Letter from Msgr. Schaedel for bulletin of October 29, 2000
Now, just where did October go? We are just around the corner from the beginning of November. November is a beautiful month. It begins with the Feast of All Saints followed up immediately by All Souls Day. We will have several Masses on both days. The times are listed in the front of the bulletin for both the English and Latin Masses.
On All Souls Day, it is the privilege of every priest to offer three Holy Masses. Each one is offered for a different intention: The intentions of the Holy Father, All of the Faithful Departed, and a specific intention. For both Father Duvelius and I, our “specific intention” will be the names listed on the All Souls envelopes now on Saint Joseph’s altar. (He is the patron of a happy death.)
List the names of your beloved dead on those envelopes, place them in the basket, and we will place them on the altar November 2nd and all through the month of November, the month of the Holy Souls. Father Duvelius will offer three Masses here on All Souls Day—12 Noon, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. I will offer one Mass here at 9:00 a.m., another at Noon at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery, 9600 North Haverstick Road; and the third at 4:30 p.m. in Holy Family Chapel located in the Catholic Center, 14th and Meridian downtown. All are invited to any of these Masses.
November also brings Election Day—November 7th. It’s no secret that this election, particularly the presidential election, is of utmost importance. We will have a night and day long vigil of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This will begin Monday, November 6th, right after the 5:30 p.m. Mass. It will continue through the night and end at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Election Day. Special prayers will be recited every three hours, night and day. Please sign up to take an hour of adoration time. The list is on the bulletin board in the back of church.
Election day is less than two weeks away. And whether it is intentional or not, the Catholic Church is involved in the upcoming elections. Bishops all over the country are reminding people of the importance of voting as well as their views on what key issues Catholics must consider when they do vote. And, it’s probably true that there is no voice in either major political party—Republican or Democrat—that expresses completely the Catholic point of view on issues.
A couple of months ago, Newsweek magazine conducted a poll. 51% of the registered voters surveyed said they approved of religious leaders or pastors offering guidance on political issues. 40% disapproved. At the same time 61% of those surveyed thought it was appropriate for political candidates to discuss his or her own religious beliefs in a campaign. 33% thought it would be out of line.
We as Catholics have a moral responsibility to participate in the moral process. Being a responsible citizen of the State is a virtue. A responsible citizen takes part in the political process. A responsible citizen votes.
No Catholic is prepared to vote unless he or she knows what the issues are. No Catholic can make good moral decisions unless he or she has an informed conscience. So what are the most critical moral issues to be considered in this or any other election? There’s a whole range of them. But a couple of weeks ago, Francis Cardinal George, the cardinal-archbishop of Chicago said it pretty clearly. Cardinal George writes a weekly column in the Chicago Catholic paper, The Catholic New World.
Cardinal George said, “Abortion is a defining issue morally and politically. Many people with the issue would disappear as a subject of public discussion.” But he went on to write, “For believing Catholics and many others it can’t disappear because it is a matter of life and death, a defining issue not only personally but socially. The cardinal went on to call for the abolishment of capital punishment as well. And he went on to say that the current presidential campaigns have done little so far to address significant issues of interest to “those of us trying to make political judgments in the light of the Catholic Faith.”
Last summer, along with about fifty other priests, I signed an ad that appeared in The New York Times. Father Pavone’s group, Priests for Life, sponsored it. Part of that ad reminded politicians of what our American Bishops said two years ago in a document called Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics. In part, it said, “We urge those Catholic officials who choose to depart from Church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life to consider the consequences for their own spiritual well being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin.”
The Catholic Church is a Pro-Life Church. If we are who we say we are, the followers of Jesus, we have no choice but to be pro-life. This is the Jubilee Year. We Christians celebrate two thousands years since the Word became Flesh. The mystery of Christ’s birth, the Incarnation, changes how we look at everything human. The Son of God became flesh and lived among us. He was a human from the instant of His conception of the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Son of God assumed a human nature. Human nature was taken up into God. The Culture of Death abortion denies every bit of that. The Culture of Death: assisted suicide, euthanasia, the attitude of “pro-choice,” abortion—they all say human life is not sacred; it’s disposable. And if we are content to let this go on, then the entire human race is in trouble. Every political election is vitally important!
Stewardship Commitment weekend is November 4th and 5th. The theme for this Jubilee Year 2000 is “Bringing generous hearts into the new millennium.”
One thing we will be asked to consider is this year’s United Catholic Appeal. Our gifts of treasure go to help the Archdiocesan Church do two things: Support Home Missions or parishes that cannot make it on their own. Support Shared Ministries: things that parishes cannot do on their own but do together since it would make little sense to do it individually.
This month you will be hearing and reading about our need to give back to God our gifts of time, talent, and treasure in grateful response for the blessings He has given to us. In addition, every family in our parish and in every parish throughout the archdiocese will be asked to make a gift of time, talent, and treasure to our parish and to the United Catholic Appeal. As you recall, the appeal is now combined with parish stewardship each fall.
As November begins, we have lots to think and pray about!
Remember our annual archdiocesan “Christmas in New York” Pilgrimage to New York City, December 15-18. It includes visits to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the Vienna Boys’ Choir Christmas Concert at Carnegie Hall, and the Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Details are on flyers in the back of church.
In God’s Providence,