May 2021
St. John Neumann Catholic Community
Staffed by Oblates of St. Francis de Sales
Current Mass Times
Saturday: 5 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. (español)
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.

Saturday: 10-10:30 a.m. (English)
Sunday: 3-4 p.m. (español)
Pastor’s Perspective - Guest Writer
Improving Communications
We engage in communicating constantly.
What is communication? It has its origins in who we are as human beings. Since the beginning of humankind on earth, we have invented numerous languages, spoken and sign, way too many to count but so helpful in conveying a clear message. 
As unique as each individual is among 7.6 billion on earth, there are billions of ways in which we communicate. Every communication in which we engage is unique. I would go further by saying – each and every communication we engage in, will never be replicated by us or anyone else! Why would I make such a pronouncement? Because of our uniqueness, we choose to communicate at a moment in time, in a particular manner, based on the specific subject, with all its nuances, in a particular environment. If there are more individuals involved in the discussion the communication is more complex.
Enhancing effective communications calls for us to be prepared to listen effectively. That is avoiding or suspending ourselves from making assumptions or leaping to judgment. Expecting our communication to yield only our preconceived notion of what is the correct answer or approach will only inhibit an agreement.
We find contemporary communication can be accomplished by a wide variety of virtual electronic means. These means can be very efficient, but none of these are optimum in comparison to in person, face-to-face dialogue. The reason is that when we are engaged in face-to-face communication, we draw on a number of signs, signals, voice inflections, subtle body language that telegraph additional messages.
When we communicate effectively with respect, patience and show a desire to clearly understand what is being communicated, it opens us to continue the communication. This leads both or multiple parties to explore better ways to clearly interpret what is being communicated.
Communication is an art. Each of us transmits our individual art form uniquely. It is clear that no two people communicate exactly the same. Such as, no two artists, musicians or athletes perform in the same manner. Isn’t that wonderful! In our life time, we get to experience individual artists sharing their unique talent to entertain and enliven us
to the wonderful gifts God has given to those skilled communicators. 
Just as no two people are the same, no siblings, relatives, even twins communicate the same. We live at a special time and place and experience life differently. As we engage in a discussion to reach a compromise or accommodation, a discussion on the same topics will be slightly or greatly different the next time we meet. Why is this? Because each hour of each day we evolve, hopefully as a different model, as a better person.
Who do we speak to the most every day? No surprise - it is to ourselves. We create, ponder, decide, pray, debate, grieve and celebrate – each and every time uniquely.
As we anticipate an upcoming conversation with someone in which we may have differences of opinion, we should pause to take the high ground. First, suggest to ourselves, to consider what we may have in common, rather than initially going to our differences. Often, we are surprised that we can have a productive conversation. What is happening is, we are building a level of trust. We feel safe that our communication with another can lead to a win-win outcome. Especially, when there may be differences, hopefully minimal, we can still move to agree to disagree without damaging the relationship.
In my role as professor to university students, I place them in a designed conflict role play. Given their assigned roles, I have them attempt to negotiate an agreement. A valuable tool that may assist them is what we conflict managers call the 70% rule. This calls for each participant to evaluate whether he/she “can live with” 70% of the final negotiated agreement. The reality in communicating a successful outcome is often 70% or more in any set of negotiations. Anyone expecting to attain 100% of their interests is unrealistic. The lesson learned in an on-going relationship, is that there is always tomorrow to communicate once again. Especially when we have talked to ourselves and evolved to more creative solutions.  
Our loving Lord has given us many gifts to communicate effectively with one another. We should take advantage of these gifts and talents to live cooperatively, in peaceful relationships. An excellent role model to emulate, would be our parish’s patron.
St. Francis de Sales, who has said, “Without a doubt, one of the things which keeps us from attaining perfection is our tongue. When one has reached the point of no longer committing faults in speech, he has surely reached perfection, as was said by the Holy Spirit. The worst defect in talking is to talk too much. Hence, in speech be brief and virtuous, brief and gentle, brief and simple, brief and charitable, brief and amiable.”
Deacon John Wagner
Catechetical Corner
First Eucharist by Meghan Van Haute
“Wow, I look like a bride!” 
“Can I wear heels for my First Holy Communion?”
“I want a Lilly Pulitzer bow tie to wear with my seersucker suit!”
“I can’t wait to see Poppa and Babci, and GodPoppy, and Aunt Kate!”

These were just some quotes recently flurrying throughout our house in the lead-up to Grace’s First Holy Communion. She is our third child receiving this Sacrament, and our second receiving it during COVID.

This day is more than Grace’s special day. This is more than a gathering for family. This is a Sacrament; the first day she receives the body of Christ. Our family and extended family prioritize this celebration. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and Godparents block off the weekend, and book flights to be there from near and far. Friends know it is a special day; not all understand or appreciate the importance of this for us, as parents. 

“Do I say…. Congratulations?!??”
“I understand it’s a family obligation, but we really need her to pitch the game that day. It’s our first tournament….”

To explain the importance of receiving the Sacrament of First Holy Communion, as a parent, is not easy to put into words. Or to explain to those who don’t understand our Faith. This Sacrament, to us, is more than a ritual or a “rite of passage.” It is more than wearing your best clothes. It is more than a family gathering to celebrate a child.

The Sacrament of First Holy Communion is the first time our child is nourished by the Body of Christ. The Sacrament of First Reconciliation, where “the window is wiped clean and the light of Christ can shine again” (as Mickie so aptly phrases it for the children) is an important step in realizing your relationship with God. Receiving His body for the first time is momentous. 

As we go through life, we are faced with hurdles. We celebrate joys. We overcome obstacles. Learning to appreciate the gift and the nourishment that comes from the Eucharist is an invaluable lesson we can give our children and something they can take with them for their entire lives. Knowing that every week, on Sunday, we receive the Body of Christ, and take that with us as we live His word in our life is a blessing, and a gift that not everyone has. That all of our children are now able to fully share in this gift at Mass makes us truly grateful.

The first time our children receive His body assures us as parents that we are not in this alone. Jesus is guiding us, and caring for our children. And our children are sharing the word of God in their lives.

While it has been fun to make them feel special and to know they get special “fancy” clothes to wear; that their extended family is coming to celebrate THEM, the First Eucharist, to us as parents, means so much more. This is a joyous occasion where we, as parents, take comfort and know that our children are in communion with Christ. That they take with them – in their lives – the spirit of Christ. That they, for the first time, are fed by the love of God. And now they will rely on and turn to the Eucharist. Not only when times are tough, but also in good times, in times when they are able to rejoice in life, and when receiving Christ through communion adds a deeper meaning to that joy.
Catholic Mass Explained: Eucharistic Prayer: The Preface
By Fr. Don Heet, OSFS

The Eucharistic Prayer is the heart of the Sunday liturgy. Although the whole of the prayer is a single unit, there is so much there, so it will be helpful to consider it part by part.

We begin, appropriately enough, with the preface. As the name suggests, it begins the Eucharistic prayer. Although it changes from one season or even one day from another, it is an essential part of the prayer.

The preface begins with a dialogue: a greeting and response (“The Lord be with You” and “And with your spirit”) followed by two invitations to prayer (“Lift up your hearts” and “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God”). The congregation responds to the second with the affirmation, “It is right and just,” which leads into the preface itself. Often, but not always, the preface will pick upon and repeat the terms, “right and just” as the reason why we give thanks to God. As the General Introduction to the Roman Missal states, “the Priest, in the name of the whole of the holy people, glorifies God the Father and gives thanks to Him for the whole work of salvation or for some particular aspect of it, according to the varying day, festivity, or time of year.” That means that during the high liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, as well as major solemnities; feasts or memorials honoring apostles, martyrs, pastors, virgins, and religious; or special celebrations such as funerals or weddings, there are specific prefaces. There are a number of other prefaces that the presider can choose at other Masses that do not have a special theme, and there are prescribed prefaces for a number of the Eucharistic Prayers.

The structure of the preface is simple: The presider recalls the reason why — either specifically or generally — it is right and just to thank God, and then invites the congregation to join with all the angels and saints in giving praise to God with a heavenly hymn taken from the Book of Revelation in the Bible: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the Highest!
“Salt and sugar are both excellent things,
but too much of either spoils the dish.”
St. Francis de Sales
Ministry Leader Spotlight
John Dister
How long have you been a parishioner at SJN?
I and my wife, Pam, became parishioners at St John Neumann in 2001 after returning from an Army assignment in Bangladesh.

What ministries have you been involved with at SJN?
Both Pam and I have been in music ministry the longest, almost since we arrived in 2000. We started facilitating “JustFaith” faith formation programs around 2006, and we did that for about seven years until Tom and Michele Costello took over. We’ve periodically helped with other JustFaith programs since then and we recently helped to facilitate a JustFaith program called Faith and Racial Equity. We’ve tried to help out in the social justice committee. Both of us have been active in the ACTION ministry dealing with sexual abuse in the Church, and we also have helped to set up the Racial Justice Ministry in the past year. We also completed several sessions of Arise, which has now turned into a book group that continues to meet frequently.

I have helped with tutoring of children after the Spanish Mass, and starting about two years ago, I helped to set up an English as a Second Language (ESL) program aimed especially at adults attending that Mass. I am among the Kairos prison ministry volunteers from within the parish. I have to say that almost everything I do in the parish is because someone asked me to help. This is probably what I am most grateful for about St John Neumann: Other parishioners and the parish staff are always inviting me to help serve others, both in the parish and in our community, and the Oblates are always encouraging. Pat Schambach invited me to volunteer in Kairos. Deacon Dennis Holley invited us to participate in JustFaith. Celia Sandoval asked me to start ESL. Katelyn Calalfamo urged me to stay with the ACTION ministry when my attention flagged. CJ Capen and before him Susan Trainor pushed me to be a better minister of music, and fellow choir members always encouraged me when I sometimes got, well, lazy.

What is a memorable moment from your ministry work?
This is a really hard question to answer; there are so many times when I feel that I am able to be a part of something holy here at St. John Neumann. A highlight for me each year is singing in the Easter Vigil service, especially when the newly baptized re-enter the sanctuary. I remember one time when I was tutoring, and I was feeling a little discouraged, but I looked around the room at the young students being helped by the volunteer tutors, and all of the faces of the boys and girls were just radiant with happiness and interest and curiosity. It seems that every time I come into our church facilities there is something good and holy that I can witness or participate in. 

What is your favorite thing about being Catholic?
I love the way Catholics see the Incarnation, which we witness in the Eucharist. God is always really with us.

A fun fact about yourself:
I have learned to enjoy cooking since I retired in early 2020. 

Parish Events & Announcements
Please pray for our young parishioners receiving the sacrament of First Eucharist this month!

The Knights of Columbus Family of Man Council #7566 is offering three $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors and students already in college.
Further information and an application can be found on the Council’s website,

The Diocese of Arlington is looking for WorkCamp projects for our teens to complete. Projects will be completed for free. To learn more or apply, call 703-841-2559 or visit

Exposition and Adoration: Contact the Liturgy Office (703-860-6151) or add your name to the sign-up sheet outside the chapel for a half-hour slot on May 13.

The Racial Justice Ministry invites you to a Prayer Service of Lamentation on Friday, May 21 at 7 PM for all who have personally suffered from racism, who lament the state of racial injustice in our country, or who feel the need to repent of their own racist attitudes or their direct or indirect complicity with racism. Sign up to attend on the SJN website or watch virtually.

The Easter season ends with Pentecost on May 23.

The parish office is closed on Monday, May 31, for Memorial Day.

You can find the electronic SJN weekly bulletin on our website, both on the homepage and on the bulletin webpage. Or, sign up to have it delivered directly to your email inbox.
May Is the Month of Mary
Many ancient Western and European traditions have associated the month of May with life and motherhood, even predating Mother’s Day. Marking May with Marian devotions has become common practice since the 18th century, but “in 1945, Pope Pius XII solidified May as a Marian month after establishing the feast of the Queenship of Mary on May 31st” (Aleteia). After Vatican II, this feast moved to Aug. 22 and May 31 became the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which recognizes when the Virgin Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, mother of St. John the Baptist, following the angel Gabriel’s announcement that Mary was to have a son, the Messiah. May 13 is also the feast day for Our Lady of Fatima.

There are many ways to honor Mary during this special month. Here are a few suggestions:

The image of Mary and baby Jesus is a photo taken by A.Davey of a manuscript page held at the new Church of St. Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”
John 15:1-2