Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

June 14, 2014 Column Father De Celles

Trinity Sunday. Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, celebrating the most sublime mystery of our faith: that God is One, in three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a “mystery” in that it is something that we know only because God has revealed it to us, and it is something we cannot fully understand because its divine nature is so far above our human intelligence and experience. This does not mean it is irrational or imagined—no more than Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is irrational or imagined simply because it isn’t fully understood by 99.999…% of human beings. I don’t’ understand how the world was created—it’s a mystery. But it happened.

I say it’s “sublime” because it reveals something amazingly wonderful about God: that He is a personal communion of three persons sharing one life and one love. Hence, St. John would say, “God is love,” and Pope Benedict XVI would say, “for God, life is love.” So that at the heart of God’s essence…His being…who He most truly is, is this eternal, total, complete, mutual self-gift between the three Divine Persons in love, that is at the center of Their absolute unity.

And I say “most” sublime because it is really the beginning of all meaning in life and the end to which all life is directed: living in the love of God. We are created in the image of this amazing Trinitarian love in order to share in it, both on earth (by loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving each other, beginning in the family) and in heaven. What a glorious Feast.


Happy Father’s Day! Today is also, of course, Father’s Day. It’s great when this secular feast falls on the Christian Feast of Trinity Sunday, because the two help us to understand important things about each other. We remember the familial relationship within God and that at the head of this Divine Family is God the Father—from whom the Son is eternally begotten, and from whom, with the Son, the Holy Spirit proceeds. So, the mystery reveals the essential importance and role of fathers in the family, as well as the essential importance of the family itself. But in doing so it places the dignity of fatherhood in relation to the equal dignity of each member of the family, e.g., God the Son (Jesus) is equal but obedient to the Father.

Some say that this interpretation of the Trinity is paternalistic and misogynistic. But that is to misunderstand the Fatherhood of God through the confines of the human sexes—male and female. God is neither, so God’s Fatherhood is revealed in the life of mothers as well, although differently than in fathers. Even so, there are many reasons that God constantly identifies himself is as “Father.” Today, in this time of social upheaval and attacks on the family and the degradation of fatherhood and husbandhood it helps us to remember the absolute importance of fathers in the family according to God’s plan.


March for Marriage – this Thursday, June 19th.  All this reminds us of the need for a clearer understanding of the meaning and purpose of family  and marriage, as well as the importance of sharing this with others and defending it against those who would try to undermine it. In St. Raymond’s continuing efforts in these regards I urge you to join us this Thursday at the “March for Marriage” at the Capitol and Supreme Court. St. Raymond’s Parish will have a bus leaving from the church at 9:30 a.m. and returning after the event (around 4:30 p.m.). Signup sheets are in the vestibule, or you may sign up by emailing


Fortnight for Freedom begins next Saturday. It has also become apparent that the attack on family and marriage has gone hand and hand with the attack on religious freedom, especially the religious freedom of faithful Christians, and most specifically faithful Catholics.  So related to our defense of family and marriage beginning next Saturday evening, June 21st, we will join Catholics around the diocese and nation in our third annual Fortnight for Freedom, from June 21st through the morning of July 4th—14 days of prayer, fasting and public witness to protect life, marriage, and religious freedom. See this week’s bulletin for the detailed schedule of events and practices.

Corpus Christi Procession—next Sunday. Next Sunday, June 22, immediately after the 12:15 Mass, we will have our annual Corpus Christi Procession. Carrying the Blessed Sacrament from the church, we will continue (with singing) around the parish grounds, pause for prayer and benediction on the patio behind the church, and then process back through the grounds into the church for final benediction. This is an ancient practice dating back at least to the early 12th century, as a form of public witness to faith in Jesus Christ in general, and in  His Real Presence in the Eucharist in particular. Such processions also remind us that having received Christ in Communion at Mass we are sent out with Him in us, to bring Him to the world we live in—the streets, the homes, the schools and the workplace. Please join us in this ancient and eloquent witness to our faith in and love of our Eucharistic Lord.


Fr. Barnes. I’m happy to report that our own Fr. Nicholas Barnes has returned to the diocese after finishing his graduate studies in Rome, earning his Sacred Theology Licentiate. Father has been assigned as parochial vicar of St. Mary’s in Old Town Alexandria (my “job” before I came here 4 years ago). Congratulations, welcome home and God bless you, Father, in your new assignment!


Fussy Children. As the summer heat increases, it seems so does the noise level in the church. Babies and toddlers are like that. I encourage all to be patient with our little ones, and kind to their parents. Like many of you, I sometimes find myself saying, “when I was a kid …” But I was a kid 50 years ago, and times have changed. As discussed above, the pressures and challenges on parents are more complicated than just 20 years ago. So, charity and patience at all times, please.

That being said, I also encourage parents to please remember that when a child gets a little too loud or out of hand you have the option to make use of our very nice “cry room” or the wide open narthex. Many parents find these options a great way to reduce their own stress. Dads and Moms, I know it’s hard, you’re trying your best—God bless you! I’m not scolding, just pointing out these options.

It’s tough to be a parent today, and it’s tough to be a Mass-going-Catholic. So let’s all be patient with each other. And let that patience be rooted in true charity—the love of Christ.


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles