The Solemnity of All Saints is celebrated on November 1. It is a holiday of obligation, and it is the day that the Church honors all of God’s saints, even those who have not been canonized by the Church. It is a family day of celebration—we celebrate the memory of those family members (sharing with us in the Mystical Body, the communion of saints) now sharing eternal happiness in the presence of God. We rejoice that they have reached their eternal goal and ask their prayers on our behalf so that we, too, may join them in heaven and praise God through all eternity.
In England, saints or holy people are called “hallowed”, hence the name “All Hallow’s Day”. The evening, or “e’en” before the feast became popularly known as “All Hallows’ Eve” or even shorter, “Hallowe’en“. Since the night before All Saints Day, “All Hallows Eve” (now known as Hallowe’en), was the vigil and required fasting, many recipes and traditions have come down for this evening, such as pancakes, boxty bread and boxty pancakes etc.
November 2 was the date designated to pray for all the departed souls in Purgatory, the Feast of All Souls. The feasts of All Saints and All Souls fall back to back to express the Christian belief of the “Communion of Saints.” The Communion of Saints is the union of all the faithful on earth (the Church militant), the saints in Heaven (the Church Triumphant) and the Poor Souls in Purgatory (the Church suffering), with Christ as the Head. They are bound together by a supernatural bond, and can help one another. The Church Militant (those on earth still engaged in the struggle to save their souls) can venerate the Church Triumphant, and those saints can intercede with God for those still on earth. Both the faithful on earth and the saints in heaven can pray for the souls in Purgatory. During these two days we see the Communion of Saints really in action!
As we pray for the departed brothers and sisters during the Mass it is good remember that the Mass is the greatest prayer for the dead.
If Christ is not raised, your faith is worthless;
you are still in your sins . . . we are of all men most to be pitied.
(1 Cor 15:17,19)
My Dear Brothers and Sisters
Non-believers, secularists, and folks of other religions, along with all who read history, believe that Jesus of Nazareth died on a cross and was buried in Jerusalem. It is only Christians who believe that He rose from the dead… and then shape their lives upon that belief. We are an Easter people. Every Sunday Mass is, after all, a little Easter, a celebration of the Lord’s death and resurrection.
What happened to Jesus of Nazareth before He was crucified and died is of enormous historical and personal importance to many. But what happened after He rose from the dead is of absolutely critical importance to us. And this is so not simply because we want to be saved and go to heaven when we die, but because we want to prepare and shape our world to be the place where His kingdom is revealed here on earth as it is in heaven.
By the power of God’s Holy Spirit, Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead to become the Christ of God’s glory. It is into His Spirit-filled and resurrected humanity that we are baptized and confirmed. It is His glorious and Spirit-filled Body and Blood that we receive and share in our Holy Communion. It is His Presence that constitutes the Church as His Mystical Body here on earth, that privileged venue in which we can enter into His presence receive the gifts of His love and from which we can take Him into our world.
All of these things are post-resurrection realities that God bestows on us because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. For it is because the tomb is empty that we are constituted as Christians. If the Christ’s resurrection had not occurred we would only be historians… Christ would only be a vague figure in history.
Those are profound concepts. However, if we believe: He rose from the dead then we believe He was the Son of God and we have chosen to follow His commandments and His teachings. It all depends on the answer to the question:
DO I BELIEVE???
It is easy to say “I believe”. It is hard to follow these words by the action. The participation in the Services of the Holy Week 2011 could help us in that matter. Come, see and touch!
Apr. 21: Maundy Thursday - 6:00 PM Holy Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Apr. 22: Good Friday - 6:00 PM The Stations of the Cross and Liturgy of the Word and Adoration of the Cross
Apr. 23: Holy Saturday - 5:00 PM Blessing of Food Baskets and followed by the Easter Vigil Eucharist
Apr. 24: Easter Sunday - 10:00 AM Holy Mass of Easter with Procession
I encourage you to be present at these Services, because they gave us the power to believe in Christ.
In this time of the Easter Celebration I wish you the holy experiences – the real touch of Jesus, in whom we live, the joyful Alleluia in your hearts and warmth, and happiness in yours Families.
May the almighty God Bless you.
The Rev. Fr. Andrzej T. Bieganowski