Dear Brothers and Sisters of St. Andrew the Apostle,
This Saturday, Bishop Burbidge is ordaining four men to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington. Deacon Jonathan Smith is one of the men to be ordained, and we pray especially for him as he prepares to serve at St. Andrew the Apostle beginning on June 24. I will be at the ordination, which is limited to priests and family, and will welcome Fr. Smith to the priesthood and to St. Andrew the Apostle. He has already been here and met with Fr. Bresnahan and me, and he looks forward to being assigned here.
We pray also for Fr. Bresnahan in his last three weeks here at the parish. As a reminder, we will have a Holy Hour on his last Friday at the parish, June 18, as well as a reception for him after the 12:30 PM Mass on June 20. We give thanks to God for the time that Fr. Bresnahan was here at St. Andrew the Apostle, and we pray that the Lord continues to strengthen him as he builds up God's kingdom among the people of Nativity.
Each Priest offers a Mass of Thanksgiving after their ordinations. Usually, it is at their home parish. Fr. Smith is offering his Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary in Old Town. Because these Masses of Thanksgiving take place the day after ordination, Fr. Smith's will be on Corpus Christi Sunday. What a blessing to celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus for the first Mass as a principal celebrant!
Here at St. Andrew the Apostle, we have two special events this Corpus Christi. First, after the 9:00 AM Mass, Fr. Bresnahan will bless the new cross installed by the men of Trail Life at the picnic area. Then, our annual Corpus Christi Eucharistic procession will begin after Communion at the 12:30 PM Mass. As I write this on Friday, the weather looks like it will be sunny and hot! Let's pray it stays that way, although if the Lord wants it to be a little cooler, I'm fine with that.
The usual dispensations still apply: "This obligation does not apply to those who are ill; those who have reason to believe that they were recently exposed to the coronavirus, another serious or contagious illness; those who are confined to their home, a hospital, or nursing facility; or those with serious underlying health conditions. One should consult his or her local pastor if questions arise about the obligation to attend Mass (Canon 1245 and the Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 2181)."
Please reach out to me at the parish office if you do have concerns about whether the obligation applies to you. I know that there will be some trepidation for those who have been away from Mass since March of 2020, yet we pray that our fear is not unreasonable. This weekend as we celebrate Corpus Christi, we contemplate the true sacrifice that takes place at every Mass - the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ re-presented on the altar. This is the reason that the Church has always required attendance at Sunday Mass and Masses on Holy Days of Obligation. The obligation is for our sake. When we are at Mass, we are participating in the greatest event of our lives on earth. There is nothing better that we can do.
Bishop Barron, an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and the founder of the "Word of Fire" evangelization movement, released a short video speaking about the return to Mass and what it means to us. I encourage you to watch it here.
Since public Masses were suspended in March of 2020, we have been live-streaming daily Masses for those at home. Once the dispensation is lifted, we will no longer continue to live-stream the Masses. For those who are still homebound, there are several other online sources for Mass, such as the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, and EWTN (which also broadcasts Mass on television). I thank all of you for your patience with our live-streaming efforts, which were limited by our technical knowledge and our resources. I thank all who were instrumental in setting us up to live-stream, especially Fr. Bresnahan, who was the first to live-stream his Masses; Fr. Justin, who gave us the mixing board to input the sound system feed into the video, and Bob Downey, who improved the sound both in the chapel and over the live-stream videos.
On a completely unrelated topic, I want to update everyone on my beloved Baltimore Orioles, who ended a fourteen-game losing streak last week. It was the longest losing streak they had since 1988 when they lost the first 21 games of the year. I was a senior in high school that year, and because students could get $3 tickets at Memorial Stadium, I saw 3 of those 21 losses in person, including one where the winning run scored after a slow-rolling baseball went through the legs of an Orioles' outfielder. That's not something you see every day, much less to keep an historic losing streak alive. At least they were creative.
I remain an Orioles fan even after those tragic memories. We form allegiances and attachments to some rather trivial things, and even these bonds can withstand struggle and heartache.
How much more should our love and worship of the Holy Trinity strengthen us while withstanding all that the world, the flesh, and the Devil throw our way. May we never be fair-weather fans, but always devoted and faithful disciples through the trials and triumphs of life.
Please pray for me, and know of my prayers for you.