All Souls’ Day
Monday, November 2nd is All Souls’ Day and we are celebrating it Together as One with an Area Catholic Community Mass at 6:30 p.m. at the Church of St. Peter.
All Souls’ Day is a time set aside for us to honor those who have died. Remembering our loved ones and ancestors connects us not only with our personal history, but with the life of faith throughout the ages. In praying for our deceased parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, we remember that we were born into a family and those ties of blood continue to hold us together even after death. When we pray for deceased friends and neighbors, we remember that love is meant to form us into an even larger family as the Church – the Body of Christ.
Jesus Christ is the Lord both of the dead and the living (Rm 14:9). If we then are connected to Christ, we remain connected to all others through him. He is the means by which we are united to God and to one another, and nothing – not even death – can separate us from the love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (cf. Rm 8:38-39).
When a person dies, we believe they will go to one of two final destinations: Heaven or Hell. However, we also believe that nothing unclean or impure can enter into heaven (cf. Rev 21:27), so those that die free from mortal sin but still with some stain of unconfessed venial sin must first be purified prior to entering Heaven. This place of purification is called purgatory. Those in purgatory are destined for Heaven, but the time spent there and the trials faced are unknown. To speed that process and help make it as smooth as possible, we pray for those in purgatory – that they might be cleansed from all sin and swiftly reach the joys of Heaven.
All Souls’ Day is a day to honor and pray for all the dead – since we cannot definitively know the disposition of their souls as God alone is the judge (cf. 1 Cor 4:4-5, or James 4:12). We pray specifically for those we know whom have died as well as for all the poor souls in purgatory (whomever they might be). It is possible to receive a plenary indulgence (applicable only to souls in purgatory) by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departing during the octave from November 1st through the 8th (while also observing the other normal conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion, and praying for the Pope’s intentions).
Please know of my prayers for those who have died in our parishes, especially within the last year. May the Lord grant eternal rest to them and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.
As our national, state, and local elections take place this Tuesday, November 3rd. I encourage you all to vote (if you have not already done so). We are called into the world to work to improve society and bring the faith we have received with all its values to a world sorely in need of hope and love. It is good to make your voice heard and continue to advocate for policy after the election ends.
The Church of St. Michael will be a polling location on Tuesday. To try to limit crowds and observe social distancing, we will be cancelling the morning Mass and adoration that day. Regular Masses will be scheduled at St. Joseph and St. Peter. Please try to set time aside in your day to pray for our country and all politicians and candidates.
-- Fr. Timothy Gapinski