Guided by the Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Parish is a Eucharistic community that seeks to live the Word of God, instill the legacy of faith, and proclaim the love of Christ through service to all.

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November 2, 2014

May the Souls of the Faithful Departed Rest in Peace

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

          Today we celebrate what is familiarly known as All Souls Day. I found the reflection printed in this month’s edition of Give us this Day by the recently appointed archbishop of Chicago, Blasé Cupich, to be especially poignant. And so I reprint it here for you today. The archbishop writes:

By setting aside a single day exclusively for those who have passed from this life, we are testifying to our obligation to pray for them. That obligation is founded on our understanding of what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ. We are linked to each other in a bond which death itself cannot break. Death does not diminish our responsibility to support each other as fellow pilgrims. We take that responsibility seriously when we gather for the Eucharist, visit cemeteries, pray for the dead. This day of prayer for the dead offers a corrective to the tendency to reduce our funeral rites to memorial services or mere celebrations of life. While there are good reasons to recall the virtues of someone when they have died, Catholic funerals are first of all about the Body of Christ praying for one of its members. We are confident that just as our prayers assisted the deceased in life, so too they do in death.
Today also reminds us that those we pray for are in a state of purgation (not punishment). They are waiting, as the Catechism puts it, “to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” Some years ago, when pressed by a group of teenagers to explain purgatory, I simply said to a girl sitting in the first row, “I can see that you are really someone special.” She blushed, just as I had anticipated. Then I said, “We all blush in such moments because deep within us are dark doubts that we are lovable and good. Purgatory is about God trying to convince us he loves us, that we are loveable, thus purifying us of the darkness and doubts so that we can look into his face and not blush.” Today let us pray in a way that expresses what we believe and reminds us who we are.

          Yes, purgatory is a place, on one hand, of great joy, for one has met Christ and been judged by Christ’s mercy fit for the kingdom of heaven. Too, though, at the same time purgatory is a place of great sadness, for one has met Christ whom one judged by one’s sinfulness unfit for one’s heart on earth.  
          We pray for the souls of the faithful departed, the souls in purgatory, and for all who have died and whose faith is known to Christ alone: that Jesus may take up his departed servants into his glory, in whose great mystery of love we are all united.

                                                                                                       Fr Ed

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Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Parish
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