By Fr Chis Vipers, Parish Priest of St Mary, Moorfields & St Joseph's, Bunhill Row and Director of the Agency for Evangelisation
We begin the last but one month of this extraordinary year by celebrating the magnificent Feast of All Saints: a reminder to us each year that every saint has a past and every sinner a future. That cheers me up. Then only the day after, All Souls' Day, we remember our loved ones, past parishioners of our churches, priests of our diocese, those who have no one to remember them or pray for them, and this year of all years, those who have lost their lives as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This Month of the Holy Souls is for all of them. Candles will be lit, Rosaries prayed, and Masses offered, and all because we believe. I am reminded of the words of a most beautiful hymn, once that sings loudly this time of year:
Let saints on earth in concert sing
with those whose work is done;
for all the servants of our King
in heaven and earth are one.
Saints come in all shapes and sizes, even in yours and mine. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has recently written a beautiful reflection for our times; Fratelli Tutti (Brothers and Sisters All). He writes this, and to me it sums up what 21st Century saints look like:
The recent pandemic enabled us to recognise and appreciate once more all those around us who, in the midst of fear, responded by putting their lives on the line. We began to realise that our lives are interwoven with and sustained by ordinary people valiantly shaping the decisive events of our shared history; doctors, nurses, pharmacists, shopkeepers and supermarket workers, cleaners, carers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests and religious. They understood that no one is saved alone.
Pray for us!
Fr Chris Vipers and the team from the Agency for Evangelisation