By Christina Hermoso
As the Roman Catholic Church marks the Solemnity of All Souls’ Day today, a Church leader reminds the faithful that they are merely “tourists on earth” who are “passing by toward their final destination.”
And that final destination, “our true home,” according to Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos is none other than heaven.
“The Solemnity of All Souls, our commemoration of all the faithful departed is a good reminder for us that everything has an end in this life. We are all just tourists here on earth.We are just passing by towards our final destination, our true home that is in Heaven,” he said.
“One day, death will come as it came to our beloved departed. They left everything and were not able to bring anything material with them. We are reminded that what only matters are our good deeds, and good words. These are the best we can leave behind, and much more, what we can bring and show to God,” the prelate added.
Santos reminded the faithful of the importance of having a well-lived life. As such, a person must “lead a clean and contrite life, one that is not corrupt” while he or she still has the opportunity.
“Live honestly and faithfully, not shameful nor sinful; but always pleasing to God that will earn respect from those whom we are going to leave behind. At the end of each day and before we rest, always ask yourselves: ‘How much I have served, how many I have helped?’” said the head of the CBCP–Episcopal Commission on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
Santos, likewise, reminded the public that today is the proper day to remember those who passed on.
“Ironically, we go to the cemeteries and remember our faithful departed on November 1, when on that day, we should remember all the saints. We offer flowers, we light candles, and we partake food but more importantly, we should pray more and offer holy masses for the dead, visit them more often not just on this day. We should remember and relive their good deeds,” Santos added.
Meanwhile, in Catholic churches today, three Requiem Masses (mass for the souls of the departed) will be offered for the holy souls in purgatory: One for the celebrant, one for the departed, and one for the Holy Father, Pope Francis. According to tradition, the Office of the Dead will be recited by the clergy as well as novena prayers for all those who have passed on.
The Church encourages the faithful to hear mass today and to pray the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be repeatedly six times for the intentions of the Pope in order to receive a plenary indulgence for a soul in purgatory.
All Souls’ Day is an acknowledgment of human frailty. It reminds the faithful to live holy lives and of the need to pray and offer masses for the eternal repose of the souls of the departed.
It was first established by St. Odilo, abbot of Cluny, France during the 11th century and began to be widely celebrated during the 13th century.