From the Pastor: This is a Big Week!
This weekend, perhaps even as you are reading this (3:00 pm Sunday, October 29), Bishop Parkes is holding a special ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle at which he bestows the St. Jude award to one recipient from each parish. This award is given to somebody who has done much good for the parish, usually behind the scenes and unnoticed by most, without any thought of payment or acknowledgment except for the reward they may or may not receive in Heaven. This year the award is being received by Clara Miller. Although she is just a tad over, ahem, 39 years old, lives in Dade City, and doesn’t drive on the interstate, she has, for years, managed to come to daily Mass at 6:30 am, stay for the 8:00 am Mass and the Adoration which follows, and she sometimes stays even longer if there is a parish function following that. She puts in a full day’s worth of “work” as she spends so much time in prayer! She generally only misses due to inconveniently scheduled doctor appointments or really bad weather. Of course, she also attends Sunday Mass and stays to chat with a group of friends for hours afterward, sometimes long after the coffee and donuts have run out. Congratulations Clara! You are an inspiration to us all.
Wednesday, November 1, is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation. We will have our regular weekday Masses at 6:30 and 8:00 in the morning and another Mass at 7:00 pm. On this special day, we commemorate all of those people who died in a state of grace and, being perfectly purified, are now in Heaven. We do this to make up for any shortcomings in our manner of celebrating canonized Saints’ feasts as well as commemorating the majority of Saints in Heaven who will never be officially recognized by the Church through her canonization process. This is a feast for all of the “secret” Saints in this regard! And, just as it always does, All Souls Day immediately follows All Saints. Thursday, November 2, we commemorate all of those people who died in a state of grace without yet being perfectly purified and are currently undergoing the cleansing fire spoken of in Sacred Scripture. We ask God to grant them—quickly—whatever graces of which they are still in need before they can enter into His Divine Presence. On that day, too, we will have the two regular Masses in the morning (6:30 am and 8:00 am) and an extra 7:00 pm Mass in the evening. People write the names of their departed loved ones and give them to me so that we can offer the Masses for them that day and remember them at each Mass throughout the remainder of the month. If you have not yet done so, don’t procrastinate any longer! The 2nd is also our parish’s second day to pray at the abortuary, so plan on spending some time in prayer there, as well. Sign up if you haven’t already done so.
The entire month of November is dedicated to the Poor Souls, as these suffering souls are known, and the Church allows for plentiful opportunities to relieve them of some or all of their torments, especially through a generous octave of Indulgences. From November 1 through November 8, inclusive of both of those dates, a Plenary Indulgence may be gained and applied to a soul in Purgatory simply by visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed. A plenary indulgence is the complete remission of all temporal punishment due to previously forgiven sins, so the soul in purgatory who receives one, through God’s grace and mercy given through His Church, is made perfect and able to enter into the Beatific Vision. You may also receive a Plenary Indulgence applicable to a Poor Soul on All Souls Day by visiting any parish church and praying aloud one Our Father and one Creed. Since you are likely going to be at Mass that day anyway, you might as well get an indulgence while you are there! Remember, though, that you can only get one Plenary Indulgence per day, so if you also visit the cemetery and pray for the departed that day, one of these indulgences may be Plenary and the other partial (removing only part of the temporal punishment). Partial Indulgences are granted to anyone who recites Morning Prayer (Lauds) or Evening Prayer (Vespers) of the Office of the Dead on those days. Partial Indulgences are also available for a poor soul if anyone recites the prayer “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.”
To receive either type of indulgence you must be in a state of grace before the indulgenced act or prayer is completed. To get a Plenary Indulgence, you must also confess your sins and receive Holy Communion either shortly before or after the act or prayers (within 8 or perhaps even 20 days), pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and be detached from all sin, even venial sin. Is it difficult to achieve such a lofty goal? It is harder for some than for others, but it is worth it. Plus, habitually living in such a manner as to be worthy to receive the indulgences becomes almost second nature with practice, and soon you will become a living Saint as you help the Faithful Departed become Saints!
Lastly, don’t forget that the following two days are First Friday and First Saturday! Be sure to sign up for Friday Adoration and attend to the devotions asked for on both of those days. Is it too much all in one week? Not for Saints-in-training!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka