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SKD to Kick Off Cornerstone Campaign

St. Katharine Drexel Mission announced plans to kick off its Cornerstone Campaign as the last step to raising the funds needed to complete the building of our new parish church. Informational letters and Cornerstone Campaign Pledge Forms will be mailed to all parishioners in mid-October.

The SKD Cornerstone Campaign will run from November 1, 2021 – October 31, 2024. You can contribute to the campaign monthly, quarterly, annually, or make a one-time payment, whatever works best for your situation. We just ask that you please complete the pledge form. The diocese will consider funds pledged through the SKD Cornerstone Campaign Pledge Form, as well as funds received, toward the attainment of our $600,000 goal.

You may also access the campaign brochure and pledge form below:

Cornerstone Campaign Brochure

Cornerstone Campaign Pledge Form

Diocesan Marian Pilgrimage 2021

Bishop Michael Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington, invites you to join him to mark this “Year of St. Joseph” at the diocesan Marian pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 30  from 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM.

All are welcome and encouraged to attend this free event! Individual pilgrims and families are welcomed to participate on their own and there is no registration required to attend.

If you need transportation or if you can provide a ride for fellow pilgrims, please contact SSM/SKD Parish Captain, Pat Lorzing, via email by September 30.

For details, please see the website:

Sunday Mass Celebration Moving to BHS – September 5

So many of us love attending Mass at Four Hills Farm! It is with mixed emotions that we are moving back into the PWC School system. For multiple reasons, we are making a switch. We are moving to Battlefield High School! It is closer to our future home, we can provide in-person RE classes again and it provides easy access to all who wish to celebrate Mass.

Beginning September 5, 2021
St. Katharine Drexel will begin celebrating Mass on Sundays at the Battlefield High School auditorium at 10:30 AM. BHS is located at 15000 Graduation Drive in Haymarket, VA. Please enter through Door #4 Auditorium (across from the football field).

Mass Time: 10:30 AM

Parking: Between the Football Stadium and Auditorium Entrance

Religious Education: Begins September 12th
SKD Religious Education classes will be held at Battlefield High School each Sunday from 9:00 AM-10:15AM. Please enter the building through Door #4 Auditorium.

Pastor’s Piece – June 6, 2021

Attention! SKD members who are reading this before June 6. Please, make plans to join us for Mass this Sunday, the day of the D-day anniversary. It may not be as historic as storming the beaches of Nazi held Normandy, but we do have some good news regarding building the church that you’ll want to hear.

Last week was filled with good news regarding lifting COVID restrictions. There was so much that I’d like to take more time to go over some of the items. E.g., during the Masses at SSM, I explained how I wish to continue to distribute Holy Communion at the altar rail as long as it is practicable. Many folks were habitually social distancing because of the three cushions at the rail found on the either side of the main aisle. These are not there to mark the need for social distancing, but rather just the fact that we don’t have a longer cushion yet.

I hope that many of you found the Holy Water. Perhaps you’re doubting the efficacy of Holy Water. I feel very badly that it wasn’t more readily available to you in the time of crisis and need. We might be tempted to think that the Church no longer believes in the power of this sacramental. Perhaps, but maybe the reason the bishop was fearful in making it more available was theological?

Unlike the words of the priest at consecration during Mass that bring about the miracle of Transubstantiation, a sacramental is more subjective. In the sacraments, we have a guarantee by Christ Himself that when a priest expresses the words, such as those of absolution, at Confession, He, the Lord, brings about the forgiveness of sins. Because salvation depends on this, it happens regardless of whether the penitent is paying attention or whether the priest is holy. On the other hand, a sacramental doesn’t work that way. Rather, it depends more on the faith and holiness of the minister and user. And then, in addition, there is an option of more than one prayer we priests can use to bless Holy Water. Lamentably, they don’t uniformly speak of the intention to ward off pesky pestilence.

I can assure you that here at SSM & SKD our Holy Water is made with the intention to not only reaffirm us in our baptismal promises and strengthen our struggle with sin, but also, to ward off “all illness and every snare of the enemy.” I pray explicitly for “soundness of body and soul” for all who use it. Additionally, it is made with an optional ritual that includes blessed salt. Naturally speaking, this helps reduce the pond scum that gathers in the stagnate water of the Holy Water stoups, but supernaturally speaking, it provides additional prayers repulsing evil and disease.

Please, feel free to make liberal use of this powerful sacramental.

Christ’s Peace,

Fr. Murphy

Register for the SKD Golf Tournament

SKD Golf Tournament: August 9th

Join us for St. Katharine Drexel Mission’s first annual SKD Golf Tournament on Monday, August 9, 2021 at Evergreen Country Club in Haymarket, VA.

