Labor Day

Dear Friends in Christ,

This coming Monday is Labor Day, a holiday known to most Americans as the end of summer and the reason for a long weekend. But that wasn’t always the case. It was originally established to honor American workers and, by extension, the dignity of labor itself. The meaning of human work has been at the center of debates in the public square since the industrial revolution.

The two opposing views (broadly speaking) hold that human labor is for the state, on one hand, or for the corporation, on the other. What these extremes have in common is that they view work in a materialistic manner. They both confine its purpose to this world only — to institutions, products, profit, etc. The Church has a different, loftier view of work. Scripture tells us that man was created and placed in the garden “to till it and to keep it” (Gen 2:15).

This task was a participation in and continuation of the work that God Himself had been doing (see Gen 2:2-3). Labor was, therefore, not a punishment but an original blessing. One of the effects of original sin was the distortion of human labor from blessing into affliction: “cursed is the ground because of you; in toil, you shall eat of it…thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you…” (Gen 3:17-18). We all find frustration, difficulty, boredom, and drudgery at work to some degree. Thus, the original blessing of work needed to be redeemed.

Our Lord Himself was known as “the carpenter’s son” (Mt 13:55). He spent most of his adult life learning and practicing the same trade as his earthly father, Joseph. He thus redeems human labor and imbues it with a great dignity. We were created to participate in God’s work; in Jesus Christ, God Himself participates in our work. Thus, human labor is not solely for goods, profit, the state, or the corporation. It is for the development of the person as the image of God.

Work is for man; not man for work. “By enduring the hardship of work in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work” (CCC 2427). These are the truths that should inform how we shape our society’s view of work and workers. They should also shape our government’s treatment of the worker. It is significant that Poland’s Solidarity movement — for the dignity of work and workers’ rights — in a little over a decade brought the Soviet Union’s tyranny to an end.

That is the societal impact of thinking correctly on this issue. May these truths also inform and shape how we view our own work. May we always see it as both an opportunity to cooperate in God’s creative work and, as we bear the cross of difficulties and challenges, an occasion to participate in Christ’s redemptive work.

By Father Paul Scalia ( A friend of Father Perez’s)

St. Peter

Between the Gospel passages from last Sunday and this weekend, we see the highs and lows of Peter; we see Peter in lofty moments of profound inspiration, and yet, we see him in moments of impetuous worldliness.

In last Sunday’s Gospel, Peter was able to recognize that Jesus is the Son of God sent into the world by the Eternal Father. Still, in this Sunday’s Gospel, Peter was unable to comprehend that the mission of Christ was to suffer and die on the cross in Jerusalem. Peter failed to see the total picture, and possessed a short-sighted and earthly view of our redeemer’s mission. The cross was a stumbling block for Peter, and he did not look beyond the cross at the resurrection. His total understanding of the cross would come much later… like after Pentecost.

Peter did not think as God does, but as fallen man does. Only God can see the total picture; fallen man cannot. And when Our Lord revealed his Passion, Death, and Resurrection to his disciples, he revealed to them what the Eternal Father willed for Our Lord and Savior, and the disciples could not take the news that
he had to suffer and die.

At this point, the cross was a scandal for Our Lord’s disciples, and they failed to see the Lord’s loving will in the Passion and Death that Our Lord had to undergo for our salvation. Yes, Peter and the disciples failed to discern properly what the Lord’s will was. They were too short-sighted at this moment in their lives. And like Peter and the apostles, we too could be short-sighted in what the Lord has planned for us, and that’s why we have to properly and prayerfully discern the Lord’s will in our lives. We have to rely on divine assistance in order for us to discern what the will of God is and see the whole picture in relation to eternity, and then we can follow and obey what He wills for us in a grace-filled way that is always pleasing to Him.

St. Peter and the Universal Church

Two profound things happened in the Gospel passage for this Sunday: the first is that Peter made a confession of faith in Jesus as Son of the living God. The second is that Our Lord promised to confer upon Peter the primacy of the Universal Church.

As Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he presented them with the question: Who do people say that the Son of Man is? And they responded with the various opinions that people had concerning who the Son of Man is.

And after hearing what the disciples had relayed back to him, Jesus presented them with another question: But who do you say that I am? No mere man could’ve influenced Peter to testify to the truth about the divinity of Jesus Christ; only the heavenly Father could’ve inspired Peter to make this confession of faith in God’s only Son. And in return, Our Lord entrusted the primacy of the Universal Church to Peter. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.

How easy it is for us to overlook that Christ founded the Universal Church, the very Church that we’re a part of. If Peter and the Apostles are the foundation for the Universal Church, then Christ is the cornerstone, and we, who by our initiation into the Church, are the living stones which make up a part of the Church. Our Lord continues to build His Church upon the firm foundation of Peter and the Apostles in such a way that no power could overthrow it- And the gates of nether world shall not prevail against it.

The Church will withstand any attack upon it; no enemy of the Church- whether they’re persecutors, heretics, or public dissenters- will ever prevail against the Church, which Christ himself founded even to the end of time. From its beginning 2000 years ago, the Church has undergone some kind of attack against her members throughout her history. Enemies have come and gone, but the Church still stands and will continue to remain.

And my dear friends in Christ, this gives us much hope because Our Lord established His Church and entrusted it to Peter for our salvation- so that we could get into heaven.
In heaven, the Triumphant Church will be in Christ the King’s eternal presence, and now we must pray and work to get there.
Fr. Perez

On the Truest Source of our Dignity

One of our deeper wounds is that we tend to doubt our dignity, especially in times of trouble. We look to human be- ings who are fickle for a sense of honor and prestige in our life. But St. Peter Chrysologus reminds us of the true source of our dignity, and that of others, in a homily in last week’s office:

A virgin conceived, bore a son, and yet remained a virgin….for [God] is the cause, and not nature….Christ’s birth was not a necessity, but an expression of omnipotence, a sacrament of piety for the redemption of men….That the Cre- ator is in his creature and God is in the flesh brings dignity to man without dishonor to him who made him.

“Why then, man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? Why render yourself such dis- honor when you are honored by Him? Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made? Was not this entire visible universe made for your dwelling? It was for you that the light dispelled the over- shadowing gloom; for your sake was the night regulated and the day measured, and for you were the heavens embel- lished with the varying brilliance of the sun, the moon and the stars. The earth was adorned with flowers, groves and fruit; and the constant marvelous variety of lovely living things was created in the air, the fields, and the seas for you, lest sad solitude destroy the joy of God’s new creation.

And the Creator still works to devise things that can add to your glory. He has made you in His image that you might in your person make the invisible Creator present on earth; He has made you his legate, so that the vast empire of the world might have the Lord’s representative. Then in His mercy God assumed what he made in you; He wanted now to be truly manifest in man.”– St Peter Chrysologus From a Homily on the Nativity of Christ.

Yes, God is the true source of our honor. Before we were ever formed in our mother’s womb God thought about us and prepared for us and did whatever was necessary to bringing us into being (Jer 1:5). He knit us together in our mother’s womb and we are wonderfully fearfully made and every one of our days was known to Him before one of them ever came to be. (cf Ps 139)

Yes, God knowing all about us, our foibles and sins, our gifts and blessings, created us as a free act of love. Human life and the human person are sacred since they are this free and loving act of God who bestows life upon us, not of necessity but simply out of love. And thus, Chrysologus asks, “Why then, man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? Why render yourself such dishonor when you are hon- ored by Him?”

And for all of us together comes this additional dignity, that this whole universe and world was made for us! Modern environmental extremists see man as an interloper in this world, or even worse like some plague of locusts that must be destroyed.

But the Scriptures and the Christian vison see that whole universe exists just as it does in a delicate and perfect balance so that on this rare earth, life as we know it, and indeed our very life would be able to exist. God carefully, and in stages guided the emergence of life here, culminating with the Human Person.

The second story of creation has God creating Adam first and then designing everything around him and for him, and later for Eve. And thus, speaking from this tradition Peter Chrysologus says, “Was not this entire visible universe made for your dwell- ing? It was for you that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom; for your sake was the night regulated and the day measured, and for you were the heavens embellished with the varying brilliance of the sun, the moon and the stars. The earth was adorned with flowers, groves and fruit; and the constant marvelous variety of lovely living things was created in the air, the fields, and the seas for you, lest sad solitude destroy the joy of God’s new creation.”

And finally, our greatest dignity of all was that our Savior and very Lord chose to become one of us though His Incar- nation, humbling Himself to elevate us.

Can you really doubt your dignity and worth? Why do we look to lesser sources to assess our worth. Money, populari- ty, power, and so forth come and go and cannot be valid or lasting sources of our dignity. Look to God, and never forget the efforts and stages He carefully went about to make you. Dwell in His love for you.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A few words regarding the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and its status for this year as it falls on Saturday, August 15. Usually, the Solemnity of the Assumption is a holy
day of obligation. but, this year the obligation to attend Holy Mass is lifted as the holy day falls under the Saturday/Monday adaptation of the United States bishops from many years ago.

The life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is forever the Daughter of the Eternal Father, Mother of the Incarnate Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, exemplifies the gifts and benefits bestowed upon her by the Triune God.

Her whole life proclaims “the greatness of the Lord.” First, in her Immaculate Conception where the Eternal Father spared her from original sin as well as its effects, and because of this gift and special privilege, the Blessed Virgin Mary fully possessed the grace and freedom always to do the will of the Lord, thus preparing her for what was to come later when she was to become the Virgin Mother of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as a young  woman betrothed to Joseph.  The good Lord prepared Our Lady to become the Mother of His only Son through her Immaculate Conception. And when Our Lady’s life was completed here on earth, “the greatness of the Lord” was manifested in her Assumption into heavenly glory.

Our Lady’s Assumption into the glorious Kingdom of Heaven is the dogma of our Christian faith, which has its roots in Sacred Tradition and has been celebrated in the Universal Church’s liturgy throughout the centuries from ancient times even before its solemn definition by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950. Throughout the centuries, devoted and faithful Christians had always believed and understood that Our Lady, after her earthly life, was given a special privilege when she was assumed into heaven. Taken body and soul together so that she would share in the glory of her Son’s Resurrection. Mary’s complete personhood was taken up into the glorious kingdom. And from that moment on, Our Lady shares in her only Son’s victory as the power of Jesus’ Resurrection is immediately played out when her earthly life was completed.

The Lord God spared Mary’s body from corruption and decay when she was assumed into heaven just as He saved her from original sin and its effects at the beginning of her life through her Immaculate Conception. The Most Blessed Virgin Mary is the first recipient of what will be granted to us at the end of time when the dead will be resurrected.

May Jesus and His Blessed Mother bless you abundantly.
Father Perez

Our Eucharist, Our Nourishment

Dear Parishioners,

This Sunday in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we have the subject of nourishment in the scripture passages. As , Catholic Christians, we can always rely on the good and gracious Lord to sustain and nourish us all the days of our life.

The Lord, who gave every one of us the gift of life, always be with us as we journey through this life.

In the Gospel passage from Matthew 14, Our Lord performs his miraculous feeding of 5000.Moved with pity for the crowds in the deserted place and because it was evening, Our Lord gave the people food which satisfied their hunger.

All were able to partake of the miraculous food which came from five loaves of bread and two fish, and, remarkably, there were fragments leftover which were gathered and filled twelve baskets!

What is remarkable is the disciples’ reaction when Our Lord told them to give some food yourselves.

They saw things as they truly were; they saw that five loaves and two fish were all they had, and they knew it was- n’t enough food to feed the vast crowd.

But, the one thing they could not see was that Our Lord was setting up one of his greatest miracles, a miracle which showed his disciples and the multitude that he was the Messiah they all had been waiting for.

Our Lord’s miraculous feeding of the 5000 has strong Eucharistic overtones, and it prefigured what He would do in the Last Supper on the night before He died. It was on that Holy Thursday night when He instituted the Most Holy Eucharist.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples.

These words are similar to what He said at the Last Supper when He instituted the Eucharist. His words are uttered at every Mass by the bishop or priest during the Eucharistic Prayer.

The Eucharistic Prayer I (Roman Canon) has similar words to what is written in this Sunday’s Gospel: “He took bread in his holy and venerable hands, and with eyes raised to heaven, to you O God, His almighty Father, giving you thanks, He said the blessing, broke the bread, and gave it to his disciples …” ( The Roman Missal, third edition 2011).

The Eucharist is indeed, our spiritual nourishment; Jesus fills our spiritual needs through the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.

Our Lord recognizes our needs, and that is why He left us his Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and through this “sign of the new and eternal covenant,” He gives us food for this journey that we call life.

Father Perez

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

In the Gospel passage for this Sunday, Our Lord presents three parables that illustrate what the Kingdom of heaven is like.

The first two parables show us the great value of the Kingdom of God.

The heavenly Kingdom is so valuable that people would go to great lengths in order to possess it, much like the man who finds the treasure in the field and the merchant who finds the pearl of great price.

They both sell all that they have so that they may acquire their newfound treasures.

Now for us who follow in the way of Christ, we have a treasure waiting for us in eternity. And if you think about it, the heavenly Kingdom is ours for the taking since Our Lord opened it for us through his Passion and Death therefore, the Kingdom is the pearl of great price.

Our eternal life was acquired for us at a very great price… the price being the life of the only Son of God, who laid down His life out of His immense and infinite love for us so that we may be saved and have for our possession the eternal Kingdom.

Through the death of Our Incarnate Lord, heaven was opened for all of us, and it became ours for the taking.

But not everyone will enter into their heavenly inheritance, and this is what the third parable; the Parable of the Net teaches us.

This parable is similar to the Parable of the Weeds in the Field which was the Gospel passage for last Sunday, and both parables illustrate what will happen at the last judgment, the separation of the good from the bad. The good will go into their heavenly reward while the evildoers will suffer eternal punishment where there’ll be wailing and grinding of teeth.

The Parable of the Net presents an accurate image of how all will be gathered together, and then the good and righteous in the sight of God will be separated from the bad and evil.

And so, with these images of the Kingdom in mind (the Kingdom being our precious treasure) we must keep in mind that only the good and righteous will be judged worthy to inherit this precious treasure. We are called to live for Christ and His Kingdom

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,

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.

Father Perez

From Father Perez

Dear Parishioners:

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.

Father Perez

From Father Perez

Dear Parishioners:

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,
Fr. Perez