Dear Brothers and Sisters of St. Andrew the Apostle,

For information about all of the news and events at the parish, please read the bulletin or our parish website. Here are some upcoming events at St. Andrew's:

  • Today (Saturday, June 15), we will host a document shredding fundraiser in our parking lot from 10 AM until noon to support Marian Homes and St. Andrew's Music Ministry. Bring your paper to be shredded, make a donation, and support two great programs! More information here.
  • This Sunday is Father's Day, which begins our Father's Day Novena. To enroll the intention of your father, grandfather, or other fathers in your life, please use the Father’s Day remembrance envelope found in your monthly packet of envelopes or those placed at the Church entrances along with Father’s Day Novena cards. The remembrance envelopes (and list of names if you use Faith Direct) may be placed in the regular Sunday collection or dropped off at the Parish Office. No stipend is required; any donation is appreciated. You may also use Faith Direct to enroll intentions and offer a stipend. 
  • The Knights of Columbus will sell coffee and donuts after the 7:30 AM, 9:00 AM, and 10:30 AM Masses this Sunday.
  • The Seniors Group will meet on Monday in the Padre Pio Room after the 12 noon Mass. There will be a display of artwork from parishioner Kathy Wood. More information here.
  • Wednesday, June 19, is a federal holiday, so we will keep our regular holiday schedule. Masses will be at 9:00 AM and 12 noon. The church will be open for prayer from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM. There will be no 6:30 AM Mass, 7:00 PM Confessions, or 8:00 PM Mass. The offices will be closed. Enjoy the holiday!
  • At 11:00 AM on Saturday, June 22, Bishop Burbidge will be the principal celebrant and homilist for a special Mass for our deanery at St. Mark's in Vienna. This is the Feast Day of St. Thomas More, the patron saint of the Diocese of Arlington, and it's part of the celebration of the Diocese's 50th Anniversary. More information can be found here.

We will begin milling and repaving our parking lot at 7:00 AM on Monday. More details on the paving schedule can be found here. It will start with the northeast section of the lot (outside of the Holy Family Chapel to the treeline on Union Mill Road). At the same time, the walking path and the basketball court on the parish field will be repaved. On Wednesday, work is scheduled to move to the section of the lot that includes the Union Mill Road entrance, so that entrance will be closed on Wednesday until that work is complete. Next week the Compton Road entrance will be closed when they begin that work on June 25.

The work is scheduled to be finished by June 27, if there are no delays. In addition to one of the entrances being closed some days, there will also be portions of the parking lot that are inaccessible. Please be observant and respectful of the closures and plan to arrive early on the weekdays when the work is being done because you may need to park further away from the entrance than usual. The current plan leaves the whole parking lot free next weekend for Sunday Masses, so please join me in praying for good weather and no complications! Thank you in advance for your patience.

This Sunday is Father's Day, a day to remember, celebrate, and give thanks for our fathers. All fatherhood is rooted in the fatherhood of God, the Creator of all things. Jesus teaches the Lord's Prayer, which begins, "Our Father," yet the word he chooses for Father, "Abba," is more intimate, similar to how we would use the name "Daddy." He wants us to be children, obedient and subject to the will of the Father. We tend to rebel against such domination, but in the case of God, we recognize that he loves us completely, more than anyone on earth, and desires what is best for us. "You are my friends if you do what I command you," Christ says (John 15:14), because God's commands lead to our fulfillment, peace, and joy in this life and the next because they are given for our flourishing. So we see the father as one who creates in love as God does, leads and guides as God does, and protects and nourishes as God does. This is what fatherhood is meant to be, even when what we may know from our live is an imperfect imitation. There is a goodness and divine foundation that fathers are called to live, and we celebrate and give thanks to our fathers - biological and spiritual - on Father's Day for doing that. May the Lord bless all fathers this day, and may His grace lead them to be the Fathers they are called to be, myself included.

On Tuesday of this past week, Bishop Burbidge appointed me the Dean of Deanery VI, which consists of the parishes of Our Lady of Good Council, St. Andrew the Apostle, St. Clare of Assisi, St. Leo the Great, St. Mark, St. Mary of Sorrows, St. Paul Chung, St. Timothy, and St. Veronica. The former dean, Fr. Barkett, is being assigned as the new pastor of Holy Trinity, which is outside of the deanery. So I will be succeeding him, and I thank him for nine years of faithful service as dean.

The Arlington Diocese is divided into eight deaneries. From the priests of each deanery, one is appointed as dean to assist the Bishop with some of the minor responsibilities of the parishes of the deanery. The title of the dean is Vicar Forane, which is why you may see a V.F. after the name of a priest. It's an honor to be chosen and the position comes with additional responsibilities outside of our parish, such as representing the deanery at certain events, reviewing the administration of sacramental records throughout the deanery, and serving on the Priest Personnel Board that offers consultation for the Bishop on clergy assignments.

It's intimidating. I'm tempted to think I need more seasoning before taking on such a responsibility, but I've been a priest for fifteen years and a pastor for four and a half of them. I served as the Bishop's secretary for over five years. I shouldn't be anxious.

But I am.

One of the ways that the Evil One likes to dissuade us from doing God's will is through fear and anxiety. It comes in many ways. There is fear that I will fail. There's fear that another aspect of my life will suffer because I have to take on additional responsibilities. There's fear of the difficulties and conflicts inherent to the assignment. These are all real. The Evil One wants us to know all of the difficulties ahead, and he likes us to overestimate them so we think we are not up to the task. And perhaps we aren't, at least by ourselves.

But we're not on our own. Jesus tells us, "Without me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5). He does not leave us alone. As I mentioned earlier, we are supposed to rely upon God with a childlike love, one that clings to Him, one that knows we need Him for everything. When I first arrived at St. Andrew's, I'd never been a pastor and I had the same anxiety that I was in over my head. One of the things that helped me is that I have a very large rosary that I would pray in bed until I fell asleep. It would often wake me up at night when I rolled over on it. But it was a reminder that I am not alone. I have the intercession of the saints. I have Christ and His Holy Spirit.

Not only that, but I had trust in God's will. I took a vow of obedience to the Bishop, and when he assigns me a task, I can trust that it is exactly what God wants for me at this time in my life. That's one of the benefits of a life of obedience. You know where God wants you and what He wants you to do because the Bishop acts on His behalf.

We don't all have the same order of spiritual obedience, but we can still be assured that the place we are now, however difficult it may be, is where God knew we would be with the struggles God knew we would have. The path our salvation leads through where we are right now, even if we have strayed from God. He offers us graces and crosses in every time and place meant to sanctify us and lead us along the path that leads to heaven. So we cling to Him in faith, pray for the intercession of the saints, and trust that He walks with us always.

Yes, sometimes we will be in over our heads. Sometimes we will fail. While we walk with God, it does not mean that we will always succeed in the world's eyes. We don't have to look any further than the Cross or the lives of martyrs to know that. But whatever happens, if we have a childlike reliance on God and trust in His plan for us, we do not need to fear. Things may not turn out like we want, but that's okay. What we want isn't always what's best for us. Let your will be done, O Lord, and not ours.

So please pray for me as I take on this new responsibility. And as always, be assured of my prayers for you as well.

In Christ,

Fr. Wagner

St. Andrew the Apostle Parish Website
St. Andrew the Apostle Weekly Bulletin
Upcoming Events at St. Andrew's
Upcoming Diocesan Events
Virginia Catholic Conference