From our Pastor

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.
Father Perez

Social Distancing

Dear Parishioners:

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

Guidelines from the Diocese

May 15, 2020

It is great news that we are now beginning to offer public celebrations of the Mass in some areas of our diocese. While we would like to join together as quickly as possible, we must proceed cautiously, consistent with guidance from state and local officials and health experts, in an effort to continue protecting the health and safety of parishioners, volunteers, staff, clergy and all who serve throughout the Diocese.

As we move forward, portions of the Diocese will reopen at different times as the commonwealth takes a regional approach to Phase One of re-opening.

Governor Ralph Northam originally announced that many areas of the commonwealth will enter Phase One of re-opening on May 15. At the request of local officials in Northern Virginia, the Governor has delayed Northern Virginia’s reopening until at least May 29. The areas impacted are Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties (and those cities located within that area) along with the City of Alexandria.

Parishes in Northern Virginia will not be able to celebrate public Masses at this time. However, all parishes in these Northern Virginia counties are permitted, but not mandated, to conduct Communion services, provided they are done in a manner consistent with existing social distancing protocols and health and safety guidelines. It is left to the prudential judgement of each pastor to determine if his parish is able to move in this direction. Please contact your local parish to see if it will be offering this liturgy.

Beginning May 16, parishes outside of Northern Virginia will be permitted, but not mandated, to resume public celebration of the Mass if the parish’s pastor feels confident that Masses can be celebrated safely and in accordance with diocesan protocols. As such, parishioners outside of Northern Virginia should contact their parish to know if Masses will be publicly celebrated. During this time and due to capacity limits, please do not plan to attend liturgies at any parish other than your own. Parishes will continue to livestream the Mass to the best of their ability.

Guidelines for celebrating the Mass in Phase One include gathering at no more than 50% of the lowest occupancy of the room or facility, ensuring proper social distancing and diligently maintaining cleaning schedules. Additionally, all parishioners are expected to wear face coverings while on parish property. Due to social distancing requirements, not all parishes will be able to accommodate 50% capacity. Pastors of parishes outside of Northern Virginia have the discretion to decide if they can safely enter Phase One. For the health of our priests and in order to allow for thorough cleaning between Masses, not all parishes will maintain a normal Mass schedule.

Until further notice, I am continuing the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. I encourage those who are 65 years old or older, as well as those with underlying health conditions, to avoid gatherings of the general public and attending public liturgies.

In laying out the details of how we move forward, I will continue to be assisted by the Diocese of Arlington’s Reintegration Working Group, which has been meeting regularly and is providing requirements, recommendations and resources to parishes as they begin to hold public Masses.

Key resources have been provided to help parishioners worship safely. In consultation with our pastors, I am confident we are responding to the best of our ability to the spiritual and physical well-being of the faithful and making appropriate progress in upholding with public health and federal, state and local directives. As this situation continues evolving, each phase will allow us the opportunity to take steps in a positive direction in unity and faith.

May we continue to pray for one another and all those who need our prayers, especially at this time.

We will continue to keep the faithful updated as the situation evolves.

The latest updates and resources from the Diocese can be found at https://ArlingtonDiocese.org/coronavirus

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Welcome Back!

Dear Parishioners:
As we are reopening our churches in the Arlington Diocese and in particular, our beloved Our Lady of the Valley, while still maintaining guidelines of social distancing, I wanted to take this time to applaud your efforts by making the best of the stay at home mandate.

I want to personally thank you for enduring the spiritual, social, and financial challenges we have faced during these unequaled events. I am a grateful witness to you, our parishioners, for your ever-strengthening faith and of your steadfast devotion to Jesus and His Blessed Mother.

A special note of gratitude for your response to the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. Our assigned goal from the Diocese was $21,000. However, the OLV parishioners, in an unprecedented spirit of stewardship, have pledged $22,600. That is 108% of the goal. Thank you, and know that your gifts will be so welcome to the projects and programs supported by the BLA.

I remain so humbled and grateful to you for continuing your very generous weekly contributions.
I know you will continue to be patient as we navigate these new waters of modified gatherings.

My prayers, gratitude and God’s grace to all of you,
Father Perez

Happy Easter

Although today may not be filled with the glorious gatherings, delicious brunches, and family Easter egg hunts we’re accustomed to, Jesus Christ has still conquered the grave, and no virus, cancellations, or any circumstance can change that. 
Let us rejoice in this most important day! Try to find joy in the small blessings–the sunshine and blooming flowers–and also in the hope we have knowing our Savior has conquered death.
Our church is praying for you, and we look forward to gathering together again soon!
“He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” – Matthew 28:6

Greetings from Your Pastor: Passion Sunday

palm sundayI hope this note finds you and your loved ones well and in good health.

Today is Passion Sunday and the Universal Church has entered Holy Week.

This week will culminate with the holiest days of the year with the Paschal Triduum. Throughout this Lenten season, we have suffered from the inability to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the fullest sense, and it is not surprising if the words of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” ran in your minds in these present days.

Our Savior prayed these words as He hung dying upon the cross. Our Lord knew what it was to suffer as He obediently submitted to the will of His Eternal Father, enduring calumnies, the scourging, mockeries, a crown of thorns, bearing and carrying the cross, and bodily death.

Jesus knowingly suffered and died for us, to save us from our sins, so that we may have eternal life.

His suffering and death save us from our sins so that we may be reconciled with God and share in His eternal glory.

As Christians, we are reminded, whenever we look at the crucifix, that Jesus Christ was glorified through the cross. Christ received His glory upon the cross, and by His Passion and Death, He came to His glory.

Our glory will come through the crosses that Our Lord allows us to have; provided that we embrace them just like Christ embraced His.

Our crosses may be small and at times, they may seem to be large, but our crosses always share in Christ’s cross, and Christ is our strength and protection as we endure our daily crosses.

We have to keep our minds and hearts focused on Our Lord day in and day out as we persevere in prayer, in the life of faith, hope, and love, and sacrifice.

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee; because by Thy holy Cross, thou hast redeemed the world.

The Glory of the Resurrection will soon be upon us. Remain steadfast during the coming days.

5th Sunday of Lent

Greetings from Your Pastor: 5th Sunday of Lent         

I hope this message finds all of you well and that you are reaping the many graces through the prayers and devotions that you are offering. 

It is our second weekend of the suspension of public Masses, and our separation from each other as a parish family.

I am humbled and so appreciative of our parishioners who dropped off/sent in your offerings. It is needed, and I am so grateful.

 Also, it is edifying to see many of you taking advantage of the open church to pray in front Our Eucharistic Lord in the tabernacle.

 In these challenging days, it is very fitting that Sunday’s Gospel passage for Holy Mass should be the “Raising of Lazarus.” It is very consoling to witness the compassion of Jesus as He wept for his dead friend. One thing is very certain about Our Lord in this passage from the Gospel of John; Jesus is in total control, and He shows not only His compassion and mercy, but He also manifests His glory in resuscitating Lazarus who had been dead for four days. A great miracle indeed! After all, He is the Resurrection and the Life, and that knowledge gives us much consolation as well as confidence as we navigate through this world of suffering day in and day out.

   As we take each day as it comes, we have to remind ourselves the Our Lord is in total control. Humility and patience are essential when allowing Our Lord and King to operate in our day to day lives. When we defer to Him, then He can do what may be deemed impossible in our lives. All things are possible with Him.

Let us, individually and collectively, continue our journey of prayer and sacrifice as we draw ever closer to the glorious day of His resurrection.

Saving for a rainy day

Saving for a Rainy Day (like today) as Modeled in Scripture By MSGR.  CHARLES POPE

In the young adult Bible study at my parish (conducted on Zoom during the current crisis), we have been reading through the Book of Genesis. Most recently, we’ve been studying the story of Joseph the Patriarch. Genesis 41 features the memorable story of how Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream of the seven cows and the seven sheaves of grain. God’s word always seems to be right on time: this story gave us an opportunity to discuss the anxiety brought about by the pandemic, with a particular focus on the fact that most of us were caught unprepared.

Let’s ponder a very simple yet often-forgotten principle taught in Chapter 41 of Genesis.

The basic story is that Pharaoh has troubling dreams that his advisers cannot explain. In the dream, Pharaoh sees seven fat cows near the banks of the Nile. These cows are devoured by seven skinny cows, who nonetheless remain skinny. He also sees seven sheaves of plump, ripe wheat devoured by seven withered sheaves (cf Gen 41:17-24). Pharaoh is told that a gifted man named Joseph, currently in jail, is able to interpret dreams.

Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream as follows (as poetically rendered in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat):

Seven years of bumper crops are on their way

Years of plenty, endless wheat and tons of hay

Your farms will boom, there won’t be room

To store the surplus food, you grow

After that, the future doesn’t look so bright

Egypt’s luck will change completely overnight

And famine’s hand will stalk the land

With food an all-time low

Noble king, there is no doubt

What your dreams are all about

All these things you saw in your pajamas

Are a long-range forecast for your farmers

And I’m sure it’s crossed your mind

What it is you have to find

Find a man to lead you through the famine

With a flair for economic planning

But who this man could be I just don’t know

Who this man could be I just don’t know

Who this man could be, I just don’t know!

Joseph advises Pharaoh to decree that one-fifth of the harvest be set aside during the seven years of plenty to prepare for seven years of famine. All other excesses should also be stored rather than squandered. In this, then, are some lessons for us:

First, famines, economic crises, and other disasters will inevitably come for us who live in this Paradise Lost. It is important to expect them and to plan for them. It’s been quite some time since something this serious has befallen us in the United States. Even September 11, 2001, a tragedy to be sure, didn’t keep us down for long; we recovered rather quickly. In retrospect, this quiet period made us a bit complacent; we stopped storing provisions “for a rainy day.”

My grandparents’ generation (“The Greatest Generation”) endured numerous hardships and disasters: two world wars, the Great Depression, and the Spanish Flu epidemic, which alone killed 675,000 Americans. They were more accustomed to the vicissitudes of life than we seem to be, and it affected them in many ways. One thing that I especially recall of that generation was that most of them were frugal; they were relentless savers. Even when I was very young, my grandparents made sure I had a savings account. My maternal grandmother opened an account on my behalf and seeded it with a modest sum. My siblings and I were encouraged to learn the discipline of saving money for the future.

And all of this is well-rooted in the biblical teaching of Joseph, who admonished Egypt to save in plentiful times because difficult days were inevitable.

More recent generations, including mine, have fallen short in this. We tend to spend whatever we have, and the only saving we do is for retirement. But unexpected events often come before retirement. Many of us spend more than we earn and use credit foolishly. In doing this, we fail to respect the biblical wisdom taught by Joseph.

With the heavy restrictions imposed (rightly or wrongly, properly or excessively) by civil authorities, too many people have found that they have little to nothing set aside to get them through business declines or temporary unemployment. Government payments/loans may be justly offered because the economic downturn was driven by an external event. But the current situation still illustrates a problem: most of us are unprepared for even a few months of reduced or no income.

Perhaps we can learn the lesson our ancestors lived: we must save for the proverbial rainy day. With Joseph the patriarch to encourage us, we need to rediscover the merits of saving. This is perhaps a small and obvious lesson, but apparently, it hasn’t been obvious enough.

Flocknotes Notice

Dear Parishioners:

During these challenging times, we must be able to communicate with you by utilizing our Flocknote program.

We’ve been advised ( after much research) by the technology professionals at Flocknote that some of our communications are not reaching you.

 The emails have been going into a spam folder. When our email to you bounces back three times, your email is deleted from the Flocknote platform.

It is essential to add Flocknote to your contacts.

Please add mail@flocknote.com to be sure we can keep you updated as events and information are rapidly changing.

Call the parish office ( 540-743-4919) for additional information or help

Remember to stay safe and know that Jesus is ALWAYS with us!

Adding Google Contacts

Adding Google Contacts

 

Update March 23

Dear Parishioners,
It is a great sadness for Bishop Burbidge and me that our parish, as well as all parishes in the Arlington Diocese, will not be able to offer public Masses until further notice.
This measure was taken to protect our physical health, but we must also seek to ensure our spiritual health.
Together, we continue our journey of faith and have trust in our Lord Jesus, who is with us at all times! I share the information below to assist you and your family at this time of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Prayer, Spiritual Enrichment and Options for viewing the celebration of Mass Online
With public Mass canceled, Bishop Burbidge asked pastors to keep churches open, so those who choose to pray in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord, can do so while remaining a safe distance from others and not exceeding a 10-person limit.
The church is open from 7:30 am until 8:00 pm.  I also encourage you individually or as a family to devote time to prayer, observe Mass on television/internet, and pray the Rosary or other devotions.
Prayers and Ministries, we are Maintaining
In the ever-changing environment, we will be sending daily or weekly Flocknotes to our parishioners. Please be sure our parish office has your current and correct contact information.
Emergencies
I will continue to be available to you for sacramental emergencies.  As our office may have unusual hours, please use the following numbers in this order:
Parish Office #540-743-4913
Sacramental Emergency Only # 540-742-7530
Kathy Murphy- 617-827-4556
Our parish website is www.ourladayofthevalleyluray.org
Parish Operations and Offertory
Please know of my gratitude for your faithful support of our parish.  We have continuing operating needs, and our offertory is the primary source of revenue to meet these expenses. I recognize that some of you may have less income, depending on your circumstances, and we trust in God’s goodness to see you through these financial constraints.
Please know that sustaining our financial support is so necessary to maintain our payroll, parish operations, and outreach programs during these uncertain times. There are several ways you may make your weekly offering:
1. By utilizing PayPal. The link to donate can be found on our website
2. You may mail your envelopes to the church at 200 Collins Avenue, Luray, VA 22835
3. You may place your offering envelopes in the poor box or candle box. (Envelopes only please)
As I noted, this Lent is like none we have ever encountered. I encourage you to focus on our Lord during this liturgical season and pray you will continue to grow in your faith through prayer, sacrifice, and almsgiving in the challenging times ahead.
Be assured of my gratitude for your financial support of our parish in these uncertain times, and know I will remember you and your families as I pray and offer Mass each day.  I humbly ask your prayers for me as well.  May the Peace of our Lord be with you!
Sincerely in Christ,
 Fr. Perez