Twenty Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time

September 27, 2016 Column Father De Celles

Religious Ed/CCD. Last Sunday we began this year’s CCD program and we are off to a great start. Enrollment and attendance are up, but more importantly enthusiasm seems up as well. As I greeted parents, students and teachers on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I was struck by a palpable sense of a shared appreciation of the great good we can accomplish this year, as our children draw closer to the Lord.

Now, this is only the first week, but I think it bodes well for the coming year. To all involved directly in CCD, keep up that great attitude, and attendance. To anyone who still wants to get involved, it’s not too late to register or volunteer. And to the rest of the parish, I ask your prayers for the success of our work this year—not so much “success” measured in numbers, but primarily success measured by God alone, as he sees the growth in faith of our students, and their parents and teachers.


Pray for the Election. No one can deny that this year’s national elections, especially the presidential election, are troubling to good Catholics. Last week I tried to give some practical advice to help you with your choices. But the greatest practical advice I can give you is to pray: pray that God’s will be done, and that if it be in His holy will, He will guide American voters to the best choice for all public offices, and that He will use this election to protect us from the terrible threats to our nation. Although these threats are many, I particularly think of the overriding systemic threats to “life” (i.e., abortion), marriage, conscience and religious liberty.

To this end, I strongly suggest you take part in the following:

— Attend our monthly “Holy Hour for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty” held every last Wednesday of the Month, from 6pm to 7pm (during the last hour of the regularly scheduled weekly Wednesday Exposition 8:30am-7pm)). During this Holy Hour we publicly pray the Rosary and several other special prayers and litanies. With the election in mind I especially invite you to our next two Holy Hours:  this coming Wednesday, September 28, and again on October 26.

Pray the Daily Rosary, either individually or as a family, for the coming election, especially as it effects life, marriage and religious liberty.

Abstain from meat on Fridays: The Lord once told His apostles: “This kind [of demon] cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). I have previously encouraged you to abstain from meat of any kind (other than fish) on all Fridays of the year, but I ask you to redouble your efforts in this regard in these weeks before the election. (Note: All Catholics are required to do some form of penance every Friday of the year. Traditionally, this penance is abstinence from meat, although most Catholics either replace it with another form of penance [which is permitted] or neglect to offer any penance at all [not permitted]).


Voter Registration and Absentee Voting. Remember that the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2240) teaches: “co-responsibility for the common good make[s] it morally obligatory …to exercise the right to vote…” But you can’t vote if you aren’t registered to vote. So many times forgetting to do this very simple thing does what no foreign power has been able to do for 240 years—take away the individual’s right to vote. Most of us are already registered to vote here in Fairfax, but some of you tell me you haven’t voted in a while, and I know a lot of our parishioners have moved recently, and most every time you move you have to register to vote in your new state or county.

So, to help you in this regard, this weekend and next we will have folks manning a table in the narthex with forms and instructions to register you to vote in Fairfax County. The deadline for registering to vote is October 17th.

Also if you think you’re going to be away from home or otherwise might not be able to get to the polls on November 8, you should seriously consider voting absentee. The deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is November 1, 2016, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot by appearing in-person is November 5, 2016. More information on absenting voting will be available on the table in the narthex. Or you can find this information online at


Speakers Coming. I am very excited about the several distinguished guest speakers we have lined up for the Fall and Spring. We begin this series 2 weeks from now, on Saturday morning, October 8, with our old friend Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, PhD, the nationally renowned neuroscientist-theologian from National Catholic Bioethics Center in Boston. This year “Father Tad” will speak to us about “Complicated Cases in Pregnancy and the Principle of Double Effect.” I look forward to seeing you there.

Also, say a little prayer: I’m working on having a very distinguished speaker join us sometime in March. I can’t say anything more right now, but say a little prayer that it all comes together.


Transgender Military. The schools are apparently only the landing beach for the attack of the ridiculous and common senseless transgender warriors. I read this morning that the Navy is pulling out all stops to re-educate all our sailors in the new dictate from our President that we must all believe that boys-are-girls and girls-are-boys if they just say they are. Amazing.

This brings up a grave question: how far can you cooperate when your boss requires you to promote this ridiculous, foolish and demonic lie? Not very far. I hope you can finesse it, play the game without directly promoting the lie. But in the end I fear that, unless something dramatic changes very soon, you may have to take some very hard stand, even to the point of resigning from your job. It will take a lot of courage, but this is what Jesus meant when he said, “take up your cross and follow me.”

And this is why we pray for religious liberty and freedom of conscience every week. And perhaps another reason the presidential election is so important. Who do you think will defend your rights against this unjust persecution? It seems pretty certain it won’t be the Democrat Party and its Candidate, both of which are vehemently supporters of the “transgender ideology.” Perhaps the Republicans, who publicly oppose this kind of persecution of our religious and civic liberties. You decide.


“Donut Sunday” Returns Next Week. On a lighter note, next Sunday we return to our custom of having coffee and donuts after Sunday Morning Masses (7, 8:45 and 10:30). It’s a great way to meet fellow parishioners, find out what’s happening in the parish and to strengthen old friendships. Please make plans to join us next Sunday.


Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles