A Word from Father
Słowo od Pastora
NOVEMBER 22, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
Before anything else, thank you for your continued prayers as I recover from COVID-19. It’s been a process of recovery. I still am dealing with lingering effects: coughing and congestion and a lack of taste and smell. Regardless of what your opinion about this virus is, it has not been any fun and I urge you to take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming infected. Out of charity and prudence, we must protect especially the most vulnerable from coming down with COVID-19. Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to recover and get back to 100%.
For centuries, the Church has remembered those who have fallen asleep in Christ during the month of November. Praying for the faithful departed and visiting cemeteries is encouraged and common in November, especially on November 2nd, All Souls Day. The Church offers indulgences applicable to the souls in purgatory for visiting a cemetery, visiting a church on All Souls Day, as well as by praying the prayer Requiem aeternam: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
Normally the plenary indulgence offered for the souls in purgatory by visiting a cemetery is from November 1st through the 8th only. Furthermore, the plenary indulgence by visiting a church on All Souls Day is only on November 2nd. However, because of the ongoing pandemic, the Church has extended these indulgence to all the days of the month of November. Therefore, to obtain a plenary indulgency for the souls in purgatory this year by visiting a cemetery or by visiting a church, you must (1) perform the work required, that is, visit a cemetery and pray for the faithfully departed or visit a church and recite the Our Father and the Creed there and; (2) make a sacramental confession within 20 days; (3) receive Eucharistic communion several days before or after for each indulgence; (4) say prayers for the Holy Father (usually an Our Father and Hail Mary); and (5) have detachment from all sin and be in the state of grace (at least by the end of the prescribed work). Note that only one plenary indulgence can be received per day and that if any of the conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence is partial.
The elderly, the sick, and all those who for serious reasons cannot leave their homes will be able to obtain the plenary indulgence as long as they join spiritually with all the other faithful, completely detached from sin and with the intention of complying as soon as possible with the three usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), before an image of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary, recite pious prayers for the deceased, for example, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, other prayers for the deceased dearest to the faithful, or occupy themselves in considered reading of one of the Gospel passages proposed by the liturgy of the deceased (e.g., Matthew 5:1–12), or perform a work of mercy by offering to God the sorrows and hardships of their own lives.
During this month of November, we especially remember the Poor Souls in Purgatory. In a special way, we remember our deceased family members, friends, relatives, and benefactors. Death cannot break the bonds of the Body of Christ. In our prayers, rosaries, and remembrances, let us always pray for those who have gone before us: may they rest in peace!
Fr. Alan Guanella
Dear Friends in Christ,
Happy Thanksgiving (a few days early!). This Thanksgiving holiday will be remembered as one different from many others. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic will limit much of the customary festivities and change how many celebrate this national holiday. Nonetheless, this Thursday is a day to give thanks, first and foremost to God Himself who grants us countless blessings.
It was President George Washington in his first Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789 who stated this holiday is a “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God.” President Washington further proclaimed that we might “unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions . . . to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws.” Even though over 200 years has passed since George Washington wrote those words, they still are powerful today, perhaps even more so during this time of pandemic and following such a divisive national election.
During my years in seminary in Rome and during my time studying Canon Law in Washington, DC, I was unable to be at home to celebrate Thanksgiving. It was strange but it did not dampen the true meaning of this holiday: to give thanks. While many people will be unable to join their families and friends for Thanksgiving this year, I think of those who, even in a ‘normal’ year, would be unable to celebrate at home: members of the Armed Forces, healthcare workers, law enforcement, firefighters, and those work on ships or abroad in foreign countries. During this time of pandemic, we have all the more reason to give thanks, especially to those who help keep us safe during this time.
Wherever you find yourself this Thanksgiving, know of my prayers for you. I encourage everything to take time this Thanksgiving to give thanks to God for His countless blessings and to offer prayers for our country and its government. That is what George Washington wanted. Many years after President Washington, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. Let us therefore proclaim our gratitude to Providence for manifold blessings . . . to express our gratitude for the glorious gifts of God; and let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us in the great unfinished tasks of achieving peace, justice, and understanding among all men and nations and of ending misery and suffering wherever they exist.”
NOVEMBER 15, 2020