Happy Feast of All Saints and All Souls! This year, November 1st falls on a Sunday, so the Holy Day of All Saints takes the place of our normal Sunday. Saints are one of the most incredible parts of our faith simply because they are very real people. They’ve lived in every age since Jesus Christ walked the earth, of every nation, people, language, gender, social class, and pretty much every other category under the sun. Even us, right here today in this parish, every single one of us could become a saint. Just a few weeks ago, Pope Francis beatified Blessed Carlo Acutis, a 16 year old Italian boy who had died suddenly of Leukemia in 2006. This was a young man who had Playstation II in his house and worked on making websites. Yet, he allowed the light of Christ to shine through him and through that young man’s faith, his whole family and more came to believe in Christ. Now, that young man has joined the ranks of married couples, priests, deacons, religious, rich, poor, young and old, who have given their lives to Christ, and through their lives of holiness have fought the good fight and finished, now praying for us, encouraging us, and interceding for us from the other side of the finish line.
That’s the promise of the Saints, it’s open to all of us, if we’re really ready to let Jesus work through us. It will involve sacrifice though. We have to be willing to let go of everything so that we can receive everything.
Probably my favorite quote about the Saints comes from CS Lewis is his book “Mere Christianity”:
“There are no real personalities apart from God. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most 'natural' men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerers have been; how gloriously different are the saints.
But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away 'blindly' so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality; but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him...Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
I love the way he puts it, it’s only when we’re really ready to turn everything over to Christ...that we find we actually lose precisely nothing and gain everything. That’s the glory of the saints! Right now, all of those saints are in Heaven praying that we might join them someday. So the real question we have to ask ourselves is…”I know I’m not a saint, but do I really want to want to become one...and am I really, honestly working toward that goal?
This is also a busy week for our parish. I want to give a special thank you to everyone who helped clean the hall this past Saturday, Monday, and Thursday. It’s so nice to see everything clean! We may have welcomed pets for the feast of St. Francis, but I’m glad to expel the dust bunnies! This week we’ll be doing our food prep for the Turkey Dinner. Thank you in advance to everyone who will be coming to help both with the food preparation and the day of the dinner. Even if you’ve never helped before, please join us! We’ll be happy to put you to work supporting our parish. As you come, I’ll leave you with one observation someone made to me this week. “With everything shut down, there are a lot of people who have been shut up in their homes. With the drive-by, this dinner might be one of the few times that person stopping had physical contact with their church in quite a while. So let’s provide that moment together.” I thought that was an excellent way to look at the upcoming dinner. Please consider volunteering! All the information is listed on the Turkey Dinner Page.
Also, even if you’re just stopping by to eat, This Sunday is the last chance to turn in your pre-sale tickets. So if you forgot them this weekend, that’s ok. Just bring money with you and purchase your dinner at either the walk-thru or drive-thru lines. I’m putting a map of the drive-thru, walk-thru, and basket locations on the back page of the bulletin this week. If you’re walking through, there will be separate lines for the baskets and for the dinners, so feel welcome to come check out the baskets first, then get in line for your dinner, or if you’d like to avoid the crowd, get your dinner and go, please check out the baskets at one of the other dates and times we have listed.
As per usual, both the 8am and the 11am Masses next weekend will be held over at Holy Cross Chapel on Campbell Ave so that we can minimize the traffic. Please help us spread the word! We hope to see many of you this week to help prepare the Turkey and all of you next weekend for the dinner!
This is the final Sunday for Religious Education for the fall. We’ll resume in January. So with that in mind, this is also the final Sunday for our 5PM Sunday night mass. Sadly, we didn’t get enough of a turnout to make it worth continuing, but I’m glad to have tried.
Finally, Thank you to everyone who responded to my phone calls about the parish council nominations. We’ll be drawing 6 of these this weekend, and then appointing 4 more. Then, finally I’ll appoint a youth rep from among our high school students. The accepted nominations are: Pat Kelly, Stephanie Baran, Diane Waksmunski, Wanda Brown, Coleen Cedor, Joe Philips, Russ Weakland, Chris Hoover, Steve Kirsch, Dennis Pawlikowski, Michelene Weiland, Steve Bender, Bethany Barnoski, Jody Delosh, Jennifer Wilson, and Erin Shutty. I thank everyone who both nominated someone, those who accepted the nominations, and even though who for various reasons had to respectfully decline. I’m very much looking forward to working with whoever is selected!
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.