Pastor's Message - 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I want to thank the many volunteers who have dedicated their time, talent, and treasure to many ministries here at the parish, in particular, those that have begun due to covid: the livestream group, led by Robert Dwyer, which has quickly learned the steps to successfully stream our Masses and other events; St. Joseph’s Table, with Kelly Wilton as our first coordinator, and now led by Terri Miles and her team, for maximizing the use of the space in the Old Rectory and beautifying the workspace with shelving, a new refrigerator and freshly painted walls; the Knights of Columbus for assisting young adults and youth with a food drive collection in the west end of the Culpeper community; and the Evangelization ministry that has enhanced the Good Samaritans by communicating with parishioners in need, via telephone, mail and by organizing meal chains.
During this month of October, (which is traditionally dedicated to the rosary in the Catholic Church) we will be praying the rosary before each Sunday Mass. If you would be willing to lead the rosary before one of the Masses, please contact the rectory office. I would encourage you to offer up your rosary for peace in our country.
Our minister for evangelization and youth, Kelly Bennett, is organizing a “trunk-or-treat” for Saturday, October 31, after the 5 PM Mass. It will be held outside in our upper parking lot. Families are invited to decorate their vehicles the theme of HOLYween and children are encouraged to dress up as saints and holy people from the Bible.
We will have a novena (nine days) of holy hours beginning on Monday, October 26 and finishing on Election Day, November 3 at 7 PM to pray for peace in our country. I would like to encourage you to come to this Peace Novena. I am thinking of praying Evening Prayer (from the Liturgy of the Hours) and perhaps praying the rosary together and singing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Of course, there would also be moments of quiet prayer and we would finish with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
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 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.
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. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation on this.
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.