All Saints and All Souls
November is the month of the Holy Souls, a time to remember and to pray for all those who have gone before us. A necrologue, a book to write the names of those we wish to be prayed for, is placed in churches throughout the world, including in our own Chapel. Here, anybody who wishes, pupil, staff or parent, may write the names of those loved ones they wish to be prayed for.
At the beginning of November two great feasts of the Church are celebrated side by side: on 1st November is the Feast of All Saints and on 2nd November is the Feast of All Souls.
Raymond Friel has written two prayers for All Saints and All Souls which we print here for use during this month of remembrance.
Holyday of Obligation, 1 November
God our Father,
Today we celebrate all the saints in heaven,
The communion of saints, the billions of souls
Thriving in your presence. The Church is so much bigger
And broader than we think, with the living
And the dead, the celebrity saints, the unknown saints,
The saints with the cool names like Agatha, Alphonsus, Aloysius, Ambrose, Athanasius,
Bede, Blaise, Barnabas, Bonaventure, Boniface, Clement,
Cyril, Cornelius, Edith, Fabian, Fidelis, Gertrude, Hedwig, Ignatius, Isidore
Joachim, Justin, Maximilian, Norbert, Pancras, Perpetua, Polycarp,
Scholastica, Sixtus, Sylvester, Stanislaus, Titus;
And the names we know, names like our own, very much at home
With the all-stars of heaven, the team to be rooting for
Except it’s rooting for us, interceding for us
In the presence of God.
For every saint, there is a candle
So today we light a candle in our hearts for our saint,
The one who showed us a glimpse of God –
Our patron saint, our favourite saint, our school saint
And we ask them to pray for us
Through Christ our Lord
We pray for all those we love
Who are no longer with us, who are now
In your merciful embrace. We pray for their eternal rest,
As the Church has done for hundreds of years.
We pray for those who are left behind,
Who feel the pain of loss, the sharp pangs
Of memory of time spent together.
We pray that we will be attentive
To those who mourn, who may need some help from us,
A loving word, a kind gesture.
Jesus in his earthly life knew the pain
Of losing a dear one: his father,
his friend and mentor, John the Baptist,
his friend Lazarus, whom he raised from the dead
but one day would die again.
Death is the part of life we struggle with.
In our society, it’s not talked about much,
It’s almost denied, since for many people
There is only this life, so the end of life
Is a disaster, a great loss, but that is not the faith
Of the Church: Jesus died and rose again, he conquered death.
Our friends and loved ones who have died
Have not disappeared; they live in the radiance of God,
Forgiven, loved, looked after.
This is our comfort, they are in better hands than ours.
Categories: Faith Life Whole School