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Monthly Archives: July 2017


For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2017-07-30

Here is Bulletin_2017-07-30

1. Where will Father be in July and August? – Once again, this week’s bulletin provides no details concerning Father’s late-July – early-August schedule. However, as many of you now know, a visiting priest (Fr. Manuel Espinosa, S.J.) was here for this weekend’s Masses. He indicated that he will be here “this week and the following week.” Apparently, Fr. Espinoza will celebrate the weekday Masses in accordance with the schedule in the bulletin.


While I am away, Fr. Manuel Espinosa will be doing the masses and confessions at St. Peter’s. Fr. Manuel is a retired professor from the Catholic University of Ecuador and is long time pastor of the church in Miravalle, Ecuador (a suburb of Quito). Fr. Manuel did his studies in the United States and has been a friend of mine for many years. Get to know him! Invite him out! You will be blessed by his wisdom and joy.

2. “Bon Voyage” and Prayers: If our Pastor is on vacation in France on a river cruise, we wish him a “bon voyage”. Also, if he is going to attend “ACAA Reunion 2017” in Leuven, Belgium, we pray that all goes well for him and that he has a safe return to St. Peter’s.

Where's Father-Again-4

3. Our Own Vacation: My beautiful spouse and I have a backlog of personal chores. So, we will use the next next two weeks to catch up with things and take a break from the Sheep of Kephas blog. (We will do the weekly bulletin.) Meanwhile, Char’s detective is looking for “just one more thing.”

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2017-07-23 Supplement

Retraction of Item 2 Advanced Planning and Scheduling: In our last post we reported the following:

2. Advanced Planning and Scheduling: We hope you hadn’t planned on going to Confession on Saturday, July 22nd. We hear that a wedding precluded that option. Of course, last Sunday’s bulletin provided no notice.

We have found that Confessions would have been heard at the proper time, but there were unavoidable, extenuating circumstances. It is not our intent to distort or mislead. Please accept our apology.

For the Sheep in Exile: Bulletin 2017-07-23

Here is Bulletin_2017-07-23

1. Where will Father be in July and August? – This week’s bulletin provides no confirmation that Father will be off on a cruise in southern France starting on July 27th. Perhaps there will be no cruise. So much for advance planning and scheduling. (See for Catholic Cultural Revolution #2: Where’s Father? Again! for that discussion.)

2. Advanced Planning and Scheduling: We hope you hadn’t planned on going to Confession on Saturday, July 22nd. We hear that a wedding precluded that option. Of course, last Sunday’s bulletin provided no notice.

3. Two items worth reading:

Item 1: From The Catholic Thing: Fr. Paul D. Scalia –  Guarding the Kingdom

The Sheep of Kephas blog takes note when a wise voice speaks. The last five paragraphs of Fr. Scalia’s article discuss “patience” and “the power (virtus) to wait for the Lord’s vindication.” The essence and strategic importance of that “patience” and “power” is seen in the following from today’s Gospel According to Saint Matthew:

[26] And when the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle. [27] And the servants of the goodman of the house coming said to him: Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it cockle? [28] And he said to them: An enemy hath done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up? [29] And he said: No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. [30] Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat gather ye into my barn.

Item 2: From Rorate Caeli: Guest Op-Ed – Bishop Schneider: The interpretation of Vatican II and its connection with the current crisis of the Church

Bishop Schneider lays out the ‘big picture’ of what has happened in the Church since Vatican II – please read it closely. Two simple statements by Bishop Schneider should be kept in mind during these troubling times:

“We must renew our faith in believing that the Church is in the safe hands of Christ, and that He will always intervene to renew the Church in the moments in which the boat of the Church seems to capsize, as is the obvious case in our days.”

“Only the perfect obedience to the will of God — Who revealed us through Christ the Incarnate Word and through the Apostles the true faith, the faith interpreted and practiced constantly in the same sense by the Magisterium of the Church – will bring the salvation of souls.”

It’s all about the salvation of souls.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!


Catholic Cultural Revolution: What Can Happen to a Parish in Three Years?

No, you and I can’t answer the question posed in the title of this post. Even if we were to re-read every post on this blog, we would only have a part of the story. Yet, as I was looking back to our posts in 2014, I ran across the post What Can Happen to a Parish in Four Months?  We noted that on July 13th, our Pastor said:

OUR WEBSITE – I have a friend, Fred Pugarelli, who has offered to update our website and make our website more interactive. I know that in other churches that I have been assigned to, the website is crucial for informing and attracting people. In a county as settled as Rappahannock, a website might not be as important, but I still think it would be useful to be out there in the internet. One thing that I would like to put on is a link to the weekly homily. I would also like to have pictures of parish events and interviews with parishioners (an oral history). I know that the gen Xers and the Millennial generation seem to be more oriented to the internet and it would be good to try to attract them.

Here we go. In his own version of RULE 2 for Radical Pastors (Build an organization by presenting a vision of where you are going and moving toward it) he was building an expectation. – He was building an expectation that we would be informed. He was building an expectation that there would be transparency in the parish.

Oh yeah. He commissioned a Parish Pastoral Council and he put the meeting minutes on the parish Website. He elevated the Cemetery Committee to a higher level of visibility and he published their meeting minutes on the parish Website.

Almost overnight, St. Peter’s went from a parish with virtually no Internet presence to a parish that gen Xers and the Millennial generation would flock to. The vision, the expectation that we were becoming informed and attracting people had been placed in our minds. You betcha!

Then came the reality of 2017. The vision, the expectations are gone. They have died. The expectation of transparency was just crapola.

Now the parish website is just like a ghost town.

The Parish Pastoral Council has been “disappeared”. (See Catholic Cultural Revolution #3: The Parish Pastoral Council has been “Disappeared” for details.)

Upon close examination, you will find that the Cemetery Committee appears to be dead and buried. What do I mean? – The one and only set of meeting minutes for the Cemetery Committee ever posted were the minutes for – February 2, 2015. (By the way, that was a well written set of minutes.)

Oh, and what happened to the former Director of Religious Education – no word is given. His name was “disappeared” and our Pastor took his place.

Actually, there is no transparency. The sheep of St. Peter’s are in the dark – like mushrooms (and you know the rest of that ditty).

It is one thing to have had no parish Website or only a poorly run site. It is quite a different thing to have had your vision, your expectations built up to think that there would be transparency at St. Peter’s only to have those expectations dashed. Slowly we are moving into the darkness.

Char’s Commentary:

Father said. “…the website is crucial for informing and attracting people…” Yeah, and how’s that working out? How many souls have been saved???

In the last three years there never was any real transparency.

There is one exception to my last statement and it is presented in the following song:

Your lips are moving, I cannot hear
Your voice is soothing, but the words aren’t clear
You don’t sound different, I’ve learned the game
I’m looking through you, you’re not the same






For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2017-07-16

Here is Bulletin_2017-07-16

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.


– promise of Our Lady to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251


And don’t forget.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


1138900629.jpgThey came to honor him, to pray for him, to console his wife, and to pray with her for strength.

The priests, the fellow deacons, the past and present parishioners, and the friends, from near and far – they came.

They came and Mass was offered, a comforting homily was delivered, and there was a common bond of friendship in the Lord.

Because the Church is One, because the Faithful are One, because they are united in love – they came.

Because they are the Church Militant, because they pray for the Church Suffering, because they look to the Church Triumphant – they came.

He loved his country, he served during a time of war, he was buried with military honors by his comrades – they came.

On this day, Deacon Charles Coutu rests and he rests knowing – they came.

On this day, Deacon Charles Coutu rests knowing he is in the loving arms of the One he served so faithfully.

Today is the feast of St. Benedict. So, in his spirit, in simple word, we pray for all at St. Peter’s and especially for Deacon Coutu – Pax!

I was there. I came. … and I will continue come to pray for him and all the souls of the faithful departed. – Char

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2017-07-09

Here is Bulletin_2017-07-09

Today at Mass we received the sad news that Deacon Charles Coutu died on Saturday morning, July 8th.

Deacon Coutu.jpg

This picture comes from the old Knights of Columbus Council 14755 Website. The caption reads:

Deacon Charles Coutu, who has submitted his resignation after 37 years of service to the church as an ordained minister, was thanked and honored for his long service to St. Peter’s Church at the parish’s annual Corpus Christi celebration and picnic on Sunday, June 2 [2013].

Deacon Coutu’s viewing, wake and funeral information is as follows:
  • His viewing will be Monday, July 10th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at Moser’s Funeral Home, 233 Broadview Avenue, Warrenton, VA. (Our Grand Knight has requested a good showing of Knights because Deacon Coutu was A Fourth Degree Knight and because it would be greatly appreciated by Deacon Coutu’s wife.)
  • The Mass of Christian burial will be at St. Peter’s on Tuesday, July 11th at 11:00 am.
  • The Legion of Mary is leading a rosary for the repose of his soul at 10:30 am on Tuesday before the funeral Mass.
  • There will be a reception in the parish hall after the Mass.  Please bring a dish, salad or a dessert to help celebrate the many years Deacon Coutu has served at St. Peter’s.

Personal Note: My wife and I first met Deacon Coutu while we were at Holy Family Parish in Dale City in the mid-1980s. He provided me spiritual direction and counseling at a time in my life when it was much needed.

Our first real encounter with Rappahannock County was when Deacon Coutu and his wife invited us to their place for a barbecue and a relaxing day in the country. He will be sorely missed by us and all of the sheep of St. Peter’s.

Our prayers are with his wife and all who have known this loving, spirit-filled friend of the Lord!

V. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
R. And let the perpetual light shine upon him.

And may his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.