Dear Brothers and Sisters of St. Andrew the Apostle,
Thanks to all who prayed for an end to abortion and bore witness to the dignity of human life at the Life Chain last Sunday in Manassas. Thanks as well to Mike Spicer for organizing the event for the parish. This is Respect Life Month for the Catholic Church in the United States, as well as the month of the Rosary, so let us continue to pray to Rosary, fast, and witness by our words and deeds that all life is sacred, from conception to natural death.

In November, we will vote for our governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, and other representatives in Virginia. Bishop Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington and Bishop Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond released a letter reminding and instructing all Catholics to form their consciences well in preparation for voting. At the heart of their letter is the following statement: 

"These three foundational principles must guide how we vote:
  • Many issues are important.
  • Not all issues have equal moral weight.
  • Protecting life is paramount.
As Catholics, we must protect the sacredness of all human life."

In this month in which we recommit ourselves to protecting human life, let us understand our obligation to form our consciences on the truths revealed to us by our faith and help to bring about the changes necessary to respect human life from conception to natural death. To find out more information about the candidates, including side-by-side comparisons of their stances on important issues to our Catholic faith, please see the Virginia Catholic Conference website.
This Monday is Columbus Day. We will have Mass at 9:00 AM and 12:00 noon, but no 6:30 AM Mass. The church will be open from 8:00 AM until 9:00 PM, but the Eucharist will not be exposed as it usually is on weekdays. Also, the parish office will be closed. On Columbus Day we thank the Lord for the carrying of the Catholic faith to the new world 15 centuries after Christ's death and Resurrection! It was worth the wait! On Columbus Day we also pray for the Knights of Columbus throughout the world, and especially here at St. Andrew's. May they continue to grow in number and carry out the good works of our faith. 

Finally, the baseball playoff season has begun without the Baltimore Orioles. It was expected, so it stings a little less. There is a sadness that accompanies the end of your favorite baseball team's season. The following is from the beginning of an essay by former Major League Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti that sums up my feelings around this time of year: "It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops."

If you are a baseball fan, especially one who remembers the 1970s, I strongly recommend reading this essay. It's very good. Or you can listen to Bart Giamatti read it here. The protagonists in his essay are the Orioles, who ended the Red Sox season on the penultimate day of the 1977 season by defeating them 8-7.

Now hope in the Orioles is dead for one more season, but it springs up again. The Orioles pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Sarasota, FL, on February 15, 2022

Until then, know of my prayers, and go Ravens!

In Christ,
Fr. Wagner