Dear Friends of the Jesuits,
HOLY SOULS DAY — 2017
On November 2, the church celebrates the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, All Souls Day. On this day, we are reminded that our prayers can help those who have died to enter heaven. It is an opportunity for us to pause, remember, and pray in a particular way for family and friends who are no longer with us.
In the 13th century, St. Gertrude the Great, a Benedictine abbess and mystic, composed the following prayer,
Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for all sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
When I was in grade six, my teacher, Sister Rose, introduced me to this prayer and we prayed it as a class every day in November. We took time to learn about the significance of All Souls Day and about the different All Souls Day observances, practices, and traditions throughout the world. I have never forgotten Sister Rose and the prayer of St. Gertrude, and these memories are special to me each November.
The Jesuit Development Office offers a special way for you to remember the deceased during November. We invite you to send us the names of important people in your lives who have died. These names will be placed in a basket at the altar of the La Storta Jesuit Community in Pickering, Ontario. Throughout November, the Jesuit community will pray for your loved ones during their daily Eucharist.
This JDO tradition is a unique way of remembering loved ones during the month of the Holy Souls, to show our love and prayers for those who are no longer with us and who have touched our lives in some special way.
Please join us in this tangible remembrance of the deceased, which will help to bring them and all of us closer to God. May we all continue to pray for the Holy Souls throughout the year, but especially during November.
Barry J. Leidl