Cardinal Wuerl Reflects on the Hope of Everlasting Life
Saturday, November 1, 2014
HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, today celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of All Saints at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.
Cardinal Wuerl began his homily by referencing the Mass he concelebrated with Pope Francis on October 19 at the Vatican for the closing of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. During that Mass, the Holy Father proclaimed Pope Paul VI who was the pope of the Second Vatican Council as “Blessed.” In doing so, “Pope Francis recognized the heroic virtue and the exceptional ministry of the pope who guided the Church for 15 years, including the sometimes turbulent periods following the Second Vatican Council,” said the Cardinal. He continued, “This year also witnessed the canonization of the pope who initiated the Second Vatican Council, Saint John XXIII and the pope whose ministry so many of us experienced, Saint John Paul II in his nearly 27 years of serving as Chief Shepherd of the Universal Church.”
“We are gathered today for the Solemnity of All Saints’ Day, not just to celebrate those whose lives are recognized officially as worthy of our imitation, but that vast number of baptized who have been called to holiness and have made their way through life faithfully responding to that vocation,” said the Cardinal.
Saints are celebrated in the Catholic Church throughout the calendar year as a reminder of their example and their power to intercede for us before God. There are countless numbers of saints whose goodness and holiness were never officially known or recognized by the Church through the canonization process but are known to God, so on November 1st, the Church celebrates a special feast day for all the saints in heaven, both known and unknown.
“Though we may still be far from heaven, we can feel a closeness to the saints because we are all members of the same family,” said the Cardinal. “Just as eternal life begins in baptism, so our fellowship with the holy ones in heaven begins by our membership in the Church on earth. It is the same family bound together by one bond – the Holy Spirit – which finds its beginning here on earth and its culmination in glory. Residing now in the communion of the One who is the fullness of Love, the saints bid us to follow them, to be holy ourselves, to be saints ourselves, not merely at the end of our earthly sojourn, but now, and they hold before them the Light of Christ to guide our way, praying that he send his grace to help us in that journey.”
“Today’s celebration teaches us that the communion of saints is not limited to those in heaven. Each member of the Church is called to be a saint during his or her own pilgrim journey on this earth,” the Cardinal said as he concluded his homily. “No one says it is easy, but through faith, perseverance, prayer and love, by the grace of God, we can grow in holiness in our lives until that day we arrive at full communion with him and his love, able to stand before his throne of justice, interceding for others like the saints in heaven now do.”
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
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