The first time I ever heard the name "St. Dismas" was in the 1992 movie American Me, starring Edward James Olmos.
So, it is fitting to remember St. Dismas, the one who said to our crucified Lord, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). Whenever I lead Stations of the Cross I have a hard time saying those words without my voice cracking. I am even more moved by the Lord's amazing response: "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).
I also remember years ago attending Mass at St. Albert's Priory in Oakland, CA, home of the Western U.S. Province of the Dominicans. For our communion hymn we sang this as a repetitive refrain: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom".
This memorial seems to me a fitting way to begin Holy Week, not that the Annunciation wouldn't be. In St. John's Gospel Jesus replied to Pilate after the Roman procurator asked Him, "Then you are a king?": "For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice" (John 18:37). We all know Pilate's reply to Jesus' statement. Unlike the Pilate and because of his desperate need, St. Dismas listened to the Truth and gained Paradise.
Apart from the Baptist (Matt. 11:11), there is no one in Scripture who's salvation is assured from the lips of our Blessed Lord other than St. Dismas.
To top it off, it somehow seems fitting that Flannery O'Connor birthday is today.