The Great Big Family of God

10-27-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I write these words having just returned from the Roast Beef Dinner. The Knights of Columbus, Columbiettes, and all their helpers are to be congratulated for a job well done! Not only was the food very good – I had three dinners, spread out over the afternoon – but there were lots of great people, too.

The whole event reminded me of the big family dinners I remember from many Sunday and holiday afternoons. Although most of the people at the parish Roast Beef Dinner are not related by blood – they are part of our spiritual family. It was great to get together with so many of them last Sunday!

Remember that this Friday, November 1st, is All Saints Day. It is a holy day of obligation on which every Catholic who is able to do so has a serious obligation to attend Holy Mass. Masses will be offered in our Church on Thursday, October 31st at 5:30 PM and on Friday, November 1st at 6:45 and 8 AM and at 12:10 and 7 PM. I look forward to seeing many of you there.

I like to think of the saints as our older brothers and sisters in God’s family. We all know that you can learn a lot from watching and listening to your older brothers and sisters. That is especially true of our relationship with the saints. Their example and words teach us how to be good members of God’s family – just as they were when they walked this earth. Moreover, just as a good older brother or sister is always happy to help us, so the saints help us with their prayers before God’s throne. Taking time to go to Mass on All Saints Day is a great way to thank the saints for being such good older brothers and sisters to us!

Halloween, which has taken on a lot of connotations in the secular world today, used to be a day to honor the saints who do so much for us. The whole idea of costumes comes from an ancient practice of dressing up like one’s patron saint on the Eve of All Saints Day!

Saturday, November 2nd, is All Souls Day. It is a day on which we pray for all the souls in purgatory – who are on their way to Heaven. While not a holy day of obligation per se, many people like to attend Mass that day to pray for their loved ones who have died. We will have special All Souls Day Mass in our Church on Saturday, November 2nd at 12 Noon. Everyone is welcome to join us in praying and lighting candles for those who have died this past year at that special Mass.

Finally, I want to remind everyone about the Parish 160th Birthday celebration we will have on Sunday, November 17th. It will begin with the regular 11 AM Mass that day and continue with a light breakfast in Mercy Hall. The breakfast is free, but tickets are required to ensure that we have enough food for everyone! You can get a ticket after Mass this week – or by calling the parish office. It will be a great celebration for our parish family.

If you think of it, all of this week’s celebrations remind us that – due to our Baptism – we are part of the great big family of God. We who celebrate the 160th birthday of our parish family are part of the same Church family as the saints in Heaven and the souls on their way there. We honor the saints who have gone before us – and they help us by their prayers and example to follow in their footsteps. We pray for the souls on their way to Heaven, trusting that they will pray for us in return. Finally, we gather to celebrate milestones like our parish’s 160th birthday – as any great family would.

Please remember to pray for me – at least one Hail Mary a day. I pray daily for you! Please also remember to come to Mass on All Saints Day and to join us at our birthday celebration if you can. It’s always good to be with family!

Have a great week!

Fr. John