25 th ANNIVERSARY. Most people don’t realize it, and that is largely my fault, but
this last July 5, ( a month ago) was the 25 th Anniversary of the founding of our
parish in 1997. It took a while to get things up and running, but look at us today!
I had intended to celebrate this, but frankly, the end of May and beginning
of June were a bit of a blur for me, between the end of school, (me) catching
Covid, and all sorts of other things. I apologize.
But let’s take this as an opportunity to celebrate not just past
achievements, but to begin the next 25 years with a bang, rededicating ourselves
to growing in faith, hope and love for Jesus and His Church. And so….
Parish Picnic. Let’s begin our celebration with our annual Parish Picnic
next Sunday (August 28) from 2-5pm here on the Parish grounds, behind the
church. There’s lots of food, fun and music for kids and adults alike—a great way
to meet and get to know your fellow parishioners. For new parishioners (and
visitors) this is a great opportunity to meet people and learn more about the
parish; for the rest of us, this is one of the best chances we will have all year to
welcome others into the life and fellowship of our parish—don’t pass it up!
It will also serve as a retirement party for Kirsti Tyson, our long-time
parish Business Manager. Most of you don’t know this, but she played an
essential role in getting the parish up and running, and in getting our church built.
So come out and wish her a happy retirement and thank her for her 22 years of
service to St. Raymond’s. (She officially retires on September 9).
Archbishop Cordileone is Coming! We’re working on getting some very
special guest speakers in the coming months, and I am delighted to announce
that we will begin on Monday, September 12, with Archbishop Salvatore
Cordileone, the courageous Archbishop of San Francisco and Chairman of the
U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. This is a
return visit for His Excellency, who spoke here to a packed church (and 2
standing ovations!) in November 2015. He hasn’t decided on his topic yet, but I’m
looking forward to a very interesting talk. You may recall that His Excellency has
been under constant public attack for his strong and outspoken defense of
Church teachings, especially regarding homosexuality, “same-sex marriage,”
abortion and Eucharistic integrity.
It is really a great honor to have this good shepherd and heroic defender of
the Faith come to speak to our parish, and I encourage all of you to save the date
to attend and to invite your friends to join you. Mark your calendars now.
Bishop Burbidge. On December 4 our own good shepherd, Bishop
Michael Burbidge, will join us for a special 11am Mass celebrating our
Anniversary. Please mark your calendars for this as well.
New Prayer Initiatives. I’ve been trying to think of some simple ways to
help parishioners to grow spiritually, especially in prayer, and without the
necessary participation of a priest (we’re a little shorthanded ). So here are two
new opportunities which we will launch in the next few weeks. (Look for more
details to come).
— Nocturnal Adoration. You may have already seen my email asking
about interest in weekly extended or “nocturnal adoration” of the Blessed
Sacrament. That is, extending the current Wednesday OR Friday Exposition
times into the evening, through the night and closing the following morning. This
will allow us to grow in our love for the Eucharist by
1) extending the opportunity for adoration (especially to those who are busy
during the daytime hours), and 2) offering the sacrifice often involved in late
night/early morning adoration. Right now I’m still trying to decide which night to
have it, so if you haven’t responded to my email (it contains a link to a survey),
please help me out.
— Daily Evening Family Rosaries. You may have seen the attacks
beginning on the Rosary by the Left (not enough room today, but see the terrible
article in “The Atlantic”). These have confirmed me in my thinking to have
parishioners pray the Rosary in the church every evening at 6pm. These
rosaries will be led by one family, and joined by anyone else who cares to join
them. So, a different family every evening of the month, will commit/sign up,
and there may be only them or 100 others praying on any given evening. (A
family may be even just two people, e.g. husband and wife, etc.). Please,
prayerfully consider participating, especially by signing up to “lead.”
Back to School. Most of our college and grade/high school children are heading
back to school this week. I hope you have all had a wonderful summer, and are
rested, refreshed and ready to take on the new challenges of the coming
academic year. Have a blessed year.
For those of you returning to the Fairfax County Public Schools, be
on guard against the anti-Christian bigotry growing in the schools. Watch for
curriculum that tries to degrade any race—including “whites.” Catholics don’t hate
or degrade others or themselves. We don’t dwell on the offenses of the past, but
believe in conversion, forgiveness and the dignity of every human being. Beware
also of those who try to degrade your or other’s bodies, either by encouraging
sexual promiscuity or sexual/identity confusion.
Parents, you know that you cannot simply let the government/public
schools take charge of the education of your children. YOU are the primary
educators of your children, so monitor and discuss with your children what
they are being taught in school. Of course, remember to opt your children out of
anything that attempts to teach them secular morals, especially sexual and family
morals, i.e. especially relevant sections of “Family Life Education.” But also
remember to be on guard against the Marxist-secularist-atheist ideologies that
will be permeating almost every class, from social sciences to math. There are
many good and dedicated teachers and administrators in public schools (many of
our parishioners), so seek them out and support them.
And those of you with children in Catholic schools, that’s a great option,
but no school or teacher is perfect. So, trust, but verify. And continue to teach
them the Faith at home.
CCD/Religious Education. And remember to register today (online or in
person) for Religious Education classes here at St. Raymond’s, which begin the
week of September 11.
Finally. As I wrote you a couple of months ago, I needed to take some extra time
off this summer to recharge after the last couple of difficult years. And in spite of
various sad setbacks, I was able to do this, and had a very good summer. Of
course, Alaska and Dobbs helped a lot in that, and so did the 89 I hit on the golf
course last week—tying my best score! Thanks for your patience and support. I
look forward to the exciting year ahead of us.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles