Our Feria Friday
post is a little early this week as we will be away from the computer for All Saints and All Souls Days. Don't forget to enter our November Give A Way
Lives of the Saints
, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. 1894
THE Church teaches us that the souls of the just who have left this world soiled with the stain of venial sin remain for a time in a place of expiation, where they suffer such punishment as may be due to their offences. It is a matter of faith that these suffering souls are relieved by the intercession of the Saints in heaven and by the prayers of the faithful upon earth. To pray for the dead is, then, both an act of charity and of piety. We read in Holy Scripture: "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." And when Our Lord inspired St. Odilo, Abbot of Cluny, towards the close of the tenth century, to establish in his Order a general commemoration of all the faithful departed, it was soon adopted by the whole Western Church, and has been continued unceasingly to our day. Let us, then, ever bear in mind the dead and offer up our prayers for them. By showing this mercy to the suffering souls in purgatory, we shall be particularly entitled to be treated with mercy at our departure from this world, and to share more abundantly in the general suffrages of the Church, continually offered for all who have slept in Christ.
This weeks Friday Fare
The Path to Rome -Hillarie Belloc
Well, once there was a Learned Man who had a bargain with the Devil that he should warn the Devil's emissaries of all the good deeds done around him so that they could be upset, and he in turn was to have all those pleasant things of this life which the Devil's allies usually get, to wit a Comfortable Home, Self-Respect, good health, 'enough money for one's rank', and generally what is called 'a happy useful life'--till midnight of All-Hallowe'en in the last year of the nineteenth century.
So this Learned Man did all he was required, and daily would inform the messenger imps of the good being done or prepared in the neighbourhood, and they would upset it; so that the place he lived in from a nice country town became a great Centre of Industry, full of wealth and desirable family mansions and street property, and was called in hell 'Depot B' (Depot A you may guess at). But at last toward the 15th of October 1900, the Learned Man began to shake in his shoes and to dread the judgement; for, you see, he had not the comfortable ignorance of his kind, and was compelled to believe in the Devil willy-nilly, and, as I say, he shook in his shoes.
So he bethought him of a plan to cheat the Devil, and the day before All-Hallowe'en he cut a very small round hole in the floor of his study, just near the fireplace, right through down to the cellar. Then he got a number of things that do great harm (newspapers, legal documents, unpaid bills, and so forth) and made ready for action.
Next morning when the little imps came for orders as usual, after prayers, he took them down into the cellar, and pointing out the hole in the ceiling, he said to them:
'My friends, this little hole is a mystery. It communicates, I believe, with the chapel; but I cannot find the exit. All I know is, that some pious person or angel, or what not, desirous to do good, slips into it every day whatever he thinks may be a cause of evil in the neighbourhood, hoping thus to destroy it' (in proof of which statement he showed them a scattered heap of newspapers on the floor of the cellar beneath the hole). 'And the best thing you can do,' he added, 'is to stay here and take them away as far as they come down and put them back into circulation again. Tut! tut!' he added, picking up a moneylender's threatening letter to a widow, 'it is astonishing how these people interfere with the most sacred rights! Here is a letter actually stolen from the post! Pray see that it is delivered.'
So he left the little imps at work, and fed them from above with all manner of evil-doing things, which they as promptly drew into the cellar, and at intervals flew away with, to put them into circulation again.
That evening, at about half-past eleven, the Devil came to fetch the Learned Man, and found him seated at his fine great desk, writing. The Learned Man got up very affably to receive the Devil, and offered him a chair by the fire, just near the little round hole.
'Pray don't move,' said the Devil; 'I came early on purpose not to disturb you.'
'You are very good,' replied the Learned Man. 'The fact is, I have to finish my report on Lady Grope's Settlement among our Poor in the Bull Ring--it is making some progress. But their condition is heart-breaking, my dear sir; heart-breaking!'
AND THE LEARNED MAN
'I can well believe it,' said the Devil sadly and solemnly, leaning back in his chair, and pressing his hands together like a roof. 'The poor in our great towns, Sir Charles' (for the Learned Man had been made a Baronet), 'the condition, I say, of the--Don't I feel a draught?' he added abruptly. For the Devil can't bear draughts.
'Why,' said the Learned Man, as though ashamed, 'just near your chair thereis a little hole that I have done my best to fill up, but somehow it seemed impossible to fill it... I don't know...'
The Devil hates excuses, and is above all practical, so he just whipped the soul of a lawyer out of his side-pocket, tied a knot in it to stiffen it, and shoved it into the hole.
'There!' said the Devil contentedly; 'if you had taken a piece of rag, or what not, you might yourself... Hulloa!...' He looked down and saw the hole still gaping, and he felt a furious draught coming up again. He wondered a little, and then muttered: 'It's a pity I have on my best things. I never dare crease them, and I have nothing in my pockets to speak of, otherwise I might have brought something bigger.' He felt in his left-hand trouser pocket, and fished out a pedant, crumpled him carefully into a ball, and stuffed him hard into the hole, so that he suffered agonies. Then the Devil watched carefully. The soul of the pedant was at first tugged as if from below, then drawn slowly down, and finally shot off out of sight.
'This is a most extraordinary thing!' said the Devil.
'It is the draught. It is very strong between the joists,' ventured the Learned Man.
'Fiddle-sticks ends!' shouted the Devil. 'It is a trick! But I've never been caught yet, and I never will be.'
He clapped his hands, and a whole host of his followers poured in through the windows with mortgages, Acts of Parliament, legal decisions, declarations of war, charters to universities, patents for medicines, naturalization orders, shares in gold mines, specifications, prospectuses, water companies' reports, publishers' agreements, letters patent, freedoms of cities, and, in a word, all that the Devil controls in the way of hole-stopping rubbish; and the Devil, kneeling on the floor, stuffed them into the hole like a madman. But as fast as he stuffed, the little imps below (who had summoned a number of their kind to their aid also) pulled it through and carted it away. And the Devil, like one possessed, lashed the floor with his tail, and his eyes glared like coals of fire, and the sweat ran down his face, and he breathed hard, and pushed every imaginable thing he had into the hole so swiftly that at last his documents and parchments looked like streaks and flashes. But the loyal little imps, not to be beaten, drew them through into the cellar as fast as machinery, and whirled them to their assistants; and all the poor lost souls who had been pressed into the service were groaning that their one holiday in the year was being filched from them, when, just as the process was going on so fast that it roared like a printing-machine in full blast, the clock in the hall struck twelve.
APPARITION OF ST CHARLES BORROMEO
The Devil suddenly stopped and stood up. 'Out of my house,' said the Learned Man; 'out of my house! I've had enough of you, and I've no time for fiddle-faddle! It's past twelve, and I've won!'
The Devil, though still panting, smiled a diabolical smile, and pulling out his repeater (which he had taken as a perquisite from the body of a member of Parliament), said, 'I suppose you keep Greenwich time?'
'Certainly!' said Sir Charles.
'Well,' said the Devil, 'so much the worse for you to live in Suffolk. You're four minutes fast, so I'll trouble you to come along with me; and I warn you that any words you now say may be used against...'
At this point the Learned Man's patron saint, who thought things had gone far enough, materialized himself and coughed gently. They both looked round, and there was St Charles sitting in the easy chair.
'So far,' murmured the Saint to the Devil suavely, 'so far from being four minutes too early, you are exactly a year too late.' On saying this, the Saint smiled a genial, priestly smile, folded his hands, twiddled his thumbs slowly round and round, and gazed in a fatherly way at the Devil.
'What do you mean?' shouted the Devil.
'What I say,' said St Charles calmly; '1900 is not the last year of the nineteenth century; it is the first year of the twentieth.'
'Oh!' sneered the Devil, 'are you an anti-vaccinationist as well? Now, look here' (and he began counting on his fingers); 'supposing in the year 1 B.C. ...'
'I never argue,' said St Charles.
'Well, all I know is,' answered the Devil with some heat, 'that in this matter as in most others, thank the Lord, I have on my side all the historians and all the scientists, all the universities, all the...'
'And I,' interrupted St Charles, waving his hand like a gentleman (he is a Borromeo), 'I have the Pope!'
At this the Devil gave a great howl, and disappeared in a clap of thunder, and was never seen again till his recent appearance at Brighton.
So the Learned Man was saved; but hardly; for he had to spend five hundred years in Purgatory catechizing such heretics and pagans as got there, and instructing them in the true faith. And with the more muscular he passed a knotty time.
The end of this week brings us the great three days surrounding the Feast of All Saint's Day! Wednesday is the first of those days, called All Hallow's Eve, in the past known as a day of fast and abstinence. All Saint's Day follows on the first, bring a great day of feasting with all the Blessed in Heaven! November 3rd brings us to All Soul's Day where we remember those suffering the flames of Purgatory awaiting their release. It is in honor of this day that we are giving way November's gifts!
A few years ago now, we were given, as a gift, from those lovely people at Mother of Our Savior, the book titled Purgation Manual. My grandfather had passed away and they were so kind to send us this little book. It has been a great comfort over the years and a daily devotion in our family since. We would like to share this wonderful devotion with you! By entering below you have 4 ways to win one of the TEN copies that we are giving away! We pray that you will enjoy this book as much as we have. As always you may purchase your own copy over at Refuge of Sinner's Publishing
, they also just released a couple of other books on the Poor Souls along with many other great titles! Have a most blessed Hallow's Eve, All Saints and All Souls days!
"I saw a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before th throne, and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands: and they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God!"
A popular secular celebration is upon us, today's Keeping It Catholic Monday
is about the Catholic Holy Days coming up and the traditions of the Church in regarding what is called now a days Halloween. In edition to the wonderful words of Dom Gueranger is a wonderful blog post Hallowe'en- Pegan or Catholic Celebration
October 31st Vigil of All SaintsThe Liturgical Year Vol.14By: Dom Gueranger Imprimatur 1927
LET us prepare our souls for the graces heaven is about to shower upon the earth in return for its homage. To-morrow the Church will be so overflowing with joy, that she will seem to be already in possession of eternal happiness;but to-day she appears in the garb of penance, confessing that she is still an exile. Let us fast and pray with her; for are not we too pilgrims and strangers in this world, where all things are fleeting and hurry on to death? Year by year, as the great solemnity comes round, it has gathered from among our former companions new saints, who bless our tears and smile upon our songs of hope. Year by year the appointed time draws nearer, when we ourselves, seated at the heavenly banquet, shall receive the homage of those who succeed us, and hold out a helping hand to draw them after us to the home of everlasting happiness. Let us learn, from this very hour, to emancipate our souls; let us keep our hearts free, in the midst of the vain solicitudes and false pleasures of a strange land: the exile has no care but his banishment, no joy but that which gives him a foretaste of his fatherland.Feast of All Saints - November 1
TIME is no more; it is the human race eternally saved that is thus presented in vision to the prophet of Patmos. Our life of struggle and suffering on earth is, then, to have an end. Our long-lost race is to fill up the angelic ranks thinned by Satan's revolt; and, uniting in the gratitude of the redeemed of the Lamb, the faithful spirits will sing with us: 'Thanksgiving, honour, and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever!' (Ibid. 12)
And this shall be the end, as the apostle says; (1 Cor. xv. 24) the end of death and suffering; the end of history and of its revolutions, which will then be explained. The old enemy, hurled down with his followers into the abyss, will live on only to witness his own eternal defeat. The Son of man, the Saviour of the world, will have delivered the kingdom of God His Father; and God, the last end of creation and of redemption, will be all in all. (I Cor. xv. 24-28)
Long before the seer of the Apocalypse, Isaias sang: 'I saw the Lord sitting upon the throne high and elevated, and His train filled the temple. And the Seraphim cried one to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of His glory.' (IS. vi. 1-3) The train and fringes of God's vesture are the elect, who are the adornment of the World, the splendour of the Father. For, since the Word has espoused our human nature, that nature is His glory, as He is the glory of God. The bride herself is clothed with the justifications of the saints' and when this glittering robe is perfected, the signal will be give for the end of time. This feast announces the ever-growing nearness of the eternal nuptials; for on it we annually celebrate the progress of the bride's preparation.
Blessed are they that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb! (Apoc. xix. 9) Blessed are we all, who have received in Baptism the nuptial robe of holy charity, which entitles us to a seat at the heavenly banquet! LEt us prepare ourselves for the unspeakable destiny reserved for us by love. To this end are directed all the labours of this life: toils, struggles, sufferings for God's sake, all adorn with priceless jewels the garment of grace, the clothing of the elect. Blessed are they that mourn! (St. Matt. v. 5)
They that have gone before us wept as they turned the furrows and cast in the seed; but now their triumphant joy overflows upon us as an anticipated glory in this valley of tears. Without waiting for the dawn of eternity, the present solemnity gives u s to enter by hope into the land of light, whither our fathers have followed Jesus, the divine forerunner. Do not the thors of suffering lose their sharpness at the sight of the eternal joys into which they are to blossom? Does not the happiness of the dear departed cause a heavenly sweetness to mingle with our sorrow? Let us hearken to the chants of deliverance sung by those for whom we weep; 'little and great,' this is the feast of them all, as it will one day be ours. At this season, when cold and darkness prevail, Nature herself, stripping off her last adornments, seems to be preparing the world for the passage of the human race into the heavenly country. Let us, then, sing with the palmist: 'I have rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord. Our feet as yet stand only in thy outer courts; but we see thy building ever going on, O Jerusalem, city of peace, compacted together in concord and love. To thee do the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, praising the name of the Lord; thy vacant seats are being filled up. May all good things be for them that love thee, O Jerusalem; may peace be in thy strength, and abundance in thy towers. For the sake of my brethren and of my neighbours, who are already thy inhabitants, I take pleasure in thee; because of the Lord our God, whose dwelling thou art, I have placed in thee all my desire." (Ps. cxxi)
Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family
By: Maria Von Trapp from 1955
With every passing year I realize more deeply how joyful our religion is. The more one penetrates into what it means to be Catholic, the fuller life becomes.
There is one great art that we are taught from our childhood and for which we cannot be grateful enough, and that is how to celebrate feasts. The little ones grow up hearing again and again: "Today is the feast of St. Joseph" "Next week is the feast of the Annunciation.. the feast of St. John... the feast of the Holy Family... the feast of the Assumption." And these are not words only. Soon the children discover that these days have a truly festive character. Later, when they grow up and learn to use their own missals, they find that Holy Mother Church prepares a feast for us almost every day of the year. Naturally, these feast days are not equally important. Two of them, the anniversaries of Our Lord's Resurrection and of the Descent of the Holy Ghost, are of such magnitude and solemnity that the Church assigns a whole week to them. She wants to teach her children to take time for celebrating. What a necessary lesson for us of the fast-living twentieth century, when time has become money and the most important even in people's lives - their wedding - has been reduced from the ten-day celebration of old to a ten minute formality at the Justice of the Peace!
For Easter and Pentecost the Church permits no other feasts to interfere. This is called "a privileged octave of the first order." There are other great feast days, such as Epiphany and Corpus Christi, Christmas, the Ascension, the fast of the Sacred Heart, and the feasts of the Blessed Mother, which also have an octave, and at last a commemoration of that feast is made each day.
If the first place is given to the feasts of Our Lord, the second is given to those of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then come the holy angels, and they are followed by the saints who had a share in the plan of the Incarnation, as St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, Peter and Paul and the other Apostles, whose feasts are always celebrated with special solemnity.
Then we are told to celebrate as a feast of dedication of churches, the anniversaries of the martyrdom of the saints, the commemoration of holy popes, bishops, teachers of the Church, confessors, virgins and all holy women. According to their importance these feasts will be more or less solemnly celebrated; but even a simple feast day is a feast day.
Once in a while there is a day in the calendar when we do not celebrate a feast. This is called a "ferial day." During most seasons these are few and far between, and it is all the more striking, therefore, to come to the six weeks of Lent and find that the Church has prepared a special mass for every ferial day and wishes her children to refrain from celebrating feasts during these weeks of penance. That makes the great Alleluia, which introduces the feast of the Resurrection, all the more jubilant.
Living through this cycle of festive evens every year, one cannot help but learn that one should not just live one's life, or spend one's life, or go through one's life, but celebrate one's life. Whether the days are filled with bliss or mourning, we have learned to live almost each one as a special feast day. As the Introit of many a Mass bids us: "Guadeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes." ("Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating this festival day.")
If the time from the First Sunday in Advent until Pentecost seems like one long uninterrupted celebration of the greatest mysteries of our faith, the time from Pentecost to the end of the Church Year appears much more sober.
The second half of the Church year is referred to in Austria as "The Green Meadow," because of the green color of the vestments on the Sundays after Pentecost, whereas, until then, they had been violet, red, or white. If the festive character of the first part of the year is comparable to the mountain chains of the Alps or Andes, the single feasts in the months after Pentecost are like isolated peaks towering above the green meadow.
Feasts of the Green Meadow
Two more weeks until the 2011-2012 Holy Simplicity Planner
starts! Get your copy now in time to get the most use out of your home*school*Liturgical Year planner! Plan next years lessons, yearly goals, daily task sheet and more!
Around the Year with the Trapp Family
All Souls Day
Toward the end of the year, on November 2nd, the Church sets a day aside which is devoted to the suffering souls in Purgatory. Just as we turn to our big sisters and brothers, the saints, to intercede for us at the throne of God, the poor souls are also turning toward us: "Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you, my friends, because the hand of the Lord has trouched me" (Job 19:21; Office of the Dead). Helpless in themselves, since the purification they are undergoing is passive suffering, they can be helped by us. We canpray for them. We can offer up sacrafices and good works with the desire that God may accept them and, seeing in them the prayer and suffering rise from the Mystical Body of His only Son, hasten the delivery of those souls whom He deems worthy and ready for such help. On the day of "all the faithful departed" the Church reminds her children to listen to the message of the Scriptures in her liturgy and to do some thinking and meditating on Purgatory and the holy souls there. (Continue reading in this blog post
, scroll down to get to the section on All Souls' Day)
| All Souls Day Word Search|
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"To relieve the souls of the departed is to perform all the works of mercy in a single act." -St. Francis De Sales
The souls in Purgatory are Saints who love God intensely, but are
prevented from enjoying Him on account of some debts to Divine Justice because
of sin. Their pains are great . Their greatest torment is their unsatisfied
desire of being with God. They have already seen Him at their judgment, and they
now know His perfections in a way far different from anything possible in this
life. If we only thought of this,
how careful we should be not to commit venial sins.
There are many motives to induce us to help the poor souls, such as
the glory that their praises will give to God when they are before His
throne; pity for them - suffering
without being able to help themselves; and our own interest, as charity to them
brings blessings from God, and puts them under an obligation to assist us by
We may relieve them by prayers, indulgences, almsgiving, Holy
Communion, and particularly by the holy Sacrifice of the
One special effect of this devotion to the poor souls is to cause
us to lead a very pure life, because, as we are pleading for those, some of whom
have offended God only slightly, we are constantly reminded of the punishment,
and so it is not likely that we will commit similar
So many reasons, then, urge us to help the poor souls; it was no
wonder that Holy Church should encourage us by her own example. No Mass can be
celebrated, no Divine Office recited, and no grace after meals should be said,
without a prayer for the happy repose of their souls.
"In pains beyond all earthly pains,
Favourites of Jesus! There they lie,
Letting the fire wear out their stains,
And worshipping God's purity."
Example -SS. Monica and Augustine
Augustine - the wayward Augustine - having at last been converted
as the result of a mother's tears and prayers, St. Monica felt that her work on
earth was done, and henceforth she sighed for Heaven. "Son," said she to him, "I
have now no tie to earth. I have nothing more to hope for in this world. One
thing there was for which I did desire to tarry a little longer in this life,
which was that I might see thee a Christian Catholic before I died. My God hath
granted me more than this, in that I see thee now despising earthly felicity,
entirely devoted to His service. Why, therefore, do I tarry here? Lay this body
anywhere, be not concerned about that; only this I beg of you, that wheresoever
you be, you make remembrance of me at the Lord's altar."
From that moment Monica was silent, wholly absorbed in preparing
herself for the advent of her heavenly Bridegroom. Augustine, full of love and
fortitude, remained by his mother; though alternately lost in wondering
admiration, and overcome by sorrow, with his prayers, and ardent love he aided
her in this last painful struggle.
After her happy death, he says: "I let go my tears, which I had
kept in before, that they might flow as much as they pleased, and found rest to
my soul in weeping for her, who so long had wept for me."
To the very day of his death he ceased not to mourn for his mother.
In compliance with her dying request, he daily remembered her in his prayers,
and at the holy altar. "And now," writes St. Augustine thirty years after her
death, "my heart being healed of that wound in which a carnal affection may have
had too great a share, I pour out to Thee, O Lord, in behalf of that servant of
Thine, a far different sort of tears, flowing from a spirit freighted with the
consideration of the perils of every soul that dies in Adam.... Therefore, O God
of my heart, my glory and my life, setting aside her good deeds, for which I
give Thee thanks, I entreat Thee at present for my mother's sins. Hear me now, I
beseech Thee, through that Physician of our souls Who hung upon the Cross, and
Who now intercedeth for us at Thy right hand. I know that mercifully, and from
her heart, she forgave her debtors their trespasses; do Thou likewise forgive
her her debts, if she has contracted any during those many years she lived after
her Baptism. Forgive them, O Lord, forgive them, I beseech Thee .... Let her
therefore rest in peace, together with her husband, her only spouse, whom she
dutifully served that she might be worthy of gaining him to Thee. And do Thou
inspire, O Lord my God, my brothers, my masters, whom I wish to serve with my
voice, heart and writings, that as many as shall read this may remember at Thy
altar Thy handmaid Monica, with Patricius, her husband, by whom Thou broughtest
me into this life. Let them remember with a pious affection those who were my
parents in this transitory life, that so my mother's last request to me on her
death-bed may be more abundantly performed for her by the prayers of many than
by mine alone."
A dear friend and her family has put out another issue of the St. Catherine
Academy Gazette. As in every issue, it features stories from old imprimatured
books along with pictures, games for the kids, cathecism questions, color pages and so forth. You will find the most recent copy below along with issue number 17. If you missed the first issue we shared here please click here to print issue 18
. If you would like to be on the email list to receive these please find the contact information on the last page of the newsletter.
| November 2011 Issue 19|
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| Pentecost Season Issue 17|
|File Size: ||4562 kb|
|File Type: || pdf|
The previous post continued from Holy Days by Fr. Fancis Weiser Impr. 1956
Numerous ancient customs associated with All Saints and All Souls havecome down through the centuries and are still observed in many countries. Some are of strictly religious nature, such as the custom of decorating the graves and praying in the cemeteries. This practice is general in all Cathoic countries both in Europe and America. In the afternoon of All Saints' Day or in the morning of All Souls the faithful visit each individual grave of relatives and friends. Sometimes the congregation, led by the priest, walks in procession to the cemetery. There they pray for all the holy souls in front of the cemetery chapel, then the priest recites the liturgical prayers for the dead and blesses the graves with holy water. Afterward the families separate to offer private prayers at the graves of their loved ones.
During the week preceding All Saints crowds of people may be seen in the cemeteries, usually in the evening after work, decorating the graves of their dear ones with flowers, tending the lawn, and spreading fresh white gravel around the tombs. Candles, protected by little glass lanterns, are placed around the graves or at the foot of the tombstones, to be lighted on All Saints' eve and left burning through the night. It is an impressive, unforgettable sight to look upon the hundreds and often thousands of lights quietly burning in the darkness and dreary solitude of a cemetery. People all them "lights of the holy souls" (Seelenlichter).
To visit the graves of dear ones on All Souls is considered a duty of such important that many people in Europe will travel from a great distance to their home towns on All Saints' Day in order to perform this obligation of love and piety.
It is an ancient custom in Catholic sections of c entral Europe to ring the church bells at the approach of dusk on All Saints' Day, to remind the people to pray for the souls in purgatory. When the pealing of these bells is heard, the families gather in one room of their home extinguish all other lights save the blessed candle (kept from Candlemas Day) which is put on the table. Kneeling around it, they say the rosary for the holy souls. On this occasion, as on all others throughout the year, the boys and men lead the prayer by reciting the first part of the "Hail Mary" while the women respond with the second part:
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
In the rural sections of Brittany four men alternate in tolling the church bell for an hour on All Saints' Day after dark. Four other men go from farm to farm during the night, ringing hand bells and chanting in each place: "Christinas awake, pray to God for the souls of the dead, and say the Pater and Ave for them." From the house comes the reply "Amen" as the people rise for prayer.
In most countries of South America All Souls' Day is a public holiday. In Brazil people flock by the thousands to the cemeteries all morning, light candles and kneel at the graves in prayer. The deep silence of so many person in the crowded cemetery deeply impresses the stranger. In Puerto Rico, people will walk for miles to the graves of their loved ones. The women often carry vases of flowers and water, for they know they can get no water at the cemetery to keep the flowers fresh. They wear their best clothes as they trudge along in the hot sun. Whole truckloads of people will arrive at the cemetery if the distance is too far to walk. The preist visits each grave and says the prayers for the dead as the mourners walk along with him. Sometimes the ceremony lasts for hours and it is near midnight when the tired pastor visits the last graves.
Among the native population in the Philippines, a novena is held for the holy souls before November 2. In places where the the cemetery is close to the town, candles are brought to be burned at the tombs and prayers are said every night. During these nine days the people also prepare their family tombs for the great "Feast of Souls." Tomb niches and croses are repainted, hedges trimmed, flowers planted, and all weeds are removed from the graves on the evening of All Saint's Day young men go from door to door asking for gifts in the form of cookies, candy, pastry, and sing a traditional verse in which they represent holy souls liberated from purgatory and on their way to Heaven:
Kung kami po'y lilmusan
Dali dali ninyong bigyan
Baka kami'y masarhan
Sa pinto ng kalaginan.
If you will give us friendly alms,
Please do not make us wait;
We want to enter Heaven's door
Before it is too late.
In Poland, and in Polish churches of the United States, the faithful bring to their parish priest on All Souls' Day paper sheets with black borders called Wypominki (Naming) on which are written the names of their beloved dead. During the evening deovtions in November, and on Sundays, the names are read from the pulpit and prayers are offered for the repose of the souls.
Our pagan forefathers kept several :cult of the dead" rites at various times of the year. One of these periods was the great celebration at the end of fall and the beginning of winter (around November 1). Together with the practices of nature and demon lore (fires, masquerades, fertility cults, ect.) they also observed the ritual of the dead with many traditional rites. Since All Saints and All Souls happened to be placed within the period of such an ancient festival, some of the pre-Christian traditions became part of our Christian feast and associated with Christian ideas.
There is, for instance, the pre-Chrsitan practice of putting foodat the graves or in the homes at such times of the year when the spirits of the dead were believed to roam their familiar earthly places. The beginning of November was one of these times. By offering a meal or some token food to the spirits, people hoped to pelase them and to avert any possible harm they could do. Hence came the custom of baking special breads in honr of the holy souls and bestowing them on the children and the poor. This custom is widespread in Europe. "All Souls' bread" (Seelenbrot) is made and distributed in Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, Spain, Ital, hungary, and the Slavic countries.
In some sections of centeral Europe boys receive on All Souls' Day a cake samed in the form of a hare, and girls are given one in the same of a hen (an interesting combination of 'spirt bread' and fertility symbols). These figure cakes are backed of the same dough as the festive cakes which the people eat on All Saints' Day and which are a favorite dish all over centeral Europe. They are made of braided stands of sweet dough and called "All Saints' cakes" (Heiligenstriezel in German, Strucel Swiateczne in Polish, Mindszenti Kalacska in Hungarian). Here is the recipe:
8 cups flour 1 tsp. grated orange rind
2 cups milk 1 tsp. graded lemon rind
4 yeast cakes 1/2 cup soft butter
8 egg yolks 1 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
Dissolve yeast cakes in 1/2 cup of the milk. Make thin sponge by mixing yeast with rest of milk and 1 cup of flour. Mix throughly, sprinkle top lightly with flour and set aside to rise. Add salt to egg yolks, beat until thick and lemon-colored. Add sugar, rinds, and mix with sponge, Add two cups of flour, alternating with the milk, and knewad for half-hour.
Add remaining flour and butter and continue to knead until the dough comes away from the hand. Set in warm place to rise until double in bulk. Separate dough into four parts, roll into long strips and braid into a loaf. Brush top with lightly beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seed. Let rise. Bake at 350 degrees oven for one hour.
In western Europe people prepare on All Souls' Day a meal of cooked beans or lentils, called "soul food," which they afterward serve to the poor together with meat and other dishes. In Poland the farms hold a solemn meal on the evening of All Souls' Day, with empty seats and paltes ready for the 'souls' of departed relatives. Onto the plates members of family put parts of the dinner. These portions are not touched by anyone but afterward are given to beggars or poor neighbors. In the Alpine provinces of Austria destitute children and beggars go from house to house, reciting a prayer or singing a hymn for the holy souls, receiving small loaves of the 'soul bread' in reward. There, too, people put aside a part of everythign that is cooked on All Souls' Day and give meals to the poor. In northern Spain and in Madrid people distribute and eat a special pastry called "Bones of the Holy" (Huesos de Santo). In Catalonia All Souls' pastry is called Panellets (little breads).
In Hungary the "Day of the Dead" (Halottalk Napia) is kept with the traditional customs common to all people in entral Europe. In addition, they invite orphan children into the family for All Saints' and All Souls' days, serving them generous meals and giving them new clothes and toys. Another endearing practice is the special care people in Hungary bestow on "forgotten" graves which otherwise would stay neglected and unadorned. Taking turns from year to year, the families of a village assume the care of tehse graves in addition to their own, decorating them, lighting candles, and praying for the souls of those who are burried in them.
In Brittany the farms visit the graves of their departed relatives on Jour des morts (Day of the Dead), kneeling bareheaded at the mound in long and gervent prayer. Then they spinkle the grave with holy water, and finally, before leaving, our milk over the grave as a libation "for the holy souls." In every house a generous portion of the dinner is served before an empty seat and afterward given to the hungry.
Many other customs of the ancient cult of the dead have survied as supersitions to this day. The belief that the spirts of the dead return for All Souls' Day is expressed in a great number of legends and traditions. In the rural sections of Poland the charming story is told that at midnight on All Souls' Day a great light may be seen in the parish church; the holy souls of all departed parishioners who are still in purgatory gather there to pray for their release before the ver altar where they use to receive the Blessed Sacrament when still alive. Afterward the souls are said to visit the scenes of their earthly life and labors, especially their homes. To welcome them by an external sign the people leave doors and windows open on All Souls' Day. In the rural sections of Austria the sholy souls are said to wander though the forests on All Souls' Day, sighing and praying for their release, but unable to reach the living by external means which would indicated their presence. For this reason, the children are told to pray aloud while going through the open spaces to church and cemetery, so the poor souls will have the great sonsolation of seeing that their invisable presence is known and their pitiful cries for help are understood and answered.
This month has been dedicated to the upcoming Holy Day, All Saint's Day. Find our previous posts here for the history & traditions of this wonderful Holy Day of Obligation and the vigil before it as well as the Feast of All Soul's Day after it:History of All Hallow's Eve and All Saint's Day (Keeping the Catholic Holy Day)
All Hallow's Eve Story to Read/Share By: Hillare BellocAll Saint's Day 2009- St. Patrick & St. GeorgeDon Bosco's Reference to All Soul's Day
All Saint's All Souls Day Von Trapp Style Part IIVarious All Saints & All Souls Day Traditions
This week we add to our list from The Holy Days Book by Fr. Francis Weiser Impr. 1956All Saints and All Souls
The Church of Anticok kept a commeoration of all holy martyrs on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Saint John Chrysostom, who served as preacher at Anticoh before he became Patriarch of Constantinople, delivered annual sermons on the ocacsion of this festival. They were entitled "Praise of All the Holy Martyrs of the Entire World." In the course of the succeeding centuries the feast spread through the whole Eastern Church and, by the seventh century, was everywhere kept as public holyday.
In the West the Feast of "All Holy Martyrs" was introduced when Pope Boniface IV (615) was given the ancient Roman temple of the Pantheon by Emperor Phocas (610) and dedicated it as a church to the Blessed Virgin MAry and all the martyrs. The date of this dedication was May 13,and on this date the feast was then annually held in rome. Two hundred years later Pope Gregory IV (844) transferred the celebration to November 1. The reason for this transfer is quite interesting, especially since some scholars have claimed that the Church assigned All SAints to November 1 in order to substitue a feast of Christan significance for the pagan Germanic celebrations of the demon cult at the time of the year. Actually, the reason for the transfer was that the many pilgrims who came to Rome for the "Feast of the Pantheon" could be fed more easily after the harvest than in the spring.
Meanwhile, the practice had spread of including in this memorial not only all martyrs but the other saints as well. Pope Gregory III (741) had already stated this when he dedicated a chapel in Saint Peter's in honor of Christ, Mary, and "all the apostles, martyrs, confessors, and all the just and perfect servants of God whose bodies rest throughout the whole world."
Upon the request of Pope Gregory IV, Emperor Louis the Pious (840) introduced the Feast of All SAints in his territories. With the consent of the bishops of Germany and France he ordered it to be kept on November 1 in the whole empire. Finally, Pope Sixtus IV (1484) established it as a holyday of obligation for the entire Latin Church, giving it a liturgical vigil and octave.
The purpose of the feast is twofold. As the prayer of the Mass states, "the merits of all the saints are verated in common by this one celebration," because a very large number of martyrs and other saints could not be accorded the honor of a special festival since the days of the year would not suffice for all these indivdual celebrations. The second purpose was given by Pope Urban IV: Any negligence, omission, and irreverence commited in the celebration of the saints' feasts thoughout the year is to be atoned for by the faithful and thus due honr may still be offered to these saints.Liturgical Prayer:
Almighty and eternal God, who hast granted us to venerate the merits of all Thy saints in one celebration: we beg Thee to bestow upon all the desired abundance of Thy mercy on account of this great number of intercessors.
The Pantheon, Rome
Pope Sylvester II
The need and duty of prayer for the departed souls has been acknowledged by the Church at all times. It is recommended in the Scriptures of the Old Testament (2 Macch. 12,46), and found expression not only in public and private prayers but especially in the offering of the Holy Sacrafice for the repose of souls. The customary dates for public services of this kind were, and stil lare, the day of death and burial, the seventh and thirtieth day after death (Month's Mind Mass), and the anniversary exceprt for the funeral Mass, the actual observance of these dates is not made obligatory by the Church but left to the piety of the realtives and friends of the deceased.
The memorial feast of all departed ones in a common celebration was inaugurated by Abbot Saint Odilo of Cluny (1048). He issued a decree that all monasteries of the congregation of Cluny were annually to keep November 2 as a "day of all the departed ones" (Omnium Defunctorum). On November 1, after vestpers the bell should be tolled and afterward the Office of the Dead be recited; on the next day all priests had to say Mass for the repose of the souls in purgatory.
This observance of the Bendictines of Cluny was soon adopted by other benedictines, and by the Carthusians. Pope Sylvester II (1003) spproved and recommended it. It was some time though, before the secular clergy introduced it in the various diocese. From the elventh to the fourteenth centuries it gradually spread in France, Germany, England, and Spain, the day of the commemoration of all the faithful departed in the official books of the Western Church for November 2 (or November 3 if the second falls on a Sunday).
November 2 was chose in order that the momeory of all the "holy spirits" both of saints in Heaven and of the souls in purgatory should be celebrated on two successive days, and in this way to express the Christian belief in the "Communion of Saints." Since the feast of All Saints had already been celebrated on November 1 for centuries, the memory of the departed souls in purgatory was place on the folowing day.
In the Greek Rite the commemoration of all the faithful departed is held on the Saturday before Seagesima Sunday, and is called the "Saturday of the Souls" (Psychosabbaton). The Aremenians celebrate it on Easter Monday, with the solemn Office of the Dead. The Mass, however, is that of the Ressurection. An interesting and moving observance is held in the Syrian-Antiochene Rite where they celebrate on three seperate days: on Friday before Septuagesima they commemorate all departed priests; on Friday before Sexagesima, all the faithful departed; and on Friday before Quinquagesima, "all those who died in strange places, away from their parents and friends."
Pope Benedict XV in 1915 allowed all priests to say three Masses on All Souls' Day in order to give increased help to the suffering souls in purgatory. The Church has also granted to all faithful special privileges of gaining indulgences for the holy souls in November 1 and 2. The Office of the Dead is recited by priests and religious communities. In many places the graves in cemeteries are blessed on the eve or in the morning of All Souls' Day, and a solemn service is usually held in parish churches.
The liturgical color at all servies on November 2 is black. The Masses are part of the group called "Requiem" Masses because they start with the words Requiem aeternam dona eis (Eternal reast grant unto them). The sequence sung at the solemn Mass on All Souls' Day (and on other occasions) is the famous poem Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) written by ta thirteenth century Franciscan. It has been often ascribed to Thomas of Celano (1260), the friend and biographer of Saint Francis of Assisi, though the authorship is not certian.
Traditional Observances, cultural traditions and Halloween to be continued...
Taken from Your Home, A Church in Miniature
Excerpt from Mexican Family Customs in Our Catholic Southwest
Rev. Theodore J. Radke
All Souls Day in Mexican custom calls for a religious celebration that requires preparation. For a week in advance the people will be making ready garlands and wreaths and rosses of real or paper flowers of every color under the sun to be used in decorating the graves of their deceased relatives. From early morning on All Souls Day the people will trek to the cemetery on foot, in cars, and in buses. The majority of them will spend the entire day at the cemetery.
At a set house of the afternoon the parish priest goes out to the cemetery for the recitation and singing of the prayers of the ritual at the graveside. Following this sermon a is preached to the assembled crowd. Then the priest is flooded with requests to go about the cemetery blessing the individual graves of the dead. For weeks following All Souls Day the cemeteries in our southwest are colorful with the hundreds of garlands and wreaths and crosses. During this period the cemetery becomes a sight-seeing stop for visitors to our cities.
Excerpt from Religious Customs Among the French of Louisiana
By: Rev. J. Albert Le Blanc
Possibly nowhere in America is All Saints' Day observed so strikingly as it is among the Louisiana French. For days preceding it, each family will clean, whitewash or paint the tombs, prepare artificial flowers, design wreaths and place these on the tombs. Among the financially better fixed, chrysanthemums and dahlias are used in decorating the graves. Before the expansion of the Church as we have it today, family neighborhood cemeteries were common. In our parish, St. Ann's at Mamou, La., we have six cemeteries besides the Church cemetery. In the afternoon of All-Saints' Day, the blessing of the graves takes place. A procession is held around the cemetery. The priest is at the head; the people follow. The beads are recited while the blessing is taking place. The ceremony ends with a sermon and the singing of the Libera. In some sections where the priest cannot assist, candles are lit at dusk, one for each member deceased and an all night vigil is held. Where out-door altars exist, Mass is celebrated in the cemeteries on All Souls Day.
Except from Russian German Customs from Ellis county, Kansas
By: Sister Mary Eloise Johannes, S.S.J. Ph. D.
On the feast of All Souls', November second, the priest and people go in procession to the cemetery and pray for the dead buried there and for all the faithful departed. The priest sprinkles the graves with holy water and the people frequently do likewise.