Prince William County Catholic January 2020 Issue 4

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C O N T R I B U TO R S

M r s . L i s a H i l l - S u t t o n , O. P. w w w. l i s a j u l i a p h o t o g r a p h y. c o m Our Lady of Angels P h o t o g r a p h e r / Wr i t e r / P u bl i s h e r M e l i s s a C h av e s Our Lady of Angels Wr i t e r / C o p y E d i t o r Malissa Coy Our Lady of Angels Copy Editor

Sophie Wheeler Our Lady of Angels Layout Designer Fr. Ke v i n O ’ Ke e f e Pa s t o r - O u r L a d y o f A n g e l s Spiritual Direction Fr. T h o m a s C av a n a u g h Pa r r o c h i a l V i c a r O u r L a d y o f A n g e l s Spiritual Direction

Jo s e p h S u t t o n Our Lady of Angels Copy Editor

Fr. T h o m a s C av a n a u g h Pa r r o c h i a l V i c a r O u r L a d y o f A n g e l s Spiritual Direction

Pe g g y L i u z z o St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Wr i t e r

Mackenzie Howard and Mary Marcell St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Te e n C o r n e r C o n t r i b u t o rs

C O N TAC T U S

To c o n t a c t u s r e g a r d i n g c o n t e n t s u b m i s s i o n s and/or ho w you can support our ministr y email pwccatholic@gmail.com or visit us at: w w w. p r i n c e w i l l i a m c o u n t y c a t h o l i c. c o m T his magazine was printed by Wo o d b r i d g e P r i n t i n g C o m p a n y



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Prince William County Catholic

TA B L E O F CONTENTS 6

T h e Ro a d H o m e t o Ro m e

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Te e n C o r n e r : Fr i e n d s T h r o u g h Fa i t h

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O u r L i f e i s i n G o d ’s H a n d s

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E p i p h a n y Re c i p e : K i n g ’s C a k e

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Pa r i s h D i r e c t o r y

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Prince William County Catholic

THE ROAD HOME

TO ROME by Jo s e p h S u t t o n

“I will NEVER become Catholic!” Such was my strident protestation to my wife during a discussion we had several years ago regarding Judaism and Catholicism. It was a “friendly” conversation, laced with the merits and drawbacks each of us offered the other regarding these iconic religions and their pillars of belief. Afterwards, we retreated to our respective “corners,” steadfast in our unwavering faith-based convictions and opinions. But, we are jumping ahead in the story. Let’s start over from the beginning. Born in Chicago, IL, I was placed for adoption three days after my birth and raised by a middle-aged, Orthodox Jewish couple from New York who were unable to have children. My childhood in Brooklyn, and later Manhattan, was happy and extremely fulfilling. I studied music (piano and flute), gained a deep appreciation for classical music and art from my adopted parents, was dressed in the finest of children’s clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor and B. Altman & Co., attended public school,

including the High School of Music & Art, and graduated with degrees from New York University. A lustrous and wonderful existence, to say the least. My adopted father hailed from a supra-Orthodox, highly-respected sephardic Jewish family that emigrated from Syria. All of his family and relatives have remained extremely observant Jews, many of whom are rabbinic-level scholars of Jewish liturgy and precepts. My adopted mother’s small Jewish family from Russia was marginally religious but generally knowledgeable regarding Jewish customs. Our household kept kosher, my father and I attended Sabbath and holiday services regularly, and observed all of the Jewish holidays. Growing up, I attended Hebrew School several times a week, learned to read Hebrew, studied Israeli history, and was Bar-Mitzvah at the required age of 13. Later, in my late-teens and early 20s (my adopted father passed away when I was 17 not long after we relocated to lower Manhattan), I routinely attended prayer

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services at a synagogue within walking distance of our apartment (driving on the Sabbath and holidays is impermissible in Judaism), served from timeto-time as “hazan” (“cantor”--leader of prayers) and served two terms as Vice-President of the synagogue. After moving to Virginia in 1978 to work for the government, I began drifting away from my formerly rigorous adherence to the Jewish faith and adopted a more secular lifestyle. Nevertheless, to conform with the strict mandate of Jewish law to always marry within the faith, I married a lovely, kind and devout fellow Jew. We attended Sabbath services infrequently at a local synagogue, yet observed all of the major Jewish holidays. Nancy and I were married 19 years, and though we had hoped to have children, Nancy suffered multiple miscarriages that remained medically inexplicable. We were deeply saddened by not having a household filled with children, but our love, devotion and enjoyment of each other’s company partially filled this void in our lives. In 1997, Nancy was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a severe form of brain cancer. Despite her

bravery and perseverance while undergoing many and frequent specialized treatments and chemotherapies, Nancy passed away two years later. As part of the bereavement healing process after Nancy’s death, I continued to almost daily interact through emails with members of an online brain tumor (“BT”) support group I had joined while Nancy was receiving treatments. It is then that I met my current better-half, Lisa, a beautiful, caring and talented Catholic lady who also was a member of the group and whose late husband (Jewish, by the way!) also had succumbed to a brain tumor around the same time as Nancy. Throughout our initial friendship and developing romance, Lisa was always quick to remind me that if we ever were to get married, our children would be raised Catholic, to include attendance exclusively at Catholic schools. Having become totally smitten and enamored, what else could I say to this but, “Absolutely!” In 2001, following an abbreviated (fast, you say?) courtship, Lisa and I exchanged wedding vows as it was Lisa’s heartfelt desire that our union be rec-

I WILL NEVER BECOME CATHOLIC!


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ognized and blessed in the eyes of the Church. I had no compunction about being married in a church and did not feel any urgency to have a parallel ceremony in a synagogue to accommodate my heritage. Our initial attempt to start a family resulted in sadness and disappointment, as Lisa suffered a miscarriage during the early stages of the pregnancy. But on our second effort, we were deeply blessed with the birth of our daughter Natalie. Shortly thereafter, we tried to augment our little family, but were met again with sadness, as baby Frederick Nathaniel died during birth close to Christmas in 2003. He received a deeply moving and respectful Catholic funeral and was laid to rest the day after Christmas. As the years progressed, in a sign of respect, I accompanied Lisa and Natalie regularly to Mass every Sunday and participated in other major Catholic liturgical observances, including Christmas and Easter. By this time, I no longer followed many of the Jewish customs and traditions I had grown up with, yet my devotion to and vocal defense of my Judaic heritage was unshakable. And so, when Lisa and I had our conversation a few years ago about Catholicism and Judaism as it pertained to my religious “status,” my reply was “NEVER” to the then furthermost possibility of conversion to Catholicism. I deeply believed conversion would be tantamount to despoiling the memory of my adoptive parents and a betrayal of my Jewish heritage.

And yet….Going to Mass, observing parishioners partaking of the Eucharist, attending church-based community functions, listening to talks given by the parish priests, volunteering at St. Thomas Aquinas Regional School where our daughter attended, watching our daughter grow in her Catholic Faith at home and school--all of these activities seemed completely natural, enjoyable, comforting and rewarding to me, though I did not share my feelings with Lisa! These identical feelings were mustered during our family pilgrimage a few years ago to Rome where we visited all the Papal basilicas, Castel Gandolfo (where we saw Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), Lourdes, Lisieux, and other cities. Why, I wondered, was this so? Unbeknownst to me at the time, during a visit to St. Paul Outside the Wall, Lisa was fervently praying for me to “come to the fullness of the Faith” while also snapping a photo of me standing under an enormous painting depicting the Conversion of Saint Paul. Because my childhood as an adoptee was so extremely happy and fulfilling, I had no interest, curiosity or desire whatsoever, even as an adult, to engage in any form of “data mining” to reveal my birth origins or circumstances of my adoption. I was supremely content with myself and who I am. But after much teasing by Lisa and her frequent insistence that it would be helpful for Natalie’s sake to have some medical “history” to fall back on, I consented to a DNA test. A gift, of sorts, on

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my birthday. I thought it would be “fun to see how much Jew is really in me,” especially as my adopted parents told me when I was very young that my birth parents were Jewish. Well, what an utter shock of earthquake proportion was felt in our household when the results showed up. I have not one iota of Jewish DNA in me. My biological heritage is Danish/Swedish on my birth mother’s side; French/Belgian on my birth father’s side. Yikes! Lisa was in tears when she read the DNA report. “How am I going to break the news to Joe that he has no genetic link to Judaism?,” she thought. Despite the surprise we all felt at this news, I resolved to make every reasonable effort to learn, if possible, the identity of my birth parents. At this point I felt I must know the truth. The first step was my request to the Illinois state office of records for my birth certificate, that yielded the names of my birth parents. (This information is only now available to adoptees following a fairly recent change in Illinois law in 2002, which happened to coincide with the year our daughter Natalie was born.) Using the birth certificate as a launch point, Lisa embarked on a search to track down my birth parents and any living biological relatives, not knowing what we might find. One of the first things we learned based on a newspaper clipping Lisa found online, which also included my birth mother’s photo, was that my birth mother was Lutheran. Not knowing

