NOVEMBER IS THE MONTH OF HOLY SOULS
Thirty- first Weeks of Ordinary Time
The dedication of this month to Holy Souls reminds us to listen to God’s voice and his judgement on us. We need God’s mercy and forgiveness to enter the gates of paradise. This is the only entrance ticket available but no-one on earth has the means to purchase it, for it has an infinite price. It was paid for by the Blood of Christ on the Cross and all we have to do is repent of our sins to be let in. At our requiem masses this month and at funerals we approach God in sorrow for our sins and ask for his mercy on the soul. In a requiem mass, there is no certainty of Heaven for us, we do not celebrate the lives of those who have died as modern non- religious funerals do, but Catholics turn their hearts to God, absolutely sure of his mercy to all who repent of their sins. The penitential nature of requiems is expressed in the colours of black and purple but we also hold onto the words of hope in the gospel on All Saint’s Day from the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount: ,Blessed are those who mourn. Emptied by the losses we experience in life, and faced with our own deaths, when we turn to God for his mercy, he blesses us and his mercy does not end at death. Blessed are those who mourn, but also blessed are the souls in purgatory by God’s purifying mercy. That is why they are holy souls.
In this month of November, we thank God for Purgatory because it is God’s love and mercy for all souls who still have sins from this life unforgiven. Purgatory is how our souls are purified from those sins and attachments to the things of this world and where God’s mercy is worked upon the soul for all souls who seek it. We remember the words of Jesus again in his Sermon on the Mount… Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God. And it is for this we long, for this we pray: that purified by God’s mercy, all souls shall see God. Our prayers support the souls in purgatory, God hears our love and care for them, and He answers: for all who seek shall find, for all who knock, the door will be answered. We do not know what becomes of us after death but we believe and place all our trust in the promise of Jesus who died and rose again for us, that he is the way to eternal life, that he is the good shepherd who seeks out the lost sheep.
Death can come upon us at any time. In Gaza now, where people are trapped as the bombs rain down on them, and water, food, power and fuel runs out, people have nowhere to flee from the horror. A Christian Palestinian living in Gaza managed to get a pitiful report out last Sunday and said that no longer do her people try to find a safer place because nowhere is safe and so all they do is plan the best place to die. How terrible and God be with them (please read Embrace the Middle East below). But we must all prepare, for no-one can escape death, even in the relative comfort of our lives here. Sometimes material security in this life softens us to forget that death is our fate too. But our religion is a school that teaches us to prepare for that day which is coming, no matter how secure and healthy our lives are. Based on our knowledge and practice of the teaching in the scriptures, from the church and in our conscience, are we ready? Let us ask ourselves… have I done what I can to prepare for God’s judgement? Have I recently made a full and complete confession?
We are assured of God’s forgiveness through confession and penance that when we die we do so not just as a sinner, but a repentant one who has turned towards God’s love and mercy. Such is a graceful death, as I have had the greatest privilege to experience when called to give the Last Rites.
Today, and in this month of Holy Souls, let us recall that any sins unconfessed or penances not offered, through God’s merciful love, will be cleansed from us in purgatory, but through our penances in this life, we may make it easier on ourselves in our journey to Heaven. There is merit in our good works and penances. Thank God for his mercy upon us!
In November, we remember both to prepare for our death through penance and to pray for all souls in purgatory. Our prayers help all souls in their final journey as we hope that in Christian charity, when we have died, people will pray for us too. We really need each other’s prayers in this life… and in the next. And we need to take responsibility ourselves, while we can, now, to prepare ourselves for a graceful death through good works, confession, penance and prayers. Below are some of the ways you can mark the month of Holy Souls in our parish.
1. Attend The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on All Soul’s Day or any November Requiem, including the Solemn Requiem Mass at 11 o’clock on Remembrance Sunday, 12th November.
2. Visit the Graves in your own time or for the Blessing of Graves or at the following times:
Sunday 5th November - Hillview Cemetery at 1.00 p.m.
Sunday 5th November – St. Paulinus Cemetery at 12.30 p.m.
Sunday 12th November - Bexleyheath Cemetery at 12:30 p.m.
Sunday 12th November - Brook Street at 3.00 p.m.
3. Come to our annual Service of Commemoration of the Faithful Departed with Benediction on Sunday 26th November, Feast of Christ the King at 3.00 p.m.
4. Say the Novena for Holy Souls – our November prayer below.
As always, a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Holy Souls, may be gained once in any church either on All Soul’s Day, on the preceding or following Sunday or on the Feast of All Saints, on the usual conditions, viz a visit to a church, where the Creed and Our Father are recited, sacramental confession made, Holy Communion received and a prayer for the pope’s intentions. Those who visit a cemetery between 1st and 8th November and pray for the faithful departed, may obtain a plenary indulgence, applicable to the holy souls ( and at other times a partial indulgence)
Furthermore, a plenary indulgence is granted to all those present, subject to the usual conditions to those who attend our Service at St Thomas More on Sunday 26th November, the Feast of Christ the King at 3.00 p.m. or any church on that day where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, the consecration of the human race to Christ the King made and the Litany of the Sacred Heart said.
God bless and peace be with you as we pray for Holy Souls,
DAY WITH MAY
1. Our Lady & St Peter, Victoria Drive, Wimbledon Common, Saturday 11th November, 9.30 a.m. -5.00 p.m.
Bring packed lunch. Tea and coffee provided. See noticeboard or www.adaywithmary.org for details.
BINGO ON FRIDAY 17TH IN ST THOMAS MORE CHURCH HALL
St Thomas More Parish Club Presents our BINGO EVENING Cash Prizes! Friday 17th November 2023, 8.00 pm till 11.00 pm, Eyes down at 9.00pm. Your Bingo book is £5 each, available at the door. For more information call Jenny on 07710 527692 or Mary on 07369 252072
EMBRACE THE MIDDLE EAST
MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR THE THIRTY- FIRST WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME