"The devotion to the memory of the dead is one of the most beautiful expressions of the Catholic spirit."
- Pope St. John XXIII
When we lose loved ones, the pain we experience is unbearable. The finality of our loss and the realization that our loved ones are gone from us is excruciating. But, does our loved ones’ death rob us of our ability to show our love for them or be of service and assistance to them – and they for us?
Our Catholic Church assures us this is not the case. Her teaching on the Communion of Saints talks with us about the “exchange of spiritual goods” that exists between the Church Triumphant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Militant. And, she tells us that “Our prayer for them [the Church Suffering] is capable of not only helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective” (CCC #958). This is one reason why we do not grieve as those who have no hope.
The Church specifically designates the month of November as a time for us to pray for our dearly departed loved ones as well as to consider our own mortality by reflecting on the Four Last Things - Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.
And, for our deceased loved ones and someday us, too, this is a great blessing. In a world that is quick to "canonize" the deceased, the ancient devotion of praying for the dead is often completely set aside or soon forgotten. But, recall the words of St. Ambrose. Of our dead loved ones he reminds and exhorts us, "We have loved them dearly during life, so let us not abandon them until we have conducted them by our prayers into the house of the Lord."
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest and most efficacious prayer we can offer for our dearly departed.
For this reason, I invite you to give your dearly departed the best gift you can during this month of November – a Novena of Masses.
I'll be joining you by remembering my departed parents, Willis and Johnnette Simon, my late husband, Anthony, my dear son, Simon, and all others whom I have loved and lost.
St. Thomas Aquinas said, "Of all prayers, the most meritorious, the most acceptable to God are prayers for the dead, because they imply all the works of charity, both corporal and spiritual." As we pray for our dead, God will be blessing us through their intercession.
This Novena will begin on November 2nd and will conclude on November 10th. Our dear friend, Reverend Father David Okullu, a priest of the Archdiocese of Gulu, Northern Uganda, will be the celebrant of this special Novena of Masses. Simply click here to submit the names of your dearly departed to be included in this special spiritual opportunity.
What a blessing and privilege it is to pray for our loved ones who have preceded us in death! We look forward to receiving the names of your deceased loved ones to send them on to Father Okullu. Don’t delay!