Pastor’s Column

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2013

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

We are heading to November.  By observing the nature, we see a lot of falling leaves.  Most trees are standing still but show no green.  The wind blows the leaves creating a gentle noise that remind us slow down and take things easy.  I have been in the United States twenty years.  November is always my favorite month.  It is the month that I give thank to the Lord for everything He has given to me throughout the year.  The month I often think about life beyond this earthly life.  It is also the month I attentively pray for the death; my relatives, friends and all souls who are still in a stage of purification, particularly for the faithful departed of St. Boniface and St. Mary Czestochowa.  You may already hear it on Sunday at the time praying for the death, I made it permanent to pray for all the departed faithful of St. Boniface and St. Mary each time I celebrate the Sunday Masses.

The leaves are everywhere.  They need to be picked up.  The trees are changed into gray hoping for the spring to come and will busting out their beautiful flowers.  All souls are in stage of purification counting on us that the mercy of God will free them and receive them into the paradise.  Holiness is our goal as Christians.  We cannot grow into holiness alone.  As Christians, we count on each others striving for holiness.  We pray for the death, the souls in the stage of purification are a way achieving our holiness because we cannot exist without the others.

I come from a culture that rooted in ancestor worship.  My family is always Catholic for hundred of years.  However, as a typical Vietnamese Catholic in our home we have two altars.  The high altar is always a place for the Crucifix, saints Mary and Joseph statues.  The lower one, sometime set aside in our home is placing pictures of our ancestors and those who had passed away.  We are constantly praying for them and ask them to intercede for us if they are already with God for eternity.

During this month the Holy Mother Church also grants plenary indulgence to those who pray for the death.  To attain a plenary indulgence, three conditions must accompany the prescribed act:

  1. the      faithful must receive the sacrament of confession, either eight      days before or after the pious act is performed,
  2. receive Holy      Communion on that day
  3. and recite      prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and      one Hail Mary is the minimum, but any other additional prayers may be      added).

One can gain a plenary indulgence by visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8.  These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory and only one per day.

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

Let us continue remember the death, the “poor souls”, our parents, grandparents, great grandparents and our ancestors who had gone to their rest before us.  If they still in the stage of purification; they need our help.  Praying for them is praying for us.

Rev. Joseph-Quoc Vuong