SAVE THE DATE. As I announced last week, the Most Reverend Salvatore J.
Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, will be coming to speak at St. Raymond’s
on Monday, September 12. It is truly an honor for me to be able to host this great man
here, as he is one of the bishops I most respect for his courage, fidelity and
straightforward pastoral approach. He hasn’t picked his topic yet, but I guarantee you will
not be disappointed. I truly hope for a full house for his visit.
A little background: Archbishop Cordileone was ordained to the priesthood in San
Diego on July 9, 1982. He continued his studies at Gregorian University from 1985-89,
earning a doctorate in canon law. The Archbishop was appointed Judicial Vicar for the
Diocese of San Diego in 1990 and served as an assistant to the Supreme Tribunal of the
Apostolic Signatura from 1995-2002. On July 5, 2002, Pope John Paul II appointed him
the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, where he served until his appointment
as Bishop of Oakland on March 23, 2009. On July 27, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI
appointed him as the ninth Archbishop of San Francisco. He was installed on October 4,
Archbishop Cordileone serves as Chairman of the United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. He is
also a member of the Administrative Committee of the USCCB and a member of the
USCCB Committee for Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. The Archbishop
serves on a number of boards, including the Governing Board of the International
Theological Institute, in Trumau, Austria. In 2021, he was named prior of the U.S.
delegation of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George.
Parish Picnic Today!! Today (Sunday, August 28) is our annual Parish Picnic from 2-
5pm here on the Parish grounds, behind the church. There’s lots of food, fun and music
for kids and adults alike. 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 a deeper participation in the life and
fellowship of our parish—don’t pass it up!
This is also the kickoff to our 25 th Anniversary celebration. And it will also serve
as a retirement party for Kirsti Tyson, our 22-year Business Manager. Kirsti 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.
A History. As we begin our celebration of our 25th Anniversary, I thought a very brief
review of our history might be in order (especially for our newer members).
On July 5, 1997, Bishop John R. Keating established St. Raymond’s as the sixty-third
parish in the Diocese of Arlington. Bishop Keating was one of the foremost canon
lawyers in the Church, and since St. Raymond of Peñafort is the “Father of Canon Law”
I’m told he was delighted to give his patron saint to us as our patron.
Fr. Salvator Ciullo was our founding pastor. “Fr. Sal” designed a beautiful church, much
like his boyhood church in Newark, New Jersey. But a church would have to wait. A
house on Triple Ridge Road was the first rectory, office and daily Mass chapel.
Eventually daily Mass was moved to Christ Methodist Church, with Sunday Mass at
West Springfield High School. Later, Sunday Masses found a home at the Greater
Springfield Volunteer Fire Department Hall (i.e., “the Holy Fire Hall”), and daily Masses
were moved to Angelus Academy. Angelus was also home to the Religious Education
Program. Over the years parish activities and groups began to flourish: the Knights of
Columbus, Legion of Mary, Youth Group, Bible Study, choirs, and many more.
In June 2000, Father James Gould became pastor of St. Raymond’s. Fr. Gould had
served as Vocation Director for many years, supervising the formation and ordination of
over half the priests of the Diocese. He would bring those same skills to form and lead St.
Raymond’s forward into a period of amazing spiritual, numerical, financial and
architectural growth. On June 4, 2003, ground was broken at the corner of Pohick Road
and the Fairfax County Parkway to start the construction of an 850 seat church, including
a basement with a parish hall, library and eight classrooms, as well as a rectory to
accommodate the parish office and priests’ residence. On December 19, 2006, the new
church was opened, with Bishop Paul S. Loverde celebrating the Mass of dedication. In
May of 2018, the parish’s $10.5 million building loan was paid off by the steady efforts
of our generous parishioners.
On July 7, 2010, I was appointed pastor of Saint Raymond’s. If Fr. Gould’s main
emphasis was getting things started and building a proper place for worship, I guess I
would say my main emphasis has been to try to build on his excellent start, and develop a
truly Catholic culture in our parish. We’ve tried to do this through opportunities for
fellowship and education at all levels and all age groups. But most importantly we’ve
tried to do this through opportunities to pray, worship and participate in the sacraments,
especially through what I have called “emphatic” reverence in the celebration of the Holy
The Great and the Terrible. Archbishop Cordileone is an example of what a Bishop
should be. Now, from last week’s “The Pillar,” an example of what a bishop should not
“Archbishop Rembert Weakland, formerly of Milwaukee, died Monday. He was 95
years old. Weakland is widely regarded as one of the most ignominious Churchmen in
American Catholic history. The bishop was, in his day, the lion of the American Catholic
left — he called for the ordination of women, excoriated the Church’s teaching on
sexuality and contraception…He was regarded as a liturgical “innovator” par
“…He was publicly accused in 2002 of sexually assaulting a younger man in the
1980s, and of later paying him off with “hush money”…taken from the coffers of the
Archdiocese of Milwaukee – money which he paid back, years later …. While the man
said he’d been raped by Weakland, the archbishop said he was “in love,” and he
regarded the whole thing as “an affair.”
“In fact, Weakland admitted in 2009 to having several relationships with men
during his tenure as an archbishop…
“Beyond the personal allegation of sexual assault, Weakland …was aggressive in
his efforts to cover up sexual abuse allegation, is indisputable.
“As Archbishop of Milwaukee, he frequently oversaw the transfer of sexually
abusive priests between parishes, has been accused of castigating victims, and coercing
them into signing settlement agreements which prevented abusers from seeing justice,
and is known for suing abuse victims to recover archdiocesan court costs.”
Weakland retired at age 75 in 2002. He was never, to my knowledge, publicly
punished by the Church. Join me in praying that God may have mercy on his soul.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles