We begin the month of November this Thursday with the celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints. It is a Holy Day of Obligation for all Catholics and we celebrate four Masses. All Saints Day is day on which we commemorate all the saints both the known and the unknown. The Catholic Church also dedicates the entire month of November to praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
On Friday, we commemorate All Souls Day as we pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. We celebrate three Masses and after the 9:00AM Mass we process to our parish cemetery, St. Patrick’s, to pray for the souls at rest in that sacred ground. I ask that you return your All Souls Day envelopes with the names of your beloved dead prior to Friday so they might be remembered on All Souls Day.
The Church teaches us that praying for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy. The greatest prayer we could ever offer for the dead is the prayer of the Mass. At Mass we unite our own personal prayers — those emanating from our lips, our hearts, even our bodies in all types of actions of loving sacrifice for others — to Christ’s own prayer in the Mass. The Mass is the continuous, saving sacrifice once-and-for-all begun during the Last Supper and finished on the Cross.
Pope Francis teaches us: “Church tradition has always urged prayer for the dead, in particular by offering the celebration of the Eucharist for them: it is the best spiritual help that we can give to their souls, particularly to the most abandoned ones. The foundation of prayers in suffrage of souls is in the communion of the Mystical Body.”
This communion as the Mystical Body of Christ is expressed most powerfully at Mass. Therefore, over the centuries the Church has venerated the practice of praying for the dead at Mass. The Church continues to have Masses offered for a particular loved one as well as praying, in every Eucharistic prayer, for all those “who have gone before us with the sign of faith.”
The All Souls envelopes with the names of your beloved dead are remembered at Masses in November. The Masses celebrated for deceased loved ones throughout the month of November is truly a an act of love, charity and faith. We hope and pray that others continue this tradition of faith and charity after we’ve gone to our eternal reward. This work of mercy is very much honored at OLM. Many parishioners never let an anniversary of death, birthday, or wedding anniversary go by without praying at Mass for the repose of the soul of a loved one. Some Catholics routinely have Masses offered for the forgotten souls in Purgatory. These are profoundly humble, Catholic and wise acts
In addition to having Masses offered for the dead, I urge you to pray daily in November this prayer of St. Gertrude. She was a great 13th century Benedictine nun and mystic, to whom Jesus had revealed this prayer promising that every time it was devoutly prayed it would help 1,000 souls in Purgatory:
“Eternal Father, I offer you the most precious blood of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home, and within my own family. Amen.”
We invite you to join with us next Sunday, November 4th at the 10:30AM Mass as we remember those parishioners of OLM who have died over this past year. All those faithful souls who we’ve laid to rest will be prayed for at the Mass. We have invited their grieving families to join us at this special Mass of Remembrance. I ask you to please pray for the gentle repose of their souls and the consolation of their family.
Please note that beginning next Saturday, November 3rd, the 5:00PM Mass moves back to 4:00PM on Saturdays until April. Also Confessions now begin at 3:00PM. Mark your calendars and spread the word! In November please pray for the dead as it is a spiritual work of mercy. Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon them. Don’t forget to attend Mass on the All Saints Holy Day.
Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Sox! Go Pats!!! See you on Monday at our final October Devotions!