Fr. Britto's Blog

Remembering the Dear Departed

 November 5th we celebrated a special Mass for all those who passed from our parish and entered eternal life. It afforded us a moment to grieve and at the same time to gratefully remember the love we have for all our dear departed. Masses offered for the dead constitute a uniquely Catholic practice that expresses a fundamental Catholic belief. We believe that once they cross the bridge the deceased are unable to help themselves. However, we the living can always intercede with the Lord for them.

The month of November reminds us that we should remember our dear departed and pray for them. In union with the universal Church we have begun the month of remembrance. We cannot forget in death those that we so dearly loved in life. With the passing of time, it is so easy to get on with our lives and they can quietly fade from our memories. There is no more fruitful way of remembering them than to offer Masses for them.

Growing up Catholic in a very religious home, we had many traditions in our family. We always had Masses said for deceased members of our families, especially during the month of November. As I began to study theology and Scripture, I discovered that this practice is rooted not only in the history of our Catholic faith but also in the biblical tradition.

I invite the whole parish to celebrate this month in a spirit of grateful remembrance of all those who have made us who we are. Those of us who have lost parents, spouses, children or other loved ones know how painful those losses have been. Even when the wounds heal and the anguish subsides, the hole in our hearts always remains. One of the things that give us consolation and comfort is lifting up our dear ones in our prayer. When my mom passed away fifteen years ago, the Memorial Mass we celebrated brought me much comfort and strength.

I encourage all of you to consider having Masses celebrated for your loved ones. You can stop by the parish office if you would like to offer a Mass for someone. When someone passes away, to have Masses said for them is a uniquely Catholic way of bringing solace. I would like to persuade you to attend a weekday Mass if your schedule permits, and pray for our dear departed.

The month of November also marks the end of the Church’s liturgical calendar and in the coming weeks we will hear readings referring to the end times. We will be reminded of the two comings of Christ: the coming of Christ at the end of time (parousia) and the personal coming of Christ to each one of us (at our death). Even as we mourn those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, we must contemplate our own mortality. The ancient philosophers as well as more recent ones have suggested that in order to live authentically we need to live in the shadow of death. Knowing how fleeting our lives are, we will live with wisdom and not allow the trifles of life to consume us.

Even though we contemplate death, we are joyfully grateful for life. We are not conquered by death because Christ is risen. Our loved ones share in the new life of Christ and we look forward to the same endless life, thanks to Christ’s resurrection. We will do well to keep before us the hopeful words of St Francis de Sales:

Often fill your mind with thoughts of the great gentleness and mercy with which God our Savior welcomes souls at death, if they have spent their lives in trusting Him, and striven to serve and love Him. Do your utmost to arouse in yourself a love of heaven and the life of the blessed so you will weaken your dread of parting from this mortal and fleeting life.

Please know that during this month I will pray for your dear departed during my Masses. May the God of consolation soothe your hearts!

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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