Pray for departed kith and kin at home, prelates advise faithful

Published October 29, 2020, 4:19 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Even without going to the cemetery on November 1 and 2, people could still remember and pray for their departed relatives and friends on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Catholic prelates said families may also pray for their dearly departed in their homes as cemeteries will be closed on the said days in view of the resolution of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF). 

They added that the faithful should just visit the gravesites when this is already allowed.

“It is a good and holy thought to pray for the dead. It would also be good if we can share with the family members our recollections about our beloved dead so that their memory can bind us closer to each other,” Archdiocese of Manila apostolic administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo said in a pastoral instruction entitled “One with our beloved dead” released in September.

“This will be another opportunity to deepen the bond among family members through prayers, reflections, and devotions for the poor souls,” Bishop Marvyn Maceda of Antique said in a circular letter dated October 24.

Catholic prelates, however, encouraged everyone to go to Church and offer Mass for the beloved dead.

Pabillo stressed that the Holy Eucharist is the “best prayer” that we can offer.

Parishes even have additional Masses to accommodate more churchgoers and still observe physical distancing.

The faithful may also request for masses for their dead via the “Undas” website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines media office.

Msgr Pedro Quitorio, CBCP Media Office Director, said one can also light a candle online while praying for their dear departed.

Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, meantime, asked the faithful to pray for the dead everyday and not just on Nov. 1 and 2.

“We have to pray for them not just today, the All Saints’ Day, but every day,” he said in a pastoral letter dated October 20.

“We can also offer them flowers, not only on the first day of November, but also on other days. Candles can also be lit in our homes,” added Santos.

“The significant thing about this is that everything we do, even if it’s not November 1, is a sign of our appreciation and love for them…Everything we do even on ordinary days conveys that they remain in our minds and hearts,” he said.

The Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) has issued a resolution saying: “All public and private cemeteries, and memorial parks, including columbariums and the like throughout the country shall be closed to visitors from October 29 to November 4, 2020.” 

The mayors of Metro Manila also came out with a resolution to close the public cemeteries from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 this year to avoid large crowds congregating and thus spread the coronavirus.

All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2) are two important feasts for the Catholic faithful. 

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