Since early October many of our parishioners as well as non-parishioners have come to inscribe the names of departed souls in the “Book of Remembrance” which is left here in our parish office. Today the book contains about 4,241 names of our loved ones who comprise our family members and relatives, i.e. our grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, aunts and uncles and friends who have died and are likely in purgatory. Our Catholic teaching speaks about after death, i.e. there is a period of purification which occurs in a place of Purgatory. We should remember our dear ones with gratitude and we pray for them.
Can we help those who are in purgatory? Definitely we can help them. There are countless souls in purgatory in need of our prayers. We may have forgotten and neglected them in our prayers. The souls in purgatory are suffering in a very real and painful way, a way we cannot fully comprehend. We have the ability to help them and relieve them by our prayers and actions.
The month of November begins by remembering All Saints on November 1st and All Souls on November 2nd. On these two days most of you came together with your families to the Church and prayed for the souls of your loved ones. The Catholic Church dedicates the month of November to pray for the dead. That’s why the Church provides us with a memorial Mass for all the faithful departed every November 2nd and invites all its members to remember to pray for them throughout the month of November.
As your parish priest I shall continue to offer up all the names collectively during the weekday and weekend Masses this month of November. During the weekend Masses the Social Media group will play the audio, the Requiem hymn in Latin and we shall kneel and remember them in prayers. We have been doing it these past 3 years during the month of November. Once again, we join our hands in prayers and offer Masses asking God to be merciful to them and to forgive all their sins which they have committed during their lifetime and bring them into their eternal reward. We offer our prayers, Masses, our love and our recommendation for the souls in purgatory to God who are probably not yet enjoying the fullness of His love.
Paying a visit to the departed in the cemetery or at the columbarium is a solemn occasion. Some of you are really caught up with your tight schedule and have not visited them in the cemetery or columbarium. Do make it a point to go and pay a visit to your departed relatives and loved ones and say a prayer and if possible light some candles or place a bouquet of flowers there.
We hope that the small sacrifice of time and prayers we make in this life will bring joy of meeting them in heaven one day and realising that we have helped them with our prayers. All Souls day also reminds us about our death. Everybody dies. Nobody lives forever. Each one of us is given an extremely limited time on this earth. How are you doing with your time? Are you doing God’s work with your life? It is time for all of us to get serious about our faith, our life and our deaths.
During this month, let us renew our commitment to praying for our brothers and sisters who suffer in the purifying love of God. Let us continue to pray for our departed loved ones and friends, and live our lives in the hope of eternal life.
A short prayer for the Holy Souls:
Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them O Lord, and Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Them.
May They Rest In Peace. Amen.
Requiem Aeternam dona eis, Domine Et lux perpetua luceat eis: Requiescant in pace. Amen.
Fr. George Packiasamy