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The Church Helps Us to Remember Our Beloved Dead

By: Pamela Folse

One of the wonderful things about being a Catholic is our rich tradition. The fall is a time full of such traditions, beginning with All Saints Day on November 1 followed by All Souls’ Day on November 2. All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation. When it falls on a Sunday, as it does this year, the Church celebrates the Holy Day instead of the usual “Sunday in Ordinary Time” Mass. When it falls on any other day of the week, Father Michael would celebrate as many as three Masses to accommodate the faithful who come to remember their dearly departed.

The faithful are encouraged to visit cemeteries and pray for the dead. Many Catholics put flowers on the tombstones of their loved ones. While there, they pray for the dead, tell stories about them and greet neighbors and friends who are visiting their beloved dead.

At St. Patrick Church, we display the Book of the Names of the Dead during the month of October for parishioners to write the names of our deceased loved ones. The book will be displayed in a prominent place near the sanctuary on the first weekend in November and Father Michael will remember them at Masses.

For the first time this year, we begin a new tradition here at St. Patrick. Since last All Saints Day, whenever there has been a funeral Mass or memorial service here at church, we have added to the wall near the candle stands a small wooden cross bearing the name of the deceased. We have invited the families of these deceased to submit a photo of them so that we can create a display of these Saints of St. Patrick. At the Service of Remembrance set for Tuesday, November 10 at 6 p.m., family members are invited to light a small candle in their memory and Father will present them with the small commemorative cross.

All Souls’ Day, November 2, is not a Holy Day of Obligation, but it does hold a very important part of our Catholic tradition in that it reminds us of all the faithful departed.

Let us not forget that here in the United States we also celebrate Thanksgiving, a day for reflecting upon family, friendships, our ancestors and the accomplishments of those who have gone before us.

Another great feast of November is Christ the King, the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, when we are reminded of the end of days and the second coming of Christ in glory and majesty.

The Church has prayed for the dead from the very beginning. These prayers included pleas for mercy for the soul of the deceased and that they rest in peace. You may remember hearing these words in Eucharistic Prayer I: Remember also, Lord, your servants (Name) and (Name), who have gone before us with the sign of faith and rest in the sleep of peace…) The dead are remembered at every Mass. Some may wish to offer a Mass for a particular intention, which is announced in the bulletin and at Mass. These can be offered for birthdays, anniversaries or other occasions. Mass can be offered for a person even if the person is still living, so you don’t have to wait until they are deceased to remember him or her.

The Church offers a beautiful prayer entitled the Subvinete as part of the funeral liturgy. You are invited to pray this for someone even now. Feel free to change the pronoun from man to woman:

Saints of God, come to his aid! Come to meet him, angels of the Lord! Receive his soul and present him to God, the most high. May Christ, who called you, take you to Himself; may angels lead you to Abraham’s side. Receive his soul and present him to God, the most high.Give him eternal rest, O Lord, and may your perpetual light shine upon him. Receive his soul and present him to God, the most high.

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