Start Date: 02 November 2017
End Date: 02 November 2017
Place: 365 Burrows Ave.
On the second of November, we are celebrating All Souls’ Day, also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, i.e. those who die with God’s grace and friendship. This is based on the Catholic theology that some of those who have departed from this world have not been perfectly cleansed from venial sin, or have not fully atoned for their past transgression. Being temporarily deprived of the beatified vision until such time as they have been completely sanctified in Christ, these departed souls are to remain in Purgatory, a state of purification. To assist them in this process to be freed from Purgatory, we, their spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ, pray that they may receive the reward of the saints. The Church teaches us that, when we die, most of us are in need of some process of purification. This process has traditionally been called “Purgatory”. As a more everyday explanation, many liken Purgatory to a place or state where one gets purified before entering into the presence of Almighty God.
The Catholic teaching on Purgatory essentially seen in our belief in two realities:
– First, that there will be a purification of believers prior to entering heaven and
– Second that the prayers and masses of the faithful are sure to benefit those in the state of purification. The prayers and Masses of the faithful do have an impact on the purification that the faithful are undergoing in Purgatory.
There are many customs associated with All Souls Day, and these vary greatly from culture to culture. In Mexico they celebrate All Souls Day as “the day of the dead.” Customs include going to a graveyard to have a picnic, eating skull-shaped candy, and leaving food out for dead relatives. The practice of leaving food out for dead relatives is interesting, but it is not exactly Catholic Theology. In the Philippines they celebrate “Memorial Day” based loosely on All Souls Day. Customs include praying novenas for the holy souls, and ornately decorating relatives’ graves. On the eve of All Souls (i.e. the evening of All Saints Day), partiers go door-to-door, requesting gifts and singing a traditional verse representing the liberation of holy souls from purgatory. In Hungary the day is known as “the day of the dead,” and a common custom is inviting orphans into the family and giving them food, clothes, and toys. In rural Poland, a legend developed that at midnight on All Souls Day a great light shone on the local parish. This light was said to be the holy souls of departed parishioners gathered to pray for their release from Purgatory at the altars of their former earthly parishes. After this, the souls were said to return to scenes from their earthly life and work, visiting homes and other places. As a sign of welcome, Poles leave their windows and doors ajar on the night of All Souls Day. In India special type of eats are prepared particularly in honour of the dead. Visiting the graves of the beloved persons and decorating graves with flowers is well practiced custom. All of these customs show the wide variety of traditions related to All Souls Day.
On All Souls’ Day, we ask God for mercy on those who have died. We pray for an ever deeper and abiding awareness of the steadfast love of God expressed through Jesus Christ. God’s love made known in Jesus Christ is the reason for our hope. Today is a day of solidarity between all Christians. It is a celebration of what we call the “Communion of Saints”, where ‘saints’ signifies all persons baptized in Christ. Our love and sense of duty do not permit us to ignore them. They are all our people some of whom are intimately known to us. They call out to our help and one day we too will need help from others. Let us, then, make the prayer of today’s Mass our own: “God, our creator and redeemer, by your power Christ conquered death and returned to you in glory. May all your people who have gone before us in faith share his victory and enjoy the vision of your glory forever.” Amen.