I Believe in the Communion of the Saints
Dear Brothers and Sisters, when we recite the Apostles’ creed, we say that we believe in the communion of the saints. That line has a profound implication not only in what we believe, but also how we live our beliefs. To believe in the communion of the saints is to say that the whole Church is united regardless of our state of life. The Catechism teaches us that there are 3 states of the Church of Christ, his Mystical Body. It says at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating “‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is.'” (CCC 954). These states of life have traditionally been called the Militant Church (on earth) the Suffering or Penitent Church in purgatory, and the Triumphant Church in Heaven. Those that are in heaven, also called Saints, intercede for us all the time. Those that are in purgatory are aided by our prayers here on earth. The whole Church is always united and helping each other.
On behalf of the parish, I would like to exhort everyone to come to Church Saturday July 20th at 11:00am to make a visible sign that no one is alone. On that day, we will have the funeral of a parishioner of ours who for many years was away and now he is returning home.
Alfred Sandini, son of Benedetto and Pulcheria Sandini was born on December 18th, 1918 here in Marlboro. Shortly after his 20th birthday, the Second World War broke out in Europe and a few years later it came to US soil. Soon after the attack of Pearl Harbor, Alfred enlisted himself with the US Army Air Forces from Massachusetts and served with the 22nd Bombardment Squadron from the 341stGroup in the Pacific Theater. While based in China and flying on a mission in Indochina, present Vietnam, his plane failed to report back to base. The whole crew was reported Missing In Action on February 15th, 1944. Later it was determined that his plane crashed probably by enemy anti-aircraft fire. The remains of the crew were first buried locally, and one year later transferred to the US Military Cemetery in China. However, there was never any record that Alfred was buried along with his crew. On March 6th 1947, his remains, along with other 836 unidentified American remains began to be exhumed and transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii in a process that took 2 years. Decades later, efforts were made to identify all the unknown remains. On November of 2016, the Accounting Agency began to analyze the file of Alfred. In August 2018, his remains were exhumed for a DNA sample to be compared with other DNA samples. After matching his DNA with his brother John Sandini, 94 year old Florida resident, Alfred Ralph Sandini’s remains were finally identified after 75 years.
It was always Alfred’s desire if anything ever happened that he would have his funeral at Immaculate Conception and buried at the parish cemetery in his family plot. His wishes are finally granted, as we are honored to celebrate his Funeral on Saturday July 20th at 11:00am. I would like to invite everyone to be present as we accompany our brother to his final place of rest. This is the fulfillment of the communion of saints. A proof that no one is ever alone. As others accompanied him at the beginning of his life in Baptism, it is up to us to pray and accompany him as he returns home.
Father Steven Clemence