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This week we celebrated the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls. The Feast of All Saints, on 1st November, was once known as All Hallows Day (Hallow meaning Holy Person), and the evening before was Hallowe'en.

In the United States and recently in some suburbs of Australia, Halloween has become an occasion for children to disguise themselves in themed costumes and travel from house to house in order to ask for treats.

All Saints Day is an opportunity for believers to remember all saints and martyrs, known and unknown, throughout Christian history. In the broader sense, everyone in heaven is a saint. However, some are judged worthy of specific veneration, with official recognition given through a process of canonization. There are more than 10,000 saints recognized by the Catholic church.

When someone is given spiritual respect because they are close to God and we are inspired by their virtuous qualities, then their cause may be investigated by the Church. Initially they are recognized as Servant of God – Mary Glowery is an example. If evidence shows heroic virtue, they may receive the title of Venerable –Pedro Arrupe is an example. If they are a martyr or a miracle has taken place through their intercession, they are given the title of Blessed –Miguel Pro is an example. After beatification, another miracle is needed for canonisation and the formal declaration of sainthood – Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Stanislaus Kostka, Edmund Campion, John Francis Regis, Teresa of Calcutta, Mary of the Cross MacKillop are examples.

The word saint in the New Testament has a more general meaning referring to any believer in whom Christ dwells. That definition could refer to many good people including ourselves, when we let God work in us. In this sense, saints are ordinary people in whom God does extraordinary work. Saints live in the world, but rise above its standards. They give themselves in loving service, rather than seeking personal comfort. They have that special quality to find hope and meaning within suffering and struggle. Presumably, they have doubts and make mistakes as we all do, but somehow are not overcome by weakness or lack of faith. They have a personal strength enabling them to keep trusting God.

Above all, they are humble. Saints are not superheroes, but people like us through whom God works. A saint is someone through whom we catch a glimpse of what God is like. We all have gifts and talents that God can shape into something miraculous. There is a saint in all of us.

The Feast of All Souls was celebrated on 2nd November. We remember those who have died. We may offer Masses and visit cemeteries to pray at the graves of family members and close friends.

We sometimes hear the word soul in conversation. People may be described as a lost soul or a beautiful soul. A tune or a painting can stir a soul and mellow jazz is said to be soulful. We alert others to distress by an SOS, save our souls. Nearly all the great religions believe in a soul - something that survives the body in death.

On All Souls’ Day we remember the dead that we have known. Remembering can be a time of grief. Grief is one of those emotions which celebrates love. As we remember the love we shared with those who have gone, we also cherish the moments we share with the people still on our path. It is a time to remind us to love the life that each of us has been given, to spend time with our families and those dearest, and to allow others to teach and nourish us. Our shared journey in faith and hope is the most treasured gift of all.

Prayer Requests

November is a time when the Jesuit community remembers those who have died at our Masses. To nominate deceased members of family and friends for special prayer, please email Melanie Brown at the College using the button below.
From the Parents and Friends
College Calendar 2023