On Saturday, we celebrated the Church Triumphant with All Saints Day. This Sunday we celebrated the Solemnity of All Souls – the feast dedicated to the Church Suffering. Seeking to keep ever in mind those in Purgatory, Holy Mother Church in Her wisdom continues the Solemnity throughout the entire month of November. Today, St. Peter’s sheep in exile, heard that we should remember the dead who are in need of our prayers and sacrifices.
Were you to read the bulletin from the parish of St. John the Baptist, you would find the following:
All Souls Novena of Masses
Remember your deceased relatives and friends with a Novena of Masses beginning on All Souls Day, Nov. 2nd through Nov. 10th. Offering envelopes are in your church envelopes and are also available in the Gathering Area of the Church and in the Church office. Return your envelope and offering to the Parish Office, in the collection basket or you may mail it to the office at 120 W. Main St., Front Royal, VA 22630.
Had you read last week’s bulletin from St. John the Evangelist, you would have been advised:
5. Ah, Sunday November 2nd is All Souls Day and trumps the Sunday Mass format. There is no Gloria on the Feast of All Souls.
6. Cards will be passed out at all the Masses next week. Please list any names of deceased relatives and friends you would like remembered at Mass during the month of November.
And what reference to remembrance of the dead would you find if you were to read the bulletins from St. Peter’s? – Nothing.
The word “catholic” means “universal.” Yet, it would seem that the Catholic universe ends at the St. Peter’s parish boundary.
To be fair, our new Pastor did lead a procession to the Parish cemetery and we did pray for the deceased. By any measure, that was a good thing. Unfortunately, the homily, to my recollection, never mentioned sin nor Purgatory. In fact, the homily would make one think that God is so merciful that only a very few would ever find themselves in hell. The concept that there might be a Church Suffering was never mentioned. If, in fact, Father did mention it, then it was so indistinct and muted that it could not be distinguished by the average person in the pew. At St. John the Baptist we heard the message with clarity.
So, if it is as our new Pastor would have it, my question would be, why have a Solemnity of All Souls?
At St. Peter’s the sheep are starving.