All Souls- United In Christ

November is the month where we as Catholics dedicate our prayers to the deceased and give attention to the saints of the church. We pray for the intercession of the saints and for the souls that may be in Purgatory. This is the month when we remember those that served us in our military and give thanks for this wonderful country that through the grace of God, provides us with freedom from tyranny and the ability to worship without fear.  

In our Catholic cemeteries, we witness many expressions of our faith in God, all centered on the gift of salvation – the key to eternal life in Jesus Christ. When we gather to pray for all the saints and the souls of the departed, we do not ask their background nor do we inquire as to the color of their skin, we simply pray for all. A Catholic cemetery is an amazing place of unity, a place where we acknowledge our relationship with God.  

Allow yourself a moment to see this unity the next time you visit one of our Catholic cemeteries. You will read names of all ethnicities and all different nationalities. Kneeling at gravesites you will find members of all races, each taking the time to pray for their loved ones and ultimately expressing their love of God. In allowing yourself to recognize this unity, you will find peace and comfort in a place where there is no partiality. 

In our Catholic cemeteries, we celebrated Mass on Cemetery Sunday, where we offered prayers for all souls that may find themselves in need of our prayers. As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, and the birth of Christ soon to follow, it is up to each of us to pray for the souls of our faithfully departed. We must remember that we are all created in the likeness and image of God and in death each of us will return to Him for our final evaluation. Pray for those that may be in Purgatory, be thankful for the gift of each other as we journey toward our life in paradise.

God bless,

Andrej Lah

All Saints, All Souls, and Cemetery Sunday: What are the differences?

While many of us “cradle Catholics” have grown up with the expectation of attending Mass the day after Halloween in observance of All Saints Day, I’m sure that there are some of us, myself included, that never really stopped to ask why All Saints Day was a holy day of obligation. Even more so, I was never aware that there are two other major Catholic observances in the month of November: All Souls Day and Cemetery Sunday. While all related, these three days are actually quite different, and each offers its own special intention. Keep reading to learn more about these three holy days, how they’re different, and how you can celebrate them.

 

cemetery sunday

 

All Saints Day (November 1st)

As I mentioned, All Saints Day (officially named Solemnity of All Saints) is the most well-known of the three November observances. All Saints Day is meant to be a celebration of the souls that are currently in Heaven. These souls include both known saints recognized by the church, and those that are unknown. Being a Holy Day of Obligation, All Saints Day is celebrated with a special Mass.

All Souls Day (November 2nd)

Not to be confused with All Saints Day, All Souls Day is a day dedicated to souls who are not in Heaven. This day is a chance for those of us here on Earth to offer prayers and intentions for those souls in purgatory– that they may find eternal peace and rest in the Kingdom of Heaven. While not a holy day of obligation, All Souls Day is an opportunity for all Catholics to pray for our departed brothers and sisters.

Cemetery Sunday (First Sunday in November)

Cemetery Sunday, while closely related to All Saints and All Souls Day, is rather unique. Proposed by the National Catholic Cemetery Conference in 1978, the day focuses on the physical location where souls are laid to rest: the cemetery. Catholic cemeteries are sacred ground, as they are blessed upon their founding, and they are treated as an extension of the Church itself. Therefore, Cemetery Sunday is a day dedicated to those buried in a Catholic cemetery. The day is normally celebrated with a special Mass on cemetery grounds. Cemetery Sunday is a spiritual way to honor family members who have passed, and provides families with a special opportunity to visit the graves of their dearly departed loved ones.

The Catholic Cemeteries Association will be celebrating Cemetery Sunday on November 3rd, 2019.  Mass will be said at 3pm. Click here for more information: https://www.clecem.org/Events/CemeterySunday.aspx

 

For more information, please email Rhonda Abrams at rabrams@clecem.org

Post written by Katie Karpinski