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Our Patronal Feast

Our patronal feast is October 19: Saints John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues and Companions. Saint Noel Chabanel was one of those companions. This year, their Memorial falls on a Tuesday. It is always permissible to transfer the celebration of a parish's feast day to the Sunday nearest (in an effort to include the greatest number of the faithful for the feast). So, this weekend, we're pleased to celebrate our parish patron, Saint Noel!

Fr. G. David Bline, a spiritual director for the seminary community, who from time to time within the past year has assisted with Masses, shared that he was given relics of several of the North American Martyrs, including Saint Noel. In honor of our parish's celebration, he has loaned them to us for public veneration throughout this weekend, as well as on our actual feast day, October 19.

Why do we bother with the veneration of relics? To begin: to venerate is to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference; to honor (as an icon or a relic) with a ritual act of devotion. Veneration is not worship. Nor do we believe that relics contain magical powers. We do, however, believe that God's holy work is accomplished through good and holy people, like our great saints. We believe that even death, as Jesus proved on the Cross, cannot thwart his plans and that Our Lord's work continues through the saints even after their death.

Apart from countless miracles that have come to pass in association with these holy reminders over the centuries, relics also serve as our connection to our past. They are reminders that our saints are not simply names in a book or "make-believe" people. They were real, living, and breathing people just like us, who struggled with many of the same difficulties and doubts that we live with every day.

Saint Noel himself, captivated by the dream of becoming a missionary in a new France (Canada) wanted to work among the native people. He struggled to bring the Huron Indians to Christ, and had great difficulty in learning the native language, as well as a personal aversion to the primitive and base lifestyle of the native peoples. He discovered quickly how difficult it was for him to be the missionary he wanted to be. Tempted to return to France, in 1647, he vowed to remain with the native peoples until his death. Only two years later, he was murdered by an apostate Huron Indian on 9 December 1649. Through it all, he and countless others, have remained true to God's grace, God's love, and God's work in their lives. Relics, if anything, remind us of the reality of the Communion of Saints.

They remind us, too, that one day our bodies, just like Christ's, will be resurrected. This should lead us to remember to revere the beauty and complexity of God's greatest gift of the human body, and lead us to respect our bodies and the remains of the deceased.

Saint Noel is the "silent hero of the hard trail, a patron of the lonely and disappointed, a man of great courage and faith in the face of tremendous hardship," as described in our parish photo directory. If you find yourself relating to the movements within his life, take a moment this weekend and pray with him, together with the remains of his companions.


Although Bishop Malesic's schedule prevented him from joining us on our actual feast day, he was free the following evening, Wednesday, October 20. In honor of our parish feast and recent re-opening, he will dedicate our altar and consecrate the walls of our church. Part of the ritual includes the deposition of a saint's relic within the base of the altar. We were gifted a relic of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a Jesuit, the religious order to which Saint Noel and his companions belonged. This is a very significant event within the life of our parish. I encourage all of us who are able, to join us in welcoming the Bishop for the first time to our parish and for this historic celebration at 7 pm, this Wednesday, October 20. Hope to see you there!


  • AndrewgralmPosted on 10/16/21

    Bravo, what words..., a magnificent idea

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