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:

  • This weekend’s collection is for the Catholic Communication Campaign, which spreads the Gospel in the United States and around the world using the internet, television, radio, and print media. Half the funds we collect remain in our diocese to support local efforts. Be a part of this campaign to spread the Gospel message. Learn more at
  • "Forks, Corks, and Kegs", our biggest school fundraiser, is tonight (Saturday, May 18), at 6:00 PM, on the parish field (Rain or Shine!). It includes samples from local breweries, wineries, and food trucks; a live band; and a silent auction and raffles for wonderful gifts. Your ticket includes all-you-can-eat and drink, plus a tasting glass. More information, including how to register and purchase tickets, can be found here.
  • The season finale of the St. Andrew's Concert Series will be this Sunday, May 19, at 4:00 PM. Our Director of Music Ministry, Mike Murphy, will be playing, accompanied by our traditional choir. The title of the concert is "Christus Vincit" ("Christ conquers"), so fitting for the last Sunday of the Easter season when we celebrate Christ's victory over sin and death. As always, the concert is free with a reception afterwards in Hannan Hall. Free will donations are gratefully accepted and will support future concerts at St. Andrew's. Come and enjoy wonderful music glorifying the Lord! More information on our website.
  • This is the 50th Jubilee of the Diocese of Arlington. In celebration of this event, the Diocese is hosting the Diocesan Jubilee Fest on June 8, 2024, at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Front Royal. It will include a Marian procession, Mass with Bishop Burbidge, rides, a petting zoo, live music, fireworks, and more! The event is free. A complimentary meal is provided to all who register here.

Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, when our Heavenly Father and Christ his Son sent the Holy Spirit upon the Church! This marks the end of the Easter season and the completion of Christ's saving work: his death on the Cross on Good Friday frees us from sin, his Resurrection on Easter Sunday opens the gates of eternal life to all of us, his Ascension into heaven glorifies our humanity and frees Christ from the constraints of earth that He may be available to all souls at all times, and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost unites us to the Holy Trinity.

God is love (1 John 4:8), and we can view the Holy Trinity as the perfect union of love. The Father eternally speaks the Word, Jesus Christ. The perfect love they share is personified in the Holy Spirit, who shares their divine nature and is in constant union with the Father and the Son. When we receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism, we are brought into that divine love, united with God and all the Church, including the saints in heaven and the souls in Purgatory. This is why the Holy Spirit is this source of unity, the unity that Christ desires when he prays that we may all be one (John 17:21).

This indwelling of the Holy Spirit offers extraordinary graces. We traditionally recognize the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. We also identify the Fruits of the Holy Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, which St. Paul lists for us (Galatians 5:22-23).

Providentially, our 8th graders receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on Monday, the day after we celebrate Pentecost. Archbishop Broglio, the Archbishop for the Military (and current President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) will Confirm our children, anointing them with holy chrism while declaring, "Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit." Through these words and actions, the confirmandi will receive the fullness of the divine gifts they first received at their Baptism.

When I was Confirmed, I didn't know what to expect. I held out hope that the Holy Spirit would immediately transform me into a living saint. That did not happen. It still hasn't, but I don't blame the power of God for that. Our union with the Holy Spirit offers us divine gifts, but we must cultivate the virtues that allow them to fully flourish in our thoughts, words, and actions. For me, the desire for comfort and to be liked often get in the way of my responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Thus, I pray for courage, detachment from material comfort, and most of all, humility, as I seek to allow the divine gifts I have received to bear fruit. So let us all pray to know where we still need to grow in virtue - and then to seek to do that growing - so that the Holy Spirit may transform us and may renew the face of the earth!

The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in dramatic fashion on Wednesday with a walk-off home run by their All-Star catcher Adley Rutchman. The win kept alive the Orioles' streak of not being swept in 105 series in a row. That placed them in third place behind the St. Louis Cardinals (125 series from 1942 to 1944) and the New York Giants (106 series from 1905 to 1905). With their win over the Mariners last night, they extended their streak to 106, which ties them for second place with the Giants.

You Nationals fans might recognize that this streak almost ended last week when the two teams played in Washington. It was a two-game series and the Nationals won the first game 3-0. In the second game, the Orioles were ahead 3-1 going into the bottom of the 9th inning, but gave up two runs to tie the game. Then, they scored two runs in the top of the 11th inning, only to allow the scrappy Nationals to tie it up once more. They finally won in the 12th inning when they again scored two runs and only allowed the Nationals to score once in the bottom of the inning. Final: 7-6. Whew!

Not much was expected out of the Nationals this season. They were predicted to finish 65-97 by my favorite sabermetric website, Fangraphs. They are currently 20-22, which projects to 77-85 - a nice improvement. Note that the same website had the Orioles projected record as 84-78. They are currently 28-14, which projects to 103-59. There is a limit to using statistics to project real life, which is much more complex and a lot less calculable than some like to think.

One of the less predictable parts of the Orioles season has been the success of Orioles rookie Colton Cowser, who won the Rookie of the Month for April. He did not come up as one of the highly-touted prospects like Adley Rutchman and Gunner Henderson (or Jackson Holliday, who is still the number-one prospect in baseball after his brief and unsuccessful stint with the Orioles earlier in the season). Going into the year, he was listed as the 12th-best prospect in the Orioles system. So his breakout success is somewhat of a surprise.

Cowser seems like a lot of fun, as witnessed by his overall quirkiness and his annual Lego competition with Gunnar Henderson. His success and his likability have made him a fan-favorite. Playing off of the name Cowser, the members of his fan club have cow-themed attire or dress up as milkmen at games. They also yell, "Moo!" when he comes up to bat, which could be confusing when he's in a slump because it sounds more like they are booing.

Baseball can be unpredictable and wonderful and joyful. We rejoice when our favorite team or player overachieves. In the end, it's just a game. Life is also unpredictable, no matter how much we try to control it. The Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit, which tie us to our infinite and conquering God, are meant to fill us with joy, even in the worst times. Not a "rah-rah" joy that can't see the struggles, but a confident joy that knows that whatever happens in this life, we are embraced by the Victor of All.

Let us live united with Christ and with each other, that we may set the world afire with God's love.

Know of my prayers for you. Please pray for me as well!

In Christ,

Fr. Wagner

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