October 31, 2021
Dear St. John Neumann Families and Friends,
Communion – it is a loaded term for us Catholics… Holy Communion is the Eucharist, we also speak of Churches in Full Communion (the Catholic Church isn’t only Roman), and the Communion of Saints. But they are all related. And because they are all related, we have communion with one another.
I recall one time when I was celebrating Mass for the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri (they’re the ones who make our low-gluten hosts) and I had a profound feeling as I began to distribute Holy Communion. Their chapel is stunning – with mosaics and statues of St. Scholastica and St. Benedict and numerous other Benedictine saints. The art is all in the Beuronese style and the chapel is a beautiful Romanesque church like our own. The sisters were singing and as I distributed Holy Communion I had a sense that my mother was there, the she would love these holy (and very funny) women, and that all would be well (Mom had died in 1993 – and she would be 75 years old this very Halloween Sunday).
Now that may not be a lesson on Communion out of the catechism, but I think much of that is there in that brief little moment of mine. Christians gathered in worship and common work, singing God’s praises – and not only the living, but the dead who while awaiting the resurrection still participate in the life of the Church. My mother incidentally had been raised mostly as a Methodist and came into full Communion in her 20s.
I have given a bit more Viaticum lately – that’s Holy Communion given in preparation for death… via=way, ti=you, cum=with so it is Communion “with you on the way”… This month of November is a time when we customarily remember the dead. We celebrate and venerate All the Saints on November 1st and pray for All Souls in purgatory on November 2nd. But remember and pray for all of our dead and thank God for their lives and pray that He receive them into paradise.
With Holy Communion to nourish us we pray for our loved ones who have passed, and those who are still here, we pray for those whom we do not even know, and we even pray for those who persecute or have wronged us. The grace we receive from Christ in receiving Him knows no bounds – because the Father sent the Son to us so that we might be in His Kingdom and spread it to a hungry and hurting world.