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Saints, Souls, Soldiers And All That Sustains Us by Pastor Joe Lehman

How many, O Lord my God, are the wonders and designs that you have worked for us.
Should I proclaim and speak of them, they are more than I can tell.  Psalm 40.

Persons of faith are accustomed to stop, ponder, and give thanks to God.  Luckily, the month of November in both religious and civic calendars provides us with more than a few opportunities to better practice these actions.  In particular, I’d like to underscore four days among the 30 of this month.  Granted some of these days have already passed but what they observe and celebrate cannot be relegated to a day or a season or to a particular religious tradition.

In liturgical calendars, November 1 is ALL SAINTS DAY (following the festivities and frivolity of All Hallows Eve or Halloween. On this day we honor those who have persevered in the way they and we have chosen to follow – the way which makes all the difference for us too.  The Church’s saints are ordinary people who lived in not-so-ordinary ways but in ways that are not impossible for us to live with God’s help.  We think of the life and work of Damian of Molokai who in his risky and compassionate care and treatment of lepers caught the disease himself. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta reminded us that every place has its Calcutta and its poverty claims our response. The apostles Peter and Paul called for and labored for communion: unity amidst diversity. Francis of Assisi helped us to see that some of our brothers and sisters in God’s great creation are not of the human variety.

Who are “the holy ones” whose spirit, fervor and example light up and guide your personal pilgrimage to God?

On Catholic calendars, November 2 is ALL SOULS DAY.  It’s our Memorial Day of sorts.  We remember our loved ones who have gone before us in faith.  We name them.  We give thanks for the way they enriched our lives. We commend them again to the care and mercy of our loving and forgiving God.  On this day, we also lift up our sure and certain belief that the bonds God forges in life are eternal bonds: the story of those who rest in God continues.  Our departed are not “lost” to us; with us they wait for the great day of resurrection and reunion.  In remembering our departed, we are ourselves re-member-ed.

Name your loved ones who, in faith and in death, have gone before you.  What is one thing you miss most about her/him/them?

On November 11, Americans observe VETERANS DAY.   It’s a holiday for some and for those prone to reflection it’s yet another gift.   On this day we honor and publicly thank those who have served in our militaries- many who fought in battle.  With ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts in the Holy Lands, and civil unrest elsewhere in our world, this day gives us an opportunity to applaud soldiers, their families, and the sacrifices they made for the life and freedoms, the well-being and common good we Americans value.   There’s no doubt that war is senseless.   But the dedication and commitment of those who choose the armed forces is not without great meaning.

Give thanks for our troops (particularly those you personally know) and pray war will soon be no more.

And in a couple of weeks we’ll celebrate THANKSGIVING DAY.  Sometime during that day (or weekend), we will gather around tables to count our blessings and express our gratitude to the One from whom all blessings flow (as impossible as both tasks are).  This year, along with the things that usually make our lists, why not include a prayer of thanks for our saints, souls, and soldiers too!

Joe Lehman is Pastor of Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church located at 2505 Electric Rd (Rte 419).
You can learn more about OLN’s Ministry at

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