On a recent pilgrimage with about 30 students to San Xavier Del Bac Mission near Tucson, one of the students remarked “being here on a pilgrimage gives me a new sense of this place.”
For those who have recently lost a loved one, this time of year it seems there is nowhere to hide from our grief. Though we may busy ourselves with the many activities of the holiday season, at one point or another, we’ll come face-to-face with a memory that makes our loss feel fresh again.
When you take a closer look at Día de Los Muertos, though, you’ll find that this holiday that seems centered around death is actually a celebration of life.
Today’s popular culture often teaches us that we should put ourselves first. As Catholics, Lent is a gift that offers us a time to put our wants and needs aside and focus on drawing closer to the Lord. During these 40 days of introspection, contrition and sacrifice, we can grow stronger in our faith. By imitating Christ’s life, we grow in virtue.
When we lose a loved one, it never crosses our minds that the cemetery would not be able to accommodate our needs. We assume that burial space will be available whenever we require it. However, in some of the older corners of our country and around the world, some historic cemeteries have reached capacity.
The death of a loved one can be a traumatic experience for many of us. As a Catholic priest, I often meet with families who don’t practice their faith on a regular basis.
This time of year, we retell one of the most important stories about our Catholic faith: the story of the birth of Jesus. As we read each year in the scripture, Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem to register for the census. Upon their arrival, Mary went into labor. In the throes of childbirth with nowhere to go, she and Joseph found themselves in a cold stable with the animals during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.
In 1878, five intrepid Benedictine sisters traveled to the plains of North Dakota to establish St. Mary’s Academy, which served 21 boarders and 80 students in three tightly packed classrooms their first year.
After Easter Sunday, many people believe the commemoration is over until the next year. As Catholics, though, we know this most sacred holy day is just the beginning. Throughout Easter Season, which spans the 50 days from Easter Sunday through Pentecost, we spend our time in joyful celebration of Jesus’ gift of eternal life.