November 5, 2023

Dear parish family,

As we step into the month of November, our spiritual journey is enriched by two profound celebrations that encapsulate our faith’s deep sense of communion and intercession. We commence this sacred time with the Solemnity of All Saints on November 1st—a joyous feast that celebrates the Church Triumphant in heaven. This celebration encompasses both the renowned Saints and the multitude of Holy Souls whose names are known only to God. These are our brothers and sisters who have victoriously completed their earthly pilgrimage and now bask in the eternal glory of God’s presence.

This exuberant celebration of sanctity and grace seamlessly flows into the observance of All Souls’ Day on November 2nd, forming a theological bridge that connects the Church Triumphant with the Church Suffering. In the glory of the Saints, we find inspiration and advocacy; they stand as powerful intercessors before the throne of God on behalf of the Holy Souls in Purgatory—those who are still undergoing spiritual purification from the effects of their sins before they could enjoy the beatific vision of God. These two days together remind us of the profound spiritual solidarity that exists between us—the Church Militant, the Saints in heaven, and the Souls in Purgatory.

In embracing the month dedicated to remembering the Holy Souls, we immerse ourselves in the beauty and depth of our Catholic faith, affirming our belief in Purgatory and recognizing the transformative power of prayer. As a community of faith, we come together to lift up in prayer our departed brothers and sisters, many of whom have left a lasting impact on our lives, and whose memory we cherish with love and reverence.

The month unfolds with the Novena of Holy Masses at our parish, a time-honored tradition that provides a special remembrance at the Altar during the Eucharistic Prayer for those enrolled. This spiritual practice offers consolation and hope, as we recall the lives of those we have loved and lost. My own heart is drawn to the memory of my dear father, who departed this life two and a half years ago. He was a steadfast believer in the power of Mass intentions for the souls in Purgatory, a faith practice he lovingly passed down to me. He understood that our prayers assist the Holy Souls in their journey to heaven, and once they attain eternal peace, they become our intercessors before God.

The Holy Scriptures affirm the value of praying for the dead, encouraging us with the words, “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Maccabees 12:46). In November, the Church offers us a unique opportunity to obtain Indulgences for the Holy Souls. By visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead, we can obtain an indulgence, a gift of grace that aids the souls in their journey to full communion with God. To partake in this act of mercy, we are called to receive Holy Communion, go to Confession, remain in the state of grace, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

I warmly encourage each of you to embrace the practices and devotions that this month offers, as we seek to aid the Holy Souls on their journey to heaven. You are invited to request Holy Masses for them, participate in the Holy Rosary, meditate on the Scriptures, engage in public or private devotions, dedicate acts of charity, or offer up your sacrifices in their memory. These acts of faith and devotion enrich our spiritual lives and strengthen our bond with the entire Communion of Saints.

Holding you and your deceased loved ones in prayerful remembrance at the Altar, I remain

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham