Archbishop of Hyderabad The month of November is dedicated to the liturgical commemoration of our departed brethren in Purgatory by Holy Mother Church. Believing Catholics faithfully offer the Holy sacrifice of the Mass and various approved suffrages for the release of their suffering brethren in Purgatory. Apart from offering Holy Mass for our departed brethren, giving alms and obtaining the Church’s plenary indulgences are the very important ways of obtaining God’s mercy for our departed brethren in Purgatory for their final purification from all vestiges of their personal sins during their life on earth. This work of divine mercy can be performed only by believing Catholics in a state of sanctifying grace. Their brethren in Purgatory will receive their remission of temporal punishment only according to the faith, hope and charity with which they plead with the heavenly Father during the Mass on their behalf. Our help for the suffering brethren in Purgatory does not merely consist in offering a stipend for a Mass to be offered for them. It is the beginning of our mission of mercy towards them. Not to help the suffering souls in Purgatory is an often overlooked sin of omission like that of the rich man who ignored suffering Lazarus.

Purgatory is a reality like heaven and hell and it belongs to man’s inalienable personal relationship with His Creator. Man’s bodily death at the end of his temporal life in this world ends his personal relationship with all his fellow human beings in this world. Only man’s personal relationship with His Creator survives man’s earthly death, whether that relationship be one of piety, or indifference or wickedness. Consequently God judges the truth of every man’s personal relationship with Himself and chooses only those who have proved themselves worthy of Himself. Purgatory proclaims the mercy of God. Instead of condemning the imperfect ones to everlasting separation from Himself, He sets Himself to purify them and make them worthy of Himself. Let us learn to flee from the frivolities of ignorant and impious Catholics in the Church and learn to fear God’s judgments on our personal life on earth so that He may at least choose us for Purgatory instead of condemning us to everlasting hell fire for the abundance of our sins of omission.

ALL SAINTS’ DAY

All Saints’ Day is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church celebrated annually on November 1. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. It should not be confused with All Souls’ Day, which is observed on November 2, and is dedicated to those who have died and not yet reached heaven.

Although millions, or even billions of people may already be saints, All Saints’ Day observances tend to focus on known saints —that is those recognized in the canon of the saints by the Catholic Church.

All Saints’ Day is also commemorated by members of the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as some protestant churches, such as Anglican, Lutheran and Anglican churches.

Generally, All Saints’ Day is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation, meaning all Catholics are required to attend Mass on that day, unless they have an excellent excuse, such as serious illness.

Today, All Saints’ Day is still a holy day of obligation, but only when it falls on a Sunday. Other countries have different rules according to their national bishop’s conferences. The bishops of each conference have the authority to amend the rules surrounding the obligation of the day.

All Saints’ Day was formally started by Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated the Parthenon at Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs on May 13 in 609 AD. Boniface IV also established All Souls’ Day, which follows All Saints.

The choice of the day may have been intended to co-opt the pagan holiday “Feast of the Lamures,” a day which pagans used to placate the restless spirits of the dead.

The holy day was eventually established on November 1 by Pope Gregory III in the mid-eighth century as a day dedicated to the saints and their relics. The May 13 celebration was subsequently abandoned.

In Ireland, the Church celebrated All Saints’ Day on April 20, to avoid associating the day with the traditional harvest festivals and pagan feasts associated with Samhain, celebrated at the same time.

Following the establishment of the Frankish Empire, and following the reign of Charlemagne, the holy day, which was already celebrated on November 1, became a holy day of obligation by decree of Pope Gregory IV and Louis the Pious, who was king over a portion of Charlemagne’s former empire.

Following the Protestant Reformation, many Protestants retained the holy day, although they dismissed the need to pray for the dead. Instead, the day has been used to commemorate those who have recently died, usually in the past year, and to remember the examples of those who lived holy lives.

The Catholic practice however, celebrates all those who have entered heaven, including saints who are recognized by the Church and those who are not.

Holy day customs vary around the world. In the United States, the day before is Halloween and is usually celebrated by dressing in costumes with themes of death commonly associated. Children go door-to-door in costume, trick-or-treating, that is soliciting candy from their neighbors. The holiday has lost much of its connection to its religious origins.

Although nearly everyone celebrates Halloween for the fun of the secular holiday, the following religious solemnity, is not widely practiced or acknowledged by most Americans unless they are Catholic.

In other countries, such as Portugal, Spain and Mexico, traditional practices include performance of the play, “Don Juan Tenorio” and offerings made to the dead. All Saints’ Say occurs on the same day as the Mexican “Dide los Innocentes” a day dedicated to deceased children.

