As we enter into this very celebrated weekend, I would like to point out three very important things that take place.
- Halloween – All Hallows’ Eve – The most beautiful All Hallows’ Eve I have ever participated in, was a few years ago, in Old Town San Diego. Friends of mine held a Requiem Mass for everyone who had died that year. Not just in the parish in which this Mass was celebrated, but through the entire world. All who were unknown to us, were offered Holy Mass. This took place at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town San Diego. It was in Old Town, San Diego, that Saint Junípero Serra celebrated his First Holy Mass in California on July 2, 1769, near the site of the present Immaculate Conception Church. At the same time we were celebrating Mass, Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos preparations were being made just outside of the Church, in streets outside. At the very moment the moment of Consecration, we rang the church bells, which echoed through the town. When Mass ended, we had a candlelight procession through the streets, singing the hymn Dies Irae, and praying for the dead, as we walked to the Old Adobe Chapel on Conde Street and then to Old Town Cemetery to bless the graves. All the people who were celebrating Day of the Dead early, stopped what they were doing, as we passed them in prayer. This is what Halloween is. All Hallows’ Eve, “a day when Catholics celebrate the triumph of the Church in heaven, and the lives of the saints on earth”. Catholic Answers has a beautiful reflection in regards to the day, “Putting the ‘Hallows’ Back in Halloween“
2. All Saints Day – All Hallows’ Day – See how it all goes together? Just as Christmas Eve is celebrated in anticipation of Christmas, so to is All Hallows’ Eve celebrated in anticipation of All Saints Day, or All Hallows’ Day. This is the day we commemorate all the Saints in Heaven, known and unknown, who strove to enter through the narrow gate and win the crown of Victory in Christ. Please read: What’s the Point of All Saints Day?
3. All Souls Day – “The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed” is a day of prayer and remembrance for the souls of those who have died. The Roman Catholic celebration is associated with the doctrine that the souls of the faithful who at death have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to venial sins and from attachment to mortal sins cannot immediately attain the beatific vision in heaven, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass. In other words, when they died, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven. This sanctification is carried out posthumously in Purgatory. In this year of Covid, where so many of us have lost loved ones due to this virus, please see Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary regarding plenary indulgences for the faithful deceased in the current situation of pandemic, 23.10.2020
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
So you see, this is a very special weekend, in which we place our thought’s and prayers, in the direction of the souls in most need, who’s earthy life has already ended and eternal life has officially begun. It’s a reminder that we too, shall die.
Memento mori is a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember you must die’. All of us need to remember that our time here in exile, this life, is not long but forever is eternity. How we spend eternity depends on how we have lived here. It is wise to prepare for this moment through repentance and heeding the words of our Lord: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate , for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Luke 13:24
Lord convert our hearts.