Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Congratulations to Our Newest Master Catechists

Congratulations to Dana Frazier and Jenny Grover, the two newest Master Catechists at Blessed Sacrament Church!  Dana and Jenny were awarded their certificates at a Mass at All Saints Church in Manassas on May 24.  Their credential is hard-earned:  the master catechist program, conducted by the diocesan Office of Catechetics, meets biweekly for 4 semesters, and culminates in a final group project.  Master catechists undergo this preparation so they may best teach adults the Faith, in a variety of ways. 

The next cohort will start at the end of August.  Training information is available at the Master Catechist Training Program page of the Diocese of Arlington's website. If you are interested in participating, you may also contact Susan Doyle in the parish office, (703) 671-3219 ext. 12 or mailto:sdoyle@blessedsacramentcc.org..

Again, we congratulate Dana & Jenny, and we look forward to the great good they will do for the Church!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Solemnity of Pentecost

Photo credit: Lawrence OP, Saint Aloysius Catholic Church, Somers Town, London
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost (<click on the link to download a two-page document about Pentecost), on the fiftieth day after Easter.  At the Vatican today, Pope Benedict XVI highlighted the significance of this feast saying, "Jesus, risen and ascended into heaven, sends His Spirit to the Church, so that all Christians can share in His divine life and become His effective witness in the world."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that, "On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ's Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. Since that day, the Kingdom announced by Christ has been open to those who believe in him: in the humility of the flesh and in faith, they already share in the communion of the Holy Trinity. By his coming, which never ceases, the Holy Spirit causes the world to enter into the ‘last days,’ the time of the Church, the Kingdom already inherited though not yet consummated.” (CCC 731-732)

Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father he will testify to me.  And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. ... I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.  But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.  He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.  Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you" (John 15:26-27; 16:12-15).

Photo credit: www.saintpetersbasilica.org

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Preparing for Marriage

By Nicole Fernandes

"It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.”

My fiancĂ© Ivan and I met as college freshmen at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, during the spring of 2005. We were nineteen and eighteen years of age, respectively. After dating for six years, Ivan and I became engaged on May 14, 2011.  It was an exciting time for both of us as well wishes poured in from family members and friends who were anxious to know one thing: our wedding date!

When Ivan and I sat down together with our parents during the summer of 2011 and decided that July 21, 2012 was going to be the day we would say “I do,” we didn’t quite realize the year-long spiritual journey that lay ahead of us.  Engaged parishioners in the Diocese of Arlington are required to initiate marriage preparation with their parish priest at least six months prior to the intended wedding date - even if the wedding will take place in another diocese (our wedding will take place in our hometown of Charleston, WV).

When we told our families, friends and co-workers about our preparation for marriage, they immediately assumed we were referring to choosing wedding invitations, picking gift registries and arranging seating charts.  Preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church involves so much more than that.  We had our first meeting with Blessed Sacrament Parochial Vicar Reverend Anthony Killian in October 2011, during which Ivan and I took the FOCCUS survey.  The purpose of the survey was to provide Father Killian with an indication of the strengths and weaknesses of our relationship so he could help to improve our readiness for marriage. The results of the survey drove our conversations with him over the course of our six meetings and gave Ivan and I the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics like parenting, finances, career goals, and intimacy.

In January of this year, Ivan and I joined over eighty other couples from various parishes within the Diocese of Arlington at the Conference for the Engaged, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Vienna, Virginia. The goal of the conference was to stimulate reflection and discussion on key aspects of marriage and family life including intimacy, family planning, parenting, and communication. It was a wonderful experience to be able to relate to other couples who were also embarking on the same journey as us.

During the course of our year-long marriage preparation, Ivan and I realized that our love for God is the most essential aspect of our relationship and our faith would be the focal point of our marriage.  It is so important for engaged couples to grow in their faith and in their love for each other by praying together, reading Scripture and becoming involved in various Catholic ministries.  Ivan and I plan to continue our spiritual development through July 21 and beyond so we can grow in our faith together and become closer to God and to each other.

Happy 25th Anniversary Father Cregan!

     Our pastor, Father John Cregan, celebrated his 25 anniversary of ordination to the priesthood on May 9, 2012.  The Blessed Sacrament Parish community held a cookout on Sunday, May 12 to congratulate and thank him for his many years of priestly service. 

     The Catholic Herald newspaper included the following article on Father Cregan in its May 9 issue:

Father John C. Cregan was born Nov. 13, 1939, in the Bronx, New York. An altar boy since the third grade, he attended St. Margaret of Cortona School, and the nearby Fordham Preparatory School and Fordham University.

While at Fordham, Father Cregan enrolled in the U.S. Marine Corps Platoon Leader Class program and, as a result, served in the U.S. Marine Corps for more than 20 years. He spent tours in North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Cuba, Japan and Vietnam. It was in Vietnam, while lying in a foxhole, looking at the stars and fingering pieces of a broken rosary, that Father Cregan began to realize he was being called to the priesthood.

 In the early 1980s, Father Cregan began taking classes at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. He was ordained by Arlington Bishop John R. Keating May 9, 1987.

He served at St. Patrick Parish, Chancellorsville, 1987-91; Church of the Nativity, Burke, 1991-93; and St. Elizabeth Parish, Colonial Beach, 1993-96. In 1996, he was named pastor of Blessed Sacrament in Alexandria, where he remains today.

Friday, May 11, 2012

First Communions, Vocations Sunday and May Crowning

It has been a busy spring at Blessed Sacrament, with First Communion Masses, a visit by the Daughters of Saint Paul on World Day of Prayer for Vocations Sunday and our annual May Crowning.
Father John Cregan, Pastor, prays with parish children before their First Communion on Saturday, April 28.

Daughter of Saint Paul Sister Margaret Michael talks with boys looking at books at the parish display on April 29, World Day of Prayer for Vocations Sunday.

Families talk with Daugher of Saint Paul Sister Sophie at the parish book display.

Father Anthony Killian prays with children at the annual May Crowning on May 5 with students in the parish religious education program.