Tuesday, October 6, 2009

All Saints Day

All Saints' Day is on the horizon. It really is a wonderful day that is underutilized by most congregations. There are so many great saints in our wonderful Church. Unfortunately, our saint calendar is primarily focused on European saints. Although there is nothing wrong with European saints, our church is so much more than that. There is wonderful diversity in our Church that Americans and European Catholics often are ignorant of or purposely ignore. Just from a pure numbers standpoint that seems odd when we consider that 60% of Catholics today live in the "Third World." There are saints to our south in Juan Diego and Martin de Porres. There are the Ugandan martyrs from the 19th century in Africa. There is St. Paul Miki of Japan. Each of these countries and areas of the world also have particular Catholic prayer styles that differ from our region of the world, but from which we could benefit greatly. If the early Church did not later accept some German inculturation, we would have neither the Christmas tree nor the Advent wreath. I cannot imagine a Catholic Church in Advent without an Advent wreath.

We are not done growing as a Church and All Saints' Day is the perfect opporntunity to learn more about Catholic piety in other parts of the world. If only our churches took All Saints' Day as seriously as Advent & Christmas.

A Faithful Catholic


CatholicSoldier said...


We agree on something. I think the Church does need to do a better job highlighting the Saints and in particular saints that are relevant to a given community. You are right that to someone from Central Africa, St. Anthony of Padua may seem remote when compared to St. Paul Miki and his Companions. That's not to minimize certain saints and some saints importance to the life of the Church make them universal (St. Francis of Assisi, St. Augustine, St. Catherine of Sienna), but there are Saints of the Global South that are rising in prominence and should be given pride of place and more emphasis perhaps.

Terrence Berres said...

"There is wonderful diversity in our Church that Americans and European Catholics often are ignorant of or purposely ignore."

There's more to it than that, F.C.. Much of that worldwide diversity in practices is associated in some people's minds with pre-Conciliar piety, leading to such practices being treated patronizingly at best and contemptuously at worst.

As an example, at a parish meeting my pastor responded to a suggestion that he genuflect at the Consecration with a wide-ranging explanation of his opposition to kneeling in just about all its forms. He demonstrated by parodying one such practice, getting down on his knees and shuffling around a bit.