The Feast of All Souls
Our Christian Catholic Tradition dedicates the month of November to the memory of all the saints and all the souls that have ever lived in the course of human history. It is during this month that we remember in a very special way our beloved dead through prayer and ritual. We can do this in a variety of ways: offering a mass for the repose of the soul of our loved one, visiting the graves of the deceased and regularly setting time aside for prayer and reflection.
We continue to nurture our relationships with the deceased, confident that they, now fully redeemed, enter into that relationship changed and transformed. What a wonderful time to address any ‘unfinished business’ we have had with them, and rejoice in a new level of loving interaction through which the perspective is wider and the distance between us is less! In doing so, we begin to let go of the earthly bond we had with our loved one, and our relationship evolves from one of history to one of mystery, in which the imperishable nature of our loved one’s soul continues to burn brightly in the presence of God.
Why Pray for the Dead?
It is in the tradition of our church to offer a mass for the repose of the souls of our departed family and friends. Often the mass is celebrated on or near the anniversary of the deceased individual’s day of birth, day of death, or another significant day.
Offering a mass is a way to enter into communion with our beloved dead by engaging in prayer for them. We pray for our deceased loved ones to help heal our relationship with them.
We pray for them because we believe in the communion of saints. We pray for the dead to remain in communication with them. By praying for the dead, we share with them the pain of adjusting to a new life.
Praying for the dead ultimately transforms those who pray, and we discover over time that rather than praying for the dead, we are praying with them.
2015 Remembrance Pillar
The 2015 remembrance pillar bears the image of an eagle. The eagle’s wings remind us of our Christian journey toward the fullness of life in the Kingdom of God. Through the celebration of All Souls, we remember all the beloved deceased who have gone before us, and acknowledge death as the final threshold between our earthly life and the fullness of life in God, when we too will be raised up on eagle’s wings and held in the safety of God’s palm.
The pillar bears the name(s) of the deceased, along with the date of birth and death. The candles are lit and blessed during the Eucharistic celebration of All Souls.
Following our All Souls’ liturgy on November 2, the pillars are brought home and lit in prayerful remembrance throughout the month of November.