Ask any child/adult what tomorrow is (October 31) and many will reply.... It's Halloween and "Trick or Treat." It's time for candy, hot dogs, and parties for both kids & adults. It's time for scary tales and movies, of carved pumpkins and varieties of costumes both funny and frightening.
Over the years, the day of All Hallows Eve [Halloween] has become known for it's parties and costumes rather than the day to prepare to remember the Solemnity of All Saints on November 1. Perhaps even as Christians, we need to be reminded that in our daily life, we are to be about becoming saints.
As Christians, All Saints reminds us that "trick or treat" should be seen as symbol of Christian hospitality (not how much candy we get or partying that we do). The practice of "Trick or Treat" should remind us of the willingness to receive and give without requiring something in return.
On All Hallows Day (Halloween), we need to recall that the tradition of Jack O'Lanterns (lighted pumpkins) began not as symbols of fear but as welcoming lamps to guide us home, to realize that we who walk the earth are called to be lamps lighting the way for others. This tradition began hundreds of years ago in Ireland and was brought by Irish immigrants to the USA.
We celebrate All Saints to remind you/me that we are called to be saints. Who me?!? YES you!!! Because isn't that what our lives are all about... to grow in holiness and with compassion for one another? The Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, said, “A saint is not so much [someone] who realizes that they possess virtue and sanctity as one who is overwhelmed by the sanctity of God.”
This year on All Saints, I encourage you to remember that in humility, we realize we become saints not by our great works, our selfless deeds, our many prayers, our being Catholic, but rather through the boundless love of God who calls each of us to be saint.
This feast of All Saints calls us not so much to remember the Blessed Virgin Mary or St. Joseph, St. Francis or St. Clare, St. Mother Theresa or St. Elizabeth Seton, St. Anthony or St. Patrick but to remember those saints who are not listed on the Church calendar. To recall to memory those who may not have statues in their honor but have been or can be powerful influences in our lives. People who have been examples of faithful followers of Jesus who now call us to greater faith because of how they lived Christ's message in their lives.
When I think of All Saints, I recall the men and women, priests, religious and laity of Central America who were murdered in the 1980’s because of their faith in Jesus. I think of the many people of the Mideast today, especially those Christians in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan who are trying to practice their Catholic faith and are suffering persecution, are forced to leave their homelands or even murdered all because of their belief in Jesus. Of those suffering in various Asian countries because of their faithfulness to the Gospel.
I think of parents who sacrifice (large & small) for their children. Husbands & wives who care for one another… in good times and in bad… in sickness and in health… The spouse who cares for their husband/wife who is chronically ill. The grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
Please note that this year, the Solemnity of All Saints is a Holyday of Obligation. We will celebrate this great remembrance of All Saints of the Church and I encourage you to join us for the 7:30 am, 11:40 am or 1:15 pm Masses on Tuesday, November 1 as we honor All Saints. Please note: there is NO vigil Mass at St. Peter's on October 31.
On the feast of All Saints we are called by God to remember the saints who touch our lives. We recall our tradition of prayer for the faithful departed, especially on All Souls Day, Wednesday, November 2. Masses on All Souls Day are at 7:30 am, 11:40 am and 1:15 pm. As we begin the month of November, I encourage you to remember your loved ones who have died. Feel free to write in our Book of the Dead, those you wish to remember. You will find the book in the back of church.
Don't forget to VOTE Tuesday, November 8
The past couple of years has seen much discussion and debate about the voting here in the USA. I urge you to recall that as a citizen it is our duty to participate in helping keep our country's democracy alive and well. I've heard many folks say, "Well my vote won't count." And when I hear those words I remind the speaker that many elections and positions in government have been won or lost by only ONE vote! Your participation in the election process of our country is crucial to maintaining our democracy. May each of us do our part to maintain the health and wellbeing of our country.
Remember next weekend we change our clocks and gain an hour as we return to Central Standard Time. You get an extra hour to sleep next weekend! Remember next weekend to set your clocks back one hour.
WELCOMING THE STRANGER
Asylum seekers — men, women and children — are arriving in Chicago. Will you welcome the stranger? We are the body of Christ alive in this world. The stranger is hungering and thirsting — Christ is presenting himself to us in their need. We are called to respond with faith and love. Thousands of people are fleeing violence, political oppression, and overwhelming poverty in Central and South American countries. Since early September, parishes, priests, religious sisters and brothers, church ministries, and Catholic Charities have shown an outpouring of concern for these travelers.
These brothers and sisters in need have revealed to us the fragility, strength, and sacredness of our shared humanity. In turn, they are experiencing the love of Christ through the compassion of volunteers and employees. Over 3,000 asylum seekers arrived in Chicago by mid-October, and a coordinated Catholic response is underway so we can maximize our collective impact. We are providing pastoral care and considering options such as transitional shelter and parish-family sponsorship opportunities.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Make a financial donation at Mass next weekend, November 5 and 6. A second collection will directly support our collective response. Catholic Charities is serving as the central collection point for donations, which can also be made online at www.catholiccharities.net or by calling (312) 655-7525.
You can also join response efforts by contacting Tori Bawel at Catholic Charities ([email protected]). Please Pray for our brother and sister asylum seekers arriving in Chicago. Pray for these mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, that they are welcomed and embraced with Jesus' compassion — and pray that those serving them are sustained by God's grace.
AND A LITTLE ADVANCE NOTICE
For those who like to plan well in advance, please note the following times for Masses for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The times may be different than other years.
- Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24 Mass is at 9:00 am. (Please note the time of this Mass.)
- Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24 Vigil Mass is at 4:00 pm and Night Mass is at 7:00 pm. Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25 Masses are at 9:00 am and 11:00 am.
We will also be posting times for Immaculate Conception holyday, Advent schedules, New Year's Masses, etc. soon.