Holy Days of Obligations

Monday wraps up the month of October with the “Eve of all Hallows”, the “Eve of All Saints” which has morphed over the decades to be known as “Halloween”. On the day after this Eve of All Saints, (Tuesday November 1st) the Solemnity of All Saints is celebrated. And, this Solemnity is a Holy Day of Obligation, and it is the day that the Church honors all of God’s Saints, even those who have not been canonized by the Church. It is a family day of celebration, as we are urged to celebrate the memory of those deceased family members (who are sharing with us, in the Mystical Body, the doctrine of the Communion of Saints), now sharing eternal happiness in the presence of God. We rejoice that they have reached their eternal goal, and ask for their intercessory prayers on our behalf as well, so that we also may join them in heaven in the Glory of God through all eternity.

While there are eight Holy Days of Obligation celebrated by the Church in the United States, three of them have been  transferred to be celebrated on the proximate Sundays. Here is a brief reminder of the Catechism’s explanation of Holy Days of Obligation: “They are the Principal Feast Days on which, in addition to Sundays, Catholics are obliged by Church Law to participate in the Eucharist (Holy Mass). Sunday is to be observed as the foremost Holy Day of Obligation. On Sundays, and other Holy Days of Obligation, the faithful are bound to participate in Mass, to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health” [CCC 2185]. On this coming Tuesday, All Saints Day, we will have Mass at 8:30 AM, and again at 7:00 PM. Please plan now and try hard to fulfill your Holy Day Obligation.

There are now only nine days left until Election Day. Please be sure to Vote (if you are eligible to do so). And when doing so, please, for the love of God, (and for the restoration, in these United States, of the most fundamental right, the “Right to Life”), vote in accord with your Catholic Faith. Do not let your vote be swayed by any of the rhetorical election promises that claim to benefit your temporal life, when it is your immortal soul, your eternal life, that will be impacted negatively, if that candidate embraces, endorses or, supports an Intrinsic Evil such as abortion, partial birth abortion, or euthanasia. There is no middle ground, or exception, allowing one to vote for any such candidates that promote or support these grave moral evils. Abortion ranks as “Most Grave”, and there is no way in this election to claim ignorance about knowing who supports it, and who does not. Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, and Pastors all have the same obligation, as “Shepherds of Souls”; we are all bound to provide guidance and clarity regarding the moral issues in any election of note.

Today’s Parish Bulletin provides a center piece of four pages that provide even more election information for your edification. Please review it as soon as you can, before you go to the polls or mail in your absentee ballot. The last two pages provide the Florida Council of Catholic Bishop’s compilation of the two Presidential Candidates statements of position on 13 key issues.  Of primary importance are their positions on the 5 moral issues…which are Marriage, Freedom of Religion, Doctor Prescribed Suicide, Death Penalty. and Abortion. Of these 13, only Abortion, Doctor Assisted Suicide, and so-called Same-sex Marriage are “Intrinsic Evils”. Do not be deceived into thinking the Death Penalty is an intrinsic evil, as it is not. While mercy is always encouraged, where appropriate, both Pope Benedict and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, clearly allowed for support of that penalty, when duly elected governing bodies decide, for the welfare and protection of the populous, that the deterrent of a death    penalty should be put in place. You and I, as Catholics, with well-formed consciences, can never (staying in accord with our Catholic faith), vote for a candidate that embraces or supports any intrinsic evil.  Be sure to remember the Moral “Non-Negotiables, that our Bishops have enumerated as being outright forbidden by Church teaching, as we can never, in good conscience, agree with, support, or vote for a candidate that promotes, supports or defends these evils. And, they are: Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage, Euthanasia and Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

This next week, you should be receiving a note from me in the mail, advising you of our Annual Stewardship of Treasure renewal, next weekend, November 5th and 6th. It’s that time of year, to once again assess our individual commitments to living in accord with the precepts and teachings of Jesus, to be generous disciples, in support of His Church, and through the Church, support those among us in need. I am very appreciative of the many parishioners who have been striving to grow in their giving, with small, but deliberate steps, each year. If you have not yet begun discerning your renewal commitment for this new Stewardship year, please give prayerful thought to your decision, when you receive my letter and review the “guidelines for giving” chart. You may complete your card in advance, or bring it with you to Mass next weekend, when we’ll take a few moments to fill out commitment cards, right after the Gospel. All cards will then be collected via the offertory collection on this Commitment Weekend of November 5th and 6th. Our Spiritual growth and renewal go as part of our lives, hand-in-hand, with authentic stewardship; a lifelong journey for all of Christ’s Disciples.

Yours in prayer for our Nation’s moral resurgence,fr denis