Saturday, November 2, 2013

Never Forget the Dead {All Souls}

Do you give more thought to fallen leaves than to your fallen relatives and friends?  Some of our dearly departed are still awaiting heaven, in a cleansing place called purgatory, and benefit from our prayers and sacrifices on their behalf.

Whether one believes in it or not, purgatory is real and if we end up there we'll wish more people down here were earnestly praying for our release.  On All Souls Day (November 2) the Church commemorates all the faithful departed and we continue to hold them in our prayers in a special way throughout the month of November.

Priests are allowed to offer three Masses on All Souls Day.  Participating in these Masses (though not required) is an honor and a gift we can give the poor souls awaiting heaven. 

Father Saguto, FSSP, offers Mass at Holyrood Catholic Cemetery on All Souls Day.
An altar boy lights the candles surrounding the catafalque on All Souls Day.

Biblical scholar Dr. Scott Hahn gives a straight forward answer to questions surrounding the biblical truths of purgatory in an interview on EWTN's Journey Home.  As a former anti-Catholic and still zealous evangelist, his perspective is especially insightful

Father Vreeland, FSSP, prays absolution over the catafalque at High Mass.

If you've never been to a Solemn High Requiem Mass for All Souls Day, St. John Cantius Church in Chicago, Illinois, uploaded a video of theirs.  Consider it a history lesson in this year of faith.

Today I attended my first High Requiem Mass for All Souls Day at North American Martyrs parish in Seattle.  The Gregorian Chant from the choir loft above sounded heavenly, as always, and the somber tone of the sequence before the Gospel was especially moving.  I posted a short clip (above), which, though a poor amateur recording from the pew, gives a little auditory taste of today's high Mass in Seattle.

Someone once told Venerable Fulton Sheen, "I don't believe in hell."  Rev. Sheen quipped, "You will when you get there."  The same could be said about purgatory, "You'll believe in it if you stop there on your path to heaven." 
 II Mac 12:38-46
Hebrews 12:29 
1 Cor 3

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

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