Update on Projects
Our Lady of the Valley remains focused on and committed to good stewardship of our build- ings and grounds. To that end, we are reporting on in-progress and completed projects.
Two (2) dehumidifiers have been installed by Mountain Valley Home Comfort and are operating.
The parking lot is being sealed. Painting the spaces is contingent on weather conditions. The Harrisonburg Parking Lot Striping Company will complete as weather permits.
An AED (automated external defibrillator) has been purchased and will be installed next week. A qualified nurse will train ushers and any interested volunteers.
We are also looking into security cameras. More on that in a few weeks.
The new parish giving program will be rolled out in the next few weeks. This is online program will be a time saver for our offertory counters and be cost effective and time efficient for parish staff.
Our sincere thanks to our Parish Council, Finance Committee, and our generous parishioners for making these projects a reality.
God bless you,
Election Day is November 3. In Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (www.faithfulcitizenship.org), we and our brother U.S. bishops noted, “Unfortunately, politics in our country often can be a contest of powerful interests, partisan attacks, sound bites, and media hype. The Church calls for a different kind of political engagement: one shaped by the moral convic- tions of well-formed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and the vulnerable. … We are called to bring together our principles and our political choices, our val- ues and our votes, to help build a civilization of truth and love” (no. 14).
To grow in holiness, a question each one of us must answer is: How will I respond to this call for a different kind of engage- ment? This question is key as we approach Election Day, as well as every day before and after it, as faithful citizens.
In a pre-election letter on voting decisions we issued last year, we offered three main points:
Many issues are important.
Not all issues have equal weight. Protecting life is paramount.
As bishops responsible for the pastoral care of the faithful in our two dioceses, we re-offer these points here for your continued prayerful consideration, as an essential framework not only for the critical voting decisions that must be made each year but also for the vital prayer and advocacy that must be done on a constant basis.
Whenever human dignity is at stake for any of our brothers and sisters in the human family, we must be attentive and engaged. “[R]espect for the dignity of every person … is the core of Catholic moral and social teaching” (Faithful Citizenship, no. 10).
Our moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts – which are “always incompatible withlove of God and neigh-
bor” (Faithful Citizenship, no. 22) – “has a special claim on our consciences and our actions” (no. 37). Of these, abortion is the “preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and be- cause of the number of lives destroyed” (Faithful Citizenship, Introductory Letter). Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, there have been more than 61 million abortions in our country. Other issues of grave moral importance “undercut the dignity ofthe human person” (nos. 22, 23). Our priority must be to protect life to the fullest extent possible.
For more on the principles involved in voting with a well-formed conscience, we encourage you to read paragraphs 34-37 of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (www.faithfulcitizenship.org). For a side-by-side comparison of what the two major-party Presidential candidates have said or done on a wide range of issues of importance to Catholics, visit www.vacatholic.org. The side-by-side comparison was compiled jointly by a number of state Catholic conferences, including the Virginia Catholic Conference.
On November 3, please vote. Every day, please seek and live out the “different kind of political engagement” that will provide a clear example to others of the civility and consistent concern for the common good we are all called to embrace.
Faithfully Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Arlington
Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout
Bishop of Richmond
This weekend’s Gospel, the Parable of the Tenants, helps us understand how we, the tenants of the Vine- yard, should behave and how we should follow Jesus and heal the world.
Jesus once again speaks to the priests and elders with a parable about the Vineyard; a theme from the two Sunday’s prior gospels. In this parable, the landowner leases his Vineyard to tenants and sends his servants to collect the portion of the harvest that the tenants owe to him.
The servants are often sent to collect a payment, and each time they are beaten and killed by the tenants. Fi- nally, the landowner sends his son to collect his rent. The tenants, believing that they will inherit the Vine- yard if the landowner dies without an heir, plot together and kill the landowner’s son.
After telling the parable, Jesus questions the chief priests and elders about what the landowner will do to the wicked tenants. They all agree that the landowner will kill the wicked tenants and give the land to new ten- ants who will pay the rent.
In telling this parable, Jesus is drawing upon Isaiah 5:1-7, which is today’s first reading and one that the priests and elders would have known well. Jesus doesn’t have to explain the symbolism of the parable; the Pharisees would have understood that the Vineyard represented Israel, the landowner represented God, the servants represented the prophets, and the bad tenants represented the religious leaders.
Yet Jesus nonetheless explains the parable’s meaning: The Kingdom of God will be taken from the unbe- lieving and given to the faithful. The chief priests and elders have condemned themselves with their answer to Jesus’ question.
Matthew names the religious leaders as Pharisees and chief priests. Clearly, this Gospel shows the tension that was mounting between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders who thought that his message was dangerous.
Matthew’s Gospel was written about 70 years after Jesus’ death and reflected the conflicts and tensions found in the Christian community at that time. Conflicts and tensions that are, sadly, still with us today in our modern-day Vineyard.
This Gospel reminds us of the importance of listening to God’s word. In many ways, God speaks to us through Scripture, through our Church tradition, in our Church’s teaching, and through modern-day proph- ets. Are we attentive and receptive to God’s word to us through these messengers? Are we tending to His Vineyard with an eye toward everlasting life?
(Excerpt from Loyola Press Oct 2017)
Continuing with the theme of being good tenants in our very own Vineyard, please know that, thanks to your generosity, we have accomplished (or are in the process of accomplishing) the following projects:
1. Dehumidifiers installed in the Church basement to alleviate moisture and mold potential.
2. Parking lot lines of demarcation for parking spaces, handicapped spaces, and delivery/fire lane spaces will begin the week of October 12th.
3. Moving the parish office and personnel out of the Rectory and into the existing confessional space.
4. Starting an online parish giving system; details to be announced.
5. An Automated external defibrillator has been ordered.
Enjoy this beautiful Fall weather and keep your Vineyard in a manner that will be ready to welcome Jesus.
God Bless You,
The Knights of Columbus are collecting aluminum cans to raise money to support our KOVAR charity.
In the past you have seen our members in their yellow vests handing out Tootsie Rolls and collecting money. Due to the pandemic we are not following that path this year.
Please help us by donating your cans. They can be deposited in the trailer located near the utility pole at the back of the parking lot.
KOVAR is a Virginia Knights of Columbus Charity established in 1971 to provide financial assistance through grants and home loans to tax exempt organizations providing training and assistance to citizens with intellectual disabilities.
See www.kovarva.org for more information
In the Gospel passage for this Sunday, the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Our Lord and Savior presented three parables to the crowds concerning the kingdom of heaven, and at the request of his disciples, he explained the first parable of the weeds to them.
Our Lord spoke in parables in order to teach and illustrate various matters concerning the Son of Man and His kingdom in familiar terms which the people understood matters which “lain hid- den from the foundation of the world” and remains hidden until its fulfillment at the end of time.
The parable was the way in which Our Lord would unlock and reveal the supernatural mysteries of God and heaven in real and tangible ways to those who were willing to hear Him.
As for the parable of the weeds; during the time Our Lord dwelt on the earth, it wasn’t uncom- mon for one’s enemy, in an act of malice, to ruin another’s crops by planting weeds among his good wheat growing in a field.
And the only way to save the wheat was to let the wheat and weeds grow together until the wheat was ready to harvest, and then, the wheat and weeds would be gathered together and then separated.
In Our Lord’s explanation of the parable of the weeds, He teaches His disciples about the mis sion of His work in the world in spreading good seed . The adversary plots to ruin the good seed, who are the children of God, by planting weeds or bad seeds along with the good seed, and how God allows the good to coexist with the bad for only a limited time. The harvest, at the end of time,the weeds will be collected and discarded.
In all, the parable of the weeds illustrates for us the mystery of God allowing evil to exist with the good in this world; (a world which had been saved through the blood of His only Son), and the eschatological events in which the evildoers and scandalmongers are separated from the innocent and righteous people at the Last Judgment by Our Lord, a just and merciful judge.
Simply put, the unrepentant sinners will suffer eternal punishment in a place of “wailing and grinding of teeth” (totally isolated away from God), and the just and righteous will go to their eternal reward in heaven.
I hope this finds you well and in good health.
We have been blessed during the past few weekends, to once again have travelers and visitors from afar join us for Holy Mass.
With the gradual opening up of businesses and other activities, I, too, have traveled to Fairfax and Prince William Counties in the last few days.
Keeping this in mind and given the current situation with CoVID-19, I have personally increased the use of my face coverings while offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a precaution to keep you safe and healthy; as well as our visitors.
As per diocesan guidelines, the use of a nose and mouth covering is highly encouraged. There are, of course, exceptions for those who are unable to wear masks due to health conditions.
In the meantime, we will continue to pray for those affected by CoVID-19 and maintain the minimum six-foot social distancing. If we exceed capacity meaning the six-foot distancing cannot be main- tained ( the phase 3 limits 250 persons) we will ask people to sit outside.
As a reminder we reiterate here the guidelines from the Arlington Diocese and Bishop Burbidge for the safe and reverent offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
For Those Who Are Vulnerable · If you or those for whom you care are “vulnerable” to infection or the serious effects of coronavirus, please avoid gatherings of the general public. Those who are “vulnerable” are over the age of 65, have existing heart or lung conditions, have diabetes, &/or are otherwise immuno-compromised
Face Coverings · You are highly encouraged to wear a cloth face covering or disposable face mask. Please bring your own.
Social Distancing –
If the number of participants exceeds the limit, the priest or a minister will have to ask individuals to leave. Please avoid putting our beloved priests & ministers in this unfortunate posi- tion. Above all, exercise charity! Social Distancing · The Diocese requires every parish to ensure so- cial distancing with due respect for the reverent enactment of the sacred rites. Kindly follow the direc- tions of ministers, as well as posted signs & markings.
As always, I am grateful for our parish family, and ask God’s continued blessings and grace to you and your families.
I write to you with much gratitude for your generosity over the last few months as we endured the pandemic, and I thank you for your patience, kindness and your understanding as we have been limited in our capacity regarding the use of the main church and the adjoining annex at Sunday Masses.
Now we have some good news to share:
- Parish activities will resume this month on a limited basis as per diocesan guidelines.
- We will have to maintain the six foot distancing directive as well as the Commonwealth’s current mandate on face coverings (which include exceptions for health reasons).
- There is a capacity limit of 50 persons, but our groups fall well under that number
- At present we will use the annex for our meetings so that we may observe the social distancing required by the diocese.
- We have resumed the praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet after daily Mass and the Our Lady of Perpetual Help prayers after Saturday morning Mass.
May the good Lord bless you and keep you in good health,
Praise and gratitude to the Lord God always and a most blessed Pentecost to all of you.
We have so much to be thankful for as we were able to finish the Easter Season in the last few weeks by celebrating Holy Mass with a congregation.
This weekend marks the completion of the Easter Season with the solemn commemoration of Pente- cost. Fifty days after Our Lord’s glorious Resurrection and ten days after His Ascension to the right hand of His Eternal Father. This solemnity commemorates the Holy Spirit descending upon Mary and the remaining Apostles in the form of tongues of fire.
Throughout the history of the church, many people call this solemn day the “birthday of the Church.”
As we move from the Easter Season back to Ordinary Time, we must always be mindful of the Holy Spirit working in our daily lives. After all, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Peace, the Spirit of Joy, and the Spirit of Love, are at work in our lives every day.
These attributes of the Holy Spirit are indicators that The Spirit is a mover, and we must remain co- operative and docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and His wisdom always.
Our 24-hour votive candles were initially ordered in March from a New York vendor. Subsequently, due to the pandemic, the order was delayed.
We are now using a different vendor, and the candles are expected to arrive early next week. In the meantime, light a spiritual candle in your heart with prayer and supplication to Jesus. Thank you for your patience and understanding
Our Lady of the Valley Parish community wishes to say thank you to our Director of Religious Edu-cation David Seals, for his hard work, dedication, and faithful execution of his duties to our parish family. Please join me in thanking David for his ministry and in wishing him well in his future endeavors. God bless you and your family, David.
Please know how grateful I am, (and I know the parishioners are as well) for the hard work our parish cleaning crew is doing to keep us all safe. Thank you, Ladies!
We are also appreciative of the volunteers who came out to help us move furniture, measure, delineate social distancing spaces, do all the necessary things to remain safe and healthy, and help us reopen the church to the parishioners and visitors.
To maintain social distancing, you will notice some of our pews are cordoned off and cannot be used.
Most importantly, we ask that you adhere to the following guidelines as given by the Diocese.
You will notice two blue strips of tape to the right and the left of the altar; please sta- tion yourself there to receive Holy Communion. Our ushers will direct you, one pew at a time.
I will come to you with Communion, which you may receive in the hand or on the tongue ( your preference) while maintaining six feet of social distancing between com- municants.
Thank you for your understanding, patience, and cooperation as together, with Jesus and His Blessed Mother, we get thrpough these challenging times.
I remain so humbled and grateful to you for continuing your very generous weekly. offertory.
My prayers, gratitude and God’s grace to all of you, Father Perez
Our Lady of the Valley
200 Collins Avenue
Luray, VA 22835
Father Edwin Perez, Pastor