Twelfth Sunday In Ordinary Time

June 21, 2016 Column Father De Celles

Priest Transfers. Last Saturday Bishop Loverde published his annual list of priest re-assignments. Sadly, our own Fr. Joseph Kenna was on that list: effective Wednesday, June 29, he will be transferred to St. Elizabeth’s in Colonial Beach. Fr. Kenna has been with us for almost 4 years and has done a great job ministering to the people of our parish, and helping me in so many ways as well. He is a good priest and friend to us, and I’m sure we will all miss him. To send Fr. Kenna off with our best wishes and prayers, I invite you all to attend a going away reception for him (in the Parish Hall) at 1:30pm on Sunday, June 26.

To fill the void left by Fr. Kenna the Bishop is sending us Fr. Charles Smith, who is currently serving as Parochial Vicar at St. Ambrose in Annandale. Fr. Smith was born in Florida in 1964, but grew up here in Springfield, attending Holy Spirit and St. Michael Grade Schools and Bishop O’Connell High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in International Studies from George Mason University in Fairfax in 1987, and worked in insurance sales and government contracting for several years. After finishing his formation at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, Fr. Smith was ordained a priest in 2006. He is a good priest, and I look forward to working with him.


Father’s Day. Today we remember and honor our fathers, both living and deceased. It is a bittersweet day for us in many ways. Many of us remember our own fathers who left us for death, and whom we miss so much. But the bittersweetness of this day runs much deeper, as we witness wide-spread diminishment and degradation of the institution of fatherhood and fathers. I could go on and on about this, but all I need to do is point to the movement to annihilate our sense of the critical differences between male and female made so manifest in both the same-sex marriage and the “transgender” juggernauts. How can we understand fatherhood, when we don’t even understand if we’re male or female? Having already seen the clear effects of the decline in fatherhood statistically represented in high divorce rates, low marriage rates and higher and higher fatherless households, with these latest attacks on fatherhood, I’m afraid our society is on a path to ultimate self-destruction. Unless fathers—with their wives and children—step up to stop it.

Today, let us honor our fathers by showing them our appreciation, and especially by praying for them. And let us rededicate ourselves to defending the dignity of fatherhood and fathers.


Orlando. Our prayers rise up for the souls of those killed at the massacre in Orlando last Sunday, as well as for the healing of the wounded, and the consolation of their families.

In following the accounts and commentary in the media, I can’t help but notice how people are talking about the “hate” that motivated this attack. To some extent this is correct: what motivated this attack is a hatred generated by the “Islamist” (or “Radical Islamism“) sect of Islam, that embraces a radical return to the ancient and clear teachings of their holy books, which, in part, call for the execution of homosexuals.

Sadly, most seem to be unwilling to acknowledge the Islamist connection, many suggesting this attack originates in a generic “hatred” in Western society for “gay” people. This, of course, coincides with the proposition that any opposition to the “LBGT” movement is rooted in this generic hatred.

What I am afraid will happen, is that activists on the “immoral left” will try to use the Orlando massacre to demonize anyone who opposes their movement. So that this crazed Islamist terrorist will be portrayed as having the same motivation as the baker who has moral qualms about making a cake for a so-called “gay marriage,” or the priest who preaches Catholic teaching on marriage, or a father who warns his children about the sin of lust.

But if there is any hatred in Christianity, it is not a hatred of the person, but of sin. So that Christ and His Catholic Church strive for the salvation of sinners, not their execution. Jesus commands us to “love your enemies,” a command that presents two facts: 1) “enemy” means not someone we hate but someone who hates or opposes us, and 2) “love” means “willing and striving for the good of the other person.” So to Christians, loving someone caught up in same-sex-attraction means helping them avoid sin and live chaste lives. And it means firmly opposing the corruption of this sin from spreading through our culture.

This Christian ethic of “love” has formed American culture and government from its birth, so that we expect to live together in peace with people we strongly disagree with, and even oppose. But disagreement and opposition are not the same as “hatred”— like the hatred that spews from “Radical Islamism.”

And yet, many people, including our president, say that simply acknowledging this hate-filled “Radical Islamism” would be a “recruiting tool” for ISIS, while on the other hand they fail to recognize that it is the rise of radical immorality in the West, epitomized by the LGBT movement, that is the primary reason Muslims around the world view America as decadent, and so sympathize with “Radical Islamists.”

Christians should oppose the decline of morality in the West, and the LGBT movement which embodies it. And in this we must hate the sin but love the person affected by sin, and try to save them.

This is why we should especially pray for the souls of those who perished in Orlando. Objectively speaking, they seem to have died pursuing very immoral activities—it was a “gay” nightclub. We do not condemn them, but we do not ignore the circumstances of their death. And out of love we pray for God’s mercy on them, and continue to work for the conversion of our nation to true love rooted in Christ.


Fortnight for Freedom Begins This Tuesday. As the immoral left seeks to silence its opposition by branding us as “haters,” their primary targets are faithful Christians and the Church. In this effort they have been increasingly successful at co-opting government institutions, including the presidency, the courts, and local schools, to deny Christians our God given and constitutionally guaranteed rights to religious liberty. In response to these various abuses this week we join Bishop Loverde and the other U.S. Bishops in the “Fortnight for Freedom” to pray for the protection of Religious Liberty. The Fortnight will run from this Tuesday, June 21 (the vigil of the Feast of St. Thomas More) to July 4 (Independence Day). Please see the flyer inserted in this week’s bulletin (and our parish website) for full details of the parish activities of this fortnight. I strongly encourage all of you to take an active part in this: our faith and freedom are at stake.


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles