Time to Catch-Up, and More. As usual, Lent and Easter were a very busy time for me.
And with the extra attention paid to the special activities of Lent and the Triduum, I
found myself postponing or overlooking some of the ordinary “business” of the parish,
especially since, even with Fr. Horkan’s help, I’m still short one Vicar. Because of this, I
will be playing catch up, going back and discovering all the things I didn’t do during
At the same time, I know that I need to take some extra time off this summer. Last
week I took off for my Spring golf vacation with some priest-friends, and in June I’ll be
off to Alaska for a week or so. In between, this coming week, all the priests of the
diocese will come together for our annual convocation: half the priests will go the first
2½ days this week, and half the second. And then later in the summer I’ll also take
another week or so off.
So I ask you for your patience with me. If I owe you a phone call or email, please
remind me: I consider that an act of kindness. And thanks for your continuing patient
Pray for a New Vicar. Next month Bishop Burbidge will be ordaining 8 new priests for
the Diocese of Arlington. Praised be Jesus Christ, this is the most we’ve ordained in
years, since the heyday of the 90’s when, under the leadership of Fr. James Gould and
Bishop John Keating, we averaged almost 8 new priestly ordination a year for a decade
(when the diocese was half as large as it is today).
Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but with 8 new priests, it seems to me St. Raymond’s
should be on the list for a new Parochial Vicar this year. After all, we are the largest
parish in the Diocese without a PV. (Just so you know, if we got a new PV, he wouldn’t
be one of these newly ordained priests—they normally go to larger parishes with
But who knows? We may not get a PV. There are lots of larger parishes with great
need for priests, and the Diocese did lose 4 priests last year from active ministry.
So, with the Bishop working on making his decisions about new assignments
right now, …. PRAY NOW that he gives us Vicar!!!
Month of May. There are a lot of other special activities in May in the parish. One very
important “event” in May is always First Holy Communion for the 2 nd graders. But this
year, like last, I’ve decided to allow the children to receive FHC at any Mass in May their
parents choose. I do this for many reasons, but the main one is to spread the FHC’s
around to various Masses so that all of you can share in this gift—and so not only pray
for the children, but be reminded of your own First Communion, and prehaps be renewed
in that childlike faith and love for the Blessed Sacrament.
Please keep these little ones in your prayers, as this is a huge day in their lives.
Pray that they may prepare worthily and understand what they are doing and Who they
are receiving. Pray that it will be a truly happy, holy and memorable day for them, and
that it will lead them and their families to a long life of intimacy and fidelity with Jesus.
Later in May, on Tuesday the 24 th , our 8 th graders will receive the Sacrament of
Confirmation. I ask you to keep them in your prayers also, as they prepare to be
strengthened (“confirmed”) in their baptismal graces and receive the fullness of the gifts
of the Holy Spirit. Surely they will need these graces as they enter a world that is more
and more hostile to Christians. So, pray for them, and encourage them, that they may
receive this sacrament worthily and efficaciously.
Mary’s Month. Now, of course, the entire month of May is “Mary’s Month,”
dedicated to honoring and renewing our filial devotion to and love for the Mother of
Jesus. Some are confused by the way Catholics honor the Blessed Mother. The simplest,
clearest response to this is: shouldn’t we all try to love Jesus’s Mother as much as Jesus
loves her? After all, on the Cross He gave her to us to be our Mother also: “son, behold
So we will mark this month of Marian piety next Sunday, May 8, with the “May
Crowning” after the 9am Mass. This year I’ve asked our teenagers in the Youth
Apostolate to help us with the ceremony paying homage to the Blessed Mother. As the
Congregation for Divine Worship wrote of this pious custom in 1987:
“The queen symbol was attributed to Mary because she was a perfect follower of
Christ, who is the absolute ‘crown’ of creation. She is the Mother of the Son of God, who
is the messianic King. Mary is the Mother of Christ, the Word Incarnate … ‘He will be
great and will be called Son of the Most High; the Lord will give Him the throne of His
father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom
there will be no end.’ Elizabeth greeted the Blessed Virgin, pregnant with Jesus, as ‘the
mother of my Lord.’ Mary is the perfect follower of Christ. The maid of Nazareth
consented to God’s plan; she journeyed on the pilgrimage of faith; she listened to God’s
Word and kept it in her heart; she remained steadfastly in close union with her Son, all
the way to the foot of the Cross; she persevered in prayer with the Church. Thus, in an
eminent way, she won the ‘crown of righteousness,’ ‘the crown of life,’ ‘the crown of glory’
that is promised to those who follow Christ.”
I also encourage all of you to keep this Marian month by praying the
Rosary—even every day in May. I especially encourage all families to pray the Rosary
together at least once a week. As St. John Paul II once wrote: “The family that recites the
Rosary together reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth:
its members place Jesus at the centre, they share his joys and sorrows, they place their
needs and their plans in his hands, they draw from him the hope and the strength to go
on” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 41).
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles