November has long been a time in our Church to remember those who have gone before us and we share with them the sure and certain hope of eternity with God made available through Jesus Christ. On November 1st, our Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints, followed on November 2nd with a Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, All Soul’s Day. Each of these days provide the faithful a time to remember those whom they have loved and lost. However, it is not meant to be a sad time, rather a rejoicing in the promise of Jesus Christ of their salvation and ours. The lives of the Saints are examples of Christian living; the challenges, the sorrows, the complete reliance on God and the joy and peace found in turning one’s heart toward Jesus Christ. I love the story of a small child overhearing her parents speaking about the saints, to which she replied, “Oh, I know the saints, we have them at our church.” The parents looked at one another in amazement and asked her, “Who are the saints at our church?” She answered without pause, “They are the ones that the light shines through.” She was, of course, talking about the stained-glass windows, yet how appropriate that she identified the saints as the ones among us that the Light of Christ shines through! The Saints, made known to us by the Catholic Church, have for centuries been models of faith for all people. Does this mean they were perfect or without sin? No, they were sinners just as we are sinners who rely on the unconditional love and mercy of God to save us and guide us in right ways. We owe an incredible debt to these holy men and women who provide us all with hope. It is very appropriate that we pause to remember them in prayer and commemorate their faith journeys. We also take time as a Church to remember our loved ones, our dear family and friends who we pray now enjoy eternal life. We live in hope of being reunited with them to live forever in the presence of God. Who will you remember this November? Whose souls do you pray for?
How did they influence your life? What did you learn from them and what do you treasure most in their memory? This November each of our parishes will provide a “Book of Remembrance” in which to record the names of our loved ones, to lift them in prayer and to remember all the good they have done. Please take time during November to add your loved ones to the book and teach your children why we as faithful followers of Jesus Christ take part in these important rituals. In the Creed we pray together at Mass, we pray that we believe in “the communion of saints”, meaning that we believe we remain in relationship with all who have gone before us. We thank God for these people in our lives, both the Saints and those who were saints in the making. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in the peace. Amen. Deb Rudolph