Weekend Adorers?

Thank you to everyone who has committed to an hour or more to Adore Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. It has been tremendous to witness as a priest.

As we go forward, can we see if we can regularly have adorers for the weekend hours? Presently, we have a good many hours open on Saturday mornings, afternoons, evenings and Sunday mornings. One can see the open hours through the SignUpGenius on this blogspot. Please consider spending an hour in Adoration over the weekend.

God bless

FRVW

Peace vs. Fear

How often in the history of our nation – indeed the world – has there been civil strife?  How often has there been threat of contagion and disease?  Who found peace in those times?  Where did they find true peace – in their own hearts?  The ones whose focus was Jesus Christ.

In our own country a few come to mind: Fr. Andrew White – who was taken from Maryland to England in chains for exercising his priesthood, St. Junipero Serra – who spread the Faith to over 6,000 Native Californians and defended them against Spanish oppression (his statue was just desecrated in California), Fr. Augustus Tolton – the first black Catholic priest in our country who had been born into slavery, St. John Neumann – who regularly had his parish church attacked when he was pastor in Buffalo, St. Damien of Molokai – who took care of the lepers on Devil’s Island in Hawaii, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini and Mother Katherine Drexel –who established schools, hospitals and missions for African Americans and Native Americans, and Fr. Vincent Capodanno – who laid down his life on a Vietnamese battlefield to give the final sacraments to dying Marines.  There are so many more in our country and throughout history.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:27).

It is only in Jesus Christ that we find peace – His freedom in our hearts.  Often I quote from Fr. Jacques Philippe who is a contemporary French writer.  In his book, Nine Days to Welcome Peace, he gives very practical guidance for obtaining peace and making decisions.  If you will permit me to again cite his wisdom for our times.

Fr. Lorenzo Scupoli, a 16th century spiritual writer, said: The devil does his utmost to banish peace from one’s heart, because he knows that God abides in peace and it is in peace that He accomplishes great things (p. 24-25).

Fr. Philippe continues,

Trying to keep the peace of our hearts and fighting against worry, trouble and spiritual agitation are indispensable conditions for letting God act, thus allowing us to grow in love and in giving our lives over to the fruitfulness to which we’re called.

I would add that it’s only in peace that we can discern rightly.  When we’re not at peace, when we’re filled with worry, agitation, or trouble, that’s when we’re at the mercy of our emotions, and we don’t have an objective or accurate outlook.

When a problem comes up that makes us lose our peace, the urgency is not in resolving the problem in the hope of regaining peace; rather, the urgency is in first recovering some minimum amount of peace, and then seeing what we can do with the problem (p. 26-27).

What is the predominant emotion in our country – maybe in the world – over the last few months?  How about FEAR: fear of disease, fear of my fellow man, fear of the future, etc?

Fear does not give peace.  It causes anxiety, worry, agitation and trouble.  Philippe’s words are good advice: . . . the urgency is in first recovering some minimum amount of peace, and then seeing what we can do with the problem.

And, how do we recover some amount of peace?  One has to re-focus on and love Jesus and not the problem that is causing the worry, agitation and trouble.  Get to Mass, Confession, Adoration, pray Mary’s peace plan daily – the Rosary,  etc.  And, SHUT OFF THE SOCIAL MEDIA!  How can you possibly think you will be able to focus on Jesus when you are bombarded with FEAR!

Then, focus on being a saint today in your vocation – marriage, single life, or consecrated life.

The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything (Philippians 4:5).

God bless

FRVW

Corpus Christi

Thank you to everyone who spent an hour (or two) with Jesus last weekend!  Please again, can I ask that you consider looking at the SignUpGenius on this blogspot for open hours this weekend?  Adoration will be in our chapel through the weekend until 1pm on Monday.  As we celebrate Corpus Christi Sunday, spending time with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration would be a tremendous way to celebrate – in addition to Mass.

