As we approach the month of November, the month dedicated to all of the saints in heaven and the poor, holy souls in purgatory, I urge you to attend and participate at the holy sacrifice of the Mass on All Saints Day, November 1, which is a holy day of obligation. While All Souls Day, November 2, is not a holy day of obligation, it is our ancient and beautiful Catholic practice to pray for all of our holy and beloved dead at Mass on this day. Please try to come to Mass on All Souls Day and please continue to have Masses offered in your parishes for your own deceased relatives and friends.
Sunday, November 24 is the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King and that is the day on which the universal Church will celebrate the formal and official close of the great Year of Faith. Please do make this a special spiritual day for yourselves and your families. We will celebrate this great solemnity in the Diocese of Bismarck by consecrating our diocese to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
. This very same weekend, all of our priests will be doing the same consecrations in each of our 98 parishes. I urge you to consecrate your homes
and families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. You will derive countless blessings by honoring Jesus and Mary in this way.
While it is a civil holiday and observance, Thanksgiving Day
has a very special place in the hearts of all Americans as well as in the history of our country. I have always especially enjoyed this holiday because, as a youngster and then as a priest, it always began with Mass. There is no better way to observe and enjoy this distinctive civil holiday than to gather at the altar of the Lord and offer praise and thanksgiving for the gift of His Son, Jesus, our Lord and Savior, and the gift of salvation He obtained for us. Make Mass your first Thanksgiving event of celebration. Everything else you will do that day will be even more enjoyable because you were at Mass.
No doubt you have noticed that many stores have been promoting the Christmas holiday—and doing so seemingly earlier than ever. What is so apparent in all of the advertising and displays is the elimination of Jesus, Mary and Joseph from all of it. I would ask you to join me as we fast approach the holy season of Advent and then Christmas, to make a real effort to keep these times holy and spiritual. Resolve to go to daily Mass in Advent and the Christmas season, go to confession, make the Stations of the Cross (Christmas points us to Good Friday and Easter Sunday), and participate in your parish’s Advent activities to assist our brothers and sisters in need. God came to us as a poor child and lived among us as the One who is poor, chaste and obedient. Imitating Him in our lives will bring real joy, peace and contentment. Advent and Christmas remind us of this—and call us to live it.
>> Bishop Kagan responds to "The Interview" by Pope Francis
>> More from Bishop Kagan: The Dash Report videos
>> Bishop Kagan's recent DCA columns