THE SAINT PHILOMENA MESSENGER
Issue Number 33 October, 2003, A.D.
My dear Friends and Benefactors,
It is, therefore, a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead,
that they should be loosed from their sins. (2 Maccabees, 12:46)
November, the month of the Holy Souls, will soon be upon us once more.
Do go out of your way to pray for these fellow members of the Body of
Christ in their sufferings! They cannot help themselves! They depend upon
A Plenary Indulgence applicable to the Holy Souls may be ained on:
1. All Souls Day, November 2nd. One must visit a church or oratory and
pray for the Holy Souls. Say one I believe and one Our Father .
2. Once a day from November 1 st. To the 8th. One must visit a cemetery
(any cemetery) and pray for those buried there.
Confession and Holy Communion within 8 days and prayers for the Holy
Father's intentions are also essential in order to gain the indulgences.
To gain these indulgences is a great act of charity. Make sure you do
not miss these wonderful opportunities to release many poor souls from
Purgatory. How much will they repay you in gratitude, on arriving as Saints
Along with this Newsletter, you will find an envelope upon which you may
write the names of departed relatives and, friends. Named persons will
be remembered at our High Mass and Absolutions of the Dead offered in
the Latin Tridentine Rite on All Souls Day, November 2nd. The envelope
will remain on our high altar for the entire month of November. Please
enclose a donation if possible.
Every November we take our children and young adults from our Saturday
classes (First Holy Communion, Confirmation and Further Study of the Faith)
to the local cemetery. Woodlawn Park is the oldest cemetery in Miami and
has fascinating monuments going back to the City founders. There are beautiful
Catholic statues, Freemasonic items and a Jewish section. We celebrate
Holy Mass in the lovely Gothic chapel, pray for the souls of those buried
in the cemetery, to gain a plenary indulgence, then explore the cemetery.
Last year, one nine year old found the tomb of the Grand Master of the
Freemasons and let out: "Oh he's in hell!" Explaining that only
God knows whether he is or not, we said a prayer for the poor man too.
Even on the invitation of free pizza, our youngsters find it difficult
to leave this fascinating place.
Wishing You God s choicest blessings through the powerful intercession
of Saint Philomena!
Fr. Timothy A. Hopkins, Administrator.
From Fr. Enrique T. Rueda, Assistant:
Most of us think of the Church either as a building or at best as the
wonderful institution where we grew and learned the Faith. We think of
the Church as the Holy Father and our bishops, our parish communities
and the many shrines that dot our country and indeed the world. We think
of the Church as Lourdes and Fatima, as the Vatican and the Shrine of
Saint Philomena. We think of the Church as the brothers and sisters who
taught us and the priests who heard our confessions and celebrated the
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, where we received the Body and Blood of Christ.
For us the Church is the celebrations of the Blessed Mother and the Saints,
the recitation of the Rosary and the singing of Christmas carols. Church
is Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the glory of the Resurrection and the
joy of the Ascension. The sacraments are the Church, so are the sacramentals,
such as Holy Water and the Blessed Palms we treasure from Palm Sunday
to the following Ash Wednesday.
In fact, all these things are the Church, and more. However this is only
a partial vision of a far broader community that extends through time
and space, even beyond. The Church is what we know of Her today and what
we have experienced in our lives. She is also what the many other Catholics
who have preceded us have experienced and what Catholics all over the
world experience as God s salvation through the sacraments and the Faith
in Catholic truth. Still, this Church on earth, a community under the
authority of the Holy Father as Vicar of Christ and Successor of Saint
Peter, is only one aspect of God s wonderful Kingdom. Our Church, the
Catholic Church, is much more than the Church on earth that we have known,
hopefully, since our earliest age. The Church on earth we call the Church
Militant, because we struggle on earth, charged with carrying on God's
work of salvation and sanctification. The millions of Catholics who make
up the Church on earth right now are only a small part of our Church.
In addition to the Church Militant, there are the Church Triumphant and
the Church Suffering.
Under the Queenship of Mary, the angels and the saints worship the Holy
Trinity for all eternity, even as we speak. The souls of those found worthy
to be changed into the image of the Living God, now reign in splendor.
Our Blessed Lady, the angels and the saints who now enjoy the direct vision
of God constitute the Church Triumphant. They are as much the Catholic
Church as you or I. Their joy is our joy, their holiness is our holiness,
their intercession is our intercession. Having been part of the Church
Militant and having passed successfully the trials in this Vale of Tears,
they have received the Crown of Glory. They intercede for us, presenting
our prayers to God Almighty. They are our brothers and sisters, our parents
and grandparents who lived lives in union with God and have gone now to
their eternal reward. To them we pray, asking for their help. In them
we rejoice, in the expectation that one day we shall enjoy with them the
perfect vision of God, for like them we shall be like God, for we shall
see Him as He is.
Our Holy Faith teaches us that the Church has a third branch, one which
perhaps one day we shall become. This is the Suffering Church, made up
of the many souls who, having died in the state of Sanctifying Grace,
still did not possess the perfection required for the immediate vision
of God in Heaven. These are the souls in Purgatory who for many years
are prevented from entering Heaven by the need of purification through
These are the souls of those, our relatives and friends perhaps, who are
destined for Heaven, but who are detained by imperfection. There is a
joy in these souls who know that one day they shall see God, but there
isalso much suffering, especially by their unfulfilled yearning for the
Divinity. I also bless you, In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost.
There is much that you can do for these souls in Purgatory; for your
parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends who are waiting in the
midst of sufferings, to be admitted to Heaven and the vision of God. You
can offer prayers and the value of your good works, especially indulgences
granted by the Church, for the benefit of these Holy Souls. You can have
masses said for the repose of these souls. What a consolation it can be
for us to know that even beyond the grave one can still help that person
whom you perhaps offended or even one that you loved and never had the
chance to express the fulness of your love. Your prayers and good works
offered for them help in great measure to speed up their entrance into
Heaven. There they will be your most ardent advocates, having known that
they owe you their total happiness.
The Church Militant, in her solicitude for the good of souls, has dedicated
the second day of November, since time inmemorial, to the Holy Souls in
Purgatory, granting priests the right to say three Masses for them this
day. The Church has also dedicated the entire month of November to the
Poor Souls in Purgatory, asking that all Christians redouble their efforts
to help them enter Heaven.
You can thus see that when you next use the word Church you are not to
think only of the visible religious institution to which you so proudly
belong. You need to think also of those who have come before you and those
members of this living Church all over the world. You are to think also
of people who now live beyond time and space, in the presence of God in
Heaven, awaiting the completeness of their salvation: the Holy Souls in
Purgatory. You are to think of the Communion of Saints, in which you profess
to believe as you recite the Apostles' Creed. Thus you become one with
people long departed and those who were close to you who are now dead,
so long as they lived the Faith that leads them to salvation. You are
in communion with the Saints in Heaven, such as Saint Philomena, just
as you are with the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Please make the commitment, that as you pray to the Saints in Heaven,
come November, you will do your best to help your departed relatives and
friends now in Purgatory!
May you enjoy the powerful intercession of Saint Philomena!