November 1, 2008 – Gone But Not Forgotten

Hang in there folks – 3 more days and the election will be over!  And life as we know it can resume again!  OK, I certainly do not want to give the impression that the political process is not important.  Obviously every election – particularly this one – will have a great impact on the future of our country, and I will be doing my civic duty and casting my vote on Tuesday.  But is a 2-year, $5 billion process really necessary?  In Canada, for example, the process of electing a prime minister takes about 4 months.  This may be unrealistic for us, but it’s nice to think about, isn’t it?

We had a very nice crowd for our appreciation brunch last Sunday.  It was a great meal, and everyone enjoyed each other’s company.  There are some photos on the website you can check out by clicking this link:

www.maryhoc.org/brunch0708

Events such as this remind us that we are a parish FAMILY, and a COMMUNITY of faith, and that it is not just the gifts of a few, but the gifts of everyone that will keep our parish strong.  One of my favorite hymns that we sing in church is “We are many parts, we are all one body.  And the gifts we have, we are given to share.”  Thank you again for your continued sacrifices for our parish.

This weekend on our Catholic calendar we celebrate two important feasts: All Saints Day today (November 1) and All Souls Day tomorrow (November 2).  When I talk to non-Catholics one of the most misunderstood notions about our faith is that we pray directly to our saints for help as if they were God, which of course is not true.  We pray to the saints to intercess for us on our behalf.  For example, when we have the blessing of throats on the feast of St. Blase, the celebrant prays “Through the intercession of St. Blase …”.  Having worked with several Confirmation classes, I have gotten more familiar with many of the saints, and their stories are very inspiring and make for interesting reading.

All Souls Day is the day set aside to especially remember those who have gone before us and to pray that God welcomes them into the kingdom of heaven.  I think this is one of the strongest aspects of our Catholic faith – our reverence for our cemeteries and our remembrance of those who paved the way for us.  I came across a prayer called “a prayer in a country cemetery”.  It has a “rural” twist to it but I think it can apply to all who have lost loved ones, and is certainly appropriate for this day:

Dear Lord, here lie in their last rest, the boys and girls, the men and women that worked on the land.  They knew the meaning of hard work.  They knew the joy and peace that is the product of labor.  Now we trust they know the peace and happiness of everlasting life with You.

They watched the sun rise often, winter and summer, over these hills and fields.  They worked hard by its light, and turned willingly to their rest at its setting.  Now they walk in the light of a Sun that knows no setting.  Lord, if they are still in the waiting room of heaven – in purgatory – bring them speedily to the light of Your peace and the happiness of Your presence.

These men and women all their lives long labored to provide what is necessary to sustain human life.  Now, or soon, they enjoy in all its fullness the life that You, Lord, came down to earth to give men, and to give more abundantly.

Dear Lord, bless us who labor now in the fields and hills where these dearly departed have worked.  Grant that we remember them with charity and kindness, walking revrently in the ways that they have left behind them.  Grant, too, that we may finally meet these women and men, these girls and boys, in the eternal mansions that You are even preparing now for us.  Amen.

May we keep their spirit alive.  Peace.

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