Monday, November 01, 2010

All Souls Day

I took a bit of an expedition this weekend. I have shared in an earlier blog that I went to the cemetery and placed a pumpkin on my father's grave. It was a gorgeous fall day, and I drove around looking at the fall colors and at the variety of grave markers.... some old.. some very contemporary. I had to wonder about the people buried there... who comes to visit their graves, to pay them respect, and most importantly, to pray for them. My own family has quite a large plot there... and as I looked at their graves, and "spoke to them" it occured to me that as All Soul's Day is soon, that I should be praying for them!

What is All Soul's Day all about anyway? Here is a great exlpanation from the "Women for Faith and Family's" website:

From the beginning, Christians have prayed for the dead and have undertaken works of penance on their behalf. There is scriptural basis for this intercessory prayer for the sins of others and for the dead in the Old Testament. Job's sacrifices purified his sons (Job 1:5); and Judas Maccabeus "made atonement for the dead that they be delivered from their sin" (II Macc 12:46). The tradition in the Church of having Masses said for the dead began in the earliest times. The pre-Christian Roman religion, which held that some form of life continued after death, gave votive offerings to the gods for the dead at three specified times: the third, seventh and thirtieth day after death. This practice of praying for the departed on these same days was adopted ("inculturated") by the early Christians -- and continued in the Church for nearly 2000 years: the Church offered Masses for the deceased person on the third, seventh and thirtieth day after death.

Beginning in the year 998, All souls -- the "faithful departed" -- were officially remembered in the Church's prayers on the evening of November 1, and with Requiem Masses, Masses for the dead, on November 2. All Souls Day is now a feast of the universal Church. (The word "requiem" is Latin for "rest".) Following the Second Vatican Council, all Masses celebrated on All Saints day observe that feast, not "All souls". Three Masses may still be said on All Souls Day. The first two are Masses for Burial, and the third is a Mass for the Dead. Black vestments may be worn on this day.

We pray for the faithful departed, those who have been baptized, but who need to be completely purified of all stain of sin before they come into full union with God in Heaven. In other words, most of us. The Church's teaching about Purgatory, the place of purification, is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (§1030-1032)

Here are a couple of prayers that can be said every night at bed time, or whenever you pray, for your deceased loved ones:

Heavenly Father, You sent Christ Jesus your Son to wash away the sins of all mankind through His perfect sacrifice,and you cleansed our departed brothers and sisters in the waters of baptism. May His perfect sacrifice free them from the power of death and give them eternal life. In your mercy, O Lord, grant them eternal rest, and may perpetual light shine on them forever. +



Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,and let perpetual light shine upon them.May they rest in peace.


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