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Br. Steve Herro's Blog


Br. Steve HerroBr. Steve Herro, O. Praem., professed solemn vows to the Community of St. Norbert Abbey in 1991. For several years, he headed the justice and peace ministry of St. Norbert Abbey and presently serves as Manager of Mission and Ministry, Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, VA. His current ministry connects him to national Catholic issues and Church ministers throughout the country.

DISCLAIMER: This blog represents Br. Herro's own opinions and experiences. It does not represent an official position or opinion of neither of the organizations, St. Norbert Abbey nor Catholic Charities USA, nor of any of the organizations' members.

November 1, 2014
Entry #33: Who will you remember this All Saints' Day?

by Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.

As the Church recognizes All Saints’ Day on November 1, I reflect upon my visits to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, a five-minute walk from my residence. Whether I visit to attend Mass or while hosting visitors, I am always struck by a row of memorials to a number of important U.S. saints: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Katharine Drexel, and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. Though they are not depicted in the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art in Washington’s Gallery Place, their importance to us cannot be underestimated.

I don’t intend this reflection to be a description of the lives of these U.S. saints. You can consult Catholic Online or Michael Glazier and Thomas J. Shelley’s The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1997) if you like. My point is that saints that hold an important role in the history of the United States deserve attention and I am glad that they are prominently remembered in the Basilica of the National Shrine, located in our nation’s capital.

We don’t honor them for elections, battles, or championships won; books written; movies starred in; or wealth accumulated. The accomplishments of these U.S. saints is intertwined with an appreciation for the diversity and social outreach of our Catholic religious heritage. Kateri was the first American Indian to be canonized; Elizabeth Ann Seton, Francis Xavier Cabrini, and Rose Philippine Duchesne lived longer lives and established educational, health, and social ministries, in the name of the Catholic Church, to the marginalized of all faiths. 

All Saints’ Day is sandwiched between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Between Halloween costumes, trick-or-treating, and lots of candy AND Thanksgiving family reunions, turkey dinners, and football games, let us not forget the saints that went before us. In 2014, the U.S. Church benefits from their courage, energy, dedication to ministry and love of God and neighbor. And while you are at it, say a prayer or two to help get a few other U.S. causes across the goal line of canonization; wouldn’t it be great to see Servant of God Dorothy Day, Fr. Solanus Casey, O.F.M. Cap., and Fr. Augustus Tolton remembered by the Catholic and non-Catholic faithful to our National Basilica at the same time as the saints mentioned above?



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