Dear Parishioners: On Tuesday after the 7:30am Mass, Fr. Barrow and I made our way to the Swift Community Center to cast our votes. Little did we know that we would be up until the wee hours of the morning awaiting the results of the Presidential Election. Like most of America and most likely many of you we watched all night as election results came in slowly. We learned who the 45th President was to be at around 3:00am! Now we must pray for President-Elect Donald J Trump and the Congress-Elect. I hope and pray that our nation can accept the election results without rancor and work for national unity. Let us pray for the President-Elect that God might guide and protect him and our nation. May he serve the common good of all people and lead our nation to peace and prosperity. May God truly bless America!
On last Saturday night at 4:00PM Mass the OLM Basketball Teams kicked off their new Catholic Athletic League Season . They received their uniforms and a also a special blessing at the Mass. We wish all the coaches and players another great season! Last Sunday following the 5:00pm Mass Fr. Barrow and I attended the OLM School Cross Country Banquet. The Boys and Girls Teams were made up of fifty-three of our Middle School students, the largest team in the Diocese. The OLM Boys Team were State Champions! We congratulate the coaches and the teams on a great year.
We also remembered the many OLM parishioners who died this past year at Mass last Sunday. I ask you to continue to pray for the repose of their souls and for the consolation of their grieving families. Following the Mass we processed to St. Patrick’s Cemetery to pray for the dead who rest in that sacred ground. Many of the souls there have been there since the 19th century and have no one left to pray for them. Please pray for their souls. Visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead is an ancient and venerable tradition of our Catholic Faith.
The practice of praying for the dead is rooted first in our Catholic belief in the everlasting life promised in Jesus’ teachings and by his disciple’s experience that God had raised him from the dead. After death, even though separated from our earthly body, we yet continue a personal existence. It is as living persons that God invites us into a relationship whose life transcends death. Our prayers for the dead begin at the moment of death. When a friend or family member dies, we immediately pray for them. This prayer continues with Vigil Prayers at the Wake and then the offering of the greatest prayer, the Mass of Christian Burial. The continued prayer of our beloved dead is also why families have Masses offered for their loved ones on the anniversary of their death.
These prayers express hope that for the dead that God will free the person who has died from any burden of sin and prepare a place for them in Heaven. Thus we pray for the souls in Purgatory. In this state of Purgatory, the faithful departed depend on our prayers and sacrifices to aid them in this process, and so we gladly offer our prayers for them in various ways individually and collectively. It is an unfortunate mistake that many people in our culture today dismiss this important practice of our faith.
Many would like to just assume that their loved ones have gone to Heaven and therefore see no need to pray for the repose of their souls. To offer prayers for the dead is in no way a lack of hope on our part, but rather, an expression of true love for them and a firm trust in God’s infinite mercy. Holy Mass, of course, is the absolute best prayer for the dead. It makes the redemptive sacrifice of Christ present again on the altar and, in God’s gracious providence, allows us to ask that this redemptive power be applied to the one for whom we pray.
As we continue this month of November dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory, let us offer many prayers and sacrifices for those who await their entrance into Heaven. May we be especially mindful of the profound assistance offered to those souls each time we come to Mass and every time we have a Mass offered for beloved dead. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
I am away in Baltimore attending the Annual Winter Meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. As a consultant to the Committee on Marriage, I have meetings to attend while there. Please continue to pray for the dead. Go visit the dead at the cemetery and pray for them. Book a Mass and have Masses offered for a deceased loved one. Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Pats!