This Monday, November 2, the Catholic Church celebrates the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed, or the Feast of All Souls. On this day, we pray in a particular way for those who have died. This virtual retreat offers a chance for you to reflect more deeply on what those loved ones who have passed on have taught you, as well as giving you an opportunity to offer thanks and determine how their legacy will guide your life.   In Mexico, the Day of the Dead holiday stretches from the eve of November 1 through November 2. During the celebration, family and friends gather to pray for and remember loved ones who have died – often with elaborate homemade altars.  They usually feature flowers, candles, food, drinks, photos, and personal mementos of the person being commemorated. The spirits are believed to share in the “essence” of the food and drinks from the altars. The food is consumed by the families days later.   There are many ways in which we can honor and respect their memories:  
  • By visiting a church, lighting a candle, and saying a prayer in memory of those who have died.
  • By visiting a cemetery. There, we can pray not only for people we know who have died but also people who have no-one to remember them. Choose any grave on your way into or out of the cemetery. Read the name of the person buried there, and pray for them. You can use this prayer: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”
  • By spending some time remembering those who have died. Look at photos of them, and share your memories with others.
  • By contacting someone who is grieving, either by phone, text or email, and offering them your support.
  • Research the many different traditions people do to celebrate the death of loved ones and perhaps take some ideas away with you.
  That time I thought I could not go any closer to grief without dying. I went closer, and I did not die. Surley God had His hand in this? Mary Oliver