Pastor's Letter - November 5, 2017

The Church begins each November with two important and related feasts: The Solemnity of All Saints on November 1; and the Commemoration of All Souls on November 2. As we enter the final month of the Liturgical Year the Church addresses the "End Times” in Her liturgy. "All Saints" is the occasion to celebrate all the holy men and Women who, having been strengthened by God's Grace and “washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb', are now forever with God in Heaven. "All Souls" is the occasion to remember and pray for our beloved dead who, though assured of everlasting life with God, are being "purified” in purgatory. The Sunday readings for these last several weeks draw our attention to the End Times: our personal end (when one dies), and the end of time when the Lord returns in glory. This is an additional reason why November is set aside as a special time to pray for the dead.

November is also a good time for us to review the rituals of the Church at the time of death. Since in baptism the body was marked with the seal of the Trinity and became the temple of the Holy Spirit, Christians respect and honor the bodies of the dead and the places where they rest. Care must be made that we do not simply conform to secular standards in regards to care for the bodies of the dead and in the funeral rites. In particular, we should be cautious so that secular or profane practices do not make their way into the Funeral Mass. Only sacred (and Catholic) music should be played or sung at the funeral. The presence of legitimate secular symbols may be used at the funeral home if they are displayed with some restraint. (For example, symbols of one's past military service.) The Church, seeking always to stress our belief in the resurrection of the body, strongly recommends that funeral rites be conducted with the body. Cremation is allowed, as long as one does not choose it for anti-Christian motives. When chosen, cremation should be done after the funeral rites (after the Funeral Mass). To reflect our hope in the resurrection - and to conform to the example of our Lord who was buried - the ancient Christian custom is to bury or entomb the bodies of the dead. This includes the cremated remains. One should never have the cremated remains in an urn in One's home, and most especially, the cremated remains must never be "scattered".

In all cases, the Church warmly encourages the faithful to offer prayers for the dead. We unite ourselves more closely to our beloved dead, and assist them in the process of purification so that they might more easily enter the glories of Heaven. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon them!

My profound thanks to all who have contributed to the Diocesan Annual Appeal! Check the "DAA Thermometer in the Holy Family Cenacle to see an up-to-date report on our parish progress.

May God bless you!
Fr. Schaller

From Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (A compilation of wisdom from people of all ages and walks of life.)
“I’ve learned that my mom brags when she gets the TV remote control.” (Age 10)
"I've learned that whenever I go to grandma's house. I come home with at least a dollar in change.” (Age 9)
“I’ve learned that when you want a garment to shrink, it won’t, and when you don't, it will come out of the dryer and fit your catl" (Age 40)