Another Outstanding Picnic. Once again the Lord gave us a beautiful day for our
annual parish picnic last Sunday, this year celebrating our 25 th anniversary. We had a
great turnout, and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. It’s wonderful to see so
many of you come together and get to know each other better in this joyful atmosphere,
especially all the children.
I was also very happy that we were able to honor Kirsti Tyson for her 22 years’
service to the parish. I was very pleased that Fr. James Gould (my predecessor and the
“Building Pastor” who hired Kirsti), was able to join us, and I was amazed and very
proud that a parishioner-instigated “Go-Fund-Me” raised about $11,000 toward a reliable
car as a retirement gift to Kirsti (you can still contribute to this at
Thanks to everyone who did so much to make it such a success. Special thanks to
our parish staff, particularly Virginia, the “3 Marys” (see the front of the bulletin) and
Joe, and to the Knights of Columbus, particularly the omnipresent Phil Bettwy.
And thanks be to God for all He does for our parish!
Mama Garcia. Last week one of our most special parishioners passed on to meet Our
Lord—105 year old Elie Torres “Mama” Garcia. She had not been able to join us for
Mass for a couple of years now, but she was always a wonderful example of faith to all
who knew her, even if only from a distance. We will miss her. Requiem aeternam dona
ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.
Archbishop Cordileone. As I announced the last two weeks, the Most Reverend
Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, will be coming to speak at St.
Raymond’s on Monday, September 12, 7:00 p.m., in the Church. His topic will be:
“The Mass: Essence and Foundation of Western Civilization.” This is going to be
good. I really hope to see a full church for this.
Labor Day. This weekend our nation celebrates “Labor Day,” a day celebrating the hard
work of so many Americans that has made our nation so successful in so many ways. We
should rightly celebrate this, as “work” is one of the original gifts given to Man by God,
as He gave Adam and Eve dominion (“lordship”) over all the earth and commanded
them: “fill the earth and subdue it.” That “subduing” of the earth is the work/labor of
Man, who was created in the image of the Creator. Man shares in God’s creative work by
his labor, and when he works in ways consistent with God’s will, he grows in holiness.
Often, however, we don’t work in ways consistent with God’s will. Too often we
work motivated by envy or greed. Sometimes we deceive or cheat our customers, co-
workers, employers or employees. Sometimes we don’t give an honest day’s work for our
wages, or we don’t pay just wages to our workers. Sometimes we work too much and
neglect our family and God, and sometimes we force our employees to do that. Some
neglect work to engage in criminal activities or simple dependence on governments. Of
course, some are retired after years of hard work, and some can’t work for good
reason—God bless them, and may they work in whatever way they can (volunteering,
assisting friends, etc.) so that they may always participate in God’s creative work!
The Church has a long history of defending the dignity of work and workers, but
with the rise of Marxism (which includes Socialism and Communism) in the 19 th century,
the Popes began to speak vociferously against these inherently unjust ideologies. All this
came to a head in 1891, when Pope Leo XIII issued his monumental encyclical, Rerum
Novarum (“Of the New Things”), which is the foundational document of modern
Catholic teaching on “social justice.” Sadly, many Catholics misunderstand this teaching.
Some Catholics even believe that Socialism is the way to social justice. But as Pope Pius
XI wrote in his 1931 encyclical Quadragesimo Anno: “Religious socialism, Christian
socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a
One of the errors/sins of Marxism is to promote class warfare—to pit different
groups in society against each other. How is this consistent with the Christian command
to “love your neighbor as yourself”? So the Church particularly condemns this aspect of
Marxism, whether it manifests in the supposed struggle between the “proletariat” vs. the
“bourgeoisie,” capitalists vs. labor, rich vs. poor, male vs. female, or minority race(s) vs.
Yet there is a movement in our country that embraces this Marxist class warfare
approach in its often violent struggle to reshape our country’s values. Many Catholics
have fallen into the snares of this movement, even though it is directly contrary to basic
Moreover, the dignity of work, especially as a participation in divine creativity, is
particularly promoted in what we now commonly call “Capitalism.” The problem is, the
term “capitalism” is actually a term that became popular as a kind of pejorative in the
lexicon of the earliest Marxists, particularly Karl Marx himself, in his seminal work, in
“Das Kapital” (1867). But the great Pope St. John Paul II, who lived under the repressive
evil of a Marxist regime for over 33 years in Poland and was a crucial force in the fall of
Soviet-Communism, had a different view about this economic view of “Capitalism.” In
his classic encyclical, Centesimus Annus (1991) John Paul wrote: “…can it perhaps be
said that, after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system,
and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their
economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of
the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil
progress?…The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic
system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market,
private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as
free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the
affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business
economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”.
“Free human creativity”— is the basis of the American economy, government and
culture. Not the oppressive chains of Marxism, Communism, Socialism. The worker is
creative in as he works in cooperation with his Creator, not a slave as he works according
to the will of the state.
That being said, one of the ways we respect the dignity of the worker is allowing
him time to rest from his labors, so it’s good to take a day off from work to honor work:
“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the
seventh day from all his work that he had done.” So enjoy this “last day of Summer,” rest
and recreate, as God also created you to do.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles