20year

Our community has more than twenty years of history in Dallas. What began as five or six families coming together to study the Bible and pray together, quickly became a community that regularly gathered at nearby churches for Masses and meetings. As the numbers grew, they requested that the Diocese of Dallas help establish a permanent Chinese Catholic community in 1990. In 1992, we put our money together and purchased a small office building in Richardson, Texas. By the end of 1993, we had renovated it to become our sanctuary and activity hall. With the guidance of priests seconded from Taiwan and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, our small community grew stronger in numbers and in faith.

THE SOULS IN PURGATORY


Fr. Pul P. Pang O.F.M

I know I have talked about this subject before. But I still want to do it. First of all, it is because the month of November is the month of the poor souls, but even more so because we very seldom talk about it. Translated in real terms, it means we don’t often pray for them. The reasons for talking about them, or better, the obligations for talking about them, and therefore also for praying for them, can be three: first, we are in communion with them as the one Church, only that they are the suffering Church; secondly because they cannot help themselves anymore, only we can and thirdly, they can be a great help to us. Let me explain.

First, the Church is formed in three parts: first, the triumphant Church, namely all the saints in heaven (which falls on the first day of the month); second, the itinerant or pilgrim Church which is what we are and third, the suffering (or the purifying) Church, namely the poor souls in purgatory still waiting to be purified before they can go up to join the triumphant Church in heaven (which is on the second day of the month). We know all the heavenly members of the Church pray for us day and night, until all of us are saved. St. Therese of the Child Jesus did say this in her autobiography “The Story of A Soul”, namely that she would spend all her days in heaven praying for us until all of us are safely back in heaven. We can safely say that that is what all the saints, and also the angels, are doing in heaven. Up there all them are happy. They have nothing else to do except to rejoice with God and with one another and to do everything they could to make sure we shall all be saved just as the devils would try their best that all of us would end up like them, being cast in hell to suffer the eternal fire (Mt. 25: 31-46).

We say that the poor souls cannot help themselves. Indeed their time their time for making merits, for praying for themselves ended when they finish their earthly existence. Now they can only do the penance for their forgiven sins and pay for their not yet totally sufficient reparations. But they can also pray for us both now and after, especially after, they go up to heaven. And this is the most consoling mystery to know. The triumphant Church members do not need to pray for themselves except to pray to praise God, but they can and do pray for us both the itinerant and the suffering Churches. Again we the pilgrimChurch can pray to praise God, to defend ourselves from the evil forces and to alleviate the pains of the suffering Church. But the suffering Church, apart from praying to praise God, like any other creatures, they can only pray for us. But they will pray for us especially after we have hastened, through our incessant prayers and good works, their liberation from the pains of their purifications. This is the main reason for the Church to designate the month of November, normally a month of frequent rains, of gloomy clouds and of the disappearing beauty of the sunny summer, to remember our suffering brothers and sisters, impotent to help themselves anymore.

The Church tells us that the existence of purgatory is the Church’s firm belief, substantiated by the often quoted three scriptural references: II Macabes (12: 43-45), the Gospel according to Matthew (12:32) and I Corinthians (3:10-15). Let us not take this advice of the Church lightly. The suffering Church does need our prayers and good works. They need our help day and night. There are stories about these poor souls asking us to pray for them. They will repay us abundantly after they leave the purgatory and go up to heaven. They will become our powerful benefactors and intercessors just as we are now for them. May God bless us all!

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