I really like the feast of All Saints and enjoy celebrating it. One reason is because the Feast of All Saints is a big tent feast. Everybody is in it. We are all together. While we haven’t achieved eternal life, we are certainly candidates for it. We are on our way, and most important today is that we are on our way together.
Another reason why I like the feast is that I grew up in a parish named All Saints. My mother was in the parish when it started in 1907. It was a young diverse Catholic community out on the northern edge of Houston and about three miles from downtown. Today, All Saints would be considered an inner-city parish but it has a lot of life. Gentrification has made it young again.
We are a very mobile society and over the course of several decades, Catholics might live in a good many parishes. That is understandable but there is a certain sadness to it, since it causes so many of us to be spiritually rootless.
All Saints was a marker in my life. My mother, father and three siblings were buried from that church. I made my First Communion, Confirmation and celebrated my first Mass as a priest at the altar of All Saints. Later, as a bishop, it would be the first church where I would celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation. To me, All Saints in the Houston Heights is a sacred place that provided me with clear markers for my spiritual journey.
All Saints! Such a crowd. Think of it- millions, millions, and millions of men and women who faced an unbelievable range of difficulties and burdens in this life but maintained their faith in Jesus Christ or lived good lives according to their consciences. Not all the saints are saints at this moment. All of us are, however, on the journey to sanctity and we are on that journey together!
Special thanks to the young saints at my parish, St. Theresa’s here in Austin, pictured above.