Father Bob's Column 30th Sunday


                “Time is fleeing!” to translate the Latin!  We are already on the 30th Sunday in O.T., which means that the beginning of the new Church Year and Advent is only a month away.  So as we are moving quickly through the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ message is becoming more and more critical for us, his followers, in trying to live up to his ideals.  When tested by a scholar of the Jewish law with a question about the most important of their laws, Jesus lays a couple of huge expectations upon him and upon all of us:  Love God with everything you’ve got, and, even more difficult, love your neighbor, meaning everyone you have contact with, as much as you love yourself.  That’s huge!  Think about it and reflect on these two great commandments in your heart this week.  “Time is fleeing!”



                No, not just Halloween, but the great feast of All Saints on Sunday, Nov. 1st (and Saturday evening).  It ranks as a Solemnity, the highest rank for a feast day, and is one of the oldest feasts celebrated in the Church.  The earliest Christians had so many martyrs at the hands of the Roman Empire, and they wanted to give each martyr their own feast day, only to find out they were soon running out of days of the year.  Consequently, they decided to dedicate one day to ALL of the martyrs and saints of the Church who did not get their own special day.  In the middle 300’s the Church took over the great “pantheon”, the magnificent Roman shrine dedicated to ALL (“pan theos”) of their pagan gods and goddesses.  From that time on, it is called the Church of All Saints, although in tourist books it is still called the Pantheon. 

                Our weekend Mass times are as usual with Oct. 31, Sat. 4pm (Halloween) and Nov 1, Sun. at 8am and 10:30am.  On Monday, Nov. 2nd, is All Souls Day, or the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, with Masses at 8am and 6pm, which is especially for families who lost a loved one in death this past year.



                Following the old Catholic tradition of praying for the “poor souls” on All Souls Day, Nov. 2nd, we are including a special envelope in your November monthly packet for you to write down the names of your beloved family and friends who have passed from this life to the Lord.  They will be prayed for in the general intention of the Masses on Nov. 2nd and on the many other days of the coming year where the Mass intention in the bulletin is for “St. Bernadette Purgatorial Society”.  This helps all of us to keep in prayer those who have died, especially those in the past year.  These names will be enshrined within our parish “Book of Life” in the sanctuary during the month of November.



                Thank you for being so conscientious and cooperative with the Parish plan.  But most of all, the Lord is grateful to you for your Stewardship Commitment of giving back a significant portion of your time, talent, and treasure in the coming year.  Still time to return your commitment!  God will bless you abundantly!



                Today we respond to our baptismal call to be missionaries.  Let echo the Prophet Isaiah’s response to God’s call:  “Here I am, send me!”  We offer at our Eucharistic celebration our prayers for the mission work of the Catholic Church and our financial support through the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, to continue the mission of Jesus and his Apostles.  As always, your prayers are your most treasured gift to the Missions, and yet your generous gifts provide much needed support for missionary priests, religious sisters and brother, and lay catechists throughout the world to witness to Christ and his Church.  So many people need to hear and learn about Christ’s healing power, his abundant love, and his spiritual peace. 

                If you have not already done so, please use the World Mission Sunday envelope in your monthly packet or pick one up at the church entrances, and return it next week.



                As Catholics we often pray for an end to abortions in our society and an increased respect for all human life, as we should.  I would like to add to our prayers the suggestion of also praying for those who have actually experienced an abortion. 

                First, we need to acknowledge the loss of those who had an abortion; no doubt they are filled with ongoing grief and pain.  If this is someone you can talk to, a simple statement like “I’m sorry for your loss” can open hearts.  Remind the person about the boundless mercy of God and encourage them to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Many wrongly believe that abortion is the only unforgivable sin.  They need to hear that God desires to forgive every sin of those who are sorry and repentant, even the sin of abortion.  Even those associated with the person who has had an abortion need spiritual support from others and mercy from the Lord. 

                If you feel this message is for you, ask the Lord for the strength to seek spiritual and emotional healing.  If you know someone that this might help, please ask the Lord to guide you in approaching this person.  Project Rachel Ministry in our Archdiocese can be a resource to help in these situations at [email protected], or visit www.HopeAfterAbortion.org.  Or you can contact me, Father Bob, at the Parish Office.



                Just a quick reminder to you if you have not yet returned your annual St. Bernadette Stewardship Covenant Card.  Please take a moment to prayerfully reflect on your stewardship commitment to the Lord and his Church by way of prayer, participation, and generosity.  Then fill out your Stewardship Card and return it in the collection or at the Parish Office.  Thank you for your dedication to share your gifts from God with his Church and our parish.



                I will be away from St. Bernadette’s for a week and half (Oct. 20-30) with my brother (Fr. John R.) as we will be driving down to the Smokey Mountains to enjoy some quiet time in a cabin in the midst of the Lord’s gorgeous autumn colors (hopefully)!  I will still be praying for all at St. Bernadette’s.




In Sacred Scripture, images of abundance and feasting point to the gift of God’s grace. Today’s
gospel reading of the parable of the wedding feast offers an image of the grace made present to us
through the sacraments. In the abundant feast of the Eucharist, God provides food that strengthens
God’s very life in us. Like any wedding banquet that we participate in, the Mass is meant to be an
enjoyable time with family and good friends – a time to celebrate life. Would that we would
consistently approach Sunday Mass with the enthusiasm that we would bring to a wedding banquet!


As Catholics we are called by our Christian heritage and teaching of the Church to cherish,
protect and defend human life in all its stages and conditions, and not just one month of the year but all
year long. Twenty-five years ago St. John Paul II proclaimed his epic encyclical “Evangelium Vitae”, (The
Gospel of Life), as the heart of Jesus’ saving message to the world. In taking on human life, the Son of
God made every human life sacred. By sacrificing his own life on the cross, Jesus has indicated that all
human life was worth his life to save us from our sins. The Church by offering the Sacrament of Baptism
enables the Lord God to dwell in us and thus adding to our human dignity.
Our annual Respect Life observancd during this month before the elections reminds us as
Catholics that we are not just anti-abortion but fully pro-life, that is, pro the mystery of all human life,
pro the wonder and beauty of every human being created in the image and likeness of God, and pro the
joy of being alive with the gift of God’s grace.


The U.S. bishops have re-issued their document concerning political activity for Catholics. For
this election, the document includes a new introduction for 2020. This very thorough and thought-
provoking document seeks to help Catholics form their consciences by applying a consistent moral
framework to issues facing the nation and our communities in light of Catholic Social Teaching. The
threat of abortion to our society remains a preeminent priority. And Pope Francis has continued to
draw attention to such issues as migration, xenophobia, racism, global conflict, and care for the planet
God has created for us. The bishops remind us again that “our Christian call to holiness requires a
passionate defense of the life of the unborn and that equally sacred are lives of the poor, those already
born, the destitute, the abandoned, and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to
covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.”
This is a lot to reflect on and pray about as we prepare to vote! May the Holy Spirit grant us
wisdom and courage!
{ To access this document, visit the U.S. Bishops website: usccb.org/resources/forming-consciences-for-
faithful-citizenship.pdf }



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