From: From Pope Francis Homily at Rome's Verano cemetery; Nov. 1, 2013

    The Lord God, beauty, goodness, truth, tenderness, the fullness of love -- all that awaits us, and all those who preceded us and died in the Lord are there, in heaven with God. Even the best of the saints were not saved by their good works, but by the blood of Christ. God is the one who saves; he is the one who carries us like father -- at the end of our lives -- to that heaven where our forebears are.

The feast day reading from the seventh chapter of the Book of Revelation described a multitude of people from every race and nation standing before God. They were dressed in white, the pope said, because they were "washed in the blood of the Lamb”. We can enter into heaven only thanks to the blood of the lamb, the blood of Christ.
    If today we are remembering these brothers and sisters of ours who lived before us and are now in heaven, they are there because they were washed in the blood of Christ. That is our hope, and this hope does not disappoint. If we live our lives with the Lord, he will never disappoint us.

    We are children of God, and live in hope of one day seeing God as he is. On the feast of All Saints and before the Day of the Dead, it is important to think about hope.


     The Church, a pilgrim in history, rejoices through the intercession of the saints and blessed who support her in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel; on the other, she, like Jesus, shares the tears of those who suffer the separation from loved ones, and like Him and through Him echoes thanks to the Father who has delivered us from the dominion of sin and death.
     Many people visit the cemetery, which, as the word itself implies, is the "place of rest", as we wait for the final awakening. It is lovely to think that it will be Jesus who will awaken us. Jesus himself revealed that the death of the body is like a sleep from which he awakens us. With this faith we stop - even spiritually - at the graves of our loved ones, those who have loved us and have done good deeds for us. But today we are called to remember everyone, to remember everyone, even those who no one remembers. We remember the victims of war and violence; the many "little ones" of the world crushed by hunger and poverty. We remember the anonymous who rest in common graves. We remember our brothers and sisters killed because they are Christians; and those who sacrificed their lives to serve others. We especially entrust to the Lord, those who have left over the last year.

    Church tradition has always urged prayer for the dead, in particular by offering the celebration of the Eucharist for them: it is the best spiritual help that we can give to their souls, particularly to the most abandoned ones. The foundation of prayers in suffrage of souls is in the communion of the Mystical Body. As the Second Vatican Council reiterates, "fully conscious of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the pilgrim Church from the very first ages of the Christian religion has cultivated with great piety the memory of the dead" (Lumen Gentium, 50).


There is an urgent need to reaffirm that the central ideal of mission is Jesus Christ, and that this ideal demands the total gift of oneself to the proclamation of the Gospel. On this point there can be no compromise: those who by God’s grace accept the mission, are called to live the mission. For them, the proclamation of Christ in the many peripheries of the world becomes their way of following him, one which more than repays them for the many difficulties and sacrifices they make.
          Today, the Church’s mission is faced by the challenge of meeting the needs of all people to return to their roots and to protect the values of their respective cultures. This means knowing and respecting other traditions and philosophical systems, and realizing that all peoples and cultures have the right to be helped from within their own traditions to enter into the mystery of God’s wisdom and to accept the Gospel of Jesus, who is light and transforming strength for all cultures.
     Within this complex dynamic, we ask ourselves: “Who are the first to whom the Gospel message must be proclaimed?” The answer, found so often throughout the Gospel, is clear: it is the poor, the little ones and the sick, those who are often looked down upon or forgotten, those who cannot repay us (cf. Lk 14:13-14). Evangelization directed preferentially to the least among us is a sign of the Kingdom that Jesus came to bring: “There is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them” (Evangelii Gaudium, 48).

     To Mary, Mother of the Church and model of missionary outreach, I entrust all men and women who, in every state of life work to proclaim the Gospel, ad gentes or in their own lands. To all missionaries of the Gospel I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing.

Thanksgiving Prayer
    Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks.

    Thank you for all the graces and blessings. You have bestowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: our faith and religious heritage. Our food and shelter, our health, the loves we have for one another, our family and friends.

    Dear Father, in Your infinite generosity, please grant us continued graces and blessing throughout the coming year.   This we ask in the Name of Jesus, Your Son and our Brother. Amen.
October 16 World Food Day
       A World Food Day has been promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization since 1981. The Church is concerned about the issue of hunger in the world, remembering the words of the Son of Man on the last judgement of the nations, “… I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink …” (Mt 25.35).

From: Statement on Assisted Suicide issued by the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

We cannot but express our outrage at the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to create a new “constitutional right” in Canada, the so-called “right” to suicide. The ruling would legalize an action that, from time immemorial, has been judged immoral: the taking of innocent life. Moreover, it puts at risk the lives of the vulnerable, the depressed, those with physical or mental illness, and those with disabilities.
     As Catholic Bishops, we speak in terms that are informed by reason, ethical dialogue, religious conviction and profound respect for the dignity of the human person. Our awareness is shaped by thousands of years of reflection, and by our actions as Christians in following Jesus. He showed most fully what it means to love, to serve, and to be present to others. His response to the suffering of others was to suffer with them, not to kill them! He accepted suffering in his life as the pathway to giving, to generosity, to mercy. One does not have to be a believer to recognize in Jesus’ life and action a supreme example of humanity. The values of Jesus of Nazareth are the basis for our views on assisted suicide. Canada has nothing to fear in committing itself to these profoundly human and life-giving values.
     It is in this spirit of collaboration in building a society more compassionate, more respectful of the dignity of all human life, more just and more generous that we make this heartfelt cry. Remembering the humble witness of Saint Brother André, we invite all Canadians to build a society that respects the dignity of every person. May our call be heard with respect, attention and openness.