Dear Brothers & Sisters,
In one of the versions of the song “La Bamba” (apparently there is more than one version), there is a line that says “para subir al cielo se necesita una escalera grande”, which translates into in order to go to heaven, one needs a long ladder. We Christians know that to go to heaven you need way more than that. But at times we should contemplate that question, “what do I need to go to heaven?” A quick answer is always “help!” God sends different ways to help us, one is with the saints, and another is through forgiving our sins and its consequences.
On Monday we celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints, which represents an army of people cheering and interceding for us to go to heaven. But how does that work? Well, help is on the way!!! It is with great joy that we announce that on December 2nd at 6:30pm, we will host an evening to learn and venerate over 150 relics! Fr. Carlos Martins, from the Companions of the Cross, runs a ministry of evangelization in the Church called “Treasures of the Church.” Its purpose is to give people an experience of the living God through an encounter with the relics of his saints in the form of an exposition. Each exposition begins with a multi-media presentation on the Church's use of relics that is scriptural, catechetical, and devotional, leading to a renewal of the Catholic faith for many people. After the teaching those in attendance have an opportunity to venerate the relics of some of their favorite saints of over 150 relics, some as old as 2000 years. Among the extraordinary Vatican collection there will be relics of St. Joseph, St. Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Lisieux (the “Little Flower”), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Faustina Kowalska. There will also be a portion of the Veil of Our Lady and one of the largest remaining pieces of the True Cross in the world. Throughout history, many healings have been worked in the presence of relics; and thousands have occurred through this ministry. Do not miss this opportunity. You are encouraged to bring your articles of devotion (such as rosaries, holy cards, etc.) and pictures of ill friends/family members, which you will be able to touch to the reliquaries as a means of intercession. For most, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Please spread the word.
Another way God helps us, is He gives us the possibility to forgive our sins through confession and the consequences of our sins through plenary indulgence. In the Sacrament of Penance, the guilt of sin is removed, and with it the eternal punishment due to mortal sin; but there still remains the temporal punishment required by Divine justice, which must be fulfilled either in this life or in the world to come (i.e. Purgatory). An indulgence offers the penitent sinner the means of discharging that debt in this life; the remission of that temporal punishment. A “plenary indulgence” is the remission of the entire temporal punishment due to sin so that no further expiation is required in Purgatory. A “partial indulgence” commutes only a certain portion of the penalty. To gain an indulgence, we must be in the state of grace, have the intention of gaining the indulgence, and perform the works required by the Church for the indulgence. We cannot gain indulgences for other living persons, but we can gain them for the souls in purgatory, since the Church makes most indulgences applicable to them. In the month of November, as we pray for the faithful departed, the Church offers a plenary indulgence for anyone who visits the cemetery to pray for the deceased and fulfils the other requirements. We will also continue to pray for them here in the church in the book of the deceased located by the St. Joseph statue and remember all those who the Lord has called in this past year that were celebrated here in the parish (the names are on the next page.) By the way, the evening with the saints will also grant a plenary indulgence for those who attend.
Therefore, let’s take advantage of this special moment to prepare ourselves for heaven!!! And while we may have to wait a little longer, let’s start living heaven here on earth by the graces of God.
Father Steven Clemence