April 16

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Attention Attention Attention   Guardian Angel Outreach Program

For the first time since 1922, in the shadow of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, the startup year for St. Francis De Sales Parish, we are going to have a major outreach to our senior citizens in the parish.  Why because we are in a new pandemic that endangers the elderly and… we want to.  It is important. 

Those seniors, 75 and older, should expect a phone call from one of the members of the new parish outreach committee… The Guardian Angels.  They should each introduce themselves by saying, “Fr. Gould asked me to give you a call to see how you are doing and ask if you need anything.”  Please know the angels are really helping me to reach out to 220 families in the parish and ask how are they doing and can they use some help during the pandemic lockdown.  Do they need a ride to the doctor? Do they need someone to pick up something from the drugstore or grocery store? 

Please contact me if you need help or know of someone who does and I will post the information to the Guardian Angels.  Fr. Gould: (cell)  703-626-8113 or frgould@gmail.com.  God bless the angels who help those locked down at home.  Well done.  Let us pray for one another. 


Now for a little lighter fare than the last few days and before a heavy duty collegiate topic in tomorrow’s letter.  

Let everybody stop for minute.  Allow a momentous distraction for the day.  In the Fall of 1973 the Catholic Church on the East Coast decided to introduce a novel liturgical practice that had been practiced for at least two years in the Midwest.  It was none other than the, “sign of peace.”  The fellas on the hall were traumatized as to what that might actually entail.  Consternation filled the floor.  I told them not to worry about it.  It would be fine. 

No, they were worried if they were supposed to simply shake hands, give a hug, or maybe a smile with a bow.   I told them what they needed to do was stand next to the prettiest girl in the university and simply… kiss her right on the lips.  Really???!!!   An hour later, standing next to the shrine of the Blessed Mother,  my friend Ted, from New Jersey, now owner of a shipping company in the Gulf of Mexico, stood next to me in absolute amazement.  The Mass had a full house.  He said, “Gouldie if one of those guys does anything at this Mass you are going to be out of here.  And me too.” That night it was the talk of the Rathskeller.  Two and a half years later when I was moving out to enter the seminary Ted and I had a final conversation in the parking lot on how ironic that the future priest from the hall was the one who taught the fellas about the proper way to extend the “sign of peace.” Yes, God bless them all.

This letter is a continuation of an earlier story where the religious monks of Italy introduced “Pretzels” to the children for learning their prayers.  The pretzel imitated a child with arms folded in prayer.  The German monks enhanced the pretzel design with the concept the Easter Egg Hunt by placing hard boiled eggs in the folds of the twisted pretzel dough.  The adults would hide them and the youngsters would seek them out.  In today’s letter I introduce the story of St. Arnold, of Bavaria, who taught folks how to make Beer… during a bout of the plague.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

I leave you with the article on St. Arnold and his pious exploits with the hops. This article was too good to simply comment on its message.  It was all or nothing.  The author is a graduate from the illustrious College of St. Mary, down the hill from the famous finishing school with a golden dome in South Bend, Indiana.  But, again, I digress. epicpew.com/3-legends-st-arnold-metz/


If you’re anything like me, you enjoy a nice beverage on the weekend and sometimes that beverage is a beer. One of the best things about being Catholic is that there is a patron saint for almost everything. Yes, even beer! In fact, there are a few patron saints of beer, but St. Arnold of Metz is one of the most well-known. So grab a beer and learn more about this holy man in honor of his upcoming feast day.

During an outbreak of the plague a monk named Arnold, who had established a monastery in Oudenburg, persuaded people to drink beer in place of water and when they did, the plague disappeared. Arnold spent his holy life warning people about the dangers of drinking water because beer was safe and water wasn’t. “From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world,” he would say.

St. Arnold of Metz was born to a prominent Austrian family in 580 in France and died in 640 as a Bishop living at a monastery in the mountains of France. Three legends surround the Patron Saint of Beer Brewers whose feast day we celebration July 18. Thanks to Saint Arnold Brewing Company for pulling together the stories and sharing them on their website. If you’ve never had one of their beers, you should!

The Legend of the Ring

Arnold was tormented by the violence that surrounded him and feared that he had played a role in the wars and murders that plagued the ruling families. Obsessed by these sins, Arnold went to a bridge over the Moselle river. There he took off his bishop’s ring and threw it into the river, praying to God to give him a sign of absolution by returning the ring to him. Many penitent years later, a fisherman brought to the bishop’s kitchen a fish in the stomach of which was found the bishop’s ring. Arnold repaid the sign of God by immediately retiring as bishop and becoming a hermit for the remainder of his life.

The Legend of the Fire

At the moment Arnold resigned as bishop, a fire broke out in the cellars of the royal palace and threatened to spread throughout the city of Metz. Arnold, full of courage and feeling unity with the townspeople, stood before the fire and said, “If God wants me to be consumed, I am in His hands.” He then made the sign of the cross at which point the fire immediately receded.

The Legend of the Beer Mug

This is one of my favorite saint stories. In 641, the citizens of Metz requested that Saint Arnold’s body be exhumed and ceremoniously carried to Metz for reburial in their Church of the Holy Apostles. During this voyage a miracle happened in the town of Champignuelles. The tired porters and followers stopped for a rest and walked into a tavern for a drink of their favorite beverage. one of the parishioners, Duc Notto, prayed “By his powerful intercession the Blessed Arnold will bring us what we lack.” Regretfully, there was only one mug of beer to be shared, but that mug never ran dry and all of the thirsty pilgrims were satisfied. This is the miracle for which St. Arnold was canonized.

Learn more about St. Arnold and his holy life on my latest podcast called the “Catholic Drinkie Show, Episode 1: Man’s Sweat and God’s Love …” which can be found here.  Also check out my new book, “The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Homebrewed Evangelism“!

About the author:  Sarah Vabulas

 Born and raised in the Atlanta area, Sarah Vabulas graduated from Saint Marys College at Notre Dame with a degree in Communications and a minor in Religious Studies. She worked for a Congressman in the United States House of Representatives for 3 years before realizing she could turn her social media addiction into a paying career. She works in the digital marketing software industry now, but after hours she’s a Catholic geek, home brewer and beer connoisseur at Catholic Drinkie, where she blogs about living as a faithful young adult Catholic and about her pursuit for the perfect homebrewed beer. Sarah authored “The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Homebrewed Evangelism” published by Liguori Publications in June 2015. She dreams of one day having a beer with the Pope or Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

On a more serious, if not sober, review of the culinary contributions brought to the world of the sacred and profane by the religious monks you can simply tap on the following website.  It is a good read.  https://www.oldcook.com/en/history-monks_legacy


Oh, by the way.  Confessions are heard each night this week in anticipation of Divine Mercy Sunday.  The Devotions/Mass can be viewed on the church camera, starting at 2 PM.  The popular question for this coming devotion is, “How does one attain the plenary indulgence if they go to Confession but cannot go to Communion?”  I suggest the prayer for a spiritual communion should suffice.

Let us pray for one another.

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