During these past several weeks I have heard folks use the expression the Halloween Season, the Thanksgiving Season. I come from a time when these were both one day events and November was the month of the Holy/Poor Souls. All Souls Day was that special day when the priest could celebrate three Masses to remember the dead. The top of the altar was covered with envelopes with the names of the dead to be remembered throughout the month. Now people tell me that Mass Cards and Perpetual Enrollments are unfamiliar to the younger generation.
Even in 2014, the Church still calls upon us its members to remember the dead and to pray for them. The Vincentian priests and brothers are even directed by their Statutes as to how to pray for the dead. Statutes 26: 1-4 speak of obligations to the dead.
- It is the right of each member to have suffrages offered for him throughout the Congregation when he dies.
- Every month each member, according to his status, should offer Mass for the living and dead of the entire Vincentian family as well as for parents, relatives, and benefactors, adding a special intention for the preservation of the original spirit of the Congregation.
- In the same way he should offer another Mass for the members of the entire Congregation who have died during the preceding month
Their Provincial Norms tell them that in addition to the Statues, each confrere of the Province is to offer one Mass for the deceased members of the Province.
The Province has the beautiful custom of praying for the deceased confreres by name at morning prayer. I am always struck that at least once a year every member of the Province is remembered by name even though he has not been with us for years.
November is the month of All Souls but every day we are called to remember the dead.
We owe so much to the deceased. We need only to think of our parents and the love they showed us. Many times the kindness that others show us is because of charity that others, long deceased, showed them years before.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
Be assured of my prayers.
Michael Carroll, CM