November 1, 2 & 3 are all very important days for us. The annual observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day make us think lovingly of those who are no more with us. At all the Masses this weekend, we are remembering in prayer all our dearly departed ones. All Souls Day Mass intention envelopes on the altar during November are a visible reminder to us to keep the memory of our loved ones alive. You can read in this bulletin why the Church gives so much importance to the holy souls. Explaining the true concept of Purgatory as an “existential state” and not a place, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote that it is “the fringe of heaven, a state where heaven’s eternal light has a refining effect on the “holy souls” (not ‘poor souls’), who are held in the arms of Divine Mercy.”
There are many in our parish who are grieving a dear one who passed into eternity this year. We have a very meaningful Memorial Mass this evening to remember them and thank God for their lives with us in a special way. A Scottish poet has written, “If I have done anything in life, it is because I was able to stand on the shoulders of my dad.” The memory of our near and dear ones is a reminder that we need to be grateful to them for their love and sacrifices because they have a big share in what we are today.
The doctrine of “Communion of Saints” that we profess every Sunday is a happy reminder to us, of all those who are gone to God. Pope Francis calls it a “spiritual connection that exists between those who continue their pilgrimage on earth and those who have passed the threshold of death into eternity.” The ‘All Saints’ we honor are not only the canonized saints, but also what Pope Francis calls the “saints next door.” He explains it thus: “I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance, I see the holiness of the Church militant. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbors, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. We might call them “the middle class of holiness.”
The feast of St. Martin de Porres is on November 3. Born in Peru to a Spanish gentleman and a freed slave from Panama, of possibly African descent, Martin experienced a great deal of ridicule for his mixed-race origin. Such an early experience of racial and social prejudices could have made him a bitter man, but he chose to hold no anger but love towards all. He joined the Dominicans as a ‘lay helper’ but was accepted as a full-fledged Religious Brother due to his prayer, penance and humility. His days were filled with nursing the sick and caring for the poor. It was particularly impressive that he treated all people regardless of their color, race, or status. The weekend after his feast is an ideal time to launch the Social Justice Initiative that the Parish Pastoral Council has been planning. All the justice-related issues fall under the umbrella of Social Justice Initiative. Our Parish has the St. Martin de Porres Society trying to live and promote the values that St Martin espoused and it is good that the SMDP society has already announced the Racial Justice Initiative. Happy Feast of St. Martin de Porres! Happy Feast of All Saints!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal