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September 9 - Peter Claver and Racial Healing  

Dear Friends in Christ,

I write this email on the feast of Saint Peter Claver, the Spanish Jesuit who dedicated himself to serving the African slaves brought to Colombia in the 17th century. He would go to the port when the ships arrived and unceremoniously unloaded their human cargo. Desiring to become the "slave of the slaves," Claver put himself at the service of both their physical and spiritual health. 

He is a great saint for this time of racial tension and upheaval in our country. His story reminds us that racism and racial divisions are not something new. They are a legacy of original sin that we find in every time and place, in every culture and civilization throughout history. Notice how the book of Genesis narrates the effects of original sin: first the division between man and woman (Adam and Eve), then within the family (Cain and Abel) and then of different peoples (the tower of Babel). 

Since the evil of racism has a spiritual origin, we need more than natural means to address it. We need interior conversion and the grace of the sacraments to heal this wound to the human condition. We also need the supernatural outlook that our Faith alone brings us. Our Faith teaches us to view the human person as someone (not something) willed by God and for God. This transcendent view of the human person keeps us from limiting man to this world or its standards. He can never be viewed as the means to an end or a commodity for the economy or a possession of the state. This truth about the human person frees us from the limited, tribal, ethnic, racial view that a purely natural view produces.

It was this transcendent understanding of the human person -- each person willed by God and for God -- that  prompted Peter Claver to do the unthinkable: to board the newly arrived slave ships and go among the sick and dying to bring them solace, healing, and the Gospel. That same confidence in the truth of man should also inform our thoughts, words, and actions about current racial issues.

Saint Peter Claver, pray for us.

Updates

Saint James School is open!

Thanks to the hard work of Sr. Mary Sue and the entire school faculty and staff, our school was able to open up for the whole student body on Tuesday! Please keep them all in your prayers as they seek to continue the great work of Saint James School in a very different situation.

Rectory Offices Open

Our rectory staff has been working remotely since the March shut down. This past week, however, we opened our physical offices once again! Feel free to stop by. But in keeping with Virginia's requirements for offices, please remember to bring your mask when you visit.

Adorers Needed

We now have Eucharistic adoration all afternoon every Tuesday and Thursday. We have a fairly steady stream of people coming in, but we want to make sure that our Lord is never left alone. So, we're forming a core team of adorers to commit to one hour of adoration. If you are interested, please contact Julie Marx: juliemarx14@gmail.com

Rectory Ramblings, livestreamed Friday at 8pm

The natural law is neither natural nor a law. Discuss. Also, can married people become saints? If so, how come we don't hear about them? And how does a Catholic know what movies are appropriate...or not? These questions and more answered cheerfully. Please join us!

Memory Book for Dan Day 

You will remember that our long time music director, Dan Day, retired last summer. Unfortunately, the pandemic prohibited a retirement celebration for him after his 30 years of dedicated service to the community of St. James. So, we are compiling a memory book for Dan filled with letters of appreciation and retirement cards from parishioners, as well as drawings from our youngsters (max 8.5" x 11"). You may include pictures of yourself or of your family too.  Send your memory book contributions to the parish office (905 Park Avenue, Falls Church, VA 22046) by September 30th. We will present Dan with our parish gift on Sunday, November 22nd, the feast day of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. 

From Father Joseph Elamparayil

As you might remember, our friend Father Joseph had COVID earlier this year. In mid-July he and several of his brother priests were hospitalized. Thanks be to God, they have recovered and are back to community life and prayers. Here are excerpts from a gracious email he sent. It's inspiring to see how he approached his time of trial in terms of faith.

May I express my profound gratitude to you and the entire community of St. James for the prayers offered for my healing and recovery of health. I sincerely appreciate your love and kindness towards me. I really had very rough time in the hospital...It is only because of the prayers of so many people and the timely medical assistance, I am alive now. 

I was having some kind of infection or respiratory troubles starting from the month of May... [O]n July 12, I was taken to a bigger hospital (St. John's Medical college)...My lungs were severely affected and had to depend on oxygen for three weeks. 

It was for me, also a period of suffering and purification. I have entered the 25th year of my priesthood, so it was reminder of our Lord's great passion and my need of renewal and purification. So there is a sense joy within me in spite of the scary and suffering part of covid virus infection.  

Please give my regards and gratitude to the priests, deacons, staff and people of the parish. Thank you so much, Please be assured my prayers for all of you and continue to keep me in your prayers too.

With much love and gratitude in Christ,

Fr. Joseph    

 

First Friday Food Distribution

First, thank you to all the volunteers who helped last Friday. Our social outreach team distributed 195 packages of food and, unfortunately, had to shut down early because they ran out of supplies. 

Looking ahead to the next distribution, on October 2nd, we are in need of donations. Items can be left in the back of the church. We are in need of the following "staple" items:  canned chicken or tuna, cereal, dry beans (no larger than 3 lbs.), rice (no larger than 3 lbs.), peanut butter, jelly/jam, pasta, pasta sauce, hearty soups, canned fruit.  Please, no glass jars, bulk, or very large items because these items make it tough on our volunteers. 

 

Wine Wall and Gift Basket Raffle 

From September 14th to October 6th, Saint James School PTO is sponsoring a virtual wine wall and gift basket raffle.  They have 60+ bottles, each valued at $20 or greater.  Pay $20 for a virtual cork and you are guaranteed a bottle (while supplies last).  The bottles are already labeled with a number.  We will use a random number generator to distribute corks.  For the raffle: there are 3 amazing baskets at $10/chance.  Your chance of winning increases with each entry.

Distribution of wine and baskets will be done on October 8th and 9th, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm via a no contact Pop-n-Go Drive Thru in B lot. Those who purchase/win will be notified with final instructions. Email any questions to Meaghan Kane: kane.meaghan@gmail.com.To buy a cork and/or chances go to: https://sjsptova.ejoinme.org/virtualwinewall.

Help our parish seminarian!

Some of you remember Thomas Conroy, who helped serve our livestreamed Masses during the shutdown. Thomas grew up at St. James and is now hoping to enter the Dominicans (the Order of Preachers). The only thing keeping him from entering formation are his student loans. He is currently working with the Laboure Society to remove that obstacle. Click here for more information, to hear his story, and to see how you can help. Or you can reach out to him directly for more information on his vocation and how you can help: thomas@recuevocations.org or 571-356-3974. Most of all, please keep him in your prayers.

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

 Sincerely in Christ, 

Fr. Scalia