Please pray for the sick…. Christina Spano, Angel Andrada, Jean Smith, Joan McLoughlin, Louise Keenan. (Names will remain on this list for four (4) consecutive weeks, but can be repeated by calling the Rectory. Please notify the Parish Office if you or persons whose names you submitted no longer need to be on this prayer list. Thank you for your cooperation.)
“I AM THE TRUE VINE”
In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.” (John 15:1) This wonderful symbol for the role of Christ in the church is used already for the people of the Old Testament. “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel.” (Isaiah 5:7) Wisdom also says, “I bud forth delights like the vine, my blossoms become fruit fair and rich.” (Sirach 24:17) Jesus is the New Israel, symbolized by the vine.
Since the members of the church are the branches, Jesus insists very strongly, “Remain in me as I remain in you.” (John 15:4) There is the promise that the Father will prune the vineyard. The followers of our Lord are already pruned by the teaching of Jesus, “the word that I spoke to you.” (John 15:3) Remaining with Jesus will lead to an abundant harvest for the church, “will bear much fruit.” (John 15:5) There is the clear threat for those who do not remain in Jesus. “Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither.” (John 15: 6)
Christ also promises that requests “for whatever you want” (John 15:7) will be granted “if you remain in me and my words remain in you” (John 15:7) As Jesus often taught, to be fruitful requires especially love for one’s neighbor. Earlier at the Last Supper our Lord had said, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
There is also a Eucharistic meaning in today’s Gospel. In the context of the Last Supper the words about the vine suggest the wine of the Eucharist. At the institution of the Eucharist Jesus speaks of “the fruit of the vine.” (Mark 14:25) Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.” (John 15:5) An important Eucharistic symbol in the Gospel of John appears at the crucifixion of Jesus. “One soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.” (John 19:34) The blood and water are seen as representing the Eucharist and Baptism.
The Didache (The Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles Through the Twelve Apostles) is an early book of instructions for the followers of Jesus, dating possibly from the late first century. Liturgical matters are part of this book. This prayer comes from the Didache, “We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David your servant, which you revealed to us through Jesus your servant.” (ix, 2)
~ Fr. Ralph
MOTHER’S DAY MASS CARDS Mass Cards are available this weekend in the Gathering Space. This is a wonderful way to remember your Mother, Mother-in-law, Aunt or anyone special at Mass on Mother’s Day and throughout the month of May. Please return your spiritual bouquet envelope to the Rectory by Wednesday, May 9th.
WOMEN’S SCRIPTURE STUDY – We meet on Wednesday evenings, 8 – 9:30 p.m. in the Youth Room. Our next meeting is May 9th. All are welcome to join us! For additional information please call Sue Madison (301) 977-6854 or Mary Dixon (301) 330-4382.
SCRIPTURE STUDY OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
The Gospel of John is treasured by the Church as a leading document of our faith. John reveals layers of meaning about Jesus that the other Gospels do not address, especially his command to love one another. “Come and see” for six consecutive Wednesday evenings as we explore the first ten chapters of the Gospel of John. We will begin on May 16th and end on June 20th. We will meet in the Assisi Room from 7:30 until 9:00 p.m. For further information, contact Brent Hanson at (301) 509-2140.
LAMB OF GOD PRAYER MEETING - Join the Lamb of God Prayer Group for worship and the study of Scripture on Tuesday, May 8th, 7:30 p.m., St. Clare’s Chapel in the Rectory. For details, please call Louise, (301) 977-5217.
ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI PRAYER CHAIN If you have a prayer request, please contact Marianne Bullen, (301) 963-3420 or firstname.lastname@example.org with your requests.
POOR BOX DONATION – The donations for next weekend will go to the Shady Grove Pregnancy Center. Thank you for your generosity.
This week (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, May 6, 7, and 8) will be the final Religious Education classes for PreK - Grade 8 for this school year. Thank you to our catechists and volunteers who have helped to make this a successful year for our Religious Education Program. This parish is blessed to have so many wonderful catechists who volunteer their time each week to teach and share the faith. We pray that God will continue to bless each of them with his gifts of joy and peace!
As we look ahead to next year’s Religious Education program, please consider whether you can serve as a catechist for our children and young people. If you would like to learn more about this important ministry, please contact Susan Anderson, Director of Religious Education, (301) 258-9193.
Reminders for Confirmation Candidates
Confirmation classes continue as follows:
All First Communion children are invited to participate in a May Crowning at the 11:15 a.m. Mass on Sunday, May 13th. Children may wear their Communion dresses and suits and sit with their family anywhere in the church. After Communion, Fr. David will invite the children to go to the Gathering Space of the Church to receive a flower to carry in procession. There will be no rehearsals, but we do ask that you let us know you will be participating. If you have not already returned the response form, please call the Religious Education Office, (301) 258-9193.
All catechists are invited to an End-of-the-Year Catechist Gathering on Sunday, May 20th from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 Noon in the Parish Center.
Religious Education Registration for 2012-2013
We are now accepting registration for next year’s Religious Education Program! Our program offerings for children and youth include:
Since the curriculum of the Religious Education Program is designed to be taught in sequence and each year builds on the content presented in previous years, families should plan for their children to participate in Religious Education classes each year.
Registration forms were mailed home to families with children currently attending RE classes. For those new to our program, and if additional forms are needed, blank forms are available on the parish web site (www.sfadw.org), in the Gathering Space of the Church, and in the Parish Offices. Completed forms can be mailed or brought in to the Parish Offices. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please complete and return the registration forms as soon as possible!
Registering for Sacramental Preparation
Sacramental preparation for 1st Reconciliation, 1st Eucharist, Confirmation, and Christian Initiation for Children/Teens (CIC/CIT) is not grade specific and involves preparation in addition to grade level Religious Education classes. At minimum, children are expected to have participated in religious education in the year prior to preparing for a sacrament. Please note: students preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation will attend their grade-level Religious Education classes as well as monthly Confirmation sessions. Families requesting sacramental preparation for their child are asked to mark their registration form accordingly so that additional information can be provided. Please note that there is a separate materials fee for sacramental preparation programs. More details will be provided at the parent meetings next year. If you have any questions, please call the Religious Education Office, (301) 258-9193.
HAWAIIAN LUAU - The UpCounty Community Resources Special Needs Ministry invites teens and adults with and without disabilities to a Luau featuring music, dance, food and fun activities in a supportive environment to be held Saturday, May 19th in the Parish Center. The evening begins at 7:30 p.m. and continues to 9:30 p.m. The cost is $5 per family. RSVP today by calling Sylvia Jones, (301) 762-6564. Dress down for the dance with your best shorts, flip flops and beach attire. Sand is optional. See you there!
HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE REPORT – Please join us Tuesday, May 8th, 7:30 p.m. in the Library to hear from our recent parish pilgrims to the Holy Land. Four St. Francis parishioners were on the trip along with 17 others from St. Patrick’s and St. Camillus parishes. St. Francis parishioners were Joan Carpenter, Yvonne Fonseka, Pat and Bill Labuda.
CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES (CRS) COLLECTION “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Mt 25:35). Today, we are reminded of Jesus’ call to see him in all those we encounter. The Catholic Relief Services Collection sees Jesus in displaced families, those who seek to change unjust laws, and those who need pastoral care and humanitarian assistance across the globe. How will you help Jesus in disguise?
WEEKEND RETREAT FOR PEOPLE FACING SERIOUS ILLNESS: A retreat specially planned for men and women facing serious illness will be held at the Dominican Retreat House in Mclean on May 25-27. A team of doctors, nurses, priests sisters and helpers will be present around the clock. Scheduling allows plenty of time for rest and reflection. This is a no smoking weekend. This retreat is offered free of charge. Registration closes May 16th. Please call as soon as possible. (703) 356-4243.
STATE OF THE REAL-ESTATE MARKET AND FINANCING