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Father Muench Says...

A day to celebrate the saints in our lives

Nov. 2, 2016

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

November 1st, the Feast of All Saints is one of my favorites.  I am sure you know all about it.  Each canonized saint has been assigned a definite day for their feast day.  On that Feast Day, a special Mass is offered in honor of that saint.  Each day of the year has several saints assigned to remember and celebrate them.

It is interesting to me that in several cultures an infant is named according to the particular saint whose feast day it is.  In some cultures a person is celebrated on the feast day of the saint whose name they have been given.  My grandfather would faithfully send me a small gift each year on the feast of St. William.  By the way, his name was also William.

The Feast of All Saints was created to celebrate all the saints – the canonized and other saints (and there are many) who are not officially canonized. 

All Saints Day becomes the Feast Day to celebrate all the saints who are a special part of our own lives. 
I have been personally influenced by many wonderful people, who I am certain are truly saints, now that they are with the Lord.  They are “my saints.”  I found support and inspiration and direction from “my saints” – most of them are not canonized – as yet.  They showed me the way to live in the Spirit of Our Savior.  They directed me on the road to holiness. 

My list is long, too many to share with you here and now.  I do admit that I continue to meet and interact with many new and inspiring people who are already on the list of “my saints.”   They are already saints in my opinion.
Today, I would like to mention a special group of “my saints” – those who are priests.  The Church designates this week as a special time to pay respect to priests.  So, I want to add my respect and love to all priests – but especially to those who are among “my saints,” those living and those with the Lord.  My life has been touched by innumerable priests who have touched my life and helped me in such powerful ways.  They have made a difference with me.  I recognize them through the way they lived and the way they helped others as saints.

I do want to add this: I want you to know that priests, like every other man or woman, must put together a good, dedicated, faith-filled life on the road to holiness and sanctity just like everyone else. With the grace of God, each of us will get to know impressive and holy priests that will lead us to the road for sanctity.

As Catholics, you have known and do know many priests, as a pastor or possibly through some parish or diocesan program.  I am certain that I was personally gifted with a great pastor.  I have also been gifted by other wonderful priests in my life – as professors in the seminary, as an associate in parish ministry, as a spiritual director or as a friend.

I want to join in a special way in the opportunity to declare my respect for them – and for all my brother priests, in the Diocese of Ogdensburg.  I offer my respect to our younger priests; may they all realize how important they are to our diocese. You are all in my prayers.

Speaking as a priest, I want to encourage you all to offer your gratitude to the priests of your parish.  I guarantee this will be important and will give such great support and confidence to your pastor. I join you in this gratitude to all of our pastors, how wonderfully gifted you are to your people.

Pray for your priests – your prayers are so important.  You often ask your pastor for his prayers; in this time of Respect for Priests please offer your prayers for them.  You would be surprised at the power of your prayers. 
Pray that we, priests, will have God’s inspiration to say the right things in our homilies and other teachings. Pray that we may say the right things in spiritual direction. Pray that we have the wisdom to be in the right place at the right time – may we always be there for those who need us.

Finally, join me as we pray for our Bishop. May God give him the wisdom and holiness to lead us all well and guide all of his priests as we bring Christ to the people of our parishes.

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