By Laura Schemmel
November is the month of remembrance, prayerfully honoring the memory of loved ones. Most celebrations occur at the beginning of the month. November 1 is All Saints Day, a tribute to all saints, while November 2 is All Souls Day, dedicated to praying for the dead.
All Saints Day was originally established to celebrate the many nameless martyrs who were granted eternal life for their sacrifice. It was established by Pope Gregory IV in 837 to replace the martyrs’ celebration his predecessor Boniface IV had set on May 13. This feast day is a reminder of the commitment we made in our baptism to live the life of Christ. We seek to follow the example they set and as we are all one communion in Christ, we ask their help and intercession in our own lives.
All Souls day is a day of prayer for the dead that provides the opportunity for us to surround our beloved dead with our prayers, especially through the Eucharistic celebration, as we companion them on their journey to the Father. This is a joyful celebration. As Catholics our understanding of death is seen through the lens of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Our celebration is hope-filled for our hope, and the hope of all those who follow Christ is that even as we share in a death like Christ, we will share in a resurrection like Christ. Death is not the end and this feast marks our faith in this hope-filled future.
Each and every one of us will be touched by the reality of death on the walk of our faith. The funeral rites of our Church help us to remember that no one truly dies alone but is accompanied by the community of believers as eternity opens for each one of us. It provides for the family and friends of the deceased to actively enter into this moment of passage as we shape a truly fitting farewell for our loved ones.
Catholic Cemeteries has resources for you who are called upon to plan a funeral celebration for a loved one. The most advantageous time of preparation is before the crisis of an immediate death. In the course of a grave illness of a loved one, it would be beneficial and comforting for family members to familiarize themselves with the process of a funeral that would include a Vigil, Mass and graveside service.
During this month parishes throughout the Diocese will offer various ways to remember your loved ones like the Book of the Dead to place your loved ones’ name, a Celebration of Remembrance that could include a liturgy or mass with a time for fellowship and it could be as simple as offering candles to light.
For more information regarding Catholic Cemeteries visit our website, www.ccdsj.org.
You are invited to join Catholic Cemeteries celebration with a Mass at Gate of Heaven Cemetery (English) or Calvary Cemetery (English, Spanish and Portuguese) on November 2 at
11 a.m. Contact our office firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 428-3730 for more information about these and additional masses offered in other languages.