Make ‘Undas’ holy, prelate tells faithful

Published October 29, 2020, 11:23 AM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Instead of focusing on being scary, a Catholic prelate has asked the faithful to focus on being holy during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 1 and 2.

(AP Photo / Bullit Marquez / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We should not make the eve of Nov. 1 scary nor should we make ourselves look scary,” Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said in a pastoral letter dated Oct. 20.

“We can be holy instead of horrible. Let us strive to be holy. Let us be saints instead of scary,” added the prelate.

Santos said the faithful should commemorate the beauty of the lives of those who have gone home to be with the Heavenly Father. 

“Let us recall their good words, lessons, and examples. These are the things we must remember and live by,” he said.

Santos said all should aspire to be saints while we are still here on Earth.

“We must work not only to enter heaven but much more to be saints of God. Therefore, our life must always be in conformity, not in contradiction, to the will of God,” he said. 

“Our life should be aligned with, not away from God’s ways. Let us see and live specifically in the light of reflecting His love and values to others. In doing so, we will be living a blessed life. We will be saints of God,” added Santos.

“As we stay at home during this Nov. 1, let us resolve to live an honorable and holy life. We should be inspired with firm hope to be faithful to Christ’s teachings even in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.

In the past, Fr. Roy Bellen of the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Communications said the Church have been trying to do away with the Western-influenced tradition of scary pranks and bizarre costumes many Filipinos are used to seeing during Halloween with its focus on the “paranormal” and reemphasize the message of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

But the fight against consumerism on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, Bellen said is very hard because it has become “an industry.”

“Still, we hope to explain these things to the faithful. We teach them about the value of prayer, what is heaven but at the end of the day it’s a person’s choice and it’s God’s grace,” he said.

All Saints’ Day is a solemn holiday commemorated annually on Nov. 1 in honor of all the known and unknown saints of the Catholic Church. 

All Souls’ Day commemorated every second of November is the Catholic day of remembrance for the friends and loved ones who passed away. In the Philippines, this holiday is called “Undas.” During this time, Filipino families traditionally visit cemeteries and hold gatherings around the graves of their departed loved ones and lay out flowers and candles.

Prayer for the departed

Meanwhile, the Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese of Manila has released a prayer for the departed in time for the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 1 and 2.

The Archdiocese of Manila said the prayer may be recited by the faithful in their homes or during a visit to the cemetery or columbarium when permitted by quarantine protocols.

The commission said the head of the family may serve as prayer leader while other members may serve as readers.

The “Family Prayer for the Departed” reads: “O God, Almighty Father, who has strengthened us by the Cross and promise us a share in the mystery of your Son’s resurrection, mercifully grant, we pray, that Your departed servants may be gathered into the company of Your chosen ones.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with
You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, our God, forever and ever. Amen.”

The commission said the head of the family may sprinkle holy water on the tomb of the deceased after the concluding prayer.

The prayer is also available in Filipino and can be accessed via the commission’s Facebook page.

All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are two important feasts for the Catholic faithful.

During these days, the faithful honor all the saints – known and unknown – and pray and visit their beloved dead in the cemetery.