Equality Act 2021

The House of Representatives recently passed Bill #5 of 2021.  It is deceivingly named, Equality Act of 2021.  It is anything but.  It will now go to the Senate to be voted on.  We had better get everyone we have ever come in contact with to storm the Senate with phone calls, phone calls and more phone calls!  Other means of communication cannot hurt.

When you have a moment take a look at the Eleven Myths of the Equality Act of 2021

In the name of ‘freedom’ – ‘What freedom?’ is a good question to ask – basic Constitutional Rights of Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Conscience and Freedom of Speech will be removed in this Bill.  Make no mistake, smoke and mirror days are gone.  This is a frontal assault by those who would want to undermine and destroy our culture and our country.  We are not talking about the land of the free, but the land of the dictated and controlled.  If you hold truths not in accord with the ideology of those who say there is not truth – except the ones they dictate – you WILL BE PUNISHED financially and legally.

For example, if your organization teaches and holds that a person is born and is a man or a woman, your organization can be charged criminally.  If Catholic Charities only places children in homes of a married man and woman, it will be taken to court.  If a Catholic School teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman as God has created them at birth, it can be fined and/or taken to court.

In other words, if you hold the truths of your religion that are enshrined as a freedom in the Constitution, the Equality Act will allow for your religious freedom to be attacked and removed.

To top it off, the charge in the House of Representatives was led by one who calls herself Catholic?!  How many ‘Catholics’ signed it?!  In the name of providing for respect of those who struggle with same sex attraction, gender dysphoria and others, they have deliberately signed a bill that removes basic freedoms from Americans.  One would think that Catholics – and all Christians – would understand that the ONLY way respect for one’s neighbor is provided in a culture is through the principles of Christianity!  Without God, without Jesus Christ, basic human respect is impossible.  Why?  God is love.  He, in the Person of Jesus Christ, teaches us how to love by His example and teachings.

St. Joseph, pray for us!

God bless

FRVW

On behalf of Bishop Burbidge, I share with you resources below which may be shared with your parishioners in the best manner that you see fit.

Fr. Walter Ciszek on Total Self Abandonment

Fr. Walter Ciszek was ordained a Catholic priest in 1937.  Born in Pennsylvania to Polish immigrants, he was sent to eastern Poland as a missionary.  Just two years later, the Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland.  Fr. Ciszek followed the train of Poles into the Soviet Union.  He functioned clandestinely as a priest until his arrest in 1941.  Under torture he signed a confession that he was a Vatican spy.  He would spend five years in the infamous Lubyanka prison, mostly in isolation, as well as fifteen additional years in hard labor – shoveling coal onto ships, working in mines, etc.  He has written two books of his experiences: With God in Russia and He Leadeth Me.

In his second and spiritual-focused book, Fr. Ciszek recounts an episode with a Soviet/Communist interrogator – which would be common – during his latter four years in Lubyanka.  After signing the fake-dossier, Ciszek was expected to ‘cooperate’ with the communists.  The priest found himself afraid amidst spiritual desolation.  At one point he said the blackness and hopelessness overwhelmed him.  He could only see two possibilities: cooperation with the communists or execution.  For that one moment, the Jesuit had lost all hope and faith in God.  He had lost the sight of God.  He was ashamed.

What did he do?  He turned immediately to Our Lord Whom he had forgotten.  “I had to pray that He would never let me fail to remember Him and trust in Him.  I pleaded my helplessness to face the future without Him.  I told Him that my own abilities were now bankrupt and He was my only hope.”

Almost immediately Fr. Ciszek was bolstered by the thoughts of Our Lord’s Agony in the Garden.  Jesus said, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.”  “It was total self-surrender, a stripping away of all human fears, of all (human) doubts about his own abilities to withstand the passion, of every last shred of self, including self doubt.”  He calls this realization a conversion to live a total self-abandonment to God’s Will.  He was left with peace and clarity in total trust of Our Lord rather than himself.  “No danger could threaten me, no fear could shake me, except the fear of losing sight of Him.  The future, hidden as it was, was hidden in His Will and therefore acceptable to me no matter what it might bring.” 

The interrogator recognized the change in him quickly.  There was no fear.  There was a peaceful strength.  When pushed to cooperation with the communists, particularly to return to Rome and act as a Soviet spy, the priest simply refused.  With the threat of execution, the priest peacefully abandoned himself to Our Lord.  “I think I smiled.  I knew then I had won.”

Fr. Ciszek was not put before a firing squad, but sent to Siberia to the labor camps.

What a lesson for you and me in our present day!

God bless
FRVW

Abortion and Holy Communion

In just a few weeks, Joe Biden has been true to his word.

Joe Biden gave the following remarks on 1/22/21:

Today (1/22/21) marks the 48th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade.

In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack. We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care – including reproductive health care – regardless of income, race, zip code, health insurance status, or immigration status.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to codifying Roe v. Wade and appointing judges that respect foundational precedents like Roe. We are also committed to ensuring that we work to eliminate maternal and infant health disparities, increase access to contraception, and support families economically so that all parents can raise their families with dignity. This commitment extends to our critical work on health outcomes around the world.

As the Biden-Harris Administration begins in this critical moment, now is the time to rededicate ourselves to ensuring that all individuals have access to the health care they need.

For Joe Biden and many others, ‘reproductive health care’ includes ‘the right to choose’ to kill an innocent, unborn baby.  You do not need to read any further about health care for everyone.  It is not true.  If you cannot provide health and care to a defenseless baby in the womb, how can you possibly think you are going to have people’s best interests in mind with anything else?!

Joe Biden also has written to the United Nations on 1/21/21 that the USA will rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO).   The WHO maintained that abortions were necessary during the pandemic.  (Joe Biden stated the same in an interview on April 28, 2020.)  In so doing, millions of US tax payer dollars will be given to Planned Parenthood International.

So, if the boyfriend who paid for the abortion comes to me and asks why he is separated from the Church and forbidden from receiving Holy Communion until the penalty is removed – which is the truth, but others who say they are Catholic seek to enshrine abortion in law and provide tax-payer funds for abortions receive Holy Communion, what am I to tell him?

God bless

FRVW

Encourage One Another by Word and Deed

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2021 Bishop’s Lenten Appeal (BLA) Encourage One Another by Word and Deed 
This weekend every household in our parish will be asked to consider making a Bishop’s Lenten Appeal (BLA) pledge or gift. The BLA provides an opportunity to unite as a Catholic family and support programs, ministries and services that no single individual or parish could offer by itself. After reflecting upon the many blessings that God has given you, please prayerfully consider making a BLA pledge. Every donation is vital to the success of the BLA. You may complete a pledge card at Mass, mail in your pledge, scan the QR code or go online to www.arlingtondiocese.org
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2021, Year of St. Joseph

On December 8, 2020 Pope Francis declared this liturgical to be the year of St. Joseph.  It is an inspiration of the Holy Spirit to do so.  As we muddle through social and political struggles that carry over from Covid-2020, we are very aware of the workings of the demons.  Who is the ‘Terror of Demons’?  It is one of the titles of St. Joseph.  Joseph: the silent, poor, humble carpenter that Our Lord chose to be His foster-father and virginal spouse of Our Lady.  This strong man was the protector of the Holy Family.  He was given the title Protector of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1870 as secular forces sought to kill the pope in Rome. 

Perhaps, every one of us can make a new year’s resolution to become more devoted to St. Joseph in 2021.  There are many prayers that invoke his powerful intercession – his litany is particularly beautiful.  St. Teresa of Avila, the great Carmelite mystic, said Joseph never failed her.  Mother (St.) Teresa of Calcutta often went to Joseph for various needs.

To get to know St. Joseph in a deeper way this year, not only are prayers important, but reading the insights of the saints can be helpful.  One book that has summarized prayers and insights of St. Joseph is by Fr. Don Calloway.  The book is entitled, Consecration To St. Joseph.  It is designed to be used within a thirty day preparation for consecration to St. Joseph.

The one human person who loved Jesus and Mary more than any other is St. Joseph.  As he protected the God-man and His Mother, Joseph will do the same for us this year.  We just need to do as he did and love Jesus and Mary daily!

God bless

FRVW

Epiphany

There is a conflict between Faith and Science!  Really?  Not from the angle of Faith, namely the Catholic Faith.  The Catholic Faith has no fear of science.  Why are people of science fearful of the Faith?  Ah, some will say they are not afraid of Faith.  Why not present the whole truth, history between Faith and Science then?!  Perhaps, it would be good for us to consider just a few points.

God is the creator of the spiritual and physical world.  As people of faith, there is no worry that science will discredit and/or contradict God’s existence and all His tenets.  Why should there be any conflict between the spiritual and physical world if they have the same Author?

If one does not admit God’s existence, how did matter that breaks down and vanishes exist?  The ‘pure’ evolutionist will say it was some sort of release of energy – call it a ‘Big Bang’ – that brought matter into existence and started evolution.  Hmmm.  There’s a problem rooted in the faith of the evolutionist.  Yes, I said ‘faith of the evolutionist.’  What caused the Big Bang if not a Being that exists outside of it and is not dependent any other power for existence?  What caused that release of energy?  Where did the initial matter come from that blew up?  It did not get there on its own!  Again, something outside of the material world had to have created it.  In both cases the evolutionist has faith, belief without seeing, because he believes in these things without proof!  Every evolutionist has faith, just a blind faith.  (We should not forget that the author of the Big Bang Theory was a Catholic priest, Fr. Georges Lemaitre.   He attempted to show that God could have created the universe using a Big Bang!)

But, the Catholic Church has been anti-science!  It silenced Galileo when he taught the truth of the solar system revolving around the sun rather than the earth.  Yes, there were some clerics who overreached their bounds with Galileo.  But, was it because of the subject of his teaching?  Let’s not forget who Galileo followed in his thought of a heliocentric solar system.  Copernicus taught the same roughly a century before Galileo.   He was not disciplined by the Catholic Church.  Actually, do you Copernicus’ full name?  Nicholas Copernicus.  Father Nicholas Copernicus was a Catholic priest!

For those of you who are Star Trek devotees, what is the name of the captain in the ‘Next Generation’ Star Trek?  Jean Picard?  Fictional?  He is not a fictional character totally.  He was a Catholic priest in the 1600s who developed the standard method for measuring the right ascension of a celestial object.  The ‘Picard’ mission, an orbiting solar observatory, was named after him.  Coincidence?

There have been thousands of faithful Catholics who have contributed to and been involved in science throughout the centuries.  It is dishonest and ignorant to claim otherwise.  Today, as we remember the Three Wise Men whose study of the stars led them to Jesus, God, may we be led to Jesus by our study of science.

God bless FRVW

Feast of the Holy Family

On behalf of all the priests we hope that everyone is having a holy and joyful Christmas! Recall, Christmas is not just the celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ for one day. It is eight day celebration of Jesus’ Birth and the God-man’s presence in the world!

What is God’s definition of a successful family? It would be the family of which the Son of God was a part, The Holy Family. The key to a successful family is holiness – godliness. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph was poor and unnoticed by the ‘powerful’ of their time. Yet, they were the most influential family in all of history! Why? The Holy Family was rooted in God and doing His Will.

How important are truly successful – holy – families to the world? The Son of God chose to be a part of a family. God’s example always teaches us what is best. He chose to have a mother and father on earth. He did not come as an individual, but as a part of a community of persons –similar to the Community of Persons in the Blessed Trinity. The family is the MOST important entity to society according to the example of Jesus Christ! Future husbands/fathers and wives/mothers are raised in a family. Future consecrated men and women learn to give of themselves first in the family before they give themselves to God. Single men and women learn to give of themselves selflessly first in the family. Does Our Lord provide when tragic events separate families? Yes. However, the family is the root for love and society.

On today’s Feast of the Holy Family it is good for us to ponder the home, the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We see the focus on Jesus, God. We see sacrificial love between Mary and Joseph. We see respect and obedience in the Christ Child. We see a family that lived and interacted much each day – the holy house of Nazareth is only ONE ROOM. We see joy and humility. There is so much for us to ponder and learn from Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

May our families resemble the Holy Family. May they truly be holy families that we may truly be successful!

God bless

FRVW

Hope from the 1500’s

Every few years I have the opportunity to teach high schoolers about one of the most critical centuries in human history, the 16th century. If you were alive in 1500 in Europe, you could go to any country in Europe and find Mass. ALL of Christian Europe was Catholic. It must have been a unique landscape in which to live.

1517 saw Martin Luther, a disgruntled Augustinian monk, begin his break with the Church and lead thousands upon thousands out of the Church. One of the key dates in the 1500s is 1521. When faced with German princes and the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, Luther refused to recant. He was protected by a few German princes which led to the separation in Christendom which we still experience.

To be a regular Catholic, it must have seemed as one’s world was being upended and torn apart. Perhaps, people asked where God was. How many in leadership, including leadership in the Church, seemed to have failed to protect the spiritual, moral and physical well-being of the human person.

And, yet, 1521 was an incredible year for the Catholic Church! 1521 saw the victory of Cortes over the human-sacrifice-centered Aztec empire in the New World. His victory paved the way for Our Lady to visit a humble convert in 1531 in Mexico City. December 12, 1531 the Mother of God left her image on the tilma of St. Juan Diego. Our Lady of Guadalupe would be the instrument of NINE MILLION conversions to Catholicism in the next ten years!

1521 also saw the conversion of a non-practicing Catholic soldier, Inigo Lopez. After an injury in a battle, he read the lives of Jesus Christ and the saints. He asked himself, ‘What if I were to do the same as Dominic and Francis?’ He consecrated his life to Our Lord. With six other men, two of which he was instrumental in their conversions, he founded the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. We know him as St. Ignatius of Loyola. Within one century Jesuits were converting and re-converting all over the globe! Consider that Jesuits went to the Far East; offered the sacraments in England when illegal to do so; were in Florida, Maryland, New York and other colonies in the New World; were in South America; etc.

May we always have a hope and trust in Our Lord that He is working in ways that we cannot see – in ourselves and in others! How He was active in Our Lady before His Birth!

God bless

FRVW

Fear

At the Incarnation of the Son of God, there is a natural emotion that is addressed in the Gospels: Fear, the aversion to a perceived danger.

The Archangel Gabriel appears to Zechariah and tells him, ‘Do not be afraid, for your prayer is heard, . . .’

After greeting Our Lady, Gabriel says to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’

St. Joseph is told by the angel, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; . . .’

Finally, the angel greets the shepherds, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy . . . .’

As a natural emotion, fear is neutral, neither good nor evil.  Virtue or vice is based upon a person’s response to fear.  Mary is said to have been ‘troubled’ at the Archangel’s words and visit.  Granted, an Archangel is visiting her; honoring her with the greeting, ‘Hail, full of grace’; inviting her to be the Mother of God – though she had taken a vow of virginity.  If there were any natural emotion of fear in Our Lady, she quickly gives it to God, the Father in total trust of His Plan: ‘Let it be done unto me according to Thy Will.’

How often does fear lead me to mistrust Our Lord?  To forget that He is my merciful, loving, almighty Father?  How often does fear paralyze me from prayer, works of mercy and my daily duties according to my state in life?  The devil often uses fear to paralyze us, to discourage us and to disrupt our peace of soul.

We have seen a good bit of attention given to fear this year, haven’t we?!  Paralysis from receiving the sacraments; from interacting with our fellow man?  How many have used fear to control others; fear of being fined or closed?  How many addictions from discouragement?  How much despair?

Fear of losing God’s life and going to hell, can be a motivator to avoid evil.  And, yet, it seems pretty clear fear often focuses us on this life only.  When we forget God is my Loving Father, fear of sickness, of suffering, of death can be overwhelming.  Welcome to our world of 2020!

Rather than acquiescing to messages of fear from many in our secular world, may we turn to Our Lady and ask her this Advent for a deeper trust in her Son.  For, it is His Birth that brings the message of Truth: ‘Be not afraid.’

God bless

FRVW

Fr. Jacques Philippe on Difficulties

We hope everyone has a holy, joyful and safe Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving, though some may argue, is a national holiday to give thanks to Almighty God!  It was established by George Washington to be on Thursday, November 26, 1789.  Lincoln, in 1863, changed the date to be the final Thursday of November.  Perhaps, a good custom would be to read the Thanksgiving Proclamations of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  They are completely focused on thanking God for His many gifts.

Over these many months Fr. Jacques Philippe’s writings and guidance have been encouraging.  I should be reading him everyday!  Perhaps, a recent thought from Interior Freedom would be helpful.

We also have to admit that difficulties, however hard they may be, bring not only disadvantages but also advantages.

The first advantage is that they prevent us from assuming exclusive ownership of our lives and our time.  They prevent us from shutting ourselves up inside our programs, our plans, our wisdom.  They liberate us from the prison of ourselves: our narrow-mindedness and narrowness of judgment.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55: 8-9)  The worst thing that could happen would be for everything to go exactly as we wanted it, for that would be the end of any growth.  To be able to enter little by little into God’s wisdom, infinitely more beautiful, richer, more fruitful, and more merciful than ours (cf. Romans 11: 33-36), our human wisdom needs a very thorough shake-up.  Not to destroy it, but to raise and purify it, and free it from its limitations.  It is always marked by a certain measure of selfishness and pride, and by lacks of faith and love.  Our narrow vision needs opening to God’s wisdom; we require an in-depth renewal.  Sin, by its nature, is narrowing: holiness is openness of spirit and greatness of soul. (pp. 50-51)

God bless FRVW