September 9, 2023 Column Father De Celles News

A Fascinating Talk by Father Tad Pacholczyk. Next Saturday, September 16, I’m very excited to welcome back nationally renowned bio-ethicist, Father Tad Pacholczyk for the 13th straight year. This year his topic is: The Ethics of Transhumanism, Human Genetic Modification, and Age-Extension Technologies.

                 Now, that’s a mouthful, and you might not recognize it as a “current hot issue”—but it is. I think this is the next big thing in the world of morals and science: and it’s happening NOW!

Transhumanists believe that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology, into a post-human state or “superior species.” In recent years, very wealthy individuals such as Google co-founder Larry Page and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have invested heavily in anti-aging research and related gene-editing and age-extension technologies.

What would be the implications of suddenly finding ourselves freed from many of our current bodily constraints and greatly extending our lifetimes? Can humans become immortal? Should they try? The human desire for transcendence and immortality seems to be embedded in our human nature, but what about the prospect of a technologized human existence as envisioned in sci-fi movies and novels like A Brave New WorldBlade Runner, and The Matrix?

Fr. Tad will delve into these emerging technologies which promise to enhance human capabilities, reverse chronic diseases and extend human lifespans. He will examine them from various ethical angles and reflect on the potential benefits and problems posed by the transhumanism project. Father Tad will look at what constitutes a healthy Christian attitude towards science, and whether we can be “saved” through the advances of technology.

There are tremendous positive aspects of this technology, but also huge problems. Think of the potential for the most grotesque abuses, affecting every aspect of your lives and the lives of your children and all their descendants The potential for the quest for the super race, and its implication for racism, agism, and other forms of terrible discrimination. God created man: can we re-create man? Or some other gross distortion of man?

Father Tad Pacholczyk received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Yale, and then went on for graduate study of theology in Rome, where he was ordained a priest. He is now an ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

You won’t want to miss this thought-provoking conversation on science, philosophy, and our faith! HIGH SCHOOL and COLLEGE age kids are welcome! Saturday, September 16, 10am, after 9am Mass and 9:30 Rosary.

Schedule Additions. Beginning Wednesday, September 13, the following Mass and Confession times are added to our schedule:

•   Every Wednesday evening: Mass at 7pm (after Benediction);

•   Every Sunday morning: Confessions ½ hour before 9 and 11am Masses, i.e., 8:30- 9am, 10:30-11am

•   Every First Friday during Nocturnal Adoration: Confessions 3-4pm and 6-8pm.

A note about Sunday Confessions. Please remember that it may happen that on particular Sundays, these confessions may be cancelled when no priest is available. Also, confessions should normally end once Mass has begun (the priest may sometimes extend this, but that should not be taken for granted, and they should never go later than the start of the Gospel).

Also, while all are welcome, these confession times are provided specifically to meet the genuine needs of those who truly cannot attend on other days, especially for those who have a specific need to go to confession before Sunday Mass. This means you should not plan to go to confession on Sunday merely because it is more convenient than some other day/time, or to make a merely devotional confession. Parents, in particular, if you follow the admirable practice of monthly family confessions, please do this on Saturdays or Wednesdays, but not on Sunday mornings. And little children, in particular, would probably not have a genuine need to go to confession at this time. Of course, if the line is short on Sunday, then certainly anyone should feel free to take advantage, but if the line is longer, be considerate of others with a genuine need.

New Staff. Over the years I have asked more and more from our office staff, and their hard work has helped us to be the ever-active parish we are. But they work too hard, so I’m delighted to welcome Dominque Murray to our parish staff, as a part-time Office Assistant. Dominique is a long-time parishioner who has been heavily involved as a volunteer since the Holy Fire Hall days (i.e., before the church was built). And she also worked professionally for us with the team of architects who designed our beautiful church. I particularly appreciate her work collaborating with Fr. Gould and other parishioners in designing the beautiful interior of the church. Originally from Quebec, Dominique also spent much of her youth in Texas, so she’s got that going for her (I am also a Texan, with French Canadian/Quebecois ancestry). She is an architecture graduate of the University of Houston. Besides her substantial experience in architecture she has also worked as a Thermal Digital Imaging technician. She will be a great addition to our staff. Please keep her in your prayers.

Choir and Schola. Welcome back to our Choir at 11:00 Mass next week. You know summer’s over when you hear the beautiful strains of choral singing showering down on us from the choir loft. I hope the choir members had a restful summer, and I look forward to their assistance at Mass.

Also, I know they are looking to increase their numbers. We’ve been struggling with this in a particular way ever since Covid, so anyone with any interest in joining them is welcome and encouraged to contact Elisabeth Turco at

Also, welcome back to our Schola at 9:00 —they add so much to the solemnity and reverence of that Mass.

Candidate Forum. Remember that the Virginia General Election will take place on November 7, 2023. With this in mind, St. Raymond’s will sponsor a Candidate Forum for all candidates running for Fairfax County School Board on Thursday, September 21, 2023, at 7 pm, in the Parish Hall. This is a non-partisan event, giving each candidate an opportunity to introduce himself/herself to those present. It is open to the public, and questions will be allowed, but since time is short and there are so many candidates, Forum leaders will screen and summarize questions from the crowd.

We have invited all candidates running for either at-large seats or for districts in or near our parish boundaries. So far the following candidates have agreed to participate: Braddock District – Priscilla DeStefano; Mount Vernon District – Stori Zimmerman; Springfield District – Debra Tisler; At-large candidates: Saundra Davis, Cassandra Aucoin, Maureen Brody, Peter Bixby-Eberhardt, Linda Pelligrino, Ahmed Hussein.

I hope to see you there at this important event!

September 11, 2001. Lest we forget….Never forget. God bless America and all her warriors and others who protect our freedoms. May the Lord bless and protect us, and save us from our foes.   

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles