All you holy November men and women

"All you holy November men and women" by Jay Cuasay (

Copyright 2016 Jay Cuasay. All rights reserved.


The lead-up to November has been quite busy. We celebrated our first Confirmation Mass with our new bishop at the end of October. During those preparations, I learned that Cindy, an area music director, died. I became involved with preparations for her funeral Mass, which we celebrated just before the Feast of All Saints. My Tito Jimmy also passed away during this time period. So did the father of a high school classmate, both on All Hallow’s Eve.

There was something particularly touching about Cindy’s passing. I last saw her a year ago. We were in the same choir loft with roughly the same group of musicians and singers. We were gathered for the funeral Mass of her mother. Now a year later, when we are normally getting ready to meet up with Cindy to prepare for the Catholic Distance University Convocation, often with Bishop Loverde and usually someone sent from Rome, we find ourselves at a different distance.

Eulogies and Obituaries

There is something particular about losing liturgical musicians. Though they are often lauded in the moment when someone experiences a moving celebration, they are often undersung and little-known for the differences they make to the Mass as a whole. When one passes, I know it means one less liturgical ripple, one less celebration space that might be raised to the blues or gospel tones that are not always present in the white, suburban, or “traditional” pews and parishes.

Cindy was special. In reading her short obit in the worship aid, I discovered that she was adopted (at 6 months). After the Mass the music director, whom I had worked with on several Wounded Warrior projects started by Cindy, huddled us together to thank us. She reminded us that Cindy had no family left — we were it.

"All you holy November men and women" by Jay Cuasay (

Art by HC, copyright 2011. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

November’s Men & Women

So we move forward in November remembering Saints and Souls. Here on earth, NJ and VA need to be part of our prayers. For my family’s part, we have done much election work here in VA and still the race is neck in neck.

Unfortunately, that means an uptick in hate-mongering, scare tactics and outright muckraking. Our lawn signs have been vandalized with Nazi symbols. Hate mail spewing white supremacist, anti-Jew, and anti-African American literature was passed out with bags of candy on Halloween. People have pointed fingers at us during public demonstrations and mockingly pulled imaginary gun triggers. Some of our friends have had to change their names and seek police protection.

This is not normal. But it is what we live with after last November. And it often makes the church work I do seem laughable because very little has been done to stand up the good in the face of “the new normal.”


What else is there this November, but to look to the Saints and the Dead and say “PRAY FOR US”?

Copyright 2017 Jay Cuasay


About Author

Jay Cuasay is a freelance writer on religion, interfaith relations, and culture. A post-Vatican II Catholic father with a Jewish spouse, he is deeply influenced by Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism. He was a regular columnist on Catholicism for and a moderator and contributor to several groups on LinkedIn. His LTEs on film and Jewish Catholic relations have been published in America and Commonweal. Jay ministered to English and Spanish families at a Franciscan parish for 13 years. He can be reached at

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