From Father George's Desk 11/12/23
“Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.’
Over these final weeks of the Church’s liturgical year, our attention turns toward consideration of “the last things”, or eschatology. Over the centuries, but especially in recent times, some Christians have used various Scriptural texts to try to “scare the devil” out of others. Each week, as recite the Creed at Mass, we profess our belief in the coming of the Day of the Lord. We cannot hasten or postpone that day, nor should we fear it. Faith and love of God cannot be based on fear. We should not interpret passages like today’s gospel as dire threats of punishment, but rather as assurance that God is ever faithful and loving and that His kingdom will ultimately prevail.
During this Month of All Souls we especially pray for all of those who have died... who have experienced “the last things”...that they may enter into the fullness of God’s kingdom. And we pray for ourselves that we may grow in the love of God...living the faith, practicing charity, and tending to our legitimate human needs...as we hopefully, not fearfully, await the coming of the Day of the Lord.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Mass on Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated at 9:00AM at Holy Family and at 10:00AM at St. John. The Thanksgiving Collection will be designated to assist those in need in our community. While Thanksgiving is certainly not a holyday, I encourage you to make an effort to come to Mass that morning. What better way could there be to begin this national day of thanks than by celebrating the Eucharist?
On Monday the Church honors the first American citizen to be canonized, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. She was born in Italy in 1850 and as a young woman began to work in an orphanage in Cadogno, Italy. She professed vows as a Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart there in 1877 and became prioress a few years later when the orphanage was closed. From the time she was a young girl, Frances desired to be a missionary in India but at the urging of Pope Leo XIII, she instead came with six other sisters to the United States to work among the rapidly growing Italian immigrant community in New York City and eventually became a naturalized U.S. citizen. She and her sisters experienced many disappointments upon their arrival including great difficulty in securing a facility to open their first orphanage in the U.S. The Archbishop of New York encouraged her to return to Italy but that only made her more determined than ever. Over the last 35 years of her life she established 67 institutions in cities across the country including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Denver, and Seattle, dedicated to caring for the poor, the sick, the abandoned, and the uneducated. She saw first-hand that many Italian immigrants were becoming disconnected from their faith so she labored hard to establish schools and adult education classes. And, even though she was deathly afraid of drowning, she made the trans-Atlantic crossing by ship more than 30 times to bring more sisters and to secure the necessary resources for her order’s work. She was 67 when died of malaria three days before Christmas 1917 while preparing Christmas candy for the children at her order’s hospital in Chicago.
At her canonization in 1946, Pope Pius XII said of Mother Cabrini, “Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond the strength of a woman.” May our spirits be endowed with that same singular strength as we continue to do the work of Christ among our brothers and sisters. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us!