The Thanksgiving holiday, which gathers family and friends, occasions an attitude of thankfulness for all the blessings we have received from God. Of course, an attitude of thankfulness should be a constant in our lives. A few moments of daily thankful prayer helps us to never lose sight of our blessedness.
We Catholics are a eucharistic people. In the Mass, we remember the love that was poured out for us on the cross, and we accept the invitation to become that love. Through the art of eucharistic memory, we practice seeing reality as it really is: a participation in God’s marvelous plan of salvation. We gradually become a people who recognize that the world is a gift to be received and then offered again in love.
In this beautiful fall season, we can reflect on one way this offering back to God works itself out—through our stewardship of creation. We come to realize that we are co-creators with God. The eternal Son, the Word that God speaks in creating, has shown us by his death and resurrection that creating is an act of self-giving love. He has breathed into us the same Spirit that hovered over the waters in the beginning (Genesis 1:2) so that we might be re-created ourselves and then share that redemption with the rest of the world. We now understand that the command, in Genesis 1:28, to have dominion over creation is in fact an invitation to share in God’s creativity. Therefore, our care for the earth is a participation in divine life.
If, then, we are co-creators, our love for all creation must be self-emptying. Regard for self must come second to our love for those outside ourselves. Such love mirrors God and participates in divine life. This is a lofty goal, and we are grateful to the God who understands our weakness and patiently waits for us to get there. Christ is coming to us from that future perfection (the Kingdom) and redirecting us so that, in the end, God may be all in all (see 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
~ Fr. Frank Coady
This is a strange year for the Liturgical Calendar. Christmas falls on a Monday, so Christmas Eve is on Sunday. That means that Sunday morning, December 24, we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent with our usual Masses at 8:30 and 10:30. That same day, we celebrate Christmas Vigil Masses at 4:00 and 6:30 p.m. and Midnight Mass at 11:00 p.m. It will be a full day! On Monday, the Mass of Christmas Day will be celebrated at 9:00 a.m. I know it will be tempting to skip the morning Mass on December 24, but I encourage you to celebrate the Liturgical Year in all its fullness. The readings and liturgical prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Advent are important to set up the full joy of Christmas. We should see this day not as a burden, but as an opportunity to spend a really holy day with the Lord, whose Paschal Mystery begins with the Incarnation. The long-expected Messiah finally came into the world to announce the Good News that God was intending to redeem the world.
~ Fr. Frank Coady
On Thursday (November 16), 34 high schoolers and 13 parent sponsors will travel with over 800 of our friends from the Salina Diocese to the biennial National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis. More than 27,000 of us will gather in Lucas Oil Stadium (where the Colts play) for 3 days of great speakers, presentations, music, adoration of the blessed sacrament, and much more. The energy is off the charts, and yet it is all very holy and spiritual. Everyone in our diocese will celebrate Mass Friday night in our hotel with Bishop Weisenburger (one last time!) and Steve Angrisano! And the entire conference ends with Mass for all 27,000+ in Lucas Oil Stadium; it is a wonderful experience. I invite you to watch it all LIVE starting November 16. It’s the next best thing to being there!
On behalf of our young church, THANK YOU for all of your prayers and financial support that make it possible for all interested youth to attend NCYC regardless of ability to pay. We receive contributions from Thomas More Ladies, Knights of Columbus, Seven Dolors’ Budget Shop, and some generous individuals. We will see you in Indy, either in body or in spirit. :)
~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister
Each week as we gather for Mass, we celebrate with believers we cannot see. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (954) states that our church consists of “the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one church.” We are part of a community that includes past, present, and future disciples of Christ. This Body of Christ, this Communion of Saints was honored in a special way this week when we celebrated All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.
All Saints’ Day reminds me again of the connection I have with the canonized saints, and I gain inspiration from my favorites, like St. Francis of Assisi and St. Theresa of Avila, who said, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.” I also find inspiration in future saints—the pastors, parishioners and friends who “love God and love their neighbor” to the very best of their ability each day. The young church inspires me as well. These “saints in training,” like my niece and nephew who are active at St. Isidore’s leading retreats and the young people of our parish who are always so willing to help when asked and have such a passion for service, should inspire us all.
On All Souls’ Day, my grandmothers, with whom I still have a deep connection, come to mind. They were both mentors who taught me to cling to my faith, read scripture, become an active member of my local church, and to pray always. They inspired me to try to live a Christ-centered life.
This weekend at Mass, we pay tribute to those members of our congregation who have died this past year. As these names are read at Mass, it is very personal to us and we remember the many encounters, good wishes, laughter, tears, and good works we shared with them. Praying for them is a way to honor them and to be in communion with them until we are reunited again in the Love that created us.
This time of year, the shortening of the days, the harvesting of the crops, and the falling of the leaves brings to mind our own mortality. It reminds us to review our lives and remember each day is God’s gift to us. What we do with today can be our gift to God.
~ Sherry Watts, K-6 Coordinator
All Saints’ Day is this Wednesday, November 1, and it is a holy day of obligation. We will have two liturgies to celebrate this solemnity, with Masses at 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. On this day, we remember all the saints known and unknown to us who enjoy the glory of heaven. Come reflect on how to live a life of holiness and how to attain happiness now and eternally. Let us all strive to be numbered among the saints in heaven!
The next day, November 2, is All Souls’ Day, the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. Mass is at 7:00 a.m. It is our custom in the Catholic church to pray for the dead. And because we are baptized into Christ, we face death believing that we are not alone. We believe that all the souls of the faithfully departed are united forever with Christ through his Resurrection. New and eternal life in paradise is theirs.
Now because most of our parishioners will be unable to attend Mass on All Souls’, all the Masses on November 4-5 are Memorial Masses for the Deceased of our parish. Those who have died and had funeral services conducted within our parish this past year will be honored with the lighting of a candle at each Mass. This has become a very meaningful tradition to our parish family. The sacredness of a person’s life and their passing not only means so very much to the person’s family, but to our faith community as well.
One of the Corporal Acts of Mercy is to bury the dead. The USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website explains, “Funerals give us the opportunity to grieve and show support during difficult times. Through our prayers and actions during these times, we show our respect for life, which is always a gift from God, and comfort to those who mourn.” May we come together to show our love and support for these families in our parish, that they are assured that we will remember their loved ones around the table of the Lord.
~ Kelley Smith, Music Liturgist