Pastor's Corner - 9/20
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The St. Andrew’s Dinner (a dinner with Bishop Burbidge for men ages 16 – 35 who may be discerning a vocation to the priesthood) has been re-scheduled for Friday, September 25 at 6:00 PM at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Lake Ridge. Please let the office know if you are interested in attending. The planning meeting for our annual Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration will be on Thursday, September 24, at 7 PM in Room 5. Please contact the parish office this week if you are willing to help coordinate.
We are hosting a VIRTUS seminar at our Annex on Thursday, September 24, at 6:00 PM. Attendance at a seminar is required for all employees of the diocese and all volunteers with substantial contact with children, but all adults are welcome to attend. VIRTUS: Protecting God's Children for Adults training seminars are 4-hour training sessions which help the community learn how to identify sexual abuse, how to report it when it is seen, and what they can do as members of the community to ensure that it is eradicated. Seating is limited; go to www.arlingtondiocese.org/childprotection/virtus/ to sign up for our location and other dates and locations for seminars around the diocese.
I am sure you have been concerned about the divisions in our country, and even the hatred and violence that have been increasing in many parts. I think that the pandemic restrictions have exacerbated the situation. As we approach the fall, and the November elections, I fear that the tensions and vitriol will only increase. Although we may disagree, even within our parish, over many things, I hope we can all agree on one thing: our country and our culture need prayers. As your pastor, I would like to ask you to set aside some time each week for prayer that you would not usually do – whatever prayer appeals to you. It would be good if you could set aside 15 minutes or 30 minutes or even an hour. I also believe that there are certain spirits that only go out by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). Therefore, I would also like to ask you – if your health permits – to choose at least one meal a week (from now until the crisis we are going through has passed) and fast from that meal. The three traditional acts of piety are: prayer, fasting and almsgiving, so I would also ask you to consider giving some alms to the poor. We need to ask our Lord to give us light in the present darkness, and to bring good out of evil, as only he can do.
Just a reminder that our Bishop has said that everyone is expected to wear a mask when they come to Mass, and to maintain a physical distance of six feet (unless they are family members or live together). I know that not everyone likes to wear a mask, but I would ask you please to do so out of charity for others. Many people are very afraid, and have high levels of anxiety, and are not coming to Mass when they see people without masks on. Our Bishop has also asked us to consider receiving Communion on the hand during this time. There are some people who are afraid to receive Communion after someone else has received on the tongue before them.
Out of charity for others, please consider doing what our Bishop has asked us to do. If you are going to receive on the tongue, please wait until after everyone else has received, and remember to stick your tongue out so that the hand of the minister of Holy Communion will not have to touch your tongue. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation on this. We have additional seating in the balcony and in the parish hall. If you arrive for Mass and the Church doors to the Sanctuary are closed, please use either of the other two locations.
Please note that on Fridays when I have the 8:30 AM Mass at the school (usually once every three Fridays), we are trying to offer a second Mass at 12 noon at the parish, since no outside visitors are allowed to attend the school Mass due to Covid safety guidelines. When I don’t have the school Mass, we will have Mass at Precious Blood at the regular 8:30 AM time. We will do our best to announce the location weekly.
We are grateful to our parishioners who are able to continue to support the parish during this time as we still have our payroll expenses. We would like to encourage you to sign up for FaithDirect, by going to: https:// membership.faithdirect.net/enroll/va226 Thank you for your continued generosity.