Let’s see who knows their patron saints. Who is the patron saint of…
All of the Americas? Our Lady! Of Guadalupe.
How about the patron of shepherds? St. Bernadette. Engineers? St. Patrick. Florists, aviators, and missionaries? St. Therese. Funeral directors? St. Joseph of Arimathea. Accountants, bankers, customs agents, and security guards? St. Matthew. Bricklayers, cabinetmakers, deacons, and altar servers? St. Stephen. What about the patron saint of grooms? St. Nicholas. And, guess what? he’s also the patron saint of brewers and lawyers in Paris, not to mention pawnbrokers.
How about the patron saint of environmentalists? St. Kateri Tekawitha. Surgeons and barbers? St. Cosmas. How about dentists? St. Apollonia. Doctors, artists, and notaries? St. Luke. And lawyers everywhere except Paris? St. Thomas More. What if you have an earache? Pray to St. Polycarp. Or if you can’t see? St. Lucy. Stomach problems? St. Timothy.
Who’s the patron saint of all Catholic schools? St. Thomas Aquinas. And the patron saint of teachers? St. Gregory the Great. Teenagers? St. Maria Goretti. (And she’s also the patron saint of grandparents.)
Who’s the patron saint of priests? St. John Vianney. How about soldiers, paramedics, and paratroopers? St. Michael the Archangel. How about of popes, bakers, butchers, blacksmiths, and cloth makers? St. Peter. And his brother–the patron of fisherman, fish markets, and one of our beloved Roanoke parishes? St. Andrew.
How about the patron saints of babies? The Holy Innocents. And the patron saint of your savings account? St. Anthony Claret. Waiters and waitresses? St. Martha!
Ok. How about the patroness of immigrants and hospital administrators? St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. What about immigrants from Mexico? San Toribio! Lighthouse keepers? St. Dunstan. Athletes? St. Sebastian. Pyrotechnicians, chimney sweeps, and women in labor? St. Elmo. Diplomats, mailmen, 9-1-1 call centers, and radio and tv personalities? St. Gabriel the Archangel. Architects? St. Thomas the Apostle. Beekeepers? St. Ambrose. Difficult marriages? St. Rita of Cascia.
How about the patron saint of dancers and comedians? St. Vitus. Police officers and impossible causes? St. Jude. Anesthesiologists? St. Rene Goupil. The patron saint of bad students? St. Joseph of Cupertino. Equestrians, homemakers, and sailors? St. Ann. Domestic animals and grave-digging? St. Anthony. Fire prevention? St. Catharine of Siena. Hairdressers? St. Martin de Porres. What if you’re going on retreat? St. Ignatius Loyola.
How about poets? King David. Skiers? St. Bernard. Throats? St. Blase. Journalists and writers? St. Francis de Sales. Boy Scouts? St. George. Carpenters? St. Joseph, of course! How about the patron saint of computers? St. Isidore of Seville.
Last for now, but not least, another patron of a beloved Roanoke parish, the patron saint of good confessions, of all people falsely accused of anything, and of expectant mothers: St. Gerard.
I think we see why we need to keep a Solemnity of “All Saints.”
By the time we reached the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, during the fourth century AD, we already had many more holy martyrs to commemorate than there are days in a year. One November First, the pope dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s basilica in honor of a large number of saints and martyrs. That’s how November 1st became All Saints Day.
Which means that’s how Halloween began, too. Since “Halloween” means, of course, the ‘e’en’ before the day hallowed by all the saints.
Do we think they have candy in heaven? Or some pretty good costumes, like Darth Vader? I guess Darth Vader couldn’t be in heaven, since he’s a bad guy. Except, wait a minute—didn’t he repent, in the end?
The Four Last Things. 1. Death. 2. Heaven. 3. The other place that starts with an h. What about #4? Does everyone go straight either to heaven or to hell, when they die?
Purgatory! Purification, where we make up for all our sins during our lives on earth.
We begin the month of November with a solemnity on All Saints’ Day; we eat candy; we get an extra hour’s sleep!
Then we spend the rest of November praying for all the souls in…. purgatory. Because we can help them. We can pray. We can have Masses said for them. We can make sacrifices, and ask the Lord to count our sacrifices for them—so they can get to heaven sooner.
We Catholic Christians can have a good time on Halloween and on All Saints Day. We can have a good time even when the days get short and cold. Why? Because we need not fear death.
Christ our Lord has conquered death. He has conquered all the demons and ghouls and evil spirits. He has gone down among the skeletons, and He has touched their dry bones with His life.
Christ has unlocked the door to heaven. We can knock on that door, and say “Trick or treat!” And He will answer, “Give Me a good pilgrim life on earth, dear child. Then you will receive a treat more wonderful than you could ever imagine. A million Snickers bars would not hold a candle to the treat you will get. Give Me a good pilgrim life, and you can look forward to joining all the saints forever.”