Today’s Question: Commemorating the Faithful Departed
“All Souls’ Day” is name most Catholics know for November 2, but the Missal calls it “Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed,” with “All Souls’ Day” following in parentheses. It is customary to pray especially for the dead throughout the month. How do you commemorate the faithful departed on November 2nd and throughout the month?
At Saint John’s Abbey, a new custom was begun a few years ago. A few weeks before November, we invite all visitors to the church, and everyone on our mailing list, to write the names of beloved faithful departed on a card. These cards are put at the entrance to the choir stalls, and monks take a card (or two or three) into Mass or Office to pray especially for the names on the card. This continues throughout the month of November, until Advent begins.
I hasten to add, given the checkered history of selling indulgences, and the 95 Theses that (at least legendarily) gave birth to the Protestant Reformation, we are at pains not to accept donations in conjunction with our invitation for people to send in the names of faithful departed!
What are your practices to remember the dead?
Moderator’s note: “Non solum” is a feature at Pray Tell for our readership community to discuss practical liturgical issues. The title comes from article 11 of the Vatican II liturgy constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium: “Therefore there is to be vigilance among holy pastors that in liturgical action not only are laws for valid and licit celebration to be observed, but that the faithful should participate knowingly, actively, and fruitfully.” (Ideo sacris pastoribus advigilandum est ut in actione liturgica non solum observentur leges ad validam et licitam celebrationem, sed ut fideles scienter, actuose et fructuose eandem participent.) May the series contribute to good liturgical practice – not only following the law, but especially grasping the spirit of the liturgy!