Tuesday, November 1, is the Solemnity of All Saints! On this day at the beginning of November, we remember EVERY soul who is in heaven! You and I are called to be saints, to be holy, and to live now and in eternity in union with God. That is our destiny. That is where we will experience fulfillment, happiness, complete satisfaction of the deepest desires of our hearts. We were made for that experience, created for ultimate happiness, beatitude, and love. Every person in heaven lives in that and we taste it here on earth in our relationships with our spouses, our children, our families, our friends, and with the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit (do we have relationships with each of these persons of the Trinity?).
In Rome at the Canonization of Saints, immense tapestries of those to be canonized (included in the canon (the list) of saints) are unfurled down the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica. What an honor that is for our brothers and sisters! That being said, not only those who get banners at the Basilica are in heaven, but those of us who lived lives of holiness here on earth who are in heaven. My older sister and younger brother who died as children are in heaven. Many of your spouses, parents, grandparents, children, and friends. We have buried many this year from our parish – young and old. Some, I am fully confident are in heaven already and praying for their parents, siblings, and family right now. Some, we will pray for tomorrow who are in Purgatory.
Remember, we do not become angels when we die. We are human beings and we remain human beings even in eternity! Human beings are in heaven! What a beautiful mystery we celebrate this day!
November 1st is a Holy Day of Obligation. Masses at St. James will be 7:00 AM, 8:30 AM, and 5:30 PM! There are other masses at the 10 other churches in Chatham County (not counting the churches in Effingham and Bryan). There is no excuse not to make one of them!
Commemoration of All Souls
The next day, Wednesday, November 2, we pray for all the souls in purgatory. Those who die with sin on their soul or an attachment to sin in any way, receive the mercy of God and Hope which is purgatory. They are not in hell nor do they have the possibility of going to hell! They can only fall upwards into the warm embrace of the Blessed Trinity and the Communion of Saints in heaven! This group of persons in purgatory, we call the Church Suffering. We cannot forget to pray for them! Please lift them up in prayer!
At 3:00 PM on November 2nd, I will be walking through Catholic Cemetery praying my rosary (a few if needed) and a Chaplet of Divine Mercy quietly to pray for our deceased family and friends buried there in the cemetery or elsewhere. It is a good, pious, holy practice to pray for the dead (2 Maccabbees 12:46). Please join me. I will start at the Columbarium at the entrance and walk through the old section, the priests’ lot, the lot for the Sisters of Mercy, and then down to the new section with the Cross, around through baby land and then out to the entrance. I will walk it, but if people want to drive behind the walkers or meet us at particular places in the cemetery please do so! (If you drive, please drive SLOWLY and don’t run over us walkers!)
I realize that I haven’t given an update on my health situation in a little while. I have finished my 6th cycle of Chemotherapy. The Doctors want me to do a total of 8-12 cycles. So I have at least 2 more cycles to run or at the most 6. I am either 75% to the finish line for Chemo or 50% towards it! Either way, I am ready for whatever course this journey takes because I am buoyed by your prayers, encouraged by your love, and strengthened by your amazing support! Thank you so much for your prayers!
At the end of the Chemotherapy, I will have surgery in Atlanta at Emory. This will be either in mid-December or, at the latest, mid-February. I cannot tell you how much your prayers mean to me and how much effect they have on me every day! You are journeying with me step by step and I cannot thank Almighty God for each of you enough! You are in my daily thanksgiving and my prayers to His Majesty! I love you all!
May the Lord Jesus bless each of you and your families abundantly this week!
~ Fr. Daniel Firmin