The Catholic Church begins the month of November by remembering all the known and unknown saints collectively on the Solemnity of All Saints Day (1 November). We also remember the Commemoration of the faithful departed on All Souls Day (2 November). It is our duty to pray with gratitude for the departed souls and all Souls in Purgatory, who are still being purified of their sins, waiting to be in communion with the saints in heaven.
We place the Book Of Remembrance with 4500 names in it at the altar and offer all their names, including all the forgotten souls, continuously in our weekday and weekend Masses. On individual levels, we continue to pray on our own and make penance and indulgences, so that they may be purified from the punishments of sins, just as the Scriptures of the Old Testament say: “Hence, he had this expiatory sacrifice offered for the dead, so that they might be released from their sin,” (2 Macc 12:45). We also obtain a partial indulgence by making a trip or two, together with our families, to the graves of our departed loved ones during this month. At the cemetery, we recite the Rosary or any other form of prayer, in memory of them. These acts of prayer, penance and indulgence provide us consolation here on earth, till we meet them again in the world to come.
Most parishes hold special memorial Masses and prayers everyday throughout November, for the departed souls. I invite all individuals and families from our parish to come together on Friday, 9 November 2018 to pray for our loved ones’ souls to rest in peace. We will have a special Evening Prayer for all the departed souls, which will take place during Holy Hour at our Church. We will begin with the Eucharistic celebration followed by Evening Prayer at 7.30 pm, and if time permits, we will have a fellowship in the courtyard, after mass.
It is important to pray for others, especially the dead. Praying for both the living and the dead is one of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, which gives us a sign of hope, in the promise of God. The separation is only temporary, and when we extend our prayers for our deceased loved ones, we live in the words of St Paul, “May God who has begun a good work in you bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6). As we remember them with love, we pray that the Promised One will speed them along, to enter the gates of paradise.
Who are the departed souls, which we could pray for, during the month of November? We could pray for our parents, deceased family members, friends, relatives, clergy and religious, separated brethren, people of other faiths and all the forgotten souls. We could also include the recent 189 passengers who were onboard Lion Air Flight JT610, which crashed into the sea off Jakarta, the 239 passengers onboard MH370, which went missing on 8 March 2014 or the 289 passengers onboard MH17 that was shot down on 17 July 2014.
As we count our blessings, let us be grateful for the departed souls and keep them always in our prayers, so that our God of Mercy forgives all the sins they committed during their lives, and grants them admittance into the kingdom of heaven. Throughout this month of November, we pray ceaselessly for all those whom we dearly miss. We pray for their eternal happiness and peace, and for them to be in communion with God. We pray and hope that they will become personal patron saints for us and for our families.
Eternal Rest Grant Unto Them O Lord, and Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Them.
May They Rest In Peace.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy