Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As the calendar turns over and we find ourselves in the month of November, our minds may begin to think about the upcoming holiday season. And indeed, there is much to celebrate as we hit the end of the month and Thanksgiving gives way to Advent which in turn gives way to Christmas. But the beginning of the month and the
duration of it, offer us a chance to be engaged in a meaningful way in the deepening of our spiritual lives.
This past week kicked off the month with All Saint’s Day, All Soul’s Day, and our particular feast day of St. Charles Borromeo. Such moments should remind us that we remain united with those we know and love in this life even as they have entered into eternal life. Those local, personal saints, men and women that we’ve known and have inspired us to love God and neighbor more deeply are essential to our faith in the example that they set for us. Those members of the faithful departed that we pray for, our family members and friends, that they are rest in God, remind us of connection with the souls in purgatory. Even St. Charles Borromeo, a man from
the 16th century and who spoke Italian throughout his life, as our patron of the parish, demonstrates that all the saints are our friends in God and able to help us despite differences in time and culture.
But my friends, the month of November is very specifically set aside as a time to pray for the souls in purgatory. Now, we pray for the faithful departed in every Mass as part of the Eucharistic Prayer and in the General Intercessions, but November is meant to go even beyond that. In my personal prayer, I try to frequently remember the deceased, in particular when I am at cemeteries, recalling those that have been buried there from our parish. But there’s an opportunity here for all of us to pray, not just for our loved ones, not just those individuals that we have known, but all those in purgatory, especially those souls who have no one to pray for them.
Who knows how many souls there are in Purgatory? And what happens to those who no longer have family or friends to pray on their behalf here on Earth? We have a certain responsibility as members of the Church universal to help assure that all souls make it to heaven. And so, may we be mindful of that in a particular way throughout the month of November, and pray for the souls of the faithful departed each day this month. That way, once they reach the goal of heaven, they not only experience the true joy that awaits there, but also may become powerful intercessors for those still making our way through life here on Earth.
Peace and Goodness,