Saturday, November 22nd: Our next volunteer day at Services of Hope will be the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Services of Hope has requested as many volunteers as possible, as we will be helping to distribute Thanksgiving meals to families in need, and there is always a crowd. We will aim to be there by noon. If you are able to assist, speak with Fr. Will.
Our Stewardship Campaign will begin at the beginning of November. More information will be forthcoming. Please be prayerfully discerning how and what you can give to Holy Cross for 2015.
NOVEMBER 1: ALL SAINTS
On this day we commemorate all the faithful departed, known and unknown, who have attained the beatific vision of God in heaven. During the age of persecutions, particularly during the ferocious persecutions of emperor Diocletian during the first years of the 4th century (the 300’s), there were so many Christian martyrs, that a separate liturgical commemoration for each one became impossible for local churches. The Church, desiring to honor every martyr, set aside a day for the heavenly birthday of “All Martyrs”. This practice is known as early as about the year 270 AD. November 1 was first set aside for such a commemoration for Western Christians by Pope Gregory III during the 730’s AD, who dedicated this day to honor the witness “of the holy apostles and of all the saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world.” It was first made a Holy Day of Obligation, when all the faithful are expected to worship at Mass, during the reign of the Carolingian King Louis the Pious, and the pontificate of Pope Gregory IV in the mid 800’s AD. In normal Christian practice, major feasts begin on the evening before the feast itself, with the Evening Prayer of that day. Thus the evening before All Saints day, came to be celebrated as “All Hallows Eve” or “Halloween” (“hallow” or “holy” being the Old English word for the Latin word “Sanctus”, from which we get our word “Saint”).
November 2: Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day)
Whereas All Saints Day is the day on which we remember all the dead who have attained the beatific vision, who are in heaven; All Souls Day is the day on which we remember “all who have died in the peace of Christ and those whose faith is known to you alone” (as we say in our liturgy). The Prayer Book’s mass preface for the Dead (Prayer Book p. 382) reminds us that for the faithful departed, “life is changed, not ended”, in other words: death marks a waypoint on our continuing journey to God, not a terminus. The Church calls this continuing journey “Purgatory”, because it involves a process of being “purged” of our imperfections – a process not qualitatively different from what the faithful undergo during life, as we continually repent and amend our lives, and as God draws us ever more closely to himself. So whereas on All Saints we remember the dead who have undergone this process and have become pure and holy, who have “arrived”; today we remember all the dead (especially those dear to us) who although dead, yet like ourselves remain pilgrims on the way to God, and we pray that God will continue to have mercy upon them, and bless them as they prepare to enter into his presence forever.
November 4: Charles Borromeo
Born of an aristocratic family in 1538, Charles’s uncle became Pope Pius IV. From an early age, Charles showed great liberality to the poor. He studied civil and canon law at Pavia, and in 1559 took a doctoral degree. Pope Pius made him a protonotary apostolic (a high ranking prelate of the Roman curia) and a cardinal at the age of 22. Shortly thereafter he was raised to the Archepiscopacy of Milan. Though living in great splendor as an archbishop, Charles continued to show great generosity and concern for the poor. He founded schools, notably at Milan and Pavia. He employed himself likewise in answering the errors of the Reformers, and facilitated the final deliberations of the counter-reforming Council of Trent. Nor did he neglect his own diocese. Unlike his predecessors, Charles took a hands-on interest in the affairs of Milan, making pastoral visitations, and ensuring that all was done decently and in order. He founded seminaries and schools for the clergy, and ensured the conformity of his churches to the reforms of Trent. In 1576, as Plague swept through Milan, Charles busied himself with care for the sick and dying, and the burial of the dead. He made frequent visits to places where the plague raged most fiercely, seemingly insensible to the danger posed to himself, and ensuring that the clergy were discharging their responsibilities. His labors and austerities may have shortened his life. He contracted and unshakable fever, and died on November 3, 1584. He was canonized in 1610.