From the Pastor: Holidays and Holy Days This Week!
This week brings us great holidays and Holy Days. The first big Holy Day is the one we are celebrating Sunday (today, for most of you reading this in the parish bulletin): Christ the King. Now, for those of you attending the Novus Ordo Saturday evening Vigil Mass, you might be scratching your head, wondering what in the world I am writing about, as this weekend’s Mass is for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time and Christ the King isn’t until November 20. Right you are! This is a big problem with having two differing liturgical calendars within the same Catholic Rite. What a mess. But in the Traditional calendar, Christ the King is today. Why is this a big Holy Day? Because if Christ is really the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Savior of the World, (and He is!) we should absolutely bow down, worship and adore Him, proclaiming wholeheartedly, resoundingly and enthusiastically, that He is King of our hearts, our bodies, our minds, our country, our universe, our eternal life. And this is one day set aside to remind us of His Kingship. He should rule every aspect of our lives--and absolutely YES, this includes our politics, for how could a King be excluded from the governance of His own people?
The next day, Monday, is a fun holiday, Halloween. It has roots in being the vigil of a Holy Day, All Saints Day, but is now mostly seen as a day to dress up in funny or scary costumes and go door to door throughout the neighborhood begging for candy. Back in my day (what a old man’s statement that is!) I believe Halloween was more fun. Everyone I knew had to make their own costume (with mom’s help, of course), so it took a bit of imagination to come up with something which would be both fun and capable of being made. Ghosts were popular, for just about anyone could cut out eyeholes in an old sheet. Cowboys, indians, baseball players, robots and other figures were also common, and, believe it or not, bows and arrows and toy guns and tomahawks were not thought of as “dangerous weapons” but as toys. The girls dressed as princesses and fairy godmothers and nobody thought of it as “sexist” just because boys had boy costumes and girls had girl costumes. Plus candy was a real treat. It was something we didn’t have around the house on a regular basis and here we were each getting a bag of it! Today the costumes are all bought at a store, kids get candy every single day, and the feigned fear of the fake skeletons and goblins has been replaced by a real fear of demonic activity and kids getting snatched. I best move on...
Not to be outdone, Tuesday brings us a real, honest to goodness, Holy Day of Obligation! I bet you thought those things were extinct. You already know that it is All Saints Day, a day in which we commemorate all of the Saints in Heaven, both those proclaimed officially and those whose entrance into the Beatific Vision has not been, and most likely never will be, declared by the Church. We offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on this day, not for them, as if they still had need of the graces of this salvific act, but rather as a tribute to them, as a means of congratulating them for running the good race and persevering to the end, as a means of renewing our own desire to get to Heaven as well, and almost as a pep rally for ourselves as we recall once again that it is not impossible to overcome all of the world’s obstacles, for, if they (the Saints) can do it, we can do it! (No, we will not have cheerleaders at Mass, though I have heard of worse. Sigh.)
And finally, who could forget that Wednesday is All Souls Day. This is the day when we offer Mass for all of the faithful departed who have not yet been made perfect and so are still in Purgatory rather than Heaven, though they are assured of eternal salvation. I have asked you to remember and to write down the names of all your deceased friends, family and acquaintances so that they will all be included in these Masses. The minutes or hours it will take me to read all the names you have asked me to pray for will be pure joy for me, for I will know that so many more souls will not be languishing in pain, forgotten. The poor souls whom you remember in this way will undoubtedly be more grateful than you will know while still here upon Earth. Keep adding to your list!
As a final note, in case you were wondering, Halloween is not on either liturgical calendar as it is simply a secular holiday, but both All Saints and All Souls Days are the same on both Novus Ordo and Traditional calendars.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka