November 7, 2022 News

New Business Manager. I’m delighted to announce that Maerose Naduvilekunnel will be joining our
office staff as our new Business Manager. Maerose has years of experience in bookkeeping and
office work, including 12 years as Fiscal Manager/Bookkeeper at St. Agnes in Arlington. She is a
parishioner of Our Lady of Angels, but has attended Mass at St. Raymond’s many times over the
last few years. Like many of our parishioners, she’s been in the U.S. for decades, but grew up in the
Philippines, where she went to college and graduate school. She holds an MA in Education from St.
Paul University, Tuguegarao City. I think Maerose will be an excellent fit with our office staff and be a
great addition to our parish. I hope you will welcome her and keep her in your prayers going forward.
I also want to thank all the other excellent candidates who showed interest in this position.
God was very generous in giving me a large and interesting group to interview and prayerfully
consider. God bless you.
Altar Rail Catechesis. This last week, the Bishop issued a new policy for parishes interested in
installing altar rails in their churches (there are apparently many pastors asking to do so). Although
the policy doesn’t apply to us—since we have ours already—it reminds me that I should offer a brief
catechesis on the altar rail.
As the new policy reminds us, the General Instruction for the Roman Missal (the norms
governing the Mass) tells us:
“The norm established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy
Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive
Communion while kneeling.”
Some mistakenly interpret this to mean that the norm is to stand, and not to kneel. But that is
an erroneous reading of the text, which clear provides, “The norm…is to …[receive] standing, unless
an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling.” In other words,
the norm includes kneeling, if that is the wish of the individual.
While it is correct that you can’t force people to kneel (and we don’t do that here), a priest
can still encourage them to exercise their RIGHT to kneel if they “wish to.” Moreover, the norm
doesn’t mean a pastor can’t explain why he thinks it might be a good thing to “wish to.” As the
Congregation for Divine Worship stated in its 2002 ruling defending the individual’s right to kneel at
Communion, citing then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI): “the practice of
kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favor a centuries-old tradition, and it is a particularly
expressive sign of adoration, completely appropriate in light of the true, real and substantial
presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species.”
So, the norm is that you may either stand or kneel, according to your own inclinations. As
your pastor I defend your right to choose, Even so, I encourage you to kneel, as Cardinal Ratzinger
did. And as Cardinal Robert Sarah did, when he served as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine
Worship, writing in 2017: “I simply ask you to recall that at the end of his life of service, a man in a
body wracked with sickness, John Paul II could never sit in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
He forced his broken body to kneel. He needed the help of others to bend his knees, and again to
stand…right up until his very last days.”  
When I installed our altar rails a few years back, my reasons were pretty straightforward.
First it was to accommodate the popular desire that many people have to exercise their right to kneel
to receive Holy Communion. Now, it’s true that you don’t need a kneeler to kneel, but without a
kneeler it is much more difficult, clumsy, time-consuming and conspicuous than it should be, and
therefore discourages most people who would like to kneel. This is really unfair. But when there’s a
kneeler/rail it is much easier for people to kneel down and get up again.
(Note: some argue that distributing Communion at the rail makes people who want to stand
feel forced to kneel. That may be true, but so is the opposite: “Communion lines” (i.e., without a rail)
make people who want to kneel feel forced to stand. I speak from long personal firsthand
experience: kneeling in a Communion line often makes the communicant the object of ridicule and
derision, even by some priests.)
Moreover, with up to 6 people at a time, either standing or kneeling, at the long rail, there is
no need to rush to get out of the next person’s way: you may take a moment to pray.

Also, with everyone at the rail, if two people kneel and two people stand, no one stands out.
So by adding the Communion Rail, everyone can comfortably receive the way they want, kneeling or
And finally, there are great spiritual reasons for kneeling to receive Our Lord, so I do wish to
encourage you to consider it and not feel uncomfortable doing so. As St. Augustine, taught: “No one
eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it.”
NOVEMBER: PRAYING FOR THE DEAD. Last Wednesday we celebrated All Souls Day. But as we
go forward in November, we remember this whole month is set aside by the Church as a month to
pray for the dead who are in Purgatory being prepared for their entrance into Heaven. So I
encourage you to pray and offer Masses for our beloved dead this month, and for all the Holy Souls
in Purgatory, especially the “most abandoned,” the souls who no one else remembers to pray for.
“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May their
souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.”
Vote Like a Catholic. This Tuesday, November 8, Virginians go to the polls to elect our U.S.
Representatives. Sadly, many voters, including many Catholics, will vote for candidates who
embrace abortion, “same-sex marriage,” the transgender agenda, and the undermining of religious
liberty. Many others will not vote at all. But as the Church teaches, not only must Catholics vote, they
must vote like Catholics, placing priority on the most “fundamental values, such as respect for
human life, its defense from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between
a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good
in all its forms (230). These values are not negotiable” (Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum
Caritatis, 83).
Prayer and Adoration for the Election. I encourage all of you to pray for God’s will to prevail in the
election, and remind you we will have Adoration and Exposition in the church all day on Election Day
(this Tuesday), beginning immediately after the 8:30am Mass and ending at 7pm. I also ask you all
to pray the Rosary today, tomorrow and Tuesday.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles