CHRISTIAN tradition has constantly kept the month of November as a time when we particularly remember those who have gone before us.
On the first day of the month there are special celebrations honouring those in our Church history who have lived amazing lives of selflessness and dedication to those around them .e.g. Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa or Wilgefortis, the bearded woman.
On the second day of November we particularly call to mind our own loved ones who have departed.
We thank God for their personal place in our life journey, for their inspiration, encouragement and love.
As a community we also pray they are at peace and at home with God and their families and friends.
These are what some Christian cultures call “thin days” or “a deep time” when past, present and future come together as one.
A tradition which recalls that ancestors continue to play a part in us and through us; that there is a corporal notion of the human person and, as we walk the pathway of faith through the life, death and resurrection of Christ we’re reminded that we don’t travel alone, or as the Franciscan author Richard Rohr teaches “your goodness or badness isn’t just your own”.
He goes on to stress that many native tribes were and still are very aware of the “thin days” and “deep time”, and our discovery of the importance of DNA has shown the reality of their observances.
Mexico annually honours those gone with the Day of the Dead.
It’s a mixture of indigenous and catholic traditions with families visiting cemeteries to build altars for their departed members.
The altars are decorated with photos and mementos encouraging the holy souls to visit and listen to the prayers and anecdotes.
Some grave site visits include dancing and festivities.
“Whatever elements of folklore have crept into these celebrations, there is a deep sense that in Christ we are not separated forever from those we have loved and lost.
Jesus wept for his friend Lazarus, but he also proclaimed himself as the resurrection and the life”. (Redemptorist. ‘Living Word’).
St Mary’s Catholic Church