Tuesday, November 02, 2010
All Soul's Day Mass
The tradition at my parish is to invite the families of all parishioners buried from the parish in the last year to light a candle in their memory. They read about 5 names or so, the families come forward and during the pause the choir sings a verse of "Jesus, Remember Me." Then the next 5 or so names are read and so on. Following the candle ceremony they then offer roses to anyone in the congregation who has lost a loved one. You can take a rose and then place it in a vase on the steps of the altar. It makes for a very nice display of roses on the altar for the remainder of Mass. After Mass, the families are invited to keep the candles they lit.
Last year we attended this Mass as one of those families who had lost a loved one. Our baby Zachary had died in January 2009 at 22 weeks into my pregnancy. For All Soul's Day we were invited to be there and to light a candle for him. It meant so much to me to know that his life was recognized, no matter how short.
This year when we lost Brigit we decided not to do a funeral mass. Instead we held a burial service only. As today's feast day approached I knew I wanted to attend this service. Since we didn't have a funeral I didn't expect that Brigit would be a part of the candle ceremony and we didn't receive an invitation as we did last year (which was no surprise, I wasn't expecting one). I did intend to place a flower on the altar for her.
During the priest's homily at Mass today he spoke about how Jesus is with us in death and helps us to enter into Heaven. Something about how he described this brought an imagine into my mind of seeing my babies upon coming into Heaven. I could see being led in by Jesus Christ and being welcomed first by my three little ones. I have always known that they would be there and I pray to be able to join with them one day. But the imagine of being brought to them by Jesus Himself hadn't occured to me. Such a comforting image! It brings tears to my eyes.
Following the homily and the Prayers of the Faithful, the candle ceremony started. The first name they called was Zachary's! I was completely stunned and just sat there for a moment. We weren't on the list, and why Zachary? After a pause, the priest reading the names said, "Please come forward to light a candle when you hear your family's name called." So we got up. I probably looked confused walking up there and back.
I do know some of the people in the grievance ministry and happened to meet one of them on Sunday after Mass and we talked a bit about the All Soul's Day Mass. So sometime between Sunday and today someone obviously decided to add us (without telling us) and they put in Zachary's name. Once I had a moment to process everything I knew this was a very nice recognition. I wish it had been Brigit's name that had been read, but that's okay. I did go ahead and place a rose in one of the vases in her memory, she was remembered by hubby and I and that's what really mattered. And I came home with another candle, which I will use for Brigit memory every October 15 and on other important anniversaries.
Did you go to a special All Soul's Day Mass? Did you remember someone special today?