Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day of the Dead

Well in Italy it's just called All Souls Day but who doesn't like the Spanish translation? One of the big traditions at the North American College is going to celebrate Mass at the big cemetery in Roma where there is a mausoleum for NAC faculty, seminarians, and staff. We went about a couple weeks ago but I'm only posting this now because well I have not had a lot of time. :)

Fr. Kurt, the director of liturgy at the NAC, gave a great homily. One of the specific things I held on to from it was his short reflection on the lives of these seminarians who traveled so far from home to be formed as priests and never completed that task. Rather God called them to their eternal home. There is something to be said about the sacrifice of men, most of these seminarians dying in their 20's, who leave family and home and even country, to go and serve God. It is not the easiest thing. It stretches one beyond the normal capabilities of any man. Yet it answers the call of God to serve anywhere and everywhere.

One of my favorite saints attached to this go anywhere, do anything mentality is Blessed Junipero Serra who became a missionary - leaving Spain to do work in Mexico before ending up in California and eventually dying there. This is the challenge. But it also prepares us for the task of priesthood. Every apostle eventually left their homeland traveling around to evangelize and many saints as well. In the end, it's a recognition that our home is always in heaven.

There is a seminarian buried at the NAC mausoleum by the name of Frank Parater who is currently a Servant of God and may possibly one day be a saint. He died back in the 1920's. In a final note that he left sealed only to be opened upon his death, he wrote:

"I have nothing to leave or to give but my life and this I have consecrated to the Sacred Heart to be used as He wills...This is what I live for and in case of death what I die for.Since my childhood, I have wanted to die for God and my neighbor. Shall I have this grace? I do not know, but if I go on living, I shall live for this same purpose; every action of my life hereis offered to God for the spread and success of the Catholic Church in Virginia. I shall be of more service to my diocese in Heaven than I can ever be on earth."

Today and everyday we continue to pray for all those who have died, especially our beloved family and friends.

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