October 31, 2015. Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday morning. Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour this Saturday night.
November 1, 2015: This Sunday is a “first Sunday.” It also happens to be the feast of All Saints. There will be champagne and brunch in the parish hall after the mass. Its a good opportunity to invite a friend to church.
As November arrives, our pledge season begins for 2016. In the next couple of weeks pledge cards will arrive in the mail. Please be as generous as you can to support the work and worship of our Holy Cross family.
We are working to improve the food pantry at Holy Cross. This requires constant replenishing and we need everyone’s help. Many have been contributing and we thank you. It is our hope that others will become involved by adopting an item on a regular basis. In our pantry (which is in the back hall of our Church by the kitchen) we have fruit, vegetables, soups, canned meats, grooming items, and miscellaneous items. Please stop by if you haven’t looked. This will give you some ideas. Your ongoing support will keep this pantry open and stocked with desirable items. Every item helps.
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”).
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.
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.
The Gospel of Luke includes an account of John’s infancy, introducing him as the son of Zachariah and Elizabeth, who previously “had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years”. His birth, name, and office were foretold by the angel Gabriel to Zachariah, while Zachariah was performing his functions as a priest in the temple of Jerusalem. According to Luke, Zachariah was a priest of the course of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron; consequently John automatically held the priesthood of Aaron. St. Luke states that John was born about six months before Jesus. Zachariah had lost his speech at the behest and prophecy of the angel Gabriel, and it was restored on the occasion of Zachariah naming John. On the basis of Luke’s account, the Catholic calendar placed the feast of John the Baptist on June 24, six months before Christmas. According to Luke, Jesus and John the Baptist were related, their mothers being cousins.