November: A Time For Remembering Our Faithful Departed

Posted on October 21, 2020 by Published by

November is a time for remembering and praying for our loved ones who have gone before us and whose loss we feel. It is a time when we are particularly conscious of those in our parish who are grieving and all of the families who have lost loved ones in the past year.

At Our Lady of the Wayside, it has been our custom to celebrate a Mass of Remembrance at our 5:00 p.m. liturgy on the first weekend of November. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and all of the public health safety restrictions, we will not be able to celebrate this special Mass as we have in past years. We will remember in a special way all of the faithful departed who have died in this past year at all weekend Masses celebrated on October 31/November 1, the Solemnity of All Saints. The names of each person will be printed in the bulletin on this particular weekend. There will be a lighted candle representing each of these persons on a table in the sanctuary at each Mass on this weekend.

Pope Francis has spoken regarding the remembrance of the dead: “The remembrance of the dead, the care of graves and prayers of repose are a witness of the confident hope, rooted in certainty that death is not the final word on the human fate, since man is destined to a life without limits which has its roots and its God.”

From the earliest days of the Christianity the church has honored with great respect the memory of the dead. The whole month of November is an interesting time of prayer as it is filled with many important feast days and it includes the days on which we commemorate all the saints (November 1) and all the faithful departed (November 2). It is also rather interesting and perhaps ironic that these days are celebrated when we see plants, grasses and trees going dormant, appearing to be even dead, while knowing that they are merely protecting themselves against the harsh winter that will come, so they can reemerge to a robust growing season next spring. The annual growing cycle in nature is a visible sign to us of new life emerging after what appears to be certain death.

Let us all take some time this month to especially remember all of our faithfully departed family members and loved ones in a special way. In baptism, they were promised the joy of everlasting life in heaven with God the Father at the conclusion of their life here on earth. We should acknowledge the sadness of their no longer being physically amongst us, and yet take hope and trust as our faith teaches: “Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.” (Roman Missal, Preface) Our faith challenges us to hope, trust and believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ who came to live among us and show us the path to everlasting life. The following prayer is taken from the Order of Christian Funerals and perhaps one that we might say frequently during this month of November:

“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.” 

Dan McMahon,
Director of Music


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