A Glorious Time of Year
A Reflection for October 2011
By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
The month of September brought an end to the summer and the start of fall which in New England is glorious with the trees turning hues of reds, oranges and yellow giving the impression that the landscape is glowing with praise to Almighty God.
The months of September and October are filled with many feasts honoring Franciscans and therefore are important to our order.
Among them are the feasts commemorating St. Francis receiving the stigmata or the marks of Christ’s passion which we celebrated 17th of September which was also the feast day of my personal patron saint, St. Robert Bellarmine a great teacher and preacher.
The finding of the Body of St. Clare and the feast celebrating the life of Padre Pio of Pietrelcino on the 23rd of September, The Feast of our Holy Seraphic Father Saint Francis on the 4th of October.
The month of October is special to our ministry as it is on October 7th or 8th depending on what calendar you are using; the church celebrates the mission’s patron saints Sergius and Bacchus which is also celebrated in honor of Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Mother.
The feast celebrating the Motherhood of Our Blessed Mother is on October 11th On October 28th the Universal church honors Christ the King whereas the Roman Church in the US celebrates it on November 20th)
The month of October ends with All Hallows Eve or Halloween as it is known in the secular world. Halloween or All Hallows Eve is one of the oldest Christian holidays, dating back thousands of years. On All Hollows Eve, the night before the Christian holiday of All Saints Day, Christians would dress up as their favorite Saints and in an All Hollows Eve Procession they would parade to the outskirts of their town supposedly leading the ghosts and evil spirits away from the town to make it acceptable for the Saints to bless the village.
When I was a teacher we would award prizes to students for the best presentation of their favorite saint or a Biblical Character who dressed up as their favorite saint and could tell the story of that saint. We would have a parade of costumes and students and teachers would judge and vote on the best for each grade and overall school best costume, presentation and male and female costumes. In all over 40 prizes were awarded but everyone got to share in goodies supplied by the parents association and students actually learned more about the various saints especially since the school had a great ethnic mix of nationalities and therefore saints not normally acknowledged everywhere.
Some of the feasts of saints who have special devotions to them in October, in addition to those of the Franciscans and Our Blessed Mother, are the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux also known as Sister Teresa of the Child Jesus on October first on the Novus Ordo calendar and October 3rd on the traditional calendar. On October 5th we celebrate St. Faustina Kowalski known today the world over as the "Apostle of The Divine Mercy," and is numbered by theologians among the outstanding mystics of the Church.
October 7th we celebrate the feast of the patron Saints of our ministry, Saints Sergius & Bacchus who were Roman Soldiers in a blessed same sex relationship who became martyrs because they refused to give up their faith and trust in God.
St. Teresa of Avila who founded the discalced order of Carmelites and with sister Carmelite nun, St. Therese of the Child of Jesus, is numbered among the three women considered Doctors of the Church, feast day is October 15th.
So while the heat and vacation joys of summer come to an end October bring a blaze of glory not only in the colors of the fall foliage but an opportunity to deepen our faith and commitment to serve Almighty God by following the examples of the saints whose lives led them to being recognized as special in not only God’s eyes but by the church for their exemplary model for us to follow in our life journey.
May God, through the intercession of our seraphic father Saint Francis inspire us to become closer to Him in our daily lives and guide us through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit so that we may all proclaim God’s glory forever. AMEN