This weekend we celebrate the Feast of All Saints (Nov. 1). Monday we will celebrate All Souls Day. In his reflection in Celebration Biagio Mazza reminds us…
These November readings and feasts vividly remind us of the rich reality known as the communion of saints. This belief stresses the strong affirmation that the church is always one in Christ. That is why it is a fitting practice to pray for the dead and to ask them to pray for us. Because of our strong bond in faith, we believe that those who have died continue to be connected with us, concerned about us as we are about them. This leads us in faith to believe that they, too, can intercede with God for us, as we intercede for them. Saints do not answer prayers. Only God does. But, just as we ask one another for prayers in our struggle to be faithful to God’s values in this life, so too we continue that bond and concern for each other even beyond death.
In Mexico and in other parts of Latin America, November 1 and 2 are celebrated as “Dias de los Muertos.” On these days, relatives and friends gather to remember, pray for and celebrate those who have died. It is standard to celebrate by visiting cemeteries and sharing food, beverages, stories, pictures and other connections with the dead. Some build private altars in their homes, decorating them with pictures of dead family members along with the person’s favorite food, toy or drink.
Those who have died are not separated from us simply because they are no longer physically present. They are still with us, and we are still connected with them. These celebrations provide time and space, both religiously and socially, to connect with those who have died, to show care and concern for them and to ask them to pray for us as we continue to pray for them.
This month is a most opportune time to reflect on our relationship to those who have gone before us “marked with the sign of faith.” As children of God, both here on earth and beyond this life, we are challenged to live in constant fidelity to God’s values and in constant trust that our loving God journeys with us, now and always.
Today people bring candles forward remembering loved ones. It always causes me to remember my own loved ones who have died. There are so many stories to tell – stories that bring a smile to my lips, tears to my eyes, and gratitude to my heart. I hope you will have time to share stories today. It helps remind us that we are still connected.
Wednesday, November 4th, Bishop Johnston is installed as our bishop. Please keep him in your prayers.
Thursday, November 5th, our staff will be meeting with other parish staffs at St. Mark’s Parish for a day of reflection. The parish office will be closed that day. Keep our staff in your prayers, too. They are a blessing for our parish.