I recently returned from my retreat. I spent some time with the Benedictine Monks in Cleveland. It was good being with them and praying with them. I prayed for all in our parish community while on retreat. I also had the privilege of baptizing my grandniece and spending some time with family.
As our nation prepares to celebrate Halloween, it is a good opportunity to remind our young people that the Christian roots of this secular holiday involve our belief that the saints in heaven are praying for us. All Saints Day, Wednesday Nov. 1st, is also known as All Hallows Day. The day before All Saints Day is known as All Hallows’ Eve, which is where we get the word Halloween from. The day after All Saints, Nov. 2nd, is All Souls Day. It is the day that we set aside to pray for all those souls that have experienced bodily death and are not yet united with God in heaven. We pray for the healing and purification of their souls so that they will be united with God. These holy days are good reminders that our Church (the Communion of Saints) is much bigger than just the here and now.
Our Mass schedule for All Saints Day, which is a Holy Day of Obligation, is as follows. The Vigil Mass will be on Tuesday, Oct. 31st at 5:30 p.m. Masses on the Holy Day, Wednesday, Nov. 1st will be at 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. and also 7:00 p.m. On Thursday we will have 2 Masses: our regular 8:00 a.m. Mass and a special Memorial Mass at 7:00 p.m. for all those who lost loved ones over the preceding year. We will read out the names of the people of St. Joseph Parish lost over the past year. All are welcome to attend this Mass to pray for their deceased loved ones, even if it has been longer than a year.
As we close out the month of October, we will be submitting our “October Count” results to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. You may have noticed our Ushers moving through the aisles with clickers. They were taking a count of the number of people attending each of the Weekend Masses in October. These numbers are collected from across the country and throughout the world and then submitted to Rome. I have not seen the final tabulations yet, but I am afraid that the numbers may indicate a decrease in attendance. Perhaps we can use this as an opportunity to recommit ourselves to regular attendance at Saturday night or Sunday Mass.
God Bless you,