This past week we celebrated All Souls Day, following close on the heels of our celebration of All Saints Day. On both of these days we remember those who have died. On All Saints Day we remember those who have been canonized as saints of the Church and ask for their prayers. On All Souls Day we pray for all the souls in Purgatory and we remember those who have “gone before us, marked with the sign of faith,” and whose souls we entrust to God and His mercy.
Our culture is not very comfortable with the idea of dying. As Christians, however, we are not meant to be afraid of death, for Christ has conquered the grave. One of the ways the Church honors the dead is with special rituals that accompany the process of sickness, death and burial. The burial of a loved one is not meant to be the end of the Church’s prayers for one of her faithful members. Praying for the living and the dead is a spiritual work of mercy. One of the ways we can continue to honor and pray for the dead is by visiting the graves of our own loved ones. The Church even has a special ritual for visiting a cemetery. It is simple but moving. Below you will find this simple ritual for use by yourself or your family when you visit the graves of your loved ones.
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
ORDER FOR VISITING A CEMETERY
+In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
My dear friends, we gather today to pray for our brothers and sisters whose bodies lie here in rest. They have passed from death to life in company with the Lord Jesus, who died and rose to new life, and are purified now of their faults. We pray that God may welcome them among all the saints of heaven.
Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans:
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
With Christ there is mercy and fullness of redemption; let us pray as Jesus taught us: Our Father…
Almighty God and Father,
it is our certain faith
that your Son, who died on the cross, was raised from the dead,
the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep.
Grant that through this mystery
your servant, who has gone to his/her rest in Christ,
may share in the joy of his resurrection.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.
May their soul and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.