The months of June, July and August come and go and are most noteworthy as the prime vacation season for the year, marked by celebrations on June 14th(Flag Day), June 21st(Summer Solstice) and July 4th(Independence Day). August stands alone among the three with no days of distinction in the secular calendar. However, the liturgical calendar of the Church includes sixteen (16) special days of celebration and four (4) Sundays in the thirty-one days of the month. Of those sixteen, there is one (1) Solemnity, four (4) Feasts, and eleven (11) Memorials. What does all this mean to us as Catholics? The month of August provides a plethora of saints to discover, learn more about and memorialize by participating in the liturgical celebration of their special day. Saints should be important to us because they are our models for living the Christian life as taught to us by Our Lord. They lived and worked on this earth just as we do but did so in such a way that they achieved the salvation we all long for and we can say without hesitation that they are in heaven…proving that heaven is attainable by ordinary people like you and me. Now there are also other saints who we know are in heaven because their sainthood has been declared by the Church but whose importance to the universal Church is not sufficient to warrant the recognition of a memorial or feast. Solemnities are reserved for those days of greatest importance in the Church year, mostly marking significant events in the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph that are not designated as a Sunday yearly, i.e. Easter.
I highly recommend that you include in your spiritual reading materials, lives of the saints which provide inspiration along with information on how they lived their lives in their faith journey which is entirely like our own…that is, we are all pilgrims on the road back to where we belong. We follow the Way, believing the Truth in order that we may have the Life. Saints have gone before us with exactly that plan for their own lives and have demonstrated that it is doable…and most of them were not martyrs, they didn’t give their lives for the faith in shedding their blood. They gave their lives for the faith is following the example of our Lord, serving the poor and less fortunate and practicing the works of mercy, both spiritual and corporal. As a reminder of what our ‘plan’ needs to be, let’s regularly check out Matthew 25: 31-46, and work each day to assure that we end up on the side with the sheep described in those verses. Continue to pray for our priests and for vocations. God bless you all in all you do.
Pastor’s Points is a bi-weekly feature about faith, family, and life, from our pastor, Father James Flynn. It is published in our parish bulletins, as well.