SAINT ANTHONY
PARISH

DOES HELL EXIST?

Dear Parishioners,
 
Last week I was reflecting on our “modern” understanding of purgatory. Interestingly, some people read it and gave me their feedback. Someone disagreed, another person thanked me for clarifying our belief in existence of such a place, still another one was surprised at talking about it because she thought the II Vatican Council dismissed the idea of purgatory. I see this as a perfect opportunity for all of us to look once again at our faith and at what we believe and start talking about it among ourselves while having a relaxed gathering with family members or friends. In all our discussions let us not forget the magisterium of the Catholic Church that has the authority to give authentic interpretations of the Word of God. That’s an important factor to keep in mind when it comes to the exchanging of personal views.
 
This is the last Sunday in our liturgical calendar when we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. The first and second reading continue using the apocalyptic language and speak of Christ’s kingship that is not from this world. But instead of talking about God’s kingdom today, I thought it would be good at the end of this liturgical calendar year to reflect on the Doctrine of the Church about Hell.
Interestingly, immediately a saying from my country of origin pops up in my head. It says: “Rejoice you soul, for there is no hell”. Oh, really? I consider myself an observer of our age and time, but I also know who I am and what I believe in. Since I grew up in the Catholic Faith Tradition, I subscribe to what the Catholic Church teaches about hell. CCC says in 1033: “To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell’”.
 
I observe in our society the desire to disbelieve in hell’s existence. Besides, it is such a “touchy” subject that there are so few people in the Church standing up for it because nobody wants to be known as hell’s defender. I certainly don’t have a desire to become one! Yet, this is what our Catholic Church teaches us! And in case someone asks us if there is hell, our answer as people of Christian faith should be YES. According to Pope John Paul II, “Hell is not a punishment imposed externally by God, but the condition resulting from attitudes and activities people adopt in their life”; hell is more than a physical place and is better understood as the state of those who freely and definitely separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy”.
 
What an interesting description of an understanding of hell coming from a man who spent all his life pondering on the mysteries of his – and ours at the same time – faith. If we look at the two saints quoted most often in the Catechism: St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, they expressed no doubt about the existence of hell. If we look at all our authorities – ancient, medieval, and modern – Scripture, tradition and magisterium, they all agree on hell’s existence. Of course, there is a postmodern attempt to change that belief by making hell as hard to enter as heaven once was. And the best way to answer all those who negate its existence is to tell them to take that up with Jesus, since he told us 80% of what we know about hell. Taken together, they describe a state that is permanent and painful. And it’s not as if Christ’s statements are vague or ambiguous.
 
As an example, let’s take one that is very chilling: “Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born” (Mt 26:24; Mk 14:21). What Jesus said about Judas would be unthinkable for one person to say about another. “Better not to have been born”? That is a very serious statement and there is no way to make sense of that if Judas got to enjoy the beatific vision.
 
An American poet from the XIX century by the name of Emily Dickinson dealt with themes of death and immortality in her poems. She also mentioned about hell saying that the parting is all we need to know about it. She defined hell as a permanent parting from God. It’s the permanent choice for something other than God. That should be, for a Christian, the worst thing imaginable!
 
Scott Hahn, one of the most widely influential Catholic laymen of our times says that hell is the proof of our freedom to choose. It’s the guarantor of our freedom, because love cannot be compelled or coerced. God wants our love, but He will not force us to love him. According to him, it’s fearfully possible to refuse God’s love. And this is what people really do as they take their stand and plant their flag celebrating that kind of rebellion. Someone jokingly said that the national anthem of hell is “I Did It My Way” (we love that song, don’t we?).
 
So, what is hell? With all the limitations of the terms in our language we can say that hell is “a train that jumped the tracks to exercise its freedom. It’s a fish that jumped the bowl to be free of the water”
In the traditional Act of Contrition, we say that we are sorry because we “dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell”. This statement is the beginning of conversion. We don’t want to be like the damned, who – according to Jesus – just wail and gnash their teeth. They don’t repent. They recognize their failure, but they are still too proud to do anything about it.
 
And CCC in 1037 says quite clearly: “God predestines no one to go to hell’, for this, a willful turning away from God (mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want ‘any to perish, but all to come to repentance’.”
 
Yes, despite the existence of hell, we do believe in the immensity and power of divine love!
Let’s choose God then, always and everywhere.
 
Blessings,
Fr. Tad
9:30 A.M.
McKean Rd
Religious Education, NOVA, and OASIS have all started, but there is still time to register if you haven't already! Don't miss this opportunity to plug into our faith formation and youth ministry programs!
Visit parish website https://churchstanthony.com/ for details.

Registration links below
Christmas Wreath Fundraiser
Coming Soon!

OASIS will be selling Christmas wreaths and garlands to fundraise for Youth Ministry. Please feel free to order for your friends, family, and neighbors! Wreaths will be sold on a first come, first serve basis - so act fast!!
 
Reserve your wreaths today by clicking the button or emailing analisa.fuentes@dsj.org for a direct link to the form.
Alternatively, you can call the office during office hours to place your order. Please note that due to supply chain issues, we are no longer able to offer door swags - we will of course still offer 28" Mixed Evergreen Wreaths, 22" Noble Fir Wreaths, and 10' Cedar Garland.
Thank you so much for your generous support of our youth and their fundraiser!
 


Tis the season of Giving!
The Outreach Committee is preparing 40 Tamale dinner boxes for families at the St. Joseph Family Center in Gilroy. We are in need of the following items:

Oil     Canned vegetables
Salt and pepper   Tuna
Sugar    Peanut Butter
Flour   Jelly/Jam
Cake/Cornbread mix  Canned fruit
Jello boxes  Bags of Rice and Beans
Non sugary Cereal
 
Donated items can be brought to the church office or
Vestibule between November 14th through
December 1st.
 
*Checks will be gratefully accepted and made out
to St. Anthony Church with “tamale dinners”
 in the memo section.

Advent Blood Drive
Roll up your sleeve and join the Pastoral Ministry of St. Anthony Parish for their annual Advent Blood Drive!
The Stanford Blood Center will be in the Big Church parking lot on Saturday, December 11, 2021, from 8:30-12:30pm. The Blood Center has taken steps to insure the safety of it’s personnel and their donors during the donation process. The worldwide pandemic has not lessened the need for blood products but it has greatly effected the amount of people willing to donate. After mass sign ups will be held on the weekend of Nov 20-21. 
Don’t want to wait sign up online at stanfordbloodcenter.org, or contact
Corinne Jarrett (408) 892-3152 or grammycmj@gmail.com to schedule an appointment. Thank you for your continued support of such a worthy cause.
 
Calling all Musicians and Singers
The 8:30 AM and 10:30 AM choirs are looking to recruit more singers and musicians. We are especially looking for another pianist to help at our Masses. Please consider sharing your talent and joining us in praising God through music.

Rehearsals for the 8:30 AM Mass are on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM and Sundays before Mass at 7:30 AM.

Rehearsals for the 10:30 AM Mass (The Band Fearless) are on Sundays at 9:30 AM and after Mass from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM Rehearsal in preparation for the following week.

For more information, contact Denise Delong at denisedelong68@gmail.com or speak to a choir member after Mass.
CALLING TO BECOME AN ALTAR SERVER

It’s slowly becoming the time to call upon our children to come back to church and to be engaged in the life of the parish by becoming an Altar Server. We would like to call upon boys and girls who have already received the 1st Holy Communion to register for this program. Parents, please, help your children to do so if they express such a desire to become an Altar Server. You can submit the name of your child to the Parish Office by email.
We are aspiring for a life giving and vibrant liturgy!
Your kids will have an important role in it.
Sunday Mass is an important part of our Catholic faith. The unexpected spread of the COVID-19 virus has challenged the way we experience the Eucharist. After needing to shelter in place, we prepare to reinstate the obligation of attending mass as cases begin to drop and the vaccination rates increase. Let us reflect on the sacrifices that were made throughout the pandemic and ask the Holy Spirit to ignite and guide us back into the house of our Father. We are invited by God to gather as a community at Holy Mass: “Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to His Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” (Catechism 2182) This weekly Holy Day is a gift to our spiritual nourishment, happiness, and eternal salvation. Let us once again stand and celebrate with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ATTENDING MASS
  • We encounter the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist
  • Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist as spiritual nourishment because He loves us
  • There are many graces we receive from the Mass
  • Encountering Christ in the Eucharist is life-changing
  • We connect with our faith-based community

May God bless you and your families as you come together, whether in person or in spirit, to celebrate and give thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving!
From Fr. Tad & the Staff
 
In observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday,
our parish office will be closed Nov 24th - Nov 26th.
The Office will reopen on Monday, Nov. 29th.

Santa Clara County and Diocese of San Jose requires
everyone to wear a mask indoors

Mask required for indoor Mass to protect you and your community
Saturday, November 20 at 4 p.m.
Indoor Mass at Little Church
Bertram Rd.
Sunday Mass, November 21
Big Church McKean Rd

8:30 a.m. Indoor Mass
Livestream
 
10:30 a.m. Indoor Mass

Weekday Mass :
Tuesday - Friday
8:00 a.m.
Visit the parish website for updates and other news
Office Line: 408-997-4800

Face Mask 2
Masks are required indoors regardless of vaccination status