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Monthly Archives: April 2017


For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2017-04-30

Here is Bulletin_2017-04-30

1. Communion Services: Thursday May 4th and Friday May 5th there will be Communion Services. In addition to two less Masses this coming week, St. Peter’s parishioners lose an opportunity for the Sacrament of Penance and First Friday Mass.

2. Where is Your Pastor?: Keeping track of our Pastor is a full time job. His multitude of side interests take him to strange places – sometimes for days at a time. The month of May (the month of Our Lady and the beginning of the 100th anniversary of her apparitions to the three children at Fatima) will see our Pastor exercising his thespian talents. He will be playing a part in the Republic For Which We Stand. “The premiere will take place at Henry’s outdoor Stone Hill Amphitheater in the beautiful countryside of Rappahannock County Virginia.” Interestingly, the notice informs us that our Pastor will be playing the part of a priest.

Image result for father richard rohr enneagram

3. Think twice, maybe even think thrice and then – don’t go: Our Pastor asks us to join him for the Monday Book Discussion:

Join us Mondays at 9:15 a.m.-10:15a.m. to discuss our new book, FALLING UPWARD. A Spirituality For The Two Halves Of Life, by Fr. Richard Rohr. We meet every Monday, 9:15am-10am. Come when you can.

Above you will see some of Fr. Richard Rohr’s fine work with the ENNEAGRAM. My wife and are sure that’s somewhere in scripture, but we haven’t found it yet. While making your decision to attend the Monday Book Discussion and trying to find the ENNEAGRAM in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, read Catholic Priest Receives & Distributes Episcopal Communion. If you do decide to attend, don’t say we didn’t warn you.






For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2017-04-23

Here is Bulletin_2017-04-23

“Pro Multis” – “For All” – Was it a simple mistake? Once again, we must approach today’s commentary with Christian charity and restraint. Today at the 8:30 AM Mass at St. Peter’s, our Pastor used the following words during the Eucharistic Prayer:

Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me

Whether by accident or on purpose, our Pastor substituted the word “all” for the word “many“.

Most of you who read this blog are well aware of the history and controversy surrounding this particular phrase, So, there is no need to discuss at length the significance of this substitution. So, let’s look at some facts:

Fact 1: There is a number of priests in the Church in America that are dissatisfied with the current translation of the prayers of the Mass. One group of about 1,200 priests, the Association of US Catholic Priests (AUSCP) has instituted a working group (Roman Missal Translation Concerns) to promote their dissatisfaction with the following stated purpose:

To collect and voice the complaints of priests and laity about the awkward grammar and diction of the new Roman Missal’s “English translation” so as to move the USCCB Committee for Divine Worship to hear the concern and take steps to improve the texts used for our most important liturgical prayer.

Fact 2: Several of our recent posts have shown the evidence that our Pastor is probably a member of the AUSCP and certainly attended at least one of their assemblies.

Fact 3: During Preface 1 of Easter used in today’s Mass, Father changed the phrase “to laud you” to “to praise you”. During the same preface, he changed the phrase “Therefore, overcome with paschal joy” to “Filled with paschal joy”. These cannot be mistakes in reading – they had to be deliberate.

Was the substitution of “for all” a simple mistake? In Christian charity we would like to suppose that it was. Yet, barely a minute before the substitution, Father had deliberately changed two phrases in the preface. The frequency with which these substitutions occur at any given Mass at St. Peter’s is distressing. And today it was far more than that.

The words of the Mass belong to the Church. They do not belong to our Pastor. If the use of the phrase “for all” was deliberate it should be stopped and never ever occur again. If the use of the phrase “for all” was a mistake, then Father should consider paying very close attention to what he is doing while at the altar – it is his duty as a priest.





Rules and Tools For Radical Pastors #21 – Be Careful Whom You Choose for Friends

Dear and gentle reader, we will speak softly and charitably on this evening’s topic – The Gift of the Priestly Vocation. This document, promulgated by the Congregation for the Clergy on December 8, 2016, makes a clear point in a respectful and charitable way:

c) Persons with Homosexual Tendencies
199. In relation to persons with homosexual tendencies who seek admission to Seminary, or discover such a situation in the course of formation, consistent with her own Magisterium, “the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’. Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies”.
Yesterday, the National Catholic Reporter saw fit to publicize a criticism of The Gift of the Priestly Vocation in a story entitled US priests’ group calls Vatican vocations document ‘insulting’. The “US priests’ group” was the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP). Although the National Catholic Reporter and other outlets have quoted some passages from the AUSCP statement, we have not been able to locate the original statement.
Here are two quotes from the statement, reportedly “authored by the association’s 12-member leadership team”, so that you can see why the AUSCP feels justified in criticizing the document from the Congregation for the Clergy:
“We find it also unfounded and insulting,” the group said, adding that the clergy congregation document “implies that ordained priests with a homosexual orientation who serve the Church with distinction ‘find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women.’ “
“If the Congregation for the Clergy document had stated that heterosexual and homosexual persons who are living chaste lives can be admitted to ordination to the priesthood it would have been more respectful and inclusive. The issue for discernment is whether the applicant or candidate has integrated his sexual identity with Catholic Christian faith and spirituality,”
Needless to say, my spouse and I disagree with the AUSCP statements and strongly agree with the Congregation for the Clergy. After all, our motto is “Assent to counter dissent”. And it follows that we would disagree with any of the approximately 1,200 members of AUSCP who concur with the statement made by their organization.
We do not believe in guilt by association. A priest could be a member of the AUSCP and not agree with the statement “authored by the association’s 12-member leadership team”. But priests like our Pastor who have participated in AUSCP events and have had their pictures taken at those events and published in multiple articles discussing AUSCP positions run an exceptionally grave risk. That risk is that they might be associated with AUSCP positions that they do not personally support.
As we noted other outlets have reported on this story about AUSCP. One of those outlets is If you read the story Hundreds of U.S. Priests Want Gay Men Ordained, you will see a picture of our Pastor at an AUSCP function.
Until we learn otherwise, we will assume that our Pastor does not support this particular position of the AUSCP. Nevertheless, his picture has been linked to this story. And he, of course is priest in the Diocese of Arlington and the pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church in Washington, VA.
It appears that our Pastor has chosen the 1,200 priests of AUSCP to be his friends. That might have been a bad choice. That is why we have entitled this post “Be Careful Whom You Choose for Friends.”

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2017-04-16

Here is Bulletin_2017-04-16

My wife and I must confess that we spent no time at St. Peter’s during the Easter Triduum. Unfortunately, Fre3d Capra had the “duty” and he attended all the services in our absence. He is slowly recovering at the Fauquier Hospital Severe Trauma Unit. Before he was admitted for care, however, he gave us a report scribbled on a crumpled St. Peter’s bulletin and a bulletin flyer. He stammered and sputtered something about his cell phone and handed it to us before he slipped into unconsciousness. The doctors have measured hopes that he will be released before Pentecost.

We have reviewed Fre3d’s notes and examined his cell phone. The following is the best we could piece together. Please forgive the lack of coherence and consistency.

Same Easter, Same Diocese – Different Understandings: Fre3d had drawn a smiley face next to a portion of Bishop Burbidge’s Easter letter and underlined one phrase that apparently brought him some comfort:

“What the world saw as a defeat on Calvary was revealed instead to be the source of our hope and gladness. The power and glory of God transformed the crucifixion of Jesus into the source of our freedom from sin and death. The empty tomb shows us that Jesus has opened for us the way to life eternal.”

On the Pastor’s Piece section of the St. Peter’s bulletin, Fre3d had drawn a number of sad faces. Two of them appeared near the highlighted text below:

“As we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord at Easter, our church is filled with color. I pray every day for each member of our parish that all our hearts are also filled with all the colors of God’s love. God’s love raised Jesus to life and God’s love is raising us to life.”

At the first highlight, Fre3d made a note saying “See my pictures!” There he drew a mad face. At the second highlight, Fre3d asked the question, “What the heck does that mean?”

St. Peter’s in Pastels: When we checked Fre3d’s phone we found a number of pictures. We will share some of them with you. Viewers’ discretion is strongly advised due to our Pastor’s warning in the Pastor’s Piece “our church is filled with color“. He was certainly being honest. Indeed, St. Peter’s is now filled with and overflowing with what Father would call “color“.

Yes, it is filled with colors. Wondrous pastels abound – pinks and greens, yellows and even oranges. These are the colors our Pastor thought would help to stir in our souls a vision of “all the colors of God’s love“. But, in Fre3d’s mind and in our minds we were stirred to think of something entirely different.

There he was. In the vestibule, it was Peter Cottontail himself posing next to Bishop Burbidge. It was as if Peter C. was saying to the Bishop, “This is St. Peter’s. We love our “colors” and this is the way we celebrate Easter here at St. Peter’s. Care for an Easter egg or perhaps some Peeps, Your Excellency!”


Christ is risen!! He is risen indeed!!






For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2017-04-09

Here is Bulletin_2017-04-09

Were you there – this time? Another Palm Sunday, another reading of the Passion, and it was yet another time when we were excluded. If you go back to what we wrote two years ago you will know what the problem is – there is no place for the sheep of St. Peter’s to participate in the Passion. (See Were You There? to find out why.) Once again the parishioners of St. Peter’s had to sit on the sidelines and watch passively as the mystery of the Passion unfolds. Even though we are sinners, we are not allowed to be members of the “crowd”. It’s as if we had nothing to do with Jesus having to die on the cross. We don’t see the acts of the “crowd” as being a “negative example” from which we should learn. It is worth reading Fr. Scalia’s words in his article One of the Twelve published in The Catholic Thing today:

“So it is a healthy thing to look at Judas’s negative example. Not with a view to condemning him all over again or to feel our own superiority. Rather, we do so with a certain empathy, aware that we labor under the same human weaknesses and are likewise capable of grave sin – of betrayal. What then do we find in the betrayer that we might also find in ourselves?”

It’s important that we participate in the Passion. It’s important that we play our part – “of betrayal.” As we have said here before:

“On Palm Sunday and on Good Friday the Church does its best to put us there – there at the triumphant entry, there at the betrayal, there in moment of weakness, there in the panic and fear, there in an act of cowardice, and there in murderous rage. There, assembled together at Mass, the priests, deacons, lectors read the Passion. But the Church does not leave it to them alone. The Church in Her wisdom writes us into the script as if we were the crowds, traitors, and cowards of the Passion. Those are the parts we play. In my life I have played every one of them – my sinful thoughts and deeds were among the wounds suffered at Calvary.”

But, once again, the Pastor at St. Peter’s has written us out of the script. The bitter irony today was that, during the harshest statements from the “crowd”, it was our Pastor’s voice that rang out – the very same voice that had also been the voice of Jesus. Why could it not have been the voices of the parishioners instead?


An Irrelevant Pastoral Council? In this week’s bulletin we have the rightful thanks to the people who made the new Parish Brochure available. We here at The Sheep of Kephas blog also extend our thanks to them. It’s a fine brochure.

But, just for the record, the idea for the brochure was first brought up by the Parish Pastoral Council on October 8th, 2016. The idea was to have a trifold printed to be placed at the Visitors Center, at various bed and breakfasts, etc. The Council discussed in detail how the brochures would inform visitors to Rapppahannock County and people not familiar with St. Peter’s about the parish so that they could make their way to the parish to join with us in the Mass, the Sacraments, and our community.

No minutes for the Pastoral Council have been published since November, 2015. Who knows what’s going on there? Who would ever know that good ideas have been brought to that forum and have actually been acted upon? Who would ever know?

Perhaps our Pastor should consider publishing the minutes and giving credit to the members of the Council for the efforts they are making on behalf of the parish. Or is it that, in his mind, the Pastoral Council is merely an irrelevant necessity to give the impression that the opinions of our parishioners have any merit?

The Communion of Saints

Say a Rosary – it is there.

Say the Divine Mercy Chaplet – it is there.

For the average Catholic at St. Peter’s or at St. John the Baptist – it is there, every day.

“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.”

There it is.

Perhaps we don’t think about it often. Perhaps we don’t think about it enough. I have friends; you have friends; we have friends whom we’ve never met. Yet, they care for us and they pray for us. Some are living in this world and some are living elsewhere – still, they care for us and they pray for us.

Today, I attended a Requiem Mass for a person, a wonderful person, whom I’ve never met. But, I’ve known members of her family for many years. And for months now I’ve been praying for her. As members of the Communion of Saints we are bound together – forever.

No the Catholic Church is not small – in the Communion of Saints, defying time and mortality, the Catholic Church is very large, indeed.

So, as Fr. Fasano reminded us of our relationship to each other through the Communion Saints I looked upon the immense gathering of people. The had come out of their common love and respect for Malia Wells. Through Father’s words, the tears shed by her family, and the reception of Holy Communion, I came to realize that Life comes to fullness when we leave this world.

I found myself saying I can be happy with the thought that “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places ..” and we are all meant “to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.” I’m ready, Lord. I long to be with you. But, if it is not your will, Lord, remind me to pray for those who need my prayers. I will wait a little while longer.

With the example of Malia Wells and her battle with illness and her resignation to God’s Will, I can say the Rosary – because it is there. I can say the Divine Mercy Chaplet – because it is there. I can be reminded by Lent and by Easter that we are members of the Communion of Saints. I can be reminded of the forgiveness of sins. I can be reminded of the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

And, I can be reminded to pray for Malia Wells and be assured that she will pray for me, because there truly is a Communion of Saints. Amen!



For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2017-04-02

Here is Bulletin_2017-04-02

When “Ecumenical Lenten Services” Endanger the Sheep: On Wednesday March 8th, one of our fellow parishioners, one of the sheep of St. Peter’s was “greatly saddened” by Rev. Russ Savage of the Unitarian Universalists of the Blue Ridge (UUBRidge) here in Rappahannock County. Our reading of the parishioner’s letter “Blessed by Aidan” published in the March 30th edition of the Rappahannock News suggests that our fellow parishioner was not only “greatly saddened” but possibly also hurt and offended.

Although it is not stated directly, it would appear that the parishioner learned of the “Ecumenical Lenten Services” in the St. Peter’s Bulletin_2017-03-05. Our Pastor recommended the services under the banner – GREAT THINGS TO DO FOR LENT!! In retrospect perhaps the “Ecumenical Lenten Services” are not such “GREAT THINGS”.

It is interesting to note that of all the letters to the editor published in the Rappahannock News on March 30th, the only one that currently cannot be accessed by a link on the Internet is our fellow parishioner’s letter. So, if you don’t get the paper, you can’t read that particular letter. Perhaps it will be accessible later this week.

But, right next to the parishioner’s letter was a letter telling us a little bit about UUBRidge and, by inference, their pastor Russ Savage. You can read the letter at Undoing homophobia. One might ask at this point, “Is our Pastor leading in the same way as the shepherd described below?

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep: And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep.  John 10: 11-15

As my wife reminds me – “How many souls are being saved?”

Some Lenten Studies: If you have the spare time and would like to add some new dimensions to your Lenten studies you can read an article by our own former pastor Fr. Jerry Pokorsky – The Patron Saint of Stubborn Facts.

For your Lenten viewing you might want to check out the Archbishop Lecture Series featuring Fr. Paul Scalia. This was a very interesting talk by Reverend Paul Scalia from the Diocese of Arlington – The Word of the Lord Came to Me… A consideration of the increasing importance of prophetic Catholic witness in the culture today; how our society both needs and desires to encounter such witness.