From Our Pastor ~ July 20, 2014

From Our Pastor ~ July 20, 2014

Dear Good People of St. Mary,

As I’m writing this bulletin article, the final game of the World Cup begins in five hours and I have to write this, so I still don’t know how this is going to turn out. I received this photo from a number of people this week and thought it had a lot to say about the power of prayer. I wonder who’s going to win!

I keep a list of all the things that come up most frequently during the year waiting for a quiet week to write about them. At the top of my list is an explanation about marriage: we are continually surprised how little understanding there seems to be about marriage and remarriage, the difference between divorce and annulment. In the spring we will welcome back a speaker to work on the issue of annulments.

In the meantime, call us with questions, please. Today I want to talk briefly about the necessity of sacramental marriage for Catholics. It seems not to be well known that Catholics must be married sacramentally in the Church in order to be validly married. Of course, civil marriage is civil marriage and supplies all the legality necessary for the legitimacy of children and all laws according to the state. But a Catholic who is not married in the Catholic Church, according to “canonical form” (man and woman exchanging vows according to the Rite of Marriage, vows being received by a “duly authorized sacred minister – priest or deacon – and witnessed by two witnesses) is no longer in sacramental communion with the Church. This sacramental communion includes Eucharist and Anointing, as well as the possibility of serving as a Godparent or Sponsor.

It doesn’t mean that you can no longer be a member of the Church, as some have said they were told. But it does prevent you from the active sacramental life of the Church. Dispensations from Canonical Form are sometimes granted by the bishop for certain pastoral needs, but not commonly. Here are a couple of explanations addressing other common misconceptions:

• A non-Catholic (baptized or unbaptized) intended spouse doesn’t have to become Catholic for marriage in the Catholic Church. There is the usual marriage preparation required for any couples seeking marriage in the Church.

• The common expression “getting a marriage blessed” for those previously married outside the Church follows the same process as for those never married, called a “Convalidation.” There is preparation, and usually a small ceremony with two witnesses and close family and friends. It is not customary to celebrate large weddings with music and all the flowers, dress and wedding party for those who are already living together without the benefit of the sacrament.

• Those seeking to marry a subsequent time, need to fulfill the process of petitioning and receiving an annulment, a process proving that what was necessary for the first sacrament wasn’t present, and declaring that this person is free to celebrate the sacrament for the first time, in order to be married in the Church.

This is a lot of the work that we are doing on a daily basis – please take advantage of reentering sacramental life if you need to. If you know someone who needs a little encouragement, please share this article with them.

May God bless you,

Fr. Don

Catholic Heart WorkCamp 2014

Catholic Heart WorkCamp 2014

Express Announcements ~ July 13, 2014

Express Announcements ~ July 13, 2014

* The long-awaited renovation of the church restrooms begins July 28. We attempted starting several times over the last year but it is nearly impossible to find two weekends without weddings or other church events. We regret the inconvenience, but the church restrooms will be closed until August 15. Restrooms in the Parish Life Center will be available for use.

* The deadline for SHARE orders is Monday, July 14. Use this great resource to help make ends meet. See explanation on p. 5.

* It is not too soon to start thinking about RCIA. The Rite of Christian Initiation for adults begins September 8, and we welcome all who are interested in learning more about Catholic faith. If you or someone you know are seeking answers, call and register for the process in the parish office, and come and see.

* SCRIP is on sale this weekend in the Parish Life Center after all Masses except Saturday 7pm and Sunday 2pm. Please use SCRIP and help our school.

Meet Our Seminarian ~ July 13, 2014

Meet Our Seminarian ~ July 13, 2014

Dear Saint Mary Parish Community,

Greetings! For the past three weeks, I’ve had the pleasure and honor of living and serving here among you for my summer assignment. I thank you for your abundant kindness and hospitality that you’ve shown in welcoming me here in Fredericksburg, it’s been a pleasure meeting you all and I’m excited to continue to get to know you and the parish as a whole a bit better as the summer progresses. This week, Father Rooney generously has given me a bit of space in the bulletin to introduce myself.

Right now, I’m currently coming to the end of my Seminary studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and God willing, I’ll be ordained a Deacon in October and then a Priest for the Diocese next June. My time in seminary has been a blessing and a graced opportunity to fall deeper in love with Christ and I’m enthusiastically looking forward to serving God and His Church as a Priest in the very near future.

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Next to my faith, I’d have to say my family is probably the most important thing in my life. I grew up in Burke, Virginia as the oldest child in a family with four kids. My parents, Richard and Patricia, still live in Burke, and that’s where I call home. I have a younger brother, Tom, and two younger sisters, Alison and Mary Catherine. In terms of our faith, I’d say we were a pretty average family. We went to Mass on Sundays and prayed during the week as a family. My parents were involved in the parish (Nativity) and my brother and I always served Mass on Sunday as well, but I never really considered being a Priest when I was in primary or high school. When I finally did graduate from Lake Braddock Secondary School, I wanted to be both a Scientist and a Musician, so accordingly I entered the University of Rochester to study Physics and the Eastman School of Music for Saxophone Performance.

My vocation story really took off when I got to college. Through a number of graced experiences and some good friends, God was at work in my life, encouraging me to grow in discipleship and a personal relationship with Christ in faith. He used my love of the beauty of music to come to know and love Him as the source of all beauty in the arts, and my love of order and truth in the sciences to fall in love with the Word, the Son of God who is truth. Slowly but surely, my life changed for the better: I began to attend daily Mass, pray regularly and go to weekly confession. Then one day, the idea of Priesthood dawned on me while at daily Mass. “What if I’m supposed to be a Priest?” At the time, I wasn’t overjoyed at the prospect. So, I dismissed it and moved on with life. And yet, the idea still came back to me in prayer, time after time. I ran from it for quite a while. I graduated with degrees in Mathematics, Physics and Music Performance and got a job in Arlington working for SAIC, a large defense contractor.

I really gave the life I thought I wanted my best effort, and still I wasn’t content. So after two and a half years, I contacted the Vocations Director for the Diocese of Arlington, and then entered the Seminary. From that point on, I’ve been constantly awestruck by the grace of God, the blessings I’ve received and the great happiness and peace that has come from learning to accept God’s will and vocation for my life. As I said, I’m joyfully looking forward to being a Priest in the near future, and I’m elated to be here in Fredericksburg for the summer!

God bless,

Rich Miserendino