It’s nearly universal among faith traditions to have beliefs and practices focused on departed family, friends, and strangers. The Catholic Church professes its links to those who have gone before us with two adjacent holy days: November 1 of each year is All Saints, and November 2 is All Souls. When Catholics talk about All Saints, they are referring to those whose faith and actions on Earth, infused by Divine grace, lifted them directly to heaven after their deaths, where they intercede for those still on earth. All Souls is a day for Catholics to pray for the souls of all the departed, especially, in Catholic lingo, those in purgatory (which is a concept to be addressed in an upcoming entry in this space), awaiting the final judgment of a loving and benevolent God. At UP, one marker of All Souls each November 2 is the laying of a wreath in front of the memorial (between Buckley Center and Franz) honoring all those who have served on our faculty or staff and have died. It is another manifestation of the essential communitarian orientation at the heart of Catholicism. Living or dead, we are all connected to one another.
“Did You Know?” is a sort of regular feature in upbeat about the host of wild and lovely things Catholics profess. If you have a question, send it to Fr. Jim Gallagher (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Karen Eifler (email@example.com).