This coming Friday, November 1st we celebrate All Saints Day. The Catholic Church recognizes this day as a Holy Day of Obligation. We remember in a very special way on this day the many saints who came before us, holy men and women marked with the sign of faith. They set such good examples for us. We can strive to model our behavior after them and follow their holy way of life. We are challenged to learn from them and to learn more about them. Many of them were ordinary people who were guided by the Lord to do extraordinary things. We are encouraged to seek the intercession of our saints as we pray for wisdom and guidance and continue on our journey of faith.
Then on Saturday, November 2nd we commemorate All Souls Day. It is a day to honor and pray for all souls. We especially pray for our deceased relatives, friends, neighbors, parishioners, co-workers, and all who shared their lives with us. Speaking about the significance of this 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.”
In addition, on the following Tuesday, November 5th at 7 p.m., we celebrate the 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. For example, we can remember 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, especially during this first week of November, 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. We can also 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 provide these families with much comfort and guidance.
We are invited to honor our deceased loved ones and our great saints by participating in our Church liturgies on these very special days. Details concerning these liturgies can be found in the Parish bulletin and on the Parish website.