If I don't miss my guess—and, eschewing false modesty, I generally don't—my thought is that my good friend, Father Dennis Brown, OMV, is not only shivering with excitement at the November 1 Feast...he's actually begun to celebrate it.
Father Dennis is one of those very blessed people who understand—who know within his very heart and gut—that the saints are, besides Jesus and Mary, our very best friends.
When he served in Boston at Saint Francis Chapel, the "optional memorial" of any given saint—any of them—was not an option at all.
Father Dennis, I do believe, would pretty much take it as a personal affront if Saint-Whoever-Heard-of-This-Guy wasn't honored at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
It's just the way he is. He not only loves all saints, but considers them personal friends of his.
And so they are. And of yours and of mine as well.
Father Dennis' resume includes, I believe, a stint at a participant in the Congregation for Cause of
Saints. What does this mean to me personally?
It made his a great confessor. Stern? No doubt about it. This man never refuses to call a sin...well, a sin.
But he also was and no doubt still is, God's instrument of hope. "Saints are sinners who kept trying" is a favorite admonition of his. As is, "Nunc Coepi" ("Now I begin!")...a favorite saying of his order's founder, Venerable Brunu Lanteri.
And so, as we celebrate all the saints, it's my great privilege to ask Our Lord to bless this good priest...a friend who not only introduced to me saints I'd never heard of, but more important? To rely on our "great cloud of witnesses" to pray for me...not just when I'm in a jam, but always.
Happy All Saints Day, Father Dennis! May you one day be a part of these great folks. (And don't worry...if you screw up? Nunc Coepi! ;-)
Father Dennis Brown, O.M.V., lives and works in the diocese of Lansing and Ann Arbor, Michigan. He regularly hosts retreats focusing on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, and also facilitates the formation of clergy and laity, especially in the discernment of the spirits.
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