Dear Parishioners: We welcome Bishop Thomas J. Tobin to Our Lady of Mercy this weekend. He is here to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation on Sunday at the 5:00PM Mass. Over one hundred young men and women having been preparing for this milestone in their young lives. In the name of the parish I offer a warm welcome to Bishop Tobin and also offer our prayerful congratulations to the 2015 OLM Confirmation Class. We rejoice in this great day for these young people and our parish. They are the future of our Church and so we commend them to Almighty God as we pray:“All powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. ”
Today the Church across the globe rejoices as we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. In an All Saints Day homily last year, Pope Francis suggested that the saints are not “supermen” who are “born perfect,” but rather are ordinary people who followed God “with all their heart.”
The Holy Father stated: “They are like us, they are like each of us, they are people who before reaching the glory of heaven lived a normal life, with joys and grief, struggles and hopes. Each saint changed his or her life when they recognized the love of God, they followed him with all their heart, without conditions and hypocrisies. They spent their lives in the service of others, they endured suffering and adversity without hatred and responded to evil with good, spreading joy and peace. The saints give us a message. They tell us: be faithful to the Lord, because the Lord does not disappoint!”
All Saints Day is followed the next day by the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, more commonly known as All Souls Day. All Souls Day is a day set aside for honoring and praying for the dead. This celebration of All Souls stems from the Catholic doctrine that the souls of the faithful departed who at their death have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to their venial sins and from attachment to their mortal sins. They cannot immediately attain the beatific vision in heaven and so are in a state of purification which we know as Purgatory.
Our Catholic Faith teaches us that our beloved dead are aided by our many prayers and by the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In other words, when they died, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven. This sanctification is carried out posthumously in Purgatory. The Masses we offer aid not only the living but also the dead. This is why there is such a venerable tradition of remembering our loved ones who have died with Masses on anniversaries or Month’s Mind.
All Souls Days Masses are at 7:30am, 9am and 12:05pm. All Souls Day is not a holy day of obligation but I encourage you to come to Mass and pray for the souls in Purgatory. If you cannot make it to Mass on Monday, please offer prayers for the dead especially your beloved dead and those souls who have no one to pray for them.
In a special way we will remember the souls of the faithful departed who rest in our parish cemetery, St. Patrick’s. The OLM School students will process to St. Patrick’s Cemetery following the 9am All Souls School Mass. You are most welcome to join with them as we pray and process for the faithful departed of our parish family. Cemeteries are not “spooky” places but rather they are signs of faith and hope for the resurrection of those buried there. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May all the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Happy All Saints Day! A Prayerful All Souls Day! Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Pats!!