Back to Main

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 us!

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 in Heaven!
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 suffering.
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!