The Family of God

10-31-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

One common way to think about the Church is as a big spiritual family. God is our Father, and in Baptism we become his adopted children, and brothers and sisters to each other. This week we celebrate, with Catholics around the world, two holy days that help us think about the whole family of God.

November 1st is All Saints Day, a day to honor all the saints in heaven. 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.

We call this part of God’s family the Church Triumphant. Saint Paul often compared the Christian life to a race or sporting event, and urged everyone to ‘run so as to win.’ The saints did that by leading holy lives on earth. They have ‘won the race’ and now live with God in Heaven.

While usually a Holy Day of Obligation, we are dispensed from having to attend Mass on All Saints Day this year. This dispensation is given whenever All Saints Day falls on either a Saturday or a Monday. Nonetheless, it is a good day to go Daily Mass just the same.

Tue, Nov 2, is All Souls Day. It is a day to pray for another part of God’s family: 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. Indeed, these souls are also our brothers and sisters in God’s family, and we do well to assist them with ourprayers.

We call this part of God’s family the Church Suffering. They know they are on their way to Heaven, and are longing to be there. Our prayers can help them join the triumphant saints in Heaven.

Holy Mass will be offered in our Church on All Souls Day at 6:45am and 8:00am, and 12:10pm and 7:00pm. The Mass at 7:00pm will be offered especially for members of our parish who died this past year. Everyone is welcome to join us in praying at this beautiful Holy Mass.

Inserted in this week’s bulletin is an article about Purgatory and praying for the dead. I would encourage

everyone to read it in order to gain a deeper understanding of this beautiful part of our Catholic Faith.

Last Saturday I had the blessed privilege of attending a Mass during which two of our brothers in God’s family received the Ministry of Acolyte from Bishop Checchio. Paul Flor and Francisco Jaurides are both preparing to be ordained as deacons. Acolyte is a ministry they must receive along the way.

The ministry of Acolyte is basically like being a permanent Eucharistic Minister. The Acolyte assists the priest at the Altar – much like seminarians do when they are assigned to our parish.

Please pray for Paul and Francisco as they serve as Acolytes and continue preparing for ordination to the diaconate. It is a blessing for our parish family to have these fine men in formation. Let’s pray that they will be open to God’s will as they answer His call to be deacons.

Please remember to pray for me, at least one Hail Mary a day. I pray daily for you! Please also remember to pray for the sick, and all souls of our brothers and sisters in Purgatory.

Have a great week!
Fr. John