A Successful Picnic and All Souls
First of all I would like to thank those who helped make the Oktoberfest picnic a success! That means all who helped plan or organize, those who decorated, those who cooked, those who cleaned up, and all those who took the time to join us for the afternoon! This was the 3rd one we have had since I have been here and this year’s was the best attended, so I thank you for that. If you have suggestions as to how to improve our festival in any way, I am certainly open to suggestion/constructive feedback. Praise God for another afternoon of good clean fun, food, and fellowship!
Secondly, a word about All Souls day; Bishop John has asked all of the priests to preach basically the same homily this weekend. With the rare occasion that All Souls has fallen on a Sunday, it is good to teach (or re-teach) about some of our most important core beliefs; Specifically, the teaching about what happens to us after death and what our responsibilities are to the deceased. I won’t rehash the entire homily here. But allow me to emphasize a couple of points:
Although it seems harsh to hear (especially when the hurt of the loss of a loved one is fresh in our heart and our soul), we are never to assume that the deceased do not need any prayers. Or to put it another way, we are not to assume that they are in Heaven already. Most people need at least a brief stopover in what the Church calls “Purgatory.” If they don’t need prayers (meaning that they are truly a saint), then those prayers get applied to a soul that does need them.
Saying that they may need prayers or that they may be in purgatory is not a bad thing. It is part of the great mercy of God. A soul in Purgatory is saved for sure. Our prayers help them get through the process of complete purification in God’s love more quickly.
Even if a soul had not been practicing their faith, and even if they had a wish that nothing be done at Church after they die, you should still have Masses said for them. That is done simply by coming to the office and requesting an upcoming open date on the Church calendar. A courtesy stipend of $10.00 is still the norm upon that request. If someone was truly needy in terms of affording that stipend, we would still find a way to get it done. One is not “buying” their way to heaven. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most powerful prayer that can be offered for a soul. In Charity, we have a duty to pray for the dead. It is a spiritual work of mercy.
May the peace of Christ be with you always!