During the summer months, I want to dedicate a few bulletin articles to the Communion of Saints. Firstly, because I want all of my children to discover the unspeakable treasure of friendship with the saints, and secondly, because it serves a good preparation for the moment in the near future when twelve relics of the saints will be enshrined in the walls of our Parish Church.

Let me start by sharing my own personal testimony. I grew up in a very modern Catholic Parish where not only were there no statues of saints nor were they ever mentioned. I never heard a sermon about Mother Mary, nor did I ever hear about the example and virtue of the saints.

It was in my college years, when I experienced my conversion, a personal and intimate encounter with our Savior. He soon led me to meet His friends, the saints! Our Lord brought into my life the writings and lives of the saints. Good book after good book led me to form relationships with those men and women that have gone before us. I was so inspired by their example: the way they loved Jesus, were faithful to Him, the way they spoke of Him, and especially the way they spoke of Him to others. Ever since my conversion, developing and strengthening my friendship with the saints has been a part of my endeavor to love and serve Jesus better.

Before going forward, let me explain to you the title of this first bulletin article on the Communion of Saints. “The Trophies of Jesus!” For those of us who were never introduced to the Communion of Saints, some of the things that we do as Christians might appear quite silly. Why in the world do we venerate the relics of the saints by kissing them? It was a few years ago as I watched the postgame celebrations of the Super Bowl that our Lord gave me a powerful image. Here you have all these grown, quite masculine men, holding and kissing the Lombardy Trophy on National Television in front of the whole world. Seeing that, our Lord showed me how the relics of the Saints are His Trophies! Yes! Jesus was victorious in their lives! He overcame sin and death in their lives! His power touched and healed many through their lives. And now, they are not dead, they are alive in Christ Jesus! The Communion of Saints is a poetic expression of just how great the Victory of Jesus is. In the words of St. Paul: nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, neither life nor death.

Here is a powerful teaching from Holy Mother Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

#956 The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."

“Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death, and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.”  St. Dominic as he dies.

“I want to spend my Heaven in doing good on earth.” St. Therese of Lisieux.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ can help us precisely because they are with Jesus now! They see Him! They glorify Him without ceasing. They praise His Wisdom and His Power! They trust and abandon themselves fully to His Divine Providence. That is why the saints can encourage us to place our hope and trust in Jesus, even in the midst of trials. The saints can help us to discover God’s calling in our lives. Many of them, just as St. Paul says of us, were not extraordinary people when God called them. They lived ordinary lives just like you and me. But once they heard God’s call in their lives and decided to live their lives fully for the praise of His Glory, boy, did God ever work wonders in their lives and in the lives of all those they touched.

Let me conclude this first article by encouraging all of you to be open to developing a friendship with a saint. It is always good to pick a saint who either wrote some books or sermons or whom we have quite a bit of information about their lives. This really facilitates you to know them. To give you a few ideas, let me share with you the list of the relics of saints that we have thus far: St. John Paul II, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Faustina, St. Maria Goretti, St. Anne, St. Theresa of Calcutta, St. John Neumann, and Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame. We are hoping to acquire soon the relics of St. Gianna Molla, and Sts. Jude and Peregrine.

May we imitate the boy in today’s gospel who gave Jesus a few loaves and fish which were multiplied and fed many.  Let’s reach out to those in need and keep one another in prayer.

Fr. Michael