November 1, 2020: All Saints - Pastor’s Corner
As we set our clocks back to standard time this weekend, we enter into the season of All Saints and All Souls. Connected with All Hallows Eve (Halloween), these twin celebrations remind us of connective power of our faith. This Sunday on All Saints Day, we ask for divine intercession from those who have arrived at their eternal reward and yet are not officially recognized as canonized saints. These “hidden” saints whom we encounter in our life can be a powerful source of inspiration and encouragement. For example, my deceased grandfather was particularly handy when it came to household tasks. Lacking this skill myself, I often ask for his inspiration when faced with similar situation: “Grandpa, is it ‘righty tighty, lefty loosely’?” Christ’s promise that he should not lose anything of what his Father gives him ensure us that the familial and fraternal relationships that we forge in life continue beyond the grave.
This brings us to consider why we pray for our deceased. Flowing from their Jewish traditions, the early Christians gathered to worship in catacombs and places of burial as a visible sign of connection they shared with those who had died. On Monday, November 2nd, we celebrate All Souls Day on which the worldwide Church is encouraged to specifically pray for those who continue their journey towards their eternal reward. The Catechism says “Our prayers for [our beloved departed] are capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.” (CCC 958). This means that we can both pray for and pray to those who have gone before us. For them, life is changed not ended and so death does not sever our relationship with them. We can still make a difference in their lives, and when we do, they can make a difference in ours.
Here at St. Dominic’s we have many ways to remember our beloved departed all year round, e.g., through offering a Mass, lighting candles. During this month of November, there are particular ways to connect with those who have gone before us. In a special way, you are invited to fill out envelopes for your loved ones which will be placed on our altar and be remembered at all of our Masses this month.
Also Pope Francis has extended the usual plenary indulgence to those who visit a cemetery on All Souls’ Day to extend to the whole month of November. Since we have a Columbarium where the remains of loved ones have been laid to rest, St. Dominic’s is a place where you can receive this special blessing any day of this month. (See inside the bulletin for further details about how to open your heart to this special blessing.) During this month of November let's resolve to pray for all the dead, especially our family members and friends. If you are not sure what or how to pray for them, I suggest the traditional prayer:
“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”
~ Fr. Michael