how I might react, Lisa first asked me if I would like to see the photo, and when I looked at the beautiful face smiling back at me there was no denying that I was her son! What we did not yet know was if she or my birth father were still alive. After much research and hard work, sometimes into the wee hours of the night, Lisa was successful in pinpointing members of my maternal birth family. Still concerned with how I might react to any news she might find, Lisa prayed for guidance and cautiously reached out to someone she thought might be a distant relative to my birth mother. Lisa also discovered, much to her delight, that although my father is no longer living, he is interred in a Catholic cemetery. I am sure you can imagine the thoughts racing through my wife’s head at this point. After hearing back from the distant relative almost immediately, Lisa was told that they were not sure if my birth mother was still alive. They graciously agreed to take our contact information in the hopes that if my birth mother were still alive, she would reach out. On May 26, 2016, she called, and after several months of daily conversations getting to know one another and learning more about my birth family, Lisa, Natalie and I were supremely blessed to have an emotionally-charged and joyous reunion with my birth mother, Rose, who was living in Escanaba, MI. (Yep, I’m a Noo Yawker with farm-boy blood!) Being rejoined again for the


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first time in 64 years, she took me aside and whispered in my ear, “I prayed and always knew you would come back to me.” (Amazingly, my adoptive mother also was Rose.) Over the following two years we were warmly welcomed and enjoyed several get-togethers with my “new” maternal family. I have multiple brothers and sisters on both sides of the family and numerous nieces and nephews. Sadly, my birth-mother Rose passed away in 2018. Now, realizing through the discovery of my birth parents that I have a very distinct connection with Christianity, I developed a much firmer understanding and appreciation for who I truly am. It also helped explain the reason why, as both a child and later as a young adult, I didn’t especially like Hebrew school, felt at times that attending synagogue services was burdensome, went through the motions to look, act and sound Jewish, but lacked any close bond with members of my adopted family or other Jews. I just never felt a comfortable “fit” in the Jewish mold. My birth mother, on the other hand, possessed an enormously deep faith and zealous devotion to Christ throughout her life and I am convinced she passed this “gene” along to me. . In fact, during her pregnancy with me, she regularly watched Bishop Fulton Sheen on television, as she thoroughly enjoyed his sermons--so much that she unexpectedly sent our daughter Natalie a Miraculous Medal as a Confir-

mation gift with an accompanying note that it was “blessed by a Bishop that your mom may be familiar with.” She had been given the medal by my birth father and held on to it all those years. Lisa and I firmly believe that Bishop Sheen played a part in my conversion. And so, with a renewed confidence in the probity of seeking the truth about myself and my faith, I immersed myself in learning more deeply about Catholicism. As a Jew, I was taught that we must fear Christ, his Teachings, and Catholic Doctrine as it sows confusion and is contrary to Jewish law and precepts. It had long been drummed into me that Catholicism was pernicious falsehood. (The deep fear and mistrust of Christianity caused members of my adopted father’s ultra-Orthodox family to literally break off and dispose of the crosses on the tops of the King pieces in chess games.) Imagine, therefore, the long-standing mindset I had to overcome in opening my mind and soul to allow Christ to enter my life. It certainly was a struggle, and despite all the reading I did, attending RCIA classes, chatting at length with the Dominican sisters who staffed our daughter’s school, our parish priests, contemplation, and praying for divine guidance, I just was not certain. By accepting Christ as my Savior and Catholicism as my faith would I be dishonoring my adoptive parents and their Jewish Heritage? I frequently experienced what Lisa and I jokingly called “God-Winks” or “Light-


Prince William County Catholic

ning Strikes” that were intended by our Lord to show me I was heading in the right direction. Still, I wasn’t sure. What was particularly challenging in my conversion journey? The Trinity. Shema Yisroel--”Hear, O Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is one.” How can ONE possibly equal THREE? The math doesn’t work! How does someone reconcile this? How can it be true? Until one day at Mass there was a woman sitting next to us in the pew. She was wearing a colorful sweater with a Chanukah dreidel on the front with the Hebrew letter “gimel.” In Hebrew, the letter “gimel” is also the number “3.” Another “God-Wink” sent in my direction. Okay, Father/Son/Holy Spirit, I hear you! (As Mass concluded, I approached the woman and she related that the sweater was a gift from a friend but she had absolutely no idea what the graphic on the front meant.) But the last “A-ha” moment on my journey to the Catholic Faith that pushed me “over the edge” occurred when our family visited our good friend Father Christopher Vacarro at the Catholic Student Center at Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg. As we entered the reception area of the building, on the wall was a large painting depicting St. John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. The final “Lightning Strike” from above. I told Father I was ready to enter the Church. I received the Sacraments of Baptism,

Confirmation and First Communion on August 9, 2017, the Feast of Saint Edith Stein, Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Quite an appropriate date, don’t you agree? My long journey “home” was now complete. But my “new” life as a Catholic and disciple of Jesus Christ has just begun. Finding Truth really does matter, as it has caused me to attain a true recognition and understanding of myself and to daily experience an extremely close and comforting bond with Jesus and “Momma Mary,” who jointly provide me with clear direction and spiritual strength that helps me strive to be a better person, bolsters the love, devotion and respect in our family, and guides me on the path to ultimately achieving salvation. I continue to study and learn more about Christ and our religion every day--that makes me exceedingly anxious and excited to share the “good news” with others so they, too, may come to experience the same comfort, realization of self, satisfaction and spiritual joy that I have found. If you are reading this story, and there is someone in your life whom you would like to find the Truth of Catholicism or come back to the Faith, my wife would like me to mention that she had been praying for 17 years for me, holding fast to the words of St. Paul that God wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” (See 1 Timothy: 2:4.) Come join me! ”

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Prince William County Catholic

TEEN CORNER: FRIENDS THROUGH FAITH by Mackenzie Howard and Mary Marcell

Our names are Mackenzie Howard and Mary Marcell. We are high school students that attend public schools in Prince William County. Since starting high school, our lives have had many trials and tribulations, and at different points we each have felt incredibly lost throughout all the chaos and craziness of high school. We struggled with faith and questioned if we believed. But even so, we always felt something was missing--we yearned for something more out of life other than what’s shown to us in our culture. That yearning started to become intense after we started attending our high school youth group at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Lake Ridge, and going to retreats with them, such as the Steubenville, Ohio conference at Franciscan University, which allowed us to open up and receive God’s grace and love.

those Sunday night meetings and weekend retreats, our friendship with God and each other not only grew but blossomed, and now we know that something we yearned for and thought was missing was always there because it was God. He is always there. We both just needed a little help to see him within all the chaos. That is where our friendship has been vital because, as our relationships with God grew, we began to realize our friendship, as well, became faith-centered. Now because of that, we have started to hold each other accountable. We help bring each other back to God. When we’re struggling, we remind each other to pray. And we’ve even started to do a Bible study together. Our friendship has been so crucial in bringing us back to God throughout the busyness of daily life.

At those youth group meetings and retreats, we got a little break from the tire- Our relationships with God have grown less broken messages that our world so much, but we are still surrounded by keeps trying to enforce upon us.Within many wrong messages every day within

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our secular culture. That is why we have decided to do the Marian Consecration, because we can feel how easy it is to stray from our faith while different influences surround us. We both feel we need more protection from those things, and we want to make more room for God in our hearts and lives. So what better way to do it than to have Mary intercede through Jesus and letting her help us along the way as well?

here: http://33daystomorningglory.com/ Also, to any other high schoolers struggling with their faith or feeling lost, we encourage you to go to your parish youth group. It has been so helpful to us, and it’s fantastic to have a group of faithful friends as we do now. If you are open to it, we know it could change your life in so many ways as it has for us. We strongly encourage you to give it a try.

We encourage everyone to look into the Marian Consecration; it is a very inspiring and eye-opening devotion to Mary. We can use all the help we can get on our journeys to heaven. More information about the Marian Consecration can be found

Lastly, we know it can be challenging to be a teen believer, but know you are not alone. God is always with you, and we believe you can get through whatever struggles you’re going through as well!


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by Eliana and Joshua Anderson

Since deciding in 2007 to start a family , our main purpose was to have a family with a strong Catholic faith, the same way we were raised in our home country, Peru. Coming to a new country was not an easy decision for us, but we never doubted our Catholic faith would be there every time. Even in the most difficult times, our faith was the one pillar that helped us to stay strong and reinforce our love. It was not an easy journey to be where we are with our family, our business, and “we� as a couple. But we always believe that our life is in God’s hands. We were blessed with four kids--Nicholas, Ian, Ivana and Aria. Every night before going to bed, the first thing we do is give thanks to God by praying with our kids for everything we have in life: the most important which is our big and crazy family, our business, and for being alive and healthy. We are sure without having a strong faith we will not be where we are, what we have achieved, and the family that

we have now. Nowadays, having a balanced family life with faith is difficult. But the most important thing is not impossible--there is always a minute to believe and feel God next to you. We strongly believe that having our kids enrolled in a Catholic school helps us to keep a good track of that faith. We always make jokes about every kid came with a change in our life. In 2007, we moved from Peru to Connecticut where we started a Dental Residence of General Dentistry at the University of Connecticut. In 2010, our first son was born and that same year we decided to move to Virginia. We started our business, RenovaSmiles, in November 2014, around the same time our second son was born. Our first location was in Falls Church. At that time, we also had recently moved to Prince William County. We have always liked the county because we believe it has everything. After having our 3rd child, we decided it was time to be part of the Prince William business community and we were blessed to open our 2nd office in

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Woodbridge. Thanks to this additional office, we were able to be part of the Catholic community as well in many ways. Most importantly, we were able to support and help the community in Prince William because we believe that is a way to say, “Thank You,� for everything we have. Finally in 2019, Joshua decided to expand our practice again to yet another office, in Manassas. And, of course, this office came with another gift of God--our 4th baby. We constantly strive to support the Catholic community in Prince William because we strongly believe , including our Catholic members, need help to stay strong in their beliefs and fight against the different things people nowadays have to deal with. The best thing about being a Catholic business in Prince William County is we are more able to help people and teach our kids the importance of hard work and a strong faith which always comes first. Our big challenge for a perfect balance in our life is time. We are in a world where sometimes everything is just about run, run and run, and you don’t have time to stop and being grateful to God. We are not perfect and we are still fighting against this. B but thanks to God, we are blessed to have institutions, friends and people around us that remind us to be grateful for what we have and what we are.

Ed. Note: Each time she enters one of their offices to begin the work day, Eliana prays to Our Lady of Lourdes, for whom she has a special devotion. Praying every morning makes her feel she is protected. And every time she is going to perform a difficult procedure, she always asks God to bless her hands so she can help a patient and relieve their pain. In his life as well as his work, Joshua follows the principle of helping his neighbor and always being honest and humble. He considers life to be a boomerang-- everything good you do will come back to you as well as bad things. He is devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Eliana and Joshua believe without God their business and their family would not be where they are and remain immensely grateful.


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“Renova Smiles� has three locations: 3701 South George Mason Drive, Suite C7N, Falls Church, VA 22041; 14007 Minnieville Road, Woodbridge, VA 22193; 9380 Forestwood Lane, Suite E, Manassas, VA 20110. Their website can be accessed here: www.renovasmiles.com

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EPIPHANY

RECIPE by Colleen Rooney


Prince William County Catholic

KING’S

CAKE LEVEL Easy

DECORATE 10 mins

EQUIPMENT Large mixing bowl Measuring cups Large spoon Electric mixer Bundt pan or 2 cupcake pans Cupcake liners Doily Gold Foil play crown Coin, trinket or bean

PREP 10 minutes

YIELD 1 bundt cake

BAKE 45-50 mins

INGREDIENTS Cake mix or store-bought cake Eggs Vegetable Oil Water Baking Spray Flour Prepared Frosting Jelly Beans, Gum Drops, Hershey’s Kisses Other Candy

DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare as directed on box. 2. Spray the Bundt pan with baking spray and lightly flour. Pour cake batter into pan. 3. Drop a gumdrop in the batter as a substitute for the coin. Bake according to directions. If you choose to make cupcakes, line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners, add batter, then place gumdrop in one of the cupcakes. 4. Remove from oven and cool. With a knife, loosen cake and gently turn it onto plate lined with a doily. (Remove cupcakes from pan.) 5. Frost the cake generously. Remember this is a King’s Cake! Frost inside of Bundt hole. 6. Decorate with colored gum drops or other candy that makes the cake look like a crown full of jewels. You may add a gold foil crown on the top of the Bundt cake as a finishing touch. (Decorate cupcakes to look like mini-crowns; they look terrific and display well.) 7. Display the cake in a prominent place. If you have crowns for everyone, now is the time to put them on and sing “We Three Kings!”

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COUNTY PARISH DIRECTORY

OUR LADY OF ANGELS 13752 Marys Way, Woodbridge, VA 22191 (703) 494-2444

ST. FRANCIS 18825 Fuller Heights Rd, Triangle, VA 22172 (703) 221-4044

SACRED HEART 12975 Purcell Rd, Manassas, VA 20112 (703) 590-0030

HOLY FAMILY 14160 Ferndale Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22193 (703) 670-8161

ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON 12805 Valleywood Dr, Lake Ridge, VA 22192 (703) 494-4008

HOLY TRINITY 8213 Linton Hall Rd, Gainesville, VA 20155 (703) 753-6700

ALL SAINTS 9300 Stonewall Rd, Manassas, VA 20110 (703) 368-4500


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This issue brought to you by the generosity of R e n o v a S m i l e s w w w. r e n o v a s m i l e s . c o m a n d Mo t h e r o f Jo y P r a y e r G r o u p, S t . E l i z a b e t h An n S e t o n