Twenty Second Sunday In Ordinary Time
Papal Visit to Washington. As you’ve heard in the media, Pope Francis will be making his first papal visit to America at the end of next month, beginning his visit in Washington, DC, on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 22. He will then continue on to visit New York City, addressing the United Nations, and then attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
While in Washington his schedule will be as follows:
Wednesday, September 23
9:15 a.m. Meeting with President Obama at the White House
11:30 a.m. Midday Prayer with the U.S. Bishops, St. Matthew’s Cathedral
4:15 p.m. Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Thursday, September 24 (Washington, DC, New York City)
9:20 a.m. Address to Joint Meeting of the United States Congress
11:15 a.m. Visit to St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
Several people have asked about opportunities to see the Holy Father while he is in Washington. Although we may be able to get a glimpse of His Holiness as he motorcades quickly between events, the only public venue where crowds can see him is the Mass on Wednesday at the Basilica, where there will be extremely limited seating and standing room, and tickets will be required to attend. Last week I was informed that the Archdiocese of Washington has given a very limited number of these tickets to the Diocese of Arlington, which will soon be allocated to parishes on the basis of population. I await more information on this, but am sure the number of tickets St. Raymond’s will receive will be very small—perhaps less than 10 to 20. When I have more information, I will let you know, and explain how I will distribute those tickets.
Back to School. Most of our college students have returned to their campuses last week, and our grade/high school children are going back this week or next. I hope you have all had a wonderful summer, and are rested and refreshed and ready to take on the new challenges of the coming academic year, and have a blessed year.
For those of you returning to the Fairfax County Public Schools, I remind you that although official changes in curriculum may not be noticeable this semester, the recent developments regarding same-sex marriage and transgender issues will begin to have their effect on school cultures immediately. Parents, you know better than I do 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 remember to 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 not to be lulled into false security by a superficial consideration of class subject matter. And, although there are many good and dedicated teachers and administrators in public schools (many of our parishioners) don’t assume that all teachers and administrators share your education goals. For example, a couple of years ago an 8th grade English teacher in a local public school required her students write a paper on the “injustice” of denying same-sex marriage, and neither parents nor school administrators were informed. Remember, these are your children, not the government’s. You raise them and teach them to be the children and adults you want them to be.
And remember to register today (online or in person) for Religious Education classes here at St. Raymond’s, beginning the week of September 13. Make sure your children attend class and do their homework every week, and work with them at home to help them understand what they’ve learned in class. An hour a week in CCD isn’t enough, on its own, to teach your children the faith—in fact, you should really consider it only as a supplement to what you continue to teach them at home.
And those of you with children in Catholic schools, don’t forget your responsibilities either. Catholic schools are a great option when it comes to teaching morality and Christian values, but no school or teacher is perfect. No matter what school your children attend, don’t take things for granted. Trust, but verify. And continue to teach them the faith at home.
Finally, I encourage you to make Sunday Mass, monthly Confession and daily family prayers (the Rosary?) a priority in your homes. The grace you and your children receive in the sacraments and the relationship with Christ and the Saints that you develop in prayer will sustain you as you strive to make this a great year in the Lord.
Planned Parenthood. As more videos come out showing the moral bankruptcy of this despicable organization, why do so many politicians continue to support their work and government funding? Where is the outrage? How can you kill unborn babies and then sell their body parts—or whole bodies—for a profit, and then gloat and joke about it, or make excuses: “they do lots of other good work”? There are thousands of other women’s health clinics that do not do abortions that we can support—why does our government have to support these ghouls? If you haven’t seen the videos, you can do so at this website: http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/ . I warn you, though, they are sickening.
Friday Adoration Volunteers. The recent loss of several long-time active parishioners due to transfers and retirements has left us shorthanded in some key volunteer posts. In particular, we are short on folks to commit to be with Our Lord during Friday Exposition and Adoration (8:30am to 3pm). Lots of people drop in during the day, but we need at least 2 people to commit to be in the Church at all times to continue this venerable practice. If you are interested in helping please call the parish office.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles