All Souls Day

All Souls Day has traditionally been a day of prayer and remembrance for departed friends and loved ones.  It was instituted on its November 2 date in the 1000s at the famous Abbey of Cluny in France, and its dependent priories.  It was, and still is, a day of prayer for the dead, particularly those in purgatory so that they may gain entrance to heaven.  Praying with and for the dead goes back to the earliest days of the Church when the faithful would gather for prayer in the catacombs of Rome.  In more recent times, the faithful still gathered in cemeteries to pray for deceased friends and family, as we will do, and also gathered in churches and homes.  In Mexico, the day of remembrance became known as the Day of the Dead.

Our Vespers on November 3 will offer prayers for both named individuals and all those at Calvary Cemetery who have no one to pray for them anymore, whether due to the ending of the family lineage or the falling away from the faith of later generations.  The evening will grow dark as we pray, bringing a sense of stillness and peace to the liturgy.  We'll pray the traditional Office for the Dead, which is said on All Souls Day or on any day for particular people that we want to remember.  The closing prayer expresses our faith in the Resurrection:  "Merciful Father, hear our prayers and console us.  As we renew our faith in your Son, whom you raised from the dead, strengthen our hope that all our departed brothers and sisters will share in his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever.  Amen."

Leave a comment