A word from Pope Francis ~ “Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change; there is not sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.”
On this final weekend of October, we celebrate the 31st Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. Our Gospel reading tells us of the call of Zacchaeus and his incredible response. Jesus’ invitation to Zacchaeus sets an appropriate tone for our attitude of gratitude at this time of year. Last weekend, we held our annual Stewardship Covenant Renewal for 2022. Our individual responses begin with deep gratitude for all that God has done for us. Thank you to all who responded to our invitation to return to God one hour of worship and one hour of service each week. If you haven’t had a chance to respond, please do so as soon as possible. The materials can be accessed from our website.
This week, we celebrate two major Feast Days that are celebrated back to back, sort of like Act 1 and Act 2 of a play. On Tuesday, November 1, we celebrate the Feast of All Saints. It is one of the six Holy Days of Obligation that Catholics observe in our country. We take time to honor and remember all of the holy men and women of every age who have struggled with the same issues that we struggle with as we seek to live our lives as faithful disciples of the Lord. They have now gone before us in faith and live with God. We look to them for encouragement and trust in the support of their prayers as we continue to live our lives here on earth. The Masses we will celebrate begin with a Spanish-language anticipation Mass on Monday evening at 7:30 pm. Masses continue on Tuesday morning at 6:30 am and at 8:15 am with the Grade School community. We will celebrate our regular 12:05 pm Mass, and then we conclude with an evening bilingual Mass at 7:30 pm. All Masses will be celebrated in the main church.
On Wednesday, November 2, we will celebrate Act 2 with the Feast of All Souls. We remember all of our beloved dead and hold them in prayer. We will especially remember those whose names have been entered in our Parish Book of Remembrance. Masses on All Souls Day are celebrated at 7:00 am, 12:05 pm and 7:30 pm (our annual, multilingual Parish Memorial Mass). At our All Souls Memorial Mass, we remember those of our parish community who have died during this past year. Following the homily, we will pray a Litany of our Beloved Dead and read the names of each parishioner who has passed away. All present are welcome to light a memorial candle for their deceased relatives. It is a very powerful and moving celebration. All are welcome to participate in this annual Mass.
Celebrating these feasts at this time of year could not be more appropriate. Gone are the warm summer months and the growing season. As the world of nature around us gradually dies in preparation for winter, we remember those who have gone before us in faith and who now live with God just beyond our reach. Our All Souls Masses remind us that we are still connected to our beloved dead through our faith, and our community’s celebration assures us that we do not grieve alone.
Normally, we would have observed World Mission Sunday last weekend. Since that was our “Covenant Renewal” weekend, we postponed Mission Sunday until this weekend. Envelopes were included in the packs mailed to our homes, you may give online, or you may use any envelope and mark it “Mission Sunday.” Thank you for your generosity.
As we celebrate Halloween on Monday and change our clocks next weekend, the beauty of autumn is quickly fading. The earth seems to be preparing for the death of winter. Our Scripture readings will soon turn our focus upon the end times and our ultimate destiny with God. It is time to focus on the truly important things. May we do so as best as we can. As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy