Hi Everyone,

Today is All Souls Day, one of the great feast days in the Catholic Church and especially important for each of us in our work. I love this day because we pray to God for all those that have passed from this life to the next. We also ask them to pray for us. What beauty and meaning lie in this image of our loving God gathering all of us as his children in the celebration of eternal life. I also think we should especially pray for all those who care for the holy grounds of our Catholic cemeteries, especially those that labor in the dirt and maintain the grounds.

Over the last month, I held back from writing a national message which I had been doing daily or weekly since the pandemic began. I realized it was very intentional on my part, but I didn’t know why until today. We are all overloaded with messaging – politically and socially. As I look around, never have I seen so many people with anxiety, stress, or bewilderment. I didn’t want to write another message that might add to the emotional overload that is all around us. Each of us continues to persevere through all of this, but it is hard to stay steady and be a voice of hope. What I notice most is that people seem to be talking over one another and not to one another. Months ago I mentioned that there is an art to listening that is so important for being present to one another. I continue to practice the art of listening…

There is no simple cure to the divisiveness we see and the anxiety that it produces. What has proven most effective is following rituals that help to bring people together. If you haven’t voted please consider doing it. Just going through the ritual of voting there is action in having your voice heard. It may feel meaningless, but it connects you to the greater community that prays for our future. We have to trust in God that the will of our nation’s people will help his plan unfold.

Our CFCS Community Action

On a more communal level, I have asked each of our CFCS leaders to gather their staff in the coming weeks for a hosted lunch or meal. There is meaning in the gathering over a meal that helps bring people together. Lastly, I also think it would be great for each of our teams to consider some small action that brings hope or beauty to those around them. This could be anything from planting a flower bed or tree at one of your cemeteries or doing a small food drive for the homeless. It isn’t how big an action we take, but just the collective approach to sharing in it together. It always feels better to be taking some small action to make the world a better place.

In the coming weeks, we will be coming to the Thanksgiving holiday. It is my prayer that each of you will find evidence of the blessings in your lives and in the life of our community and nation. We have so much to be thankful for…

With blessings and gratitude,