The above six words describe the who, the what, and the why of the Feast Days of November 1st - All Saints Day and November 2nd - All Souls Day. These two days combine in a most visible way faith and human reality – our past, our present and our future. Their individual threads of remembrance, celebration and belief weave together a fabric that entwines both our total humanness and our spiritual identity. We become “one”- a faith community we call Church. We enter into a relationship that is ever- present, ever-related, always together, never-ending.
We are born sinners and live as such during our lives. Because of sin we undergo death. Only the corruptible human parts of us die. Through the waters of Baptism and the purification of purgatory we are carried to eternal life – heaven.
As a people of faith we celebrate and remember events and people through prayer. On All Saints Day we pray for all those who have attained the status of heaven – they are truly “all saints”.
On All Souls Day we pray for those who have died but have not yet reached the glory where God is - heaven.
Who are “those” for whom we pray ? They are people we have personally known and loved that we were privileged to call our mom, dad, husband, wife, children, grandmother, grandfather and friend. They are people whom we may have read about or have heard stories about. They, like us, always remain in and for one another.
A very visible example of this continuing “spiritual relationship” is celebrated in Mexico, and by Latin Americans living in the United States and Canada called The Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos) which takes place on All Souls Day. It focuses on the gathering of families and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died – even bringing food for the deceased to share. It is not a mournful remembrance, but takes on a lively celebration for the souls have not died but are alive awaiting reunion. It is our belief that as we remember them – so they remember us. It is best expressed in the words… “Death, oh death where is your sting?” We are never divided, separated, alone.
We read in Sacred Scripture, that for those who have died in Christ, life has changed but not ended. May you and I through our remembering, celebrating and believing one day be joined with all the saints in heaven.
Please visit our website www.CatholicCemeteriesChicago.org for specific cemetery locations.