Dear Parish Family—Nov. 2 is the Feast of All Souls, the day in which the Church remembers and prays for those who have died. Some may wonder why the Church encourages us to pray for the dead. As Catholics, we believe there is a heaven and there is a hell. Heaven is our goal. It is where we want to spend eternity because we will be with God. However, probably few of us will die in a perfect state ready to be with God. The Church, cognizant of this fact, has the beautiful belief in purgatory. Purgatory is not a place but rather a state of purification to be ready for heaven. The Church has taught that we can assist those in this state of purgation by our prayers. Throughout history, Catholics have prayed for the dead. This practice originated in the very early Church. St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, told her son “One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be.” In addition, the Church teaches that praying for the dead is one of the corporal works of mercy.
The greatest prayer we can offer is the Mass, and thus Catholics traditionally have Masses said for the deceased. However, Masses can also be said for the living or for special intentions, such as an anniversary, a birthday, or a specific need. If you would like to have a Mass said for a deceased loved one or for a special intention, just contact the parish office.
God Bless, Msgr. Stumpf (aka Fr. Bill)