Across much of Europe, the day is commemorated with offerings of flowers left on the graves of the dead. In Eastern Europe, candles are lit on graves instead of offerings of flowers.

In some places, such as the Philippines, graves can be painted and repaired by family members. Many of these practices blur the distinction between All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

These celebrations often blur the distinction between All Saints’ Day, which is properly dedicated to those who are in heaven, and All Souls’ Day, on which prayers are offered for all those who have died, but have not yet reached heaven.

In Mexico, the Day of the Dead holy days extend from October 31 through November 2.

It is important to remember these basic facts:
Halloween is a secular holiday that comes the night before All Saints’ Day
All Saints’ Day is on November 1, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation.
All Souls’ Day in on November 2, and it is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation.
The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that has spread in popularity into parts of the United States and across Latin America. It is celebrated from October 31 through November 2, to coincide with both the American tradition and the Catholic holy days. Those three days are dedicated to all of the dead.

ALL SOULS’ DAY:

All Souls Day is a holy day set aside for honoring the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and a few other denominations of Christianity. The Anglican church is the largest protestant church to celebrate the holy day. Most protestant denominations do not recognize the holiday and disagree with the theology behind it.

According to Catholic belief, the soul of a person who dies can go to one of three places. The first is heaven, where a person who dies in a state of perfect grace and communion with God goes. The second is hell, where those who die in a state of mortal sin are naturally condemned by their choice. The intermediate option is purgatory, which is thought to be where most people, free of mortal sin, but still in a state of lesser (venial) sin, must go.

Purgatory is necessary so that souls can be cleansed and perfected before they enter into heaven. There is scriptural basis for this belief. The primary reference is in 2 Maccabees, 12:26 and 12:32. “Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out... Thus made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin.”

Additional references are found in Zechariah, Sirach, and the Gospel of Matthew. Jewish tradition also reinforces this belief as well as the tradition and teaching of the Church, which has been affirmed throughout history.

Consistent with these teachings and traditions, Catholics believe that through the prayers of the faithful on Earth, the dead are cleansed of their sins so they may enter into heaven.

The belief in purgatory has not been without controversy. Certainly, some flagrant abuses of the doctrine were used to raise money for the Church during the renaissance. Famously, Martin Luther argued with the monk, Johan Tetzel, over the sale of indulgences. Indulgences were sold as spiritual pardons to the poor and applied to the souls of the dead (or the living) to get people into heaven. The abuse of indulgences and the blatant, sometimes fraudulent practice of selling indulgences for money, led to Luther’s protest.

When Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, he omitted the seven books of the canon which refer to prayers for the dead. He then introduced the heretical belief that people are simply saved, or not, and argued that there is no need to pray for the dead to get them into heaven.

The Church reeled from Luther’s accusation, and reformed its practice of selling indulgences. However, it reemphasized the Biblical and traditional practice of praying for the departed and the importance of such prayers.

All Souls Day is celebrated in much of the western world on November 2. Other rites have their own celebrations. The Eastern Orthodox Church has several such days throughout the year, mostly on Saturdays. All Souls Day is not a holy day of obligation. It should not be confused with All Saints’ Day, which is a holy day of obligation.

Many cultures also mark the day differently. In North America, Americans may say extra prayers or light candles for the departed. In parts of Latin America, families visit the graves of their ancestors and sometimes leave food offerings for the departed.- Catholic Online

ST. ANDREW, THE APOSTLE

St. Andrew, also known as Andrew the Apostle, was a Christian Apostle and the older brother to St. Peter.

According to the New Testament, Andrew was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee during the early first century. Much like his younger brother, Simon Peter, Andrew was also a fisherman. Andrew’s very name means strong and he was known for having good social skills.

In the Gospel of Matthew, it is said Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and saw Andrew and Simon Peter fishing. It is then he asked the two to become disciples and “fishers of men.”

In the Gospel of Luke, Andrew is not initially named. It describes Jesus using a boat, believed to be solely Simon’s, to preach to the multitudes and catch a large amount of fish on a night that originally was dry. Later, in Luke 5:7, it mentions Simon was not the only fisherman on the boat, but it is not until Luke 6:14 that there is talk of Andrew being Simon Peter’s brother.

However, the Gospel of John tells a separate story, stating Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. When Jesus walked by one day, John the Baptist stated, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” It is then that Andrew and another made the decision to follow Jesus.

Little else is said about Andrew in the Gospels, but it is believed Andrew was one of the closer disciples to Jesus. It was he who told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes, according to John 6:8. When Philip wanted to speak to Jesus about Greeks seeking him, he spoke to Andrew first. Andrew was also present at the last supper.

