More Religious Freedom


Dear Friends in Christ, 


This coming week the Church in the United States will observe the annual Religious Freedom Week, beginning on the feast of our diocesan patron Saint Thomas More and ending on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Started about ten years ago in response to the so-called contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, this observance now calls attention to the various threats to religious liberty confronting the Church’s institutions and members. 


The Church should be free to fulfill her mission and run her institutions (schools, adoption services, hospitals, etc.) according to Catholic belief – and not be penalized or discriminated against for doing so. The Church’s members likewise have the right to express their faith without penalty. 


The example of Saint Thomas More is an important one, not only because he is our diocesan patron but also because of his devotion, knowledge, and mirth. These are all worthy of our imitation.


Devotion. Thomas More had considered becoming a Carthusian monk. Ultimately deciding that he was not called to monastic life, he still sought to incorporate that devotion into his daily living and his work. His house was a house of prayer, and he took great care to pass on the faith to his children. His devotion and habit of prayer are what supported him at the moments of discernment, poverty, imprisonment, and martyrdom.


Knowledge. We can’t all have as keen an intellect as More’s. But we can and should strive to know the faith as well as we can. One reason Thomas More was able to withstand the pressure to give in to the King is because he knew better. He knew what the Church taught and why. 


Mirth. Thomas More was known as a man of joy. He knew the scandals of the Church in his day (sound familiar?), but he never allowed that to rob him of Christian joy. In prison and even at the moment of execution, he could still rejoice in the. “From dour faced saints, good God, deliver us,” Theresa of Avila quipped. I would add a petition against dour reformers – those who allow the difficulties for the Church and in the Church to rob them of the joy that a Christian ought to have even and especially in extreme persecution. 


Pray, then, for our religious freedom – so that we can live, speak, advocate, and work in complete adherence to our faith. Study your faith – so that you know it well enough to defend it. Rejoice in the Lord, Who is risen and victorious no matter how dire things in this world might become.


Go here to learn more about Religious Freedom Week.




Parish Farewell to Father Oetjen…

will be after the Noon Mass this Sunday. Please come on by to thank him for his years of faithful and generous service to Saint James Parish…and to promise your continued prayers for him as he moves on to his next assignment. 



Next week the Diocese of Arlington high school workcamp program begins. Saint James has 30 high school teens working with 14 adult volunteers ready to build and repair new and existing decks, perform lawn care, paint walls, wash windows and more tasks at 4 local worksites next week. They’ll start each morning at 8:30 Mass at St James, go to work, then head to O’Connell for dinner and Program with other parishes, finishing each night at 8:30 p.m. Prayers are appreciated for a safe, sunny, and good week of fellowship and service to God. 


Mark your calendars! 

Our parish picnic will be Saturday, October 2nd. There will be a moon bounce, climbing wall, and choo choo train…oh, and some things for the kids, too…


Our New Parochial Vicar

Take a look here to get to know our new Parochial Vicar, Father John Paul Heisler!


Tate Scholarship

Long time parishioner Thomas Tate has established a $50,000 scholarship in memory of his beloved wife Arlene, who died in March of 2013 after a long battle with cancer. Please read more about Arlene’s story here.  The Arlene C. Tate Memorial Scholarship is the school's first endowed scholarship and will be used to provide financial assistance to students in need.  Although different from our Guardian Angel Scholarship Fund, the same criteria will be used to determine recipients.  The good thing about an endowed scholarship, of course, is that it will always be there to provide scholarship funds for students in need.  Thank you to Tom for his generosity.  


Rectory Ramblings

Take a look at the latest episode, wherein Fr. Oetjen and I discuss hermits, consecrated virgins, and the necessary conditions for receiving Holy Communion.


Temporal Humor

Two elderly men are sitting on a bench. The first brags about his new hearing aid, how expensive and high-tech it is, and how well it works. The other is duly impressed and asks, “What kind is it?” “Oh, about one o’clock,” he responds.


Through the intercession of our Lady, Saint Joseph, and Saint James, may the Lord bless and keep you.


Sincerely in Christ, 


Fr. Scalia 





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