November 2nd is All Soul’s Day when we not only remember our deceased relatives and friends, but also pray for them. We do so because they might not yet be in heaven but in purgatory. If so, our prayers, sacrifices, and almsgiving can expedite their entry into heaven. Going to Mass on November 2nd is a great help, but also going to any cemetery on the 2nd and the next 8 days to pray for them is a big help as well. Since November is the Month of All Souls in Purgatory, it would be good to pray daily for these souls and encourage all family members—especially our children—to do so as well.
While our thoughts are on the dead, it might be wise to ensure that we are prepared for our entry into the next life. Is our Will up to date? Do we have a power of attorney prepared? How about advanced medical directives? When someone dies, a funeral director is usually contacted, who then calls the church and then meets with the family. The Church’s preference is that Catholics be buried in consecrated ground of a Catholic cemetery, but other cemeteries may be chosen. Cremation is allowed, but the Church recommends burial over cremation. If cremation is chosen, cremation should take place after the funeral Mass, and cremains must also be interred in the ground or columbarium or a vault. They should not be kept at home, scattered, or divided among family members. They should be given the same respect as a deceased body. A centuries-old custom is to celebrate a Mass for the deceased on the one month anniversary of their death, called a Month’s Mind Mass. And it is customary to arrange for Mass intentions for the deceased, perhaps on their birthday, anniversary, or death date.
Finally, why not check the bulletin for the Masses honoring the Souls, and come and pray for them. Hopefully, when our time comes, they will be praying for us!