Per Christian tradition, Andrew went on to preach the Good News around the shores of the Black Sea and throughout what is now Greece and Turkey. Andrew was martyred by crucifixion in Patras. He was bound, rather than nailed, to a cross, as is described in the Acts of Andrew. He was crucified on a cross form known as “crux decussata,” which is an X-shaped cross or a “saltire.” Today this is commonly referred to as “St. Andrew’s Cross.” It is believed Andrew requested to be crucified this way, because he deemed himself “unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus.”

Andrew’s remains were originally preserved at Patras. However, some believe St. Regulus, who was a monk at Patras, received a vision telling him to hide some of Andrew’s bones. Shortly after Regulus’ dream, many of Andrew’s relics were transferred to Constantinople by order of Roman emperor Constantius II around 357. Regulus later received orders in a second dream telling him to take the bones “to the ends of the earth.” He was to build a shrine for them wherever he shipwrecked. He landed on the coat of Fife, Scotland.

In September 1964, Pope Paul VI had all of St. Andrew’s relics that ended up in Vatican City sent back to Patras. Now, many of Andrew’s relics and the cross on which he was martyred are kept in the Church of St. Andrew in Patras.

St. Andrew is venerated in Georgia as the first preacher of Christianity in that territory and in Cyprus for having struck the rocks creating a gush of healing waters upon landing on the shore. His saltire cross is featured on the flag of Scotland and is represented in much of his iconography. He is commonly portrayed as an old man with long white hair and a beard, often holding the Gospel book or a scroll.

St. Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen and singers. He is also the patron saint to several countries and cities including: Scotland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Patras and his feast day is celebrated on November 30. - Catholic online

THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Liturgical Church year offers to each of us consider the creature which is called time, receive it as a gift and begin to really live differently. Yet, for many Catholics who commemorate the Feast, it is just one more somewhat esoteric celebration which we go through every year at this time. This mistake is at least right on one count, it really is all about time. The Catholic Christian notion of receiving time as a gift from God is one of the many things which make us counter-cultural. In fact, the number of things which make us counter-cultural is increasing as the West abandons its foundations in Christendom and embraces a secularist delusion. Our actually choosing to live the Christian year, in a compelling way, can become a profoundly important form of missionary activity in an age which has become deluded by the barrenness of secularism. A robust, evangelically alive and symbolically rich practice of living liturgically can invite our neighbors to examine our lives and be drawn to the One who is its source - Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End - as the emptiness of a life without God fails to fulfill the longing in their own hearts.

In a particular way, Catholic Christians are invited to mark time by the great events of the Christian faith in a Liturgical calendar. However, like so much that is contained within the treasury of the Catholic Church; the practice must be understood in order to be fully received as a gift and actually begin inform the pattern of daily lives. First, we must jump into the treasure chest, find the jewels and put them on! Otherwise, these practices can become meaningless and seem to some to be empty show or the vestige of a bygone era. They are neither! They proclaime the very meaning of life. Jesus Christ is King and we are the seeds of His Kingdom scattered in the garden of a world which is waiting to be born anew. The Church is an expert in humanity, according to the insightful words of the Fathers of the last great Council of the Church, Vatican II. She walks the way of the person. The Church, as a mother and a teacher, invites us to live the rhythm of the liturgical year in order to help us walk into a deeper encounter with the Lord and bring the whole world with us into the new world of the Church. That is because the Church is meant to become the home of the whole human race. That deeper encounter, that continual invitation - along with all the graces truly needed to live it - is what lies at the heart of Catholic Christian faith. The Christian Faith is not Some-Thing but Some- One. The Church really IS the Mystical Body of the Risen Christ. That Body is inseparably joined to the Head. Jesus Christ is alive, he has been raised, and he continues His redemptive mission now through the Church, of which we are members. As we choose to actually live our lives liturgically, not just go through the motions, we can move through life in the flow of the liturgical calendar. We can experience the deeper mystery and meaning of life, now made New in Jesus Christ, the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6,7) Jesus Christ is King. Jesus Christ is Lord of All. Jesus Christ is meant to become the Lord of our whole lives, and inform the very pattern of how we live them. The early Christians, before they were even called Christians, were referred to as the Way. (Acts 9:2, Acts 11:26) That was because they lived a very different way of life. A Way of Life which drew men and women to the One whose name they were soon privileged to bear, Jesus the Christ. One way this occurs in our own lives as Catholic Christians is to move from seeing the Church year as just some kind of "Catholic custom" to seeing it as an invitation to enter into the mysteries of our faith in a manner which informs our entire life. We do not really go to Church; we live in the Church and go into the world, to bring the world, through the waters of new birth, into the Church as a new home, a new family. There they will find the grace needed to begin a whole new way of living. ... (Author and Publisher - Catholic Online)