Then on Wednesday, we commemorate All Souls Day. It is a day to honor and pray for all souls. In speaking about All Souls Day, Pope Francis stated, “Church tradition has always urged prayer for the dead, in particular by offering the celebration of the Eucharist for them: it is the best spiritual help that we can give to their souls particularly to the most abandoned ones.” We especially pray for our deceased relatives, friends, neighbors, parishioners, co-workers, and all who shared their lives with us. Pope Francis has also called on us to remember “…the victims of war and violence, the many ‘little ones’ of the world crushed by hunger and poverty” and “our brothers and sisters killed because they are Christians and those who sacrificed their lives to serve others.”
In addition, on this day at 7:00 p.m., we will celebrate a Mass of Remembrance. As in the past, we will honor the memory of those loved ones who have died, including those who have died recently. We can especially remember those loved ones whose time on earth was brief. We can remember, for example, those who died in war to protect our freedoms, those who died in auto accidents, those who died in fires, and all those who died prematurely for some reason. A litany of names and an offering of roses with appropriate lighting of candles will mark this special occasion.
As Catholics, we are invited to visit grave sites as we strive to honor our dead and to bring spiritual peace and consolation to families who mourn for their loved ones. In addition, we can give thanks for all those who give of their time to participate in our bereavement and grief sharing ministries, and who do so much to assist families in their time of mourning and grief. They are truly a blessing to our Church.
As we celebrate these special days, we are invited to thank the Lord for our loved ones who have come before us and for all the great saints who have responded in faith to the call of our Divine Savior.