Opening Prayer Let us begin:t In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where them is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. 0 Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. (Saint Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226) t In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Word of God November 1, 2009 Solemnity of All Saints Matthew 5:1-12a The Lord be with you. And also with you. A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark. Glory to you Lord. + May the gospel always be on my mind, + on my lips, + and in my heart. When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
el Pe He C tic C PH Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven." The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 956 The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped." 2683 The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were "put in charge of many things." Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.
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Feast of all Saints November 1
Today's great feast is about heroes and heroines. Today we celebrate the many men and women who chose to live life from their gifts in response to a call from God, a call each of us is given. The 'Church sets them aside and holds them as models of Christian life. And this is so not because they led extraordinary lives (though the popular tales about the saints seem to suggest this), but rather because in their very ordinary lives they lived faithfully the Gospel way of life. They struggled and sinned and sought forgiveness; they prayed and experienced darkness and reached out for light; they embraced the cross and allowed God to transform them. They were like you and me, ordinary people who believed that the cross of Jesus Christ made all the difference. And it did.
1. What does it mean for me to be a saint? How can live a holy life while still being involved in my work, family, career? What will make the important "difference" in all of this?
Readings: Numbers 6:22-27; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21 MARY ) MOTHER OF GOD This image of Mary, known as Theotokos (Greek for God-bearer) is one of the most cherished in Christian tradition. That may seem strange to us, because we are used to seeing pictures of Mary that portray her looking like the people we see everyday. Pictures like this one might seem strangely cold or distant to us. But this image, known as an icon, has a great deal to communicate to us.
What do you see? The image known as the Theotokos portrays the upper portion of Mary's body. She carries the child, seated upright on her left arm. As we look carehdly at what seems, at first, to be a simple image, we begin to notice details which Initially escaped our attention. The veil â€˘ worn.by Our Lady covers her head completely and falls in symmetrical folds around her face and shoulders like a cloak or mantel. The veil is rich in color, adorned with a jeweled border. On Mary's forehead and on each of her shoulders the artist has painted a star, although one often hidden from view by the Child. Mary's gaze is turned toward us, While her right hand leads our eyes to the Child. Her face is serene, gentle and full of cothpassicri. The Child himself is small, with the lace of an adult. Ms garments match those of his Mother, except that his cloak or mantels of a brilliant color. In one hand he holds a book (or a globe or d branch). The other hand is extended, with the index and middle fingers joined, apart from the others. The eyes Of the child are directed beyond the Image at Objects that are not always visible to us. His expression is serious, mature, royal. Behind the head Of the Child and that of his Mother there Is a golden halo. Inscriptions in Greek tell us that this is, indeed, the Mother of God '(Mater Theo) with the Child who irthe Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the beginning and the End" (Rev. 22:13)....
What Is an Icon? The tradition of konography; the making and painting Of icons, is an ancient one in the Church. The Iconographer approaches the task of painting in a spirit of deep prayer and contemplation.- The painting itself follows a style that Is passed down from the master to disdples. It Involves special techniques for the design, for the mixing of paints and the use of materials. My this lengthy procedure? The icon itself is meant to be a symbol of the mystery that is represented in the picture. The icon is meant to touch the mind and the heart and imagination of the viewer. For both the iconographer and the viewer, the icon is a spiritual experience, drawing both to prayer and contemplation of the in â€˘ yst does the Icon teach? What . ery of The faith,icon of the Theothkos affirms the Church's ancient, never-changing belief that Mary is truly Mother of God. She Is Mother of Jesus Cluist, true God and true Man. She is Mother of the Child to whom she gave birth and Mother of the the Body of Christ, the Church. The three. stars on her forehead and shoulders proclaim her virginity before, during mystery and after the birth of her child. The colors she wears declare that she is human with us, but exalted and .royal, a represe true queen. The child is clothed in garments and colors that proclaim divinity and humanity. So too does the gesture nted.
For centuries the Church has told stories about heroes and heroines who have done great things for God and for others. These heroes and heroines are called saints. Most Catholic Christians can tell some stories about saints. We place pictures of saints in places of honor in our chinches and in our homes. What is a saint? When St. Paul wrote letters to the early Christians, he called them saints, as well as those -*ho had "died in the Lord." Christians. are saints, or holy ones, because they live in union with Christ. It is the love of God in them that makes them holy. pitiOn who was with God in heaven. The saint was someone who could intercede for the Church on earth. A taint • was someone who was given public honor in the Church. • Christianity was declared legal in the fourth century, the term saint was almost synonymous with • Until • •• •• •• rriartYri. Christians believed that those who had laid down their lives for their faith in Jesus were with God in.heaven. They prayed to the martyrs and asked them to intercede for them in times of difficulty. They honored the :Butthe Veneration of saints did not die out when martyrdom was less frequent, nor did the number of saints Martyr stop increasing. People looked to other Christians who lived holy lives as saints. Many lives of the veninated Saints, were written•to inspire others to follow the example of the saints. Christians prayed to these saints, especially, and some on the 'claimed that God had Intervened in their lives by a miracle because of the intercession of the Stories of Such miracles greatly increased devotion to the saint. Inevitably, fact and fiction, folklore '--- ' 'saint anniversary and exaggeration crept into the stories of the saints. It is sometimes hard to determine what in the lives of .the: of the saints was true and what was pious exaggeration. person's For, the first six or seven centuries of the Church's life, there was no formal process to recognize a person as martyrdom. a saint. A saint was someone who had died and who the people recognized as one who had lived an exceptionally holy life. Later, it was required that the bishop, as the pastor of the local Church, should approve , • devotion to a particular "saint" Still later, it was required that this official approval be given by the pope. •
Odasi the Church has a long bureaucratic process for naming a person a saint. It is called canonization. andniiition means that the Church believes that this saint is with God in heaven and is worthy of the onOr gii.oeti to saints in the Church. Of Course there are more saints in heaven than those who have been canonized. The Solemnity of All Saints - Is !et aside to honor not only the canonized saints, but all the other saints who are with God in heaven. It is also • a day to recognizeffiat we, too, are called to be saints.
"Saints" Richard Mennen's CATHOLICISM: The communion of saints means that the Church is a communion of disciples who have been transformed by the grace of Mist. This communion is not broken by death. Avery Dunes states that there are 4 different meanings of the word saints: L All those who have been justified by the grace of Christ, whether they be living or dead 2. Those who, having been justified by Christ on earth, have entered into eternal life. 3. Particularilgures, especkd& biblical personages, who are examples of holiness. 4. Time whom the Church, either through custom orfomtal canonization, has singled auras members'ofthe Church trimmpluutt so that they may be commemorated in public worship. In the Catholic tradition, all 4 levels of meaning apply to the term saints.
Mary and the Saints By Eugene A. LaVerdiere
Besides all the other feasts and solemnities which we have already seen, the, liturgical year includes two great feasts of our Lady and the Feast of All Saints. For this last, the Gospel reading is Matthew 5:1-12, the beatitudes. The beatitudes (Mt 5:1-12) introduce Jesus' great discourse on the mount, in which Matthew gathered many sayings of Jesus into a great synthesis of Christian living. The Sermon on the Mount is the law of Christian discipleship. The mountain which Jesus ascends to Interpret the old law and present the Christian way of life is not so much geographical as theological, the place where revelation is given, as had been the case at Sinai. The beatitudes present Jesus' challenging vision in a form characteristic of wisdom literature: "Blessed are .for they shall." Note, however, that for the poor in spirit (5:3) and those who are persecuted for righteousness* sake (5:10), we read: "Blessed are .for theirs is," since the reign of God has already broken • into the werld in the life and teaching of Jesus. The reason the poor in spirit, those who mourn, etc., are blessed is not that they are poor in spirit or because they mourn, but because they have been granted the kingdom of God and they shall be comforted. The good news. is proclaimed to the poor. The form of the last beatitude is very different. In it, Jesus speaks directly to the persecuted community of Matthew. The other beatitudes must have formed a rhetorical whole framed by "Theirs is the kingdom of Cod" (5:3, 10) before its addition. The, feasts of Mary are that of the Immaculate Conception, which comes on December 8, dining Advent, and that of the Assumption, which we celebrate on August 15, during Ordinary Time. The readings for these feasts are from Luke's prologue. The Promise
• With the Feast of the Immaculate Conception we, celebrate the story of Cod's promise of salvation, from the first covenant to the fulfillment of the covenant in Christ. The story is epitomized by the person of Mary
through whom Cod's life and word became flesh. Mary also embodies the vocation of the Church and pi-ever Christian. y The reading for the feast is Luke 1:26-38, the story of Gabriel's annunciation that Mary would be the Mother of the Son of God. Touched by grace, she was open to the Holy Spirit and accepted to be the servant of the Lord. In such a life and commitment, there is no sin. The Church is called to the same selfless service and•to bring forth the life of' God into the world. Unlike Mary, welire not sinless, but we do have her as an Ideal expression of what humanity ought to be. Mary is the vision of humanity's fulfillment in the reign of God. As such she stretches our hopes beyond the horizon of our personal lives and beyond history itself. The Fulfillment • • With the Feast of the Assumption we celebrate the story of how God's promise is fulfilled over and over again throughout history. It is because we have seen the promise fulfilled so often that the promise is a source of hope for us. The story of fulfillment, like the story of the promise, is epitomized in the person of Mary, whom Elizabeth greeted in the name of the entire Old Testament as well as in our own name as the
Mother of the Lord. • The reading for the feast is Luke 1:39 cludes - the Magnificat, Mary's song of praise, in which her 56 rejoicing whichsings in- of how God is glorified in what has been done through her person. Her song is also the prayer of the Christian fulfillment. All that we pray for in the Lord's prayer is celebrated in anticipation as already fulfilled. No longer need we pray that God's name be hallowed. His name is hallowed. His reign is established in the reversal of worldly values. The lowly have been raised up and the mighty toppled from their thrones, and the hungry have been filledli things. Thus it is that in the person of Mary we cele• brate both fith good the promise and the fulfillment of life and history.
The Communion of Saints: 'People Who Need People' By Leonard Foley, OtEig Describing the reality. The Church raved the Communion of Saints long before it started using the impression—around the fifth century. It was put into statement that the Church and the langdom-:-or the People of . God—is a community, not a loose gathering of people seeking the Apostles' as anexpresses the obvious: God sent private salvation.Cried The phrase Jesus to put his arms around all Cod's children, to draw them emphatic into one large family, and to teach them to pass the welcome along. Pope Leo XIII said: °The Communion of Saints is simply...the mutual sharing of help, atonement, prayers and benefits among all the faithful.'
Praying to the saints. It is a lontstandingthristlan tradition that the saints in heaven we - i•turn honor them for the great gifts God has given them, and forchildren their help and prayers. This creates a problem prayask forthem God's one Mediator between God and humanity: Jesus. Vatican on earth, and • -deals With the question this way,spe-aking of Mary: The -• rnatematduty of Mary towardmenland women] in no way • obscures ordiminishes this inliquimediation of Christ, but rather phows Its power.° The title aMediatrixv and similarones to be so understood that they neithentake away from nor add anything to the dignity and...efficacy of Christ,-the one Mediatar° (Constitution on the •Chturb, •• 60, This 62)4must be saki. No saint has power tOrgive us the grace of God. Yet, as Vatican II also says, Just at-the priesthood of Christ •
Is shared in various ways by both priests and the faithful, so the unique MediatiOn of Christ allows for a-"manifold cooperation" by people. They share in lithig.uniqUatourcerlibid.). • holyinstinct prompts ui to speak to the saints. Haven't you • loomatIcanr. asked for your mother or dad's help from. healien, when you were in a tight:fix, or ilepressed,.or eicited? tilee often spoken tO them, sendinga simple, li-lerlp•rnes . parehts,.or to priests and friars rye wotketayith—frisnsis . know are with God. And certainly I lolovit they have nt3 power ' to my apart from Christ. Yet, if I aautomatiatilr ask people on earth to pray for me, why not those whom God has taken to himself? ••
PERTAINING TO SAINTS: The fact still remaina that the pages of history are filled with tales of men and women who suffered cruelly and gave their lives for their faith, of men and women who made incredible sacrifices to help their fellow creatures, â€˘ who gave up lives of wealth and luxury to follow the Way of the Lord, who went to the remote comers of the earth to help their fellow men and women. Who would dare say Francis of Assisi is not relevant today? Who could deny the courage and appeal of Thomas More resisting tyranny that se persists in the modern Worldâ€”the dictator who tramples on basic human rights? Who can fail to thrill at the exploits of Paul or Francis Xavier? And there are thousands of men and women saints whose actions and lives are as real and meaningful today as in the eras in.which they lived. Furthermore, there are men and women living and working in this very tumultuous and chaotic times who are living lives of holiness and charity and sacrifice who someday in the future will be recognized as the saints they are for the qualities that made the sahib of the past. Saints are to be considered and recognized for what they are: real men and women who struggled desperately, sometimes against incredible odds, sometimes against a most mundane background, as they strove to live lives of perfection to the best of their abilities in the *service akthe imperfect human beings moldedin large measures by the tinies in which . they lived. Mastm
History Since the mid-1800s. when Scottish and Irish immigrants brought the holiday to the United States. Ha imween has been a high-spirited celebration largely k Eve by children. Halloween Is truly a hybrid. w uze modern guise Is but a ghostly vestige of the ancient holidays and rites that spawned it. Our modern Halloween-originally the occasion of sePaiate pagan Celtic and Roman holidays. and Fhtkh later the eve of a Christian holy day-Is nothing 110re than a delightful children's adventure, bn opopininky to dress up and collect treats. •• ':Although almost exclusively an American holiday ii,i,iiy. Halloween has ancient European roots. Long i • the advent of iikre Christianity. October 31 was • *last day of the year on the cak todat of northern Europe's :01* peoples. It was also the ive•of Samhain. the Celtic e's0a1 of the dead. The :Os believed that on he•Eve of Samhaln.• 6 liaCi•walked abroad. • Ii0itioners of the 0 :eltk religion often :I Oric to religious p 'atherings disirpisgd. Later. itVeh after the sernhain festival o i,,... Au confhued to don t1Sguises h'her - went eiey ut on
e , lilev ittober 31. er r protect e iemsetves d : iie . for celebrating the end of summer and the iiinty of the autumn harvests. O i When the Romans invaded northern Europe in the rst Century B.C.. they introduced their own late u i aOber festival of the dead. called Feral/a, The )Mans also brought their autumn festival of the tt !rvest the Festival of Pomona. Roman goddess of h it and gardens. As the Celtic and Roman cultures egan to blend, the festivals of their two deities serged into a single celebration at the time of the par, that both held sacred. . i r i t s . F o r
When Christianity came to northern Europe. the people were reluctant to relinquish their age-old pagan celebrations, rites and symbols. Thus the Church absorbed the pagan holidays, giving them new names and meanings consistent with Chrisdanity. In 609 A.D.. the Church designated one day in May. called All Saints Day. for Christians to remember the early saints who had died for their religious beliefs. In 732 A.0.. All Saints Day, also called All Hallows Day, was moved to November Thus, October 31 became the Eve of All Hallows, or Hallowe'en. The Ceiti continued to expect ghosts to walk abroad on Halloween. but they also celebrated the harvests at this time by feasting, dancing, playing games and telling fortunes. Though they 'have shed their original meanings, many of our traditional
Halloween symbols-witches, goblins, ghosts. apples
and nuts-came to us from the Celtic and Roman celebrations. The Halloween custom of trick-or-treating also came to us from the Celtic woild, as part of the attempts to "Christianize" the pagan holiday. In England and in Ireland. on November 2. All Souls Day. poor Christian women and girls went begging for special shortbread cakes called "soul cakes." In exchange for the soul cakes, the beggars prayed for the souls of the donors' departed loved ones.
"A soul-a-cake, a soul-a-cake, have mercy on all Christians for a soul cake." As time passed. the prayers and soul cakes were forgotten. But children kept the practice of ave, still going door-to-door begging for small baked treats or fruit. "Souling" is one forerunner of today's souling" trick-or-treating.
Halloween Lights Most recognizable of all Halloween symbols is the jack-o-lantem. which probably takes its name from a folk tale about Jack, a wandering soul who cannot rind repose. In Europe. jack-colantems were originally carved from turnips, beets, or potatoes: when lighted with a candle, they brought to mind the andent fires and torches of the Samhain festivals, and were carried to ward off witches and spirits. In some places in Europe. children carry Jack-o-lanterns carved from beets. singing and begging for money as they go. Eurooean Immigrants to the United States discovered a perfect vegetable for carving Jack-o-lanterns: the indigenous pumpidn.
lIEWAJILSW CUPt 1 SCAtnr-dS1%To COzt the Feast sr. 0,of All Souls, the 4:Moumbeh 01:0remembers all the faithful departed.. 061
Girocil Galls us to do maaralir thiurags oix our earthly jotutwirLelir. Mut Lim the great pletuure of salvation., there is oxillr oxi.et ruarketimm for everyone: unity with Gt-ocIL autul. Ckm:Vis people. OrtLe more we atlre able to
urect3r with 431-ott aid with C4ocrs people, the more we will IlarLCOw ourselves members of the Communion of Saints-the linzirts, the dead, max& the Issatzb Ltos krt. ILeamirelx.