Dear Brothers and Sisters of St. Andrew the Apostle,
On the last Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope Francis surprised and hopefully delighted us by declaring that starting on that day, December 8, we would celebrate a Year of St. Joseph. On that date, the Holy Father also published an Apostolic Letter to the Church called "Patris Corde (With a Father's Heart)" which is a spiritual reflection on St. Joseph and our devotion to this great patron of our Catholic Church.
Some spiritual resources for the Year of St. Joseph are found here. The Solemnity of Saint Joseph is March 19, 2021. While it is a Friday in Lent, it is not a day of abstinence from meat because it is a Solemnity, the highest feast of the Church. The Lord is gracious to us right in the middle of Lent! Fr. Bresnahan and I will likely partake in eating bacon to honor St. Joseph!
We will also honor him in more devotional ways throughout the parish. As a parish-wide novena, we will pray a prayer to St. Joseph after Mass during the nine days leading up to his Solemnity, from March 10 until March 18. We will have copies of this prayer at the entrances. We will pray this prayer after the St. Michael Prayer and the Hail Mary after Mass. Also, at the end of these prayers, we will add "St. Joseph pray for us," after "St. Andrew the Apostle pray for us."
In this Year of St. Joseph, let us all grow in devotion to the glorious patron of the Church.
This Sunday, Mark Sobczynski, a parishioner and also our long-time sacristan at St. Andrew's, will be installed as an acolyte by Bishop Burbidge at a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington. This rite is one more step in his formation to be a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Arlington. Because space is limited in the Cathedral, the Mass will be live-streamed by the Diocese of Arlington at their Youtube site. Please join me in praying for Mark on Sunday and as he continues his studies. May he continue to serve Jesus Christ and His Church with a generous heart.
This Sunday is also Scout Sunday in the parish. At the 9:00 AM Mass, we will celebrate our scouts and leaders from all of our varied scouting communities. Each of our scouts is free to practice their Catholic faith freely, and we thank their group leaders for promoting and teaching the Catholic faith to our young people.
Also at this Sunday's 9:00 AM Mass, we will have the First Scrutiny for those receiving the Sacraments of Initiation this Easter Vigil. Traditionally, there are three scrutinies during the Lenten season which are for the continuing conversion of the catechumens and our prayers for them. The Sunday readings for the Masses with the Scrutinies will be from the Gospel of John in Year A. We are currently in Year B, so the readings at the 9:00 AM Mass will be different than those at the other Masses; please be aware if you are attending. Let us continue to pray for those who will be entering the Church this Easter! What a blessing to see our parish continue to grow, even in this time of isolation and fear.
This Tuesday evening, the Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary is organizing a Lenten Holy Hour at 8:00 PM. I will be presiding and preaching at the Holy Hour, which will consist of Eucharistic Adoration, the Rosary, the Litany of Loreto, and a Gospel reflection on Martha and Mary. All are invited to attend. It will also be live-streamed.
Next Saturday, March 13, Fr. Bresnahan will be leading a retreat for the men of the parish beginning with the 9:00 AM Mass and continuing through 1:00 PM. The theme of the retreat is "St. Joseph: Model for Men", which is so fitting for the Year of St. Joseph. Contact Alvaro Rodriguez at email@example.com with any questions. We've extended the deadline for this retreat through this Monday, so please email Tony Paulson at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
May the Lord continue to bless us as we journey through this Lenten season together, seeking Christ through the practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Be assured of my prayers for you, and please pray for your priests as well!