Tag Archives: All Souls

Praying for the dead, All Souls

My soul is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is; I tell myself my future is lost, all that I hoped for from the Lord. (Lamentations 3:17)
These words are put on our lips at the funeral liturgy. We understand these words at the depths of our being not only at the time of someone’s death, but for many, many days ahead in dealing with the loss of a loved one. Time without the decedent can seem ugly, deprived, and hopeless. The author of Lamentations has it right: life can be very bleak. This would indeed be desperate if these words were the only ones we heard and remembered.
This reading from Lamentations also says, My portion is the Lord, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Good is the Lord to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him; It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord.

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Month of All Souls comes to an end

The other day my mother and I had the opportunity to visit one of the cemeteries where some our family’s dead rest. Today, my parents went to the other cemetery to make a visit and offer prayer. These visits made me think. The gives us an opportunity to make an act of devotion which annually begins on November 2nd and is carried through the month of November. Namely, Mass are said, prayers offered for the dead and we make visits to the cemetery to keep alive the names/memory of our deceased family and friends’ in front of God by asking God to be mindful of our loved ones with mercy. Hence, we pray for the dead, for those in purgatory (those who are saved but not yet with God in heaven) with the hope that one day they will see God face to face. You will recall that the only ones in heaven besides the Blessed Trinity and the Theotokos are the saints. Saint Robert Bellarmine said that those in purgatory are close to God and so having knowledge that they are saved, their prayers are effective for us. Hence, we pray for them, they for us.

Now at the end of the month of November, and that we are in the Year for Priests, say an extra for the deceased priests that you have known.

Eternal rest, grant up onto them, O Lord; and let me perpetual light shine on them. May they rest in peace.

Honoring the dead, the companionship of saints–the Catholic way


Holy Rood Cem.jpg

… while we visit cemeteries, let us remember that there, in
the tombs, only the mortal remains of our loved ones rest, while awaiting the
final resurrection. Their souls — as Scripture says — already “are in
the hand of God” (Wisdom 3:1). Hence, the most appropriate and effective
way to honor them is to pray for them, offering acts of faith, hope and
charity
. In union with the Eucharistic sacrifice, we can intercede for their
eternal salvation
, and experience the most profound communion while awaiting to
be reunited again, to enjoy forever the love that created us and redeemed us.

… how beautiful and consoling is the communion of saints! It is a
reality that infuses a different dimension to our whole life. We are never
alone! We form part of a spiritual “company” in which profound
solidarity reigns: the good of each one is for the benefit of all and, vice
versa, the common happiness is radiated in each one
. It is a mystery that, in a
certain measure, we can already experience in this world, in the family, in
friendship, especially in the spiritual community of the Church. May Mary Most
Holy help us to walk swiftly on the way of sanctity and show herself a Mother
of mercy for the souls of the deceased. (Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, November 2, 2009)

No such thing as a dead saint

The expression “a living saint” can be misleading. Certainly, we have encountered people in our own lives who fit that description, as best as we can judge. The Holy Church makes the final decision about saints. We celebrate them especially on All Saints’ Day, and on All Souls’ Day, we pray for our loved ones who are drawing more closely into the aura of holiness. The saints on the calendar are only the tip of the iceberg, and most of the saints who have ever existed are known to God alone. Perhaps churches should have a shrine to “The Unknown Saint” quite as we have a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. All Saints’ Day is rather like that.

 

St. Simon Stylites.jpgMy point, though, is that there is no such thing as a dead saint.There are saints alive now, and there are saints who have physically died, but all are alive in Christ and they are “busy” in heaven, to use a temporal metaphor. Some saints capture the popular imagination more in one generation than in another. For instance, St. Simon Stylites was admired in Syria in the fifth century for spending most of his life seated on top of a pillar. That is not a useful model for our day, although some may still remember Flagpole Kelly, and not long ago thousands of New Yorkers went to watch a man spend a week on top of a column up the street in Bryant Park.

 

Millions are drawn to Padre Pio, and some are compelled by an unmeasured fascination with his miraculous spiritual gifts, which were blessings indeed, rather than emulating his heroic humility and discipline. There remains an astonishing cult of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She was almost the reverse of St. Pio: totally St Therese of the Child Jesus.jpgunknown in her earthly lifetime, and accomplishing nothing conspicuous to her contemporaries. She would have remained such had not her spiritual writings been discovered and published. Perhaps she fascinates precisely because in just barely 24 years on earth, she did the most ordinary things with most extraordinary joy. Whenever her relics are taken on pilgrimage to foreign lands (not to mention the one that was taken on a space shuttle), hundreds of thousands pour out to pray by them. This happened most recently in England, where the media were confounded by the huge crowds.

 

Concurrent with that phenomenon, there were astonishing developments in long-moribund Christian life there, not least of which was the announcement of the first papal state visit to Britain and the expected beatification of John Henry Newman, who predicted a “Second Spring” of Faith in England. Then came news of an Apostolic Constitution, which will provide a unique canonical structure to welcome those desiring union with the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI, who well deserves the title “The Pope of Unity,” has shown the power of the intercessions of the saints.

 

Rev’d Fr. George Rutler

Church of Our Saviour, NYC

November 1, 2009

All Souls Indulgence

All Souls Mass.jpgEternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let the radiance of your light shine forever upon them (cf. 2 Es 2:35).

V. To you our praise is due in Zion,

O God.


R. To you we pay our vows, you who hear our prayer; to you all flesh will come (Ps 64:2-3).

 

Requirements for Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence on All Souls Day (November 2 )

– Piously visit a church to pray for the faithful departed

– Say one “Our Father” and the “Creed” in the visit to the church

– Say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the intentions of the Pope

– Worthily receive Holy Communion (ideally on the same day)

– Make a Sacramental Confession within a week of (before or after) All Souls Day

– that one be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin.

Requirements for Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence from November 1 to 8

– Devoutly visit a cemetery and pray for the dead.

– Say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the intentions of the Pope

– Worthily receive Holy Communion (ideally on the same day)

– Make a Sacramental Confession within a week of (before or after) All Souls Day

– that one be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin.

The “technical” things on Indulgences (so that we don’t fall into error)…from the Handbook of Indulgences, Norms:

“1. An indulgence is the remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose culpable element has already been taken away. The Christian faithful who are rightly disposed and observe the definite, prescribed conditions gain this remission through the effective assistance of the Church, which, as the minister of redemption, authoritatively distributes and applies the treasury of the expiatory works of Christ and the Saints.”

“22. The prescribed work for gaining a plenary indulgence attached to a church or oratory is a devout visit there, which includes the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed (Pater Noster and Credo), unless otherwise stated in a specific grant.”

“23. 1. Besides the exclusion of all attachment to sin, even venial sin, the requirements for gaining a Plenary Indulgence are the performance of the indulgenced work and fulfillment of three conditions: Sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the Pope’s intentions.


2. Several Plenary Indulgences may be gained on the basis of a single Sacramental Confession; only one may be gained, however, on the basis of a single Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the Pope’s intentions.


3. The three conditions may be carried out several days preceding or following performance of the prescribed work. But it is more fitting that the Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the day the work is performed.


4. If a person is not fully disposed or if the prescribed work and the three mentioned conditions are not fulfilled, the Indulgence will only be partial …”


5. The condition requiring prayer for the Pope’s intentions is satisfied by reciting once the Our Father and Hail Mary for his intentions (Pater Noster and Ave Maria); nevertheless all the faithful have the option of reciting any other prayer suited to their own piety and devotion.”

From the Handbook of Indulgences, Grants

67. Visiting a Church or an Oratory on All Souls Day
A Plenary Indulgence, which is applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on (November 2nd,) All Souls Day.
 
13. Visiting a cemetery
An indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the dead, This indulgence is applicable only to the souls in purgatory.
This indulgence is a plenary one from November 1 through November 8 and can be granted on each one of these days. On the other days of the year this indulgence is a partial one.

 

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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