It’s amazing how often the saints crop up in my life. Recently I was reflecting on an overseas trip I made with my Oma when I was just 16. We arrived in Paris with great anticipation of visiting all the wonderful tourist attractions over two days. It was November 1, All Saints Day followed by All Souls Day. They were both public holidays and nothing was open – except for the churches!
Then, just recently I attended an ordination to the priesthood of a local, young man. During the ceremony there is a part called the Litany of the Saints, where we ask the saints to pray for us. The same thing happens at the Easter Vigil. It’s always a bit of a joke in my family as the kids give each other a gentle nudge as they hear their saint’s name being called. Then one of them likes to remind me that there is no St Sharon!
On a more sombre note, last week I attended the funeral of a beautiful lady from our parish. Personally, I find the funeral rite in the Catholic tradition to be particularly moving. As the ceremony is about to finish the priest incenses the coffin and asks those gathered to join in the final prayer of farewell. The priest prays, “Saints of God, come to her aid! Hasten to meet her angels of the Lord.” To my mind, it is a comforting thought that there are others, who have gone before us, ready to welcome our loved one into this next stage of their journey.
This year All Saints falls on a Sunday, so we will be able to remember at Mass those extraordinary people who in some way reflected the love of Christ. I’ll also try to get to Mass on the Monday to remember my loved ones, who now live in the community of the faithful departed and trust, that through the mercy of God, they rest in peace