Over the last two and a half months you noticed two young men at our Masses, Holy Communion Outside of Mass Rites and the daily Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Rosary.  Ricky Malebranche and Ray Goins both finished their first year of the seminary while with us.  Almost all of our seminarians were placed in parishes when the seminaries shut down in late March.  Each would continue his studies online until exams in mid-May.  Ricky and Ray were extremely helpful.  As you saw, they were always available for Masses and other liturgical functions.  When we were quarantined, they were the ones troubleshooting and setting up for live streamed Masses, Chaplets and Rosaries from the rectory.  They were quarantined when Fr. Carr had COVID after Easter.  They helped with meals.  We had some great conversations throughout those two and a half months.  I am grateful they were assigned at Holy Trinity for the time they were.  As of this past Monday, they began their summer assignments at other parishes.  Please keep them in your prayers as they continue to follow Our Lord’s call.

This Sunday is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (The Body and Blood of Christ).  The feast dates back to the 1260s following a Eucharistic Miracle.  A young priest, Fr. Peter, implored Our Lord in his prayers to help him have a deep faith in Jesus’ Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.  In the midst of one Mass, as Fr. Peter completed the Consecration of the bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, the Host actually began to bleed.

Fr. Peter wrapped the Host in the corporal and walked a few miles to the next town, Orvieto, where the Pope was living.  The Pope was given the news of the miracle and met Fr. Peter outside the city walls.  He knelt before Our Lord in the Eucharist then brought the Eucharist to a church in the town.  He soon pronounced the Solemnity of Corpus Christi to be celebrated.  In Orvieto, you can still see the Blood-stained corporal in the cathedral built for It.  Ever since the Miracle there has been a yearly Eucharistic Procession throughout the town with Jesus in the Host followed by the Corporal that is stained with His Blood.  Our Corpus Christi Procession takes its roots from Orvieto’s Eucharistic Procession.  Our altar on the front steps for Benediction mirrors the Benediction at the end of the Eucharistic Procession in Orvieto.

Finally, on July 4th our new music director will begin his work at Holy Trinity.  Mr. Trevor Rowland comes to us from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hagerstown, Maryland where he has worked in the music ministry for the last nine years. He and his wife, Bebhinn, and their baby daughter are happy to be in his wife’s native state!  Mr. Rowland is humble and a gentleman.  He comes to us with a love for the Mass as well as a love and knowledge of liturgical music in the tradition of the Church.  I look forward to working with him at Holy Trinity.

God bless

FRVW

Trying Times Surrounding Pentecost and Holy Trinity

Well, what a week it has been.

I was looking forward to our first public Masses since March 16, 2020.  It was terrific to have people back in the church for Mass.  It was the high Church Feast of Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church:  the Holy Spirit coming down upon the Apostles.  The same Holy Spirit gave the Apostles the courage and wisdom to go into the world and spread the Truth of Jesus Christ; to endure hardship, suffering and even death for His Name.  What a glorious feast it is.

Thank you to everyone who helped with cleaning and preparing in various ways. (And have done so this past weekend.)

It would seem the lengthened Lent of COVID-19 without public Mass – and the various other restrictions placed upon us – was lessening.  Ah, but the devil does not give up so easily.

COVID engendered, and still does, fear, loneliness, isolation, sadness, frustration, discouragement, etc.  These are tools of the devil.  He also uses chaos, fear and hatred to separate man from God and man from man.

The headlines are no longer COVID, but racial tensions.  The tools are still the same as mentioned above. Satan is behind all the fear, sadness, discouragement, hatred, violence and chaos.

The headlines are of the tragic death of an African American man (George Floyd), riots and violence.  (Yes, there have been peaceful marches in the midst of the headlines.  We had one here in Gainesville.  But, peaceful anything doesn’t sell as well as crisis and chaos.)

I am still struggling with the question, ‘Why?’

Why the violence?  Why the fifteen people dead?  Why the simple businesses attacked?  (Agreed, there are professional agitators using racial tensions to cause chaos.)  Is there a solution to all of this unrest?

Yes.  His Name is Jesus Christ.  He Died to set us free; free from hatred, violence and chaos.  Free to forgive.  Free to love my neighbor as myself.

When we look at so many throughout our Catholic history we see many, many who have experienced prejudice.  When they were able to forgive, they were able to love.  They were able to become saints.

One that comes to mind is Fr. Augustus Tolton – the first African American priest in America.  He was born into slavery in 1854 and suffered greatly.  He later became a very holy priest after, he says, the priests taught him how to forgive.

More recently, I recall reading Justice Clarence Thomas’ book wherein he tells of racist Catholic seminarians.  It led to him leaving the seminary and losing his Catholic Faith for a time.  Thankfully, he returned to the Church many years ago.

Close to home, I am mindful of our local law enforcement – black and white – who have endured many insults – and injuries – over the last ten days: all silently as not many media are interested.  In speaking with them, they hold no hatred in their hearts.

Is my fellow man a child of God?  Does he have dignity from God?  Is he my brother?  Is she my sister?  Isn’t this one facet that makes us different as Catholics, as Christians?  Isn’t this the mentality that has converted empires?  To see Christ in my neighbor. To love my neighbor as myself!

How did St. John Paul II deal with prejudice from the communists in Poland and worldwide.  He spent hours each day with Our Lord Jesus.  He prayed daily to the Virgin Mary.  He spoke.  He wrote.  He met peacefully.  His presence brought about the greatest human revolution in the world – the downfall of one of the greatest forms of persecution the world has ever known, Communism.

Who is the One Who heals wounds?  Who reconciles?  Who brings peace?

Jesus Christ.

May we truly know Him that He may set us free.

Weekend Eucharistic Adoration?

Since March 16 when we were no longer able to have public Masses, many of you committed to hours of Adoration so we could have Our Lord on our altar in Adoration for over two months. It has been incredible.

As we begin public Masses again, we still have the opportunity to continue Eucharistic Adoration through the weekends. Of course, to do so we need adorers to spend time with Our Lord. Please look at the SignUpGenius on this blog for hours to sign up throughout the weekend. There are many hours unfilled for this weekend.

If we need to go back to the former schedule without Exposition most of Saturday and Sunday, then we can. I just thought it would be tremendous if we could continue through the weekends.

God bless

FRVW

Public Masses Begin on Pentecost Weekend

March 16, 2020 will be a date notched in my brain for a long time – some of you who know how forgetful I am may question that statement!  It was the last time we had public Masses in our church.  Thankfully, we will again have public Masses at Holy Trinity.  May we never be without THE GREATEST ACTION in history again!

Beginning this Friday, May 29, 2020 we will offer public Masses.  We will go back to our former schedule for weekdays (9:00 and 12:00) and weekends.  (The one exception will be a 6:30am Sunday Mass instead of 7:00am.  This change will allow for cleaning the church between Masses.)

Please know the Bishop still extends the dispensation from Sunday obligation at Mass for all Catholics in our diocese.  Also, if we are feeling sick, have a fever, sore throat and/or cough, we are strongly encouraged not to come to Mass or the church.

We may only enter through the main front doors.  Ushers will need to seat people.  Please be patient as you enter the church.

Non-family members should maintain six feet distance from each other upon entering, in pews and upon exiting the church.  Every other pew will be kept empty.

Holy Communion will be similar yet different than a normal Sunday Mass.  In short, each section will receive at a time; only one line to/from Holy Communion.  When a section is finished, the next section will approach the priest for Holy Communion.  Our goal is that people do not cross paths walking to/from Holy Communion.  Again, please be patient and follow the guidance of our ushers.  It will take time – good opportunity for recollected prayer!

Only priests will distribute Holy Communion.  Recall that we will have 91% rubbing alcohol to purify our fingers during Holy Communion.

Realistically, we are looking at about 300 people or so who will be in the church at a time.  I could be overestimating or underestimating.  It is first come, first serve.

We will also be able to use the hall for some overflow.

For those who are unable to make it to Mass for whatever reason, we will offer Holy Communion Outside of Mass at 3pm on Sunday, May 31st.  This ritual will be offered outside the doors of the Adoration Chapel.  Each car drives up; communicants step out and walk to Father who will administer Holy Communion.  After receiving, please spend some time in silent adoration.

Finally, we will need help cleaning the church and bathrooms after every Mass.  We have set up a SignUpGenius that will be accessible via our parish blog: holytrinityupdates.com – some may be there already!  We will need ten (10) families after each Mass on Saturday and Sunday.  All cleaning supplies will be provided.  Would you consider spending fifteen minutes after Mass to clean Our Lord’s house?  Specifics will be provided.

Adoration will continue, please check the Schedule Page for information.

Thank you again to all of you who have helped, and continue to do so in the parish.  It has been humbling once again.

God bless

FRVW

Sunday: Holy Communion Outside of Mass

Thank you again to everyone who waited patiently to receive Jesus in Holy Communion last Sunday! It was a true testament to our Faith and very humbling for the priest.

Tomorrow, Sunday, May 24, we will have Holy Communion Outside of Mass two times: after our 9:00am Ordinary Form live streamed Mass – probably around 10:00am; and, after our 11:30am Extraordinary Form live streamed Mass – probably around 12:30pm.

We will have two (2) stations for Holy Communion tomorrow: outside the chapel entrance – same as last week – and one in front of the church under the main arch.

Please follow the guidance of our parking lot ‘ushers’ so that Holy Communion can be received reverently and safely – never thought I’d need to say ‘safely’! The lead-foot drivers should probably not be at the wheel in the parking lot tomorrow!!

All good? Now, on to read a little more about St. John Paul’s 1979 Pentecost visit to Poland. Wonder what the Holy Spirit has in mind for the world this Pentecost!

God bless

FRVW

Nine Days That Changed the World – Coincidence?

Pope St. John Paul II’s 1st Visit to Poland as Pope – June 2-10, 1979

(9th centenary year after the death of St. Stanislaus, Patron of Poland)

The following two paragraphs were part of Pope St. John Paul’s homily on the Eve of Pentecost, June 2, 1979.  Please be mindful that he was speaking to millions of Poles who had lived under atheistic communist dictatorship since World War II.  He was surrounded by communists and their military at this Mass.  They, who had tried for decades to silence the Catholic Church.  They, who had closed Catholic churches and attempted to limit Catholics’ access to the Mass and the Sacraments.  He did not begin his first visit to Poland with platitudes to the ruling party!

To Poland the Church brought Christ, the key to understanding that great and fundamental reality that is man. For man cannot be fully understood without Christ. Or rather, man is incapable of understanding himself fully without Christ. He cannot understand who he is, nor what his true dignity is, nor what his vocation is, nor what his final end is. He cannot understand any of this without Christ. (My emphasis).

Therefore Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude or latitude of geography. The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man. Without Christ it is impossible to understand the history of Poland, especially the history of the people who have passed or are passing through this land. The history of people. The history of the nation is above all the history of people. And the history of each person unfolds in Jesus Christ. In him it becomes the history of salvation.

St. John Paul ended his homily with the following prayer to the Holy Spirit in his homily on Saturday, June 2, 1979, the Vigil of Pentecost:

Let your Spirit descend.
Let your Spirit descend.
and renew the face of the earth,
the face of this land. Amen.

Was it coincidence that this Pope from the Iron Curtain was to visit his country for nine days – the length of days the Apostles prayed from the Ascension to the Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; the first Novena?  Was it coincidence that his first public Mass was on the Vigil of Pentecost?  Communism was doomed at the conclusion of the above prayer by the Successor of St. Peter whom the Holy Spirit had chosen to be pope less than a year before.  In less than a decade Communism was all but gone in Eastern Europe beginning in Poland.

Nothing is coincidence with God.

How applicable are St. John Paul’s words to us.  How we can learn from his example and prayer.

It is no coincidence that we find ourselves nine days from Pentecost.  Let us learn from Pope John Paul to ask – implore – God, the Holy Spirit, to come upon our families, our parish, our diocese, our nation, our world during these times of crisis.  We can pray as he did:

Let your Spirit descend.
Let your Spirit descend.
and renew the face of the earth,
the face of this land. Amen.

Please consider praying the Novena to the Holy Spirit over the next nine days (Friday, May 22 – Saturday, May 30) for a greater fervor for Mass and the Sacraments; for many to return to Our Lord and His Church; and for religious liberty of the Church wherever She is being persecuted.

The Novena to the Holy Spirit can be found at:

https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/devotions/novena-to-the-holy-spirit-for-the-seven-gifts-309

God bless

FRVW

(Please know that I hope to write a second post on Friday re: Holy Communion Outside of Mass and related topics.)

An Angel’s Jealousy?

Dear Holy Trinity Parishioners!

Please forgive my tardiness in getting out information to all of you regarding our status at Holy Trinity.

Bishop Burbidge has asked us, along with all the parishes in Prince William, Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria to wait two more weeks before we consider having public Masses.

The Bishop is very aware of our desire for public Masses and reception of Jesus in Holy Communion.  Therefore, he has extended the option to administer Holy Communion outside of Mass.  Yes, Mass is the Holy Sacrifice of Christ re-presented in time.  Yes, It is the greatest Action in history.  We pray that we will soon be able to participate at Mass in person.

St. Maximilian Kolbe once remarked: If angels could be jealous of man, they would be for one reason: Holy Communion.

Beginning tomorrow, Saturday, May 16th we will offer Holy Communion within the Rite of Holy Communion Outside of Mass.  Immediately following our 9:00am live streamed Mass each day, the priest will conduct a brief Holy Communion Service at the outside Adoration Chapel doors under the archway.  Parishioners in the state of grace will be able to walk up to Father to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.  You can then return to your car to make your thanksgiving after Holy Communion until Father gives the closing blessing.  Examples of Thanksgiving Prayers after Holy Communion would be:

Soul of Christ: https://jesuitprayer.org/custom/cards/anima-christi.pdf

Litany of Humility: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/devotions/litany-for-humility-391

Prayers of the Angel of Fatima to the shepherd children: http://www.fatimacentennial.com/fatima-prayers

As we have further access to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist we are asked to consider the following reminders – for complete details please see the diocesan website www.arlingtondiocese.org and Bishop Burbidge’s announcement at http://www.arlingtondiocese.org/coronavirus/:

Dispensation from obligation to Sunday Mass remains for everyone

Those vulnerable are encouraged to avoid public gatherings

Those sick and/or coughing are asked to avoid liturgical celebrations

We are asked to maintain 6 foot distance between persons

10 person group limit (inside the church)

Face coverings are expected

Disinfecting one’s hands before receiving Holy Communion is expected

Each communicant has the right to receive Holy Communion in the manner he chooses – on the tongue or on the hand

The faithful are asked to prayerfully consider reception of Holy Communion in the hand

No one may receive Holy Communion while wearing gloves

Please know that it will be a joy to offer you Our Lord, really, truly and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist!

May our reception of Jesus increase our love for Him and His Church; increase our love for each other; and increase our peace and joy in these times.

God bless

FRVW

Re-integration 2020

Dear Holy Trinity Parishioners!

Let us thank Our Lord through Our Lady for His many graces!

How is life going in the family? I am wondering about certain opportunities of grace between husbands and wives. For example, how many husbands, who are spending more hours at home than they previously did, are more appreciative of their wives’abilities around the house – especially when left home with the children?! Or, when asked, ‘Where are you going?’, wives aren’t so quick to complain that their husbands work outside the home?! Ah yes, the two shall become as one.

In light of our Governor’s announcement today, our Bishop has written an open letter to all Catholics of the Diocese of Arlington and a video on re-opening our parishes for public Masses to begin on May 15th. His letter and video can be found on the diocesan website: arlingtondiocese.org.

The Bishop mentions the following:

Churches can operate at a maximum of 50% capacity – unless a local jurisdiction determines otherwise.

There will still be a need to provide for proper social distancing and regular cleaning at each parish.

The Bishop is working with a team to help plan for reintegration. He will have guidelines for us this coming week.

The Bishop also reminds the faithful that the dispensation for anyone who has any concern about attending Mass is still in effect.

Please continue to ask Our Lord through His Mother – in this month of Our Lady – for a further opening of the sacraments to our people; prudence for our Bishop and Governor; as well as mercy and healing for those suffering from COVID-19.

God bless

FRVW