Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
How often we hear these words—every funeral, every memorial Mass, and throughout the month of November when we pray with special intention for all who have died.
There are many special customs connected to November, beginning with the Solemnity of All Saints on Nov. 1, which honors all the known and unknown saints. Expressed in our creed at Mass, this holy day reminds us of the connection the Pilgrimage Church has with heaven as we acknowledge our union with the communion of saints. This is followed by the Commemoration of All Souls on Nov. 2 which reminds us of our solemn duty as Catholics to pray for all the souls who have died.
You may recall some of our beautiful customs in November:
- Devoutly visiting a cemetery each day from November 1-8;
- On All Souls’ Day, devoutly visiting a church or an oratory and reciting an Our Father and the creed;
- Praying of Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer from the Office for the Dead;
- The praying of the “Eternal Rest” prayer (cited above).
Accompanying these sacred acts are partial and plenary indulgences which are to be applied to the souls in purgatory. I invite you to visit catholicculture.org to learn more about these practices and to renew our understanding about indulgences.
As we continue to serve the living poor and those in need who are among us, let us never neglect the joy of serving the poor souls and afflicted spirits who seek God’s incredible gift of divine mercy!