Dear Brothers & Sisters,
These upcoming days we will have some awesome celebrations. Starting this weekend, the Lord will invite all of us to love Him and our neighbor with all heart, soul and mind. Then on Wednesday we have the celebration of All Saints Day, and then the following day we honor all the faithful departed. I would like to reflect on these three celebrations with you this week.
The readings this Sunday are not new to us. We all know it by heart. But if we were to look a little deeper on its meaning, would it still be familiar to us? What does “love of God” entail in our daily lives? Imagine that we love another person. I suppose that we would go to their house, talk to them, and have memories about them, right? Well, the same can be said of God. We are called to come to his house (come to Church), talk to him (pray), and have memories (contemplate what God has done in our lives). There is a saint who would stop at every church when he was a kid he would go out with his mother. After the third stop, she asked him, my son, why do you need to go into every single church? He replied saying that he had to stop by to say hi to his friend Jesus. I suppose we would do the same if we were walking down the street and passing in front of the house of our best friend. This love of God means to love with Him with word and deed. It does not mean only to say more prayers. It means to have a deeper relationship with Him that, as a consequence, will impact our lives. The moment we realize that God is on our side to help us go to heaven, then our actions will follow that desire. Now, love of neighbors is the same thing, but directed towards the people around us (both inside and outside our household). To love the other is to do the same that we do with God. We are invited to go to their house, talk to them, and have memories of them. On the flip side of the coin, we are also called to open our house to receive people, to allow people to talk to us, and to do things to create memories in people’s lives. The call to love our neighbor is a universal call. The same way we are called to love our spouses and children, so we are called to love the homeless, the widow, and the stranger to be biblically precise. In light of this, I urge you to pray to God and talk to him if He calls you to minister to those in need. We have Saint Vincent de Paul who does exceptional work with the people in need. In addition, we would like to start 2 new ministries in the parish. Our first one is the Hospitality Ministry which will be directed towards the people that come to church and those who are homebound (please see the announcement page for more info). Due to the recent arrival of the Haitian refugees in town, we are starting a TASK FORCE TO THE NEEDY. That group will respond to whatever humanitarian need we have around us and the globe. This way they would be coordinating the efforts of our parish in helping the needy! Whoever is interested in this ministry please reach out to their email firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that we are called to love our neighbors by word (prayer) and deed!
On Wednesday as we celebrate All Saints, it is important to understand who the saints are. They are not extra-special people or who had special powers. They were normal people like us. Some were from noble families while others were poor. Some were famous and had accomplished lives, while others were “no-ones.” There are some sayings that I believe reveal their essence. “Saints were not people who were perfect, but they tried; the saints were not people that didn’t fall, but got up after every time they fell.” Some of these sayings were said by people who were saints themselves. I like reading their little biographies because it shows that if they were saints, we can all be saints as well. Therefore, let us come on Wednesday to Mass, not because it’s a day of obligation, but rather to come to see our heavenly friends who are willing to help us with more than finding our keys. Our Holy Day Schedule is 7:30am, 12:10pm, 6:00pm, and 7:30pm Spanish and 7:30pm Portuguese.
On Thursday, the day after our heavenly brothers intercede for us, we are called in turn to intercede for all the faithful departed. This is the day in which the whole Church prays for their brothers and sisters who need our prayers to assist their passage to heaven. I know that we honor our loved ones on Memorial day here in the US, but as Christians this is the day we are called to pray for those who are deceased. Indeed, there is a special blessing (plenary indulgence) that is given to anyone who visits a cemetery in the week following Nov. 2nd (while praying for the Pope, receiving communion, and going to confession). Lastly, here in the Parish we will have our book out for every mass where we can write the names of our beloved deceased. On the next page we have the names of all those who were buried in our parish in this past year. We will have additional masses for the deceased on Nov. 2nd at 7:30am, 6:00pm (English), 7:30pm (in Portuguese and Spanish).
Father Steven Clemence