All Saints Day / All Souls Day

10-29-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

First, a reminder that this Wednesday is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation. On All Saints Day we ask the prayers and help of the great multitude of all the Saints who are not officially canonized, but are nevertheless reigning with Jesus Christ gloriously in heaven. Vigil Masses on 31 Oct. at 5:30pm (church) and 7pm (Spanish – Old St. Mary's); and on 1 Nov. at 7:00am (Old St. Mary's), and 8:30am, 12:00pm, and 5:30pm (church).

The next day, All Souls Day – 2 Nov., is not a holy day of obligation, but is nonetheless extremely important as we remember and pray for the repose of the souls of our beloved Faithful Departed. Why do we believe in this final purification? Because it is true, grounded in Scripture and Sacred Tradition. There is no sin in heaven, of course. So, are we to end up in the eternal separation from God known as Hell because of human weaknesses/sins that we tried to overcome in this life but failed to reach perfection? As the Catechism puts it so well, "All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned." (CCC 1030-1031). The Sacrifice of Christ is so powerful it can purge/cleanse us even after our biological death.

In addition to our normal 5:30pm daily Mass, we will have a special Mass at Calvary Cemetery, 1255 University Ln., at 12:00pm noon on 2 Nov. Before Mass you are encouraged to mark the graves of your loved ones with a white flag, which we will provide. After Mass, we will go to each grave to pray for your loved ones.

As we wrap up Respect Life Month, we reflect that, as true disciples of Jesus Christ we are duty-bound to respect and work to protect human life at all its stages, from our humble beginnings in the womb to our natural death. Human dignity comes from God. There is no government that can decide that "this group or individual" is of value and "that group or individual" is not. To help ourselves understand as Jesus' disciples: Can you imagine Jesus being a nurse or doctor in a clinic ending the life of children, when He Himself began as a tiny cell? Could you imagine Jesus as executor in a prison taking the life of even the guilty, who might be given more time to repent? Could we imagine Jesus as a research scientist creating human embryos for tests and then destroying them? We could go on but as Martin Luther King led the fight against unjust laws, which were an affront to God and to our dignity, we must continue to fight unjust laws in order to create God's beautiful culture of life.