9:00 AM – Registration
10:00 AM – Start of Play
11:30 AM – Lunch (while golfing)
3:30 PM – Dinner (tickets for dinner will be available)

Sponsorship opportunities available!

Not a golfer? Register for dinner only!

Learn more and register to play and/or signup to sponsor

For more information, contact Mary Banwarth, 703-675-3665, Dianne Lemanski, 703-966-3583,

Pastor’s Piece – May 9

Due to the schedule disruptions of the pandemic, Bishop Burbidge has appointed me to confirm the children of the parish once more. It is a shame that the children to be confirmed (confirmandi) won’t have the experience of meeting a bishop. It is so very much an important part of our Catholic identity. Nevertheless, frankly, last September went so well, I’m happy not to have to host a bishop. It is a lot less anxiety for me, staff and a host of volunteers.

Not only do I look forward to confirming the children next Saturday (May 15), but currently I find my interviews with them most enlightening. Firstly, the young Christian soul should give all of us reason to be hopeful. Most of them sincerely desire to participate in the Church and make a difference the world. Sadly, there are some other alarming truths that are crystal clear.

Many of the children are completely detached from the Christian calendar. A steady diet of Spring Break during Holy Week has successfully eroded some of the most sacred events of our faith from their understanding. The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus are barely acknowledged for the historical and transformative events that they are. Just a reminder, there are no more important days on our calendar than the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Another crystalline truth is that there is no amount of catechism (dynamic teachers, texts or time) that can possibly contribute to a scintilla of knowledge of the faith in comparison with the family that just goes to Church as instructed. Frankly, a bump on a log sitting in the pew each Sunday will absorb more of the faith than a child in a Religious Education (RE) program for one hour a week. This isn’t a critique of our program, but rather my estimation of what Our Lord has established in our Catholic tradition of going to Mass.

I wish many parents would stop thinking that they can have it all. They wish for their children to be involved in all the activities available on Sunday and for them to be Catholic. Habitually lived faith is necessary to combat the current of disbelief in which the children of the parish live. For example, the most fundamental tenant of Christianity, the Resurrection of the Body, is lacking in some of our confirmandi. How important is it?

St. Paul basically says pack it in and give up if you don’t believe. “But if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching; empty, too, your faith.” (1Cor 15:12-14)

And so, what I hear from many of our confirmandi are well absorbed RE lessons. I hear them talk about Jesus descending into hell after His death and then ascend to heaven, in order to open it up for souls. For minds that are formed by their environment of secularism and materialism, this is seems like a rational contribution of our faith. A consolation for us after death, but not the miracle that it is. Their minds have neatly packaged the Resurrection for the afterlife. “Rose from the dead” becomes a spiritual act, not the reality that we celebrate on Easter Sunday.

I hope that the Resurrection may change our lives for the better now. It starts with what we do on Sundays.

Christ’s Peace,

Fr. Murphy

Bishop Burbidge – Easter Message

See page five of the April 4, 2021 bulletin for a special Easter message from Diocese of Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge.

Easter Message – Bishop Burbidge

Religious Education Program

Religious Education Updates

Sacraments for the 2020-2021 year have been scheduled! We are still finalizing some information with the Diocese and therefore do not have all the details set. All Sacraments for both Saint Katharine Drexel and Saint Stephen will take place at Saint Stephen the Marytr. Once more details are finalized we will be sending information on how to register for specific times via email & Google Classroom to families enrolled in these classes.

First Penance: Due to COVID-19 we will not be holding the large Reconciliation event as we have in the past. During Lent Father Murphy will be available at all regularly scheduled parish Reconciliation times to hear the student’s First Confessions. He will have a list of students.

Parents – please inform him as your child is entering that it is their First Reconciliation. More information will be sent out.

First Holy Communion: May 1, 2021 – Noon
(Spanish), 2 pm (English), 5 pm (English)

May 2, 2021 – 10 am (English)
Confirmation: May 15, 2021 – times TBD
(pending information from the Diocese of Arlington)

Pastor’s Piece – March 21

I have the feeling that we like to force the hand of good things. There are bars with St. Patrick’s decorations up as soon as March begins, in the attempt to expand the good times of this day long feast. We get the start on celebrating Christmas earlier than ever, to the point that we have no desire to even finish out the Christmas Season. Now that our evenings are basking in the glow of Daylight Savings Time, it seems like we decided Spring would start last week. Regardless, of what our clocks say, Spring has finally arrived. The sun crosses the equator today. On this Vernal Equinox we enjoy a little over 12 hours of sunlight. (Our equinox is not quite an equal split between night and day because we’re over 30 degrees north of the equator.) This is significant to the life of faith because the first full moon from this date forward is when we find the nearest Sunday and declare it Easter.

The logic in determining this feast is a combination of old and new. Why not use the same date as we do for most other feasts? Because the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, the day that Moses sets from Passover, is going to be different for us each year. They use a lunar calendar, and we use a solar calendar. Secondly, the importance of our week and especially that of Sunday comes from Holy Week. The most important days of Holy Week are the Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday (beginning at the Vigil). You might have noticed that Sunday is a part of the following week, the first day of Easter Week. True, but this is also a good example by what we mean by Sunday being not only the first day of the week and creation, but also an eighth day, a day that marks the time of the new creation of sanctifying grace.

The power of the Resurrection infuses our era with a new capacity of pleasing God, attaining blessedness and living forever. This is why the Church wants us to regard every Sunday as a little Easter, a way of remembering that we go about life differently now. Speaking of a different time, over the years a great
frustration of being your pastor is that we put a lot of effort, time and energy getting you ready for the liturgical crescendo of Holy Week (especially the Triduum) throughout the weeks of Lent and then, nobody is here. Not only do the Jews and us have a different calendar, but so do we and the public schools in Loudoun, Prince William and Fauquier Counties. They love to plan for the children to have their Spring Break during our Holy Week. So, because so many of you are blessed with the means and free time to vacation at that week, I have very few participants and volunteers for the unique and rich liturgies of the sacred season.

Ironically, everybody was around last year, but the Church wasn’t doing anything. Perhaps this year things will be different? Different in that, you’re still around, and different, in that the parish will be active. So, I invite you to consider making time to attend our Holy Thursday, Lord’s Last Supper Mass, 7:30pm, Good Friday’s, Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, 3:00pm, and the Easter Vigil, Saturday night at 8:30pm (April 1-3).

Christ’s Peace,

Fr. Murphy

Pastor’s Piece – March 7, 2021

We are all engaged in the freewill sacrifices and obligatory penitence of Lent. Perhaps we need an incentive to maintain the rigors of our discipline. There is a special reprieve for us this month. March 19 is the Solemn Feast of St. Joseph. Solemn Feasts carry with them special distinctions. Not only do we sing the Gloria at Mass, as we would for any Feast Day, but in addition, we recite the Creed, as we would on a Sunday. So as Sundays (in normal times) would be a Holy Days of Obligation, so are Solemn Feast Days in many parts of the world. In fact, in Italy, not only is St. Joseph’s Day a Holy Day of Obligation, but it is their chosen day to honor all fathers, their Father’s Day, thus tying in a noble secular observance with our Catholic faith. In the United States we don’t observe St. Joseph’s Day in the obligatory way that precept days are designated because our bishops decided to use an option that the Holy See granted back at the II Vatican Council. So, while we don’t observe St. Joseph’s Day as a Holy Day of Obligation, it is still one of the 10 Precept Days of the universal church. This means that it carries no obligation on our part, but we still have the benefits.

The benefits of a feast day are just that, to feast. As we know, there is a strict prohibition not to eat meat on Friday’s during Lent. This rule applies to those who have attained 14 years and is a mortal sin for those who knowingly and willingly disregard it. Meaning that if you fall into that category, you’ve got to visit the Sacrament of Penance before you show up for Holy Communion. (Consult the bulletin on the expanded Confession schedule during Lent.)

Nevertheless, this year, March 19 falls on a Friday. This means that nobody need ask me or Bishop Burbidge for dispensations. It is often the case when St. Patrick’s feast falls on a Friday, the Knights of Columbus ask the bishop for dispensation in order have their corned beef and cabbage dinners. Unlike St. Patrick, St. Joseph’s feast is a Solemn Feast for the universal church, not just a singular country, or those whose cathedral or parish is named after a particular saint. Therefore, there is no fasting or even abstinence on Friday, March 19 this year.

This is a mere fraction of the blessings that devotion to St. Joseph can bring us. Out of all the men in human history that the omniscient and omnipotent God could choose to guard, protect, educate, and love His only begotten Son, and His Most Blessed Mother, He chose St. Joseph. This is why Pope Francis has invited us to draw closer to St. Joseph. He has designated 2021 as the Year of St. Joseph in order to do just that. I’ve included information in our bulletin on how we can participate. It is a venerable tradition of our faith to use the nine days before a feast in order to prepare spiritually. Please, consider using one of these St. Joseph devotions for your novena as a way of making this March 19 the day of blessings for you and your that it could be.

Christ’s Peace,

Fr. Murphy