January 20, 2024 Column Father De Celles News

Mary Salmon. After over 8 years of directing the Religious Education of our children, Mary Salmon will be retiring. I have mixed feelings about this. Mary has been my good friend for almost 25 years and she has very successfully implemented my ideas to restructure our CCD program, to emphasize study, academics and piety. I can’t thank her enough for this—and neither can the 100s of kids, and their parents, who have gone through the program. On the other hand, it has been tough job and has earned her retirement; she has worked extremely hard, spending countless hours making ours the very best program in the Diocese.

Mary, you’re the best! Thank you, and God bless you for your great service to Him, the parish, the children and their families, and to me. I’m sure the whole parish joins me in this, and in praying for a happy and blessed retirement.

New Director of Religious Education. So we need to find a new DRE, preferably someone from our parish. Under the direction of the Pastor, the Director of Religious Education is responsible for guiding, developing, implementing, supporting, and evaluating k-12 faith formation programs for the parish.

All applicants must be baptized and confirmed, as well as a devout practicing Catholic, able to participate in the full sacramental life of the Church.

Education/Experience. A Bachelor’s degree in Theology or Religious Education or equivalent experience is preferred, and a Master’s Degree in Theology, Master Catechist or Advanced Catechist Certification is a plus. At least three years’ catechetical or teaching experience, as well as prior experience managing people are preferred.

Responsibilities. The DRE develops and coordinates the sacramental preparation programs for Baptism, Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation; coordinates activities related to the High School Religious Education program with Youth Apostolate Director; organizes programs of formation for catechists for diocesan certification; implements and oversees program registration and related processes; and organizes/assigns classes.

Knowledge and Skills. The DRE should have hands-on understanding of catechesis and evangelization with the ability to articulate and teach the Catholic Faith. An ability to articulate ideas clearly, concisely, professionally, and respectfully both orally and in writing is also important.

Other qualities. Some evening and weekend work is required.

Professor Janet Smith. We had a great turnout for Dr. Smith’s presentation (over 200), and everyone enjoyed themselves and learned a lot. Thanks to Dr. Smith for visiting us. Please keep her in your prayers as she continues her important work for Holy Mother Church. And thanks to Liz Hildebrand, whose long-term efforts made this possible, and whose hard work made it very successful.

March for Life. This past Friday, January 19, many of our parishioners joined hundreds of thousands of other pro-life Americans gathering from all over the contrary to march in the 49th annual “March for Life” on the Mall in Washington. Since the Supreme Court decision in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, the abortion issue has largely returned to the states to decide. But this has provided a whole new set of challenges to the Pro-Life movement. As Jesus taught us, “‘I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Thank you for continuing to defend the culture of life.

Asian Fusion Dinner. Please join us on Saturday January 27, 2024, at 6:30pm in the Parish Hall for our first ever Asian Fusion Dinner. I’ve been wanting to do this for years and am delighted it’s finally happened. I hope the whole parish will come and enjoy good Catholic fellowship and a taste of the delicious foods of so many of our parishioners’ cultures. See the inserts, posters and websites for details about the menu. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.straymonds.org/asian-fusian-dinner. Thanks to the Knights of Columbus for coordinating this. Proceeds will support the Parish Our Lady of Ransom Scholarship Fund.

Solemnity of St. Raymond of Peñafort. Wasn’t it beautiful to celebrate our patronal feast together at last Sunday’s Masses? And thanks to the Knights of Columbus for organizing the breakfast afterwards.

Last week my whole column addressed the concerns people have about Fiducia Supplicans. Unfortunately, there was no space to talk about the Feast Day. So…

Brief Biography. For those of you who don’t know much about St. Raymond, I invite you to read the 32-page biography we published a few years ago, available in the parish office.

Raymond was born of a noble family, near Barcelona, in 1175. At the age of 20 he was ordained and became professor of canon law. In 1210 he left to complete his doctorates in civil and canon law at the University of Bologna.

On August 1, 1218, Raymond received a heavenly vision in which the Blessed Mother (“Our Lady of Ransom”) instructed him to help St. Peter Nolasco found the Order of Mercedarians, which would be devoted to the ransom of Christians taken captive by the Moors (Spanish Muslims). Raymond did not, however, join that order but rather entered the Order of Preachers (“Dominicans”) in Barcelona in 1222.

At the request of his Dominican superiors Raymond published the Summa Casuum, his masterpiece on cases of conscience for the guidance of confessors. This led to his appointment as confessor and theologian to Pope Gregory IX in 1230, who also directed Raymond to reorganize the various  canons (juridical laws) of the Church, which required him to synthesize centuries of Church decrees. Published in 1231, the Pope declared it to be the sole authoritative source for canon law.

In 1238 he was elected Master General of the Dominican Order, the second successor to St. Dominic, but he resigned two years later, claiming that at 63 years old he was too old for the job. He continued his writing, preaching and pastoral work, as well many important responsibilities entrusted to him by various popes, for another 37 years until his death in Barcelona on January 6, 1275, at the age of 100.

Six years before his death, King James of Aragon invited him to come to Majorca with him to preach to the Muslim inhabitants. But when he arrived on the island, he discovered that the King had brought his mistress along. Raymond demanded he send her away, and when the King refused, Raymond went searching for a ship to go back to Spain. When the King forbad any ship to let him board, Raymond simply bowed his head in prayer, made the sign of the cross, and, by the grace of God, sailed 160 miles back to Spain using just his great cape as both a skiff and a sail.

He is the patron saint of lawyers, both canon and civil. And our patron as well! St. Raymond of Peñafort, pray for us!

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles