Frj82’s Blog

November 3, 2008

All Soul’s Day

Well, while it wasn’t my intent to not put something on this blog for almost a week, I would have to say it has been a pretty busy week.  And while I thought the weekend might end up being good…well it turned out to be one of the more busy weekends of the year.  So oh well.

It also leaves me to talk about the weekend that was.  Saturday was All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation.  Did you go to Mass?  I know the answer is no, you didn’t.  Did I?  Yes, and would I have gone 5 years ago?  Probably not.  The “Holy Day of Obligation” thing is a tough sell.  Although it is absolutely an important piece of Catholic Teaching, I am having trouble thinking my kid’s kids will know what a Holy Day of Obligation is, the same way I don’t think my kid’s kids will know what required celibacy is.  So for All Saints Day, we barely cracked 20 people.  Sunday attendance was great, and on Monday (today) we observed All Souls Day one day late (can’t do it on a Sunday).  Mass attendance was rough again.  But this is a funny church.  Tonight, All Souls Night, anywhere between 200 and maybe 300+ people will be at St. Stanislaus Cemetery for a very short service.  A procession with some scary-sounding hymns, a pseudo scary/creepy vibe (it is at night in a cemetery) and priests and a bishop flying around the cemetery blessing every grave with Holy Water.  All said and done, maybe 25 minutes.

Why is it that hundreds will come to acknowledge the dead, rain, snow or shine every year, while at the same time neglecting what we know as a Holy Day of Obligation?  And you should see the license plates at the Cemetery tonight.  PA, NY, NJ, maybe some MD and CT.  Really?  For a 20 minute service? 

Our Parish hosts what we call “One Hot Meal”, which is something we do every other month as a ministry to the needy, offering one (or many) good, hot meals to anyone, be it the poor, sick, lonely, whatever.  I was telling some people there about our All Souls Night service and got quite the mixed reaction.  Some people thought it was great; a couple people just didn’t get it.  They were Evangelical, and they couldn’t understand why people came out to pray for the dead like that.  The woman asked “wait, do you bless the graves or the people standing next to them?”  I told her the graves, and she told me “Well, that makes no sense.”

Does it really make no sense?  Well, there is a short answer and a long answer to why we pray for the dead.  The short answer is to make sure they get to heaven…or, to put it in a way, to get a “better seat”.  Almost like the different levels of heaven (7th Heaven, anyone?) but not so segmented.  We pray for them in case all of their sins were not forgiven and our prayers will only help.  We also pray because of this: It never hurts to pray.  We don’t know all the answers, so it’s better to err on the side of caution, right?  That’s why we go to church, right?  That is why we do many things that might not have a good explanation (Man, I just had to do the right thing!).  It’s called faith.  Jesus told us to have faith in him, that in His Father’s house, there are many dwelling places.  He didn’t tell me that personally on my way to Blockbuster the other day, he told us all through his revealed word, the Holy Bible.  Faith.  Sometimes, we go to quick prayer services when its 30 degrees out, hold a candle, and leave only after a guy with a white piece of plastic on his neck sprinkles water on grandpa’s tombstone.  No sense?  Nah, but it takes some strong faith to realize the meaning in that.                                                      

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