13013 Santa Gertrudes Ave.
La Mirada, CA. 90638

My dear friends in Christ,

It would appear that Autumn is finally upon us (though we have been fooled before) cooler temperatures and perhaps even some precipitation could happen.  This will be exciting under our canvas cathedral. But please join me in asking God to not make it too exciting!

I hope you were able to pick up a card at Mass last week to write the names of your deceased family members and friends to be included in our All Souls Day Mass. On Monday, Nov. 2nd, at 6:30 PM we will gather to remember them and pray for them. The cards will be at the entrance to our worship space again this weekend. 

I always encourage people to make November a true month of remembrance. Pause with your family each week, maybe on Sundays, to retell the stories of those who have died.  If possible, plan a trip to the various cemeteries to visit their graves.  Take along some clippers, some things to clean the head stone, maybe some flowers and generally spruce up around the gave. Most importantly, say a prayer. 

If you don't have family buried in the local area, consider visiting one of our Catholic cemeteries anyway.  Wander the grounds with your family, look for interesting headstones, dates, quotes on memorial stones and say a prayer for them.  They too are our family through our baptism into Christ. And your prayer might bring them comfort as they await the resurrection from the dead.

Speaking of this kind of prayer during November, please add a prayer for the souls in Purgatory; yes, Purgatory, it is still a teaching of our Church. So, what does our church teach and why?  The why is about justice, mercy, faith and hope. Here is my attempt to explain the what of Purgatory, as simply as possible. 

Nothing unclean shall enter the presence of God. When we die we will enter into the presence of the "all holy, all good, all truth, all just and all merciful" God who, in Christ His Son, "wills the salvation of all".  It is a good place to be!  But it is also true that in that light we will see the absolute and undeniable truth of who we have been and that includes our sins; those which we were conscious of and those which we, perhaps through a lazy conscious were not aware.  

In God, who is only self-giving in love, we will see our selfishness. In God, who is only merciful, we will see when we have been, unkind, cruel, unforgiving.  In God, who is only good, we will see when we have chosen evil.  I can only imagine the "pain" of that moment of truth!  This is the purgation that the soul must endure to be rendered clean, to enter into the presence of God. 

Our limited human ability to conceptualize this process taking place outside of time has often led us to describe it with the concept of time, e.g. "indulgences" and "30 days in purgatory", etc.  It would be more accurate to speak of the state of the soul and the process of purgation, not taking place in time.  It would also be appropriate to speak of our prayers for that soul as it is being purified as "holding them in love as they suffer." Our prayers extend beyond the physical limits of this world.  They are an act of mercy, love, comfort and care for our deceased brothers and sisters in Christ (one of the spiritual works of mercy, to pray for the dead).

Through our baptism into Christ, we were joined to Him and to one another; it is where we first hoped for salvation and where God first  promised eternal life.  May we make November a celebration of the hope that is our ours - a community of forgiven sinners, loving each other and the Lord - purified through the "pain of Purgatory", and called to Eternal Life! 

As always, I wish you peace. - Fr. Ed

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Every Monday at 7:45 PM, you are invited to join your fellow parishioners as we reflect on the Sunday Readings and prepare our hearts to truly hear God's Word personally spoken to us at Mass.  Click on the Link above to join!

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Sunday, Nov. 1st
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