From the Pastor: All Souls Day Is Coming Soon
All Souls Day is coming up soon and it is time to get your list of the Faithful Departed ready to give me for prayers. All Saints, November 1, falls on a Sunday this year, so you don’t get the opportunity to take off of work on a weekday for this Holy Day of Obligation. Maybe that will make it easier for you to come on Monday for one of the (non-obligatory) All Souls Day Masses (6:30 and 8:00 am and 7:00 pm). At these Masses, we pray for the souls of our deceased loved ones so that if they are in Purgatory our sacrifices and offering may help alleviate their suffering, cleanse their souls, and allow them to enter without stain into Heaven. Type or write (legibly, please) your list and bring it in before the end of this month. I will pray for those souls at that day’s Masses and remember them at Masses through the rest of the month. Why pray for them? The Council of Trent explains (bold emphasis mine). “[T]he Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, from the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught, in sacred councils, and very recently in this ecumenical Synod, that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls there detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar...” Not only does Purgatory exist (no, Vatican II did not “do away with it”) but of all the various prayers offered for the souls “there detained” it is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which is most beneficial. Of course, that means that the Mass for such souls must be done with all due reverence and devotion. “But let the bishops take care, that the suffrages of the faithful who are living, to wit the sacrifices of Masses, prayers, alms, and other works of piety, which have been wont to be performed by the faithful for the other faithful departed, be piously and devoutly performed, in accordance with the institutes of the church; and that whatsoever is due on their behalf, from the endowments of testators, or in other way, be discharged, not in a perfunctory manner, but diligently and accurately, by the priests and ministers of the church, and others who are bound to render this (service). Trent also offers this tidbit for any who hold the protestant notion that purgatory is not real. “If anyone says that after the grace of justification has been received the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out for any repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be paid, either in this world or in the other, in purgatory, before access can be opened to the kingdom of heaven, anathema sit [“let him be anathema” or excommunicated].” So, believing what the Church teaches, write out your lists and get them to me!
Now I want to tell you how my “week off” went last week since so many of you have left messages, texts, and emails asking how I am doing as you state that you know that I am not answering messages, texts, and emails! Monday morning started off as normal with Masses and confessions and Adoration and blessing of objects at the church but I was back at the office by 11:00. Weekend and morning messages were waiting for me. I had three sick calls to make in three different cities in two different counties. That was going to take the rest of the day, so I managed to fit in two house blessings along the way as well, clearing up the remainder of the week, or so I thought. On Tuesday I managed to get out to see my dad for a couple of hours after the morning schedule but had to spend the rest of the afternoon answering emails from people in pretty bad spiritual crises. That evening I tried to get some dinner from a favorite hole-in-the-wall Caribbean take-out restaurant only to find that covid panic put them out of business. On Wednesday I had some more important emails to answer after the morning routine but decided to use a computer in my room rather than stay at the office so that I would not get sidetracked with other business. Bad decision. After the “necessary” emails were finished I opened some from the diocese and soon fell asleep in my chair. Three and a half hours later (unbelievable!) I woke up and had to get going, for I had a dinner date with my mom, and then the “day off” was over without it really ever seeming to have begun. Thursday there was a noon funeral and burial across the bay so I got done with just enough time to prepare for the Holy League Men’s Group. After the morning routine on Friday, I went to Jesuit High school and heard confessions until the end of the school day. Then it was back to the rectory to do laundry which had been piling up too long. Saturday morning brought once again the Mass, confessions, Adoration, and Adult Catechism class, followed by the Rosary Rally in the afternoon, and, finally, the Youth Group in the evening. Somewhere along the way I also had to write this article, which means that the last couple of days had to be written before they actually happened, so they might have actually been busier than what was on the calendar! So much for a “week off”! It’s a good thing I love my vocation!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka