liberties guaranteed by the Constitution?


Just 2 weeks ago the Supreme Court overturned the President’s contraception mandate for employers with religious objections (“Hobby Lobby”) as being contrary to the provisions of Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Court will very soon hear a variety of cases involving the mandate and religious non-profit groups (i.e., Catholic Charities, Little Sisters of the Poor, etc.). When will our president admit he has no right to discriminate against religious people?


Some may object: but doesn’t the Church teach that it’s wrong to discriminate against “gays”? Actually, the Church teaches that only “unjust discrimination” against people with same-sex attraction is wrong. But not all discrimination is “unjust.” For example, it is never unjust to prohibit a grown man who thinks he’s a female from using a restroom reserved for women and little girls! (Not to conflate same-sex attraction with “gender identity” issues).


Lord Jesus, have mercy on us!


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles