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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

Support the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal

The Bishop’s Lenten Appeal (BLA) strengthens the bonds of faith that join us together as a Catholic family and provides the resources to assure the continued presence of Jesus Christ’s Gospel message and ministry across our diocese.

Whether promoting vocations, educating our future priests, providing lay ministry formation, teaching, evangelizing, providing outreach to youth, young adults and those in need, the programs and ministries of the BLA touch every parish and parishioner in our diocese.

See the video and flyer below to learn how your gifts to the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal benefit everyone within our diocese.

2021 Bishop’s Lenten Appeal Flyer

Donate Today
Please prayerfully consider supporting the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. Letters have been mailed to all registered St. Katharine Drexel Mission parishioners or for your convenience, you can also donate online. Thank you for your support!


Statement on the Passage of Abortion Expansion Legislation

Please see the joint statements of Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Knestout on the passage of abortion expansion legislation by the Virginia House of Delegates:

Message from Fr. Murphy

Dear Parishioners of St. Katharine Drexel Mission,

This week we hope to have all events at St. Stephen the Martyr livestreamed. Thanks to a generous and technically connected parishioner, we hope to have this new service just in time for the latest pandemic resurgence.

The governor’s instructions haven’t changed our routine at Four Hills Farm and our venue for Sunday Mass. In addition, St. Stephen’s is still open, and we have Mass and Sacraments at the normally scheduled times. There is no obligation to attend Sunday Mass or feast days. Those who do attend are those who are healthy and those not sharing living space with those suffering from Coronavirus 19. They are expected to wear a mask unless they have medical reasons not to or are not yet five years old. We can sit up to 50% capacity observing social distancing with six feet between groups or individuals. Although I can’t provide an enclosed tent for those who prefer to sit outside, I do plan to have the parish hall wired for video and sound this Sunday.

Please see St. Katharine Drexel Mission 2020 Financial Report from Fr. Murphy on the financial status of our mission.

Building Committee Update

Due to a recent relocation, David O’Flynn recently announced that he is no longer able to serve as chairperson of the St. Katharine Drexel Mission Building Committee. We wish to thank David for all of his efforts in moving our vision of forming a parish forward, and for the time and dedication that he so generously offered to our mission church throughout the years. His contracting knowledge and commitment to serving in this important capacity have moved St. Katharine Drexel Mission forward as we prepare to build our parish church in glory to God.

At this time, we wish to introduce you to the new chairperson of the St. Katharine Drexel Mission Building Committee, Tim Freeman. Below is a message from Tim to our SKDM community:

First, I would like to thank David O’Flynn for his years of dedication. Without his leadership and passion, we would not find ourselves in the position of being so close to our goals.

The generosity of the people of our parish is inspiring. Let me share the following:

  • 45% of families have pledged.
  • Our goal of raising $3M is within reach; we have received or have pledges for $2.9M.
  • We have been meeting with the Diocese of Arlington; they showed up in force at our recent committee meeting and we were highly encouraged by their support and excitement for us.
  • We will be meeting with the County next month and expect to move forward soon.

Fall of 2023 sounds like a long time, that is the date we set as a goal to move in; we hope to move that to the left if possible. In the meantime, I will commit to coming before the parish once a quarter to provide an update on our progress. Thank you for your generosity and pledges, please keep them coming. I also wish to thank Father Murphy for his steady leadership. Please keep Father Murphy and the committee in your prayers that we may bring this vision to reality.

Rosary Beads

Sunday Mass at 10:30 AM at Four Hills Farm

St. Katharine Drexel Mission is now celebrating Sunday Mass at 10:30 AM at Four Hills Farm located at 4610 Sudley Road in Catharpin, VA. SKD parishioners are also welcome to attend Mass at St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Middleburg, VA.

Pastor’s Piece – August 29

Today’s Pastor’s Piece is a letter from Bishop Burbidge regarding a day of prayer and fasting for peace in our communities on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

Letter from Bishop Burbidge

Pastor’s Piece – August 22

Last Friday and Saturday ten people in our parish completed their Sacraments of Initiation and were confirmed in the faith. I wish to

• Christian “José Sanchez” Arellano
• Anna “Rita of Cascia” Ferraro
• Eric “Joseph of Cupertino” Montalvo
• Zackery “Sebastian” Montalvo
• Giannina “Fatima” Obando
• Madeline “Augustine” Peters
• César Uriel Cortés-Cortés
• Mayra Graciela Vera-Ramos
• Anthoni Yanel Flores-Arellano
• Candace “Bernadette” Cooper

They have all participated in our parish program over the course of the past year and endured with patience and understanding all of the irregularities
that that entailed. While all of them have pledged to support and promote the faith with the newly received gifts of the Holy Spirit, Candace has taken the extra bold step of converting to the Catholic faith and making us her new family in Christ. It is always a pleasant reminder of the great treasure
that so often we take for granted in the Catholic Church.

Next year’s faith formation is already in the works. We have been reminding parents of the need to register their children for the new year, but I am also considering the need to plan RCIA again in English and Spanish. So far, I have six adults interested in English and one in Spanish. When I say RCIA, this can be convert-class, Catholics adults who need sacraments class or adult members of the parish who just want a refresher course. Please, call the parish office to notify us of your interest or the interest of an associate, and I’ll start planning when and where. The most likely start date is after Columbus Day.

This means that I’ve got to get some vacation time in between now and then. So, you won’t see me this week. As I hope that you are aware, our parish never really “shutdown” during the pandemic, Masses were available  even if they were not scheduled. Nevertheless, it has thrown everybodies’ schedules off and it has finally caught up with us. We’re finally shutting the Masses down. This week Monday – Saturday morning we won’t have Mass. The church will be open during business hours when there is staff to manage it. With all the irregularities, I can’t find a substitute priest to cover for my family’s trip to Virginia Beach this week. As Our Lord responded to His blessed mother’s request to attend a wedding feast, so Mrs. Murphy wouldn’t be too understanding if I was a “no-show” for the family’s vacation.  You’ll be in my prayers as I take the Mass on the road.

Christ’s Peace,

Fr. Murphy