This week several events of importance are taking place in our lives as Catholics and citizens. All Saints Day (11/1) and All Souls Day (11/2) start our week. On Sunday we focus on the lives of the millions of uncanonized men, women, and children who embraced their baptismal call to holiness and pursued it with dedication. I can think of several people I’ve known in my life who were exemplars of holiness to me and feel confident they are among the communion of saints today. I hope some of them are interceding for me. I know I’m not alone in knowing people like this. Although I’m new to St. Francis of Assisi, I am absolutely sure there are more than a few living saints in our midst, exemplars of holiness who live their baptismal calling as priest, prophet, and servant leader with distinction. I look forward to meeting and being inspired by them.
All Souls Day is on Monday. We will have two Masses to remember our beloved relatives who have made the transition into eternity, one at 10:00am and another at 7:00pm, the latter being livestreamed. We will issue a roll call of all parishioners who have died since we last celebrated All Souls Day during both Masses. We will also take a moment to remember all who have died as a result of COVID-19 and family and friends of yours who have died during the pandemic but for whom a full celebration of their passage into eternity was limited due to it. I invite you to join us either in person or virtually to pray in solidarity for those we have lost over these past 12 months and all our beloved dead.
On Saturday, November 7, at 10:00am, we will celebrate our annual Mass of Remembrance at the altar in our columbarium as we remember all those who are interred there and in the St. Francis section of Raleigh Memorial Park Cemetery. All are welcome. Our established parish protocols will be in effect to ensure the health and safety of those who join us at this outdoor Mass.
Tuesday is Election Day. In the midst of all that has disrupted our lives this year and tried our patience, we have faced a particularly grueling political season that has left many of us in the state of exhaustion and anxiety. Following the directives of our Catholic bishops that parishes not take positions for or against any particular candidate has been particularly difficult as so many of us are on edge already because of all the trauma we have experience apart from the political season. The bombardment of political ads, especially of the negative variety, have worn many of us out. In the midst of all this, I ask you to do two things. The first is to vote if you haven’t already. As citizens and as Catholics it is important that we bring our values and beliefs into the voting booth after prayerful and informed consideration of the candidates. The second is to maintain a posture of respect for each other, especially other voters with whom we disagree on any number of issues or the candidate themselves, regardless of their positions or tactics. The words cited by Pope St. John XXIII in his first encyclical continue to ring true to me as we come to this moment in our nation’s history: In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.
I wish to thank those who contributed to the Catholic Parish Outreach (CPO) “Feed a Family” food drive in late September. Our parishioners contributed 5928 pounds of groceries and $5410 for families in need. CPO has distributed food to serve nearly 29,000 people a week this year, a number that grows daily as more and more exhaust their resources to survive during the pandemic. Thanks for your part in providing hope for people who are living on the edges of survival.