Today is the second of two important days in my church community and the worldwide Catholic church. Yesterday was All Saints Day (always celebrated on November 1) and today is All Souls Day (always observed on November 2). I don’t make it to mass every year on these two Holy Days, but I usually at least try to take some time to honor the lives and memories of loved ones that have touched and impacted me and my life.
At a parish that Bob and I attended in Evanston, before we moved to our Beverly neighborhood here on the southwest side of Chicago, they referred to this experience of mourning the loss and celebrating the lives of loved ones that have gone before us as “Novembering.” I have always liked that term and appreciate what it conjures up for me when I think about it. The weather this time of year seems to reflect many of the feelings we have, when reflecting on the relationships we have lost with those we have loved and cared about who have died.
At our current neighborhood parish part of our “Novembering” includes lighting candles on the alter at our church for all the members of our church who died this year. The candles will remain lit during each Sunday mass throughout the month of November and I think it is such a beautiful way to be reminded of those in our parish who have passed away this year.
Some parishes invite people to bring pictures of their loved ones who have died to display in a special area of the church as yet another way to honor their lives and memories.
On this All Souls Day, I call to mind many of my loved ones who meant so much to me and are no longer here with me on Earth. I do believe that we will be reunited in Heaven one day, but in the meantime I hold their memories close to me in my mind and they will always be in my heart.
Here is a (likely incomplete) list of first names of loved ones who I am Novembering this month. I may still add to this if and when I recall more people whose lives I want to honor here:
Please feel free to add the names of your loved ones, in the comment section, who I will gladly pray for today and in the weeks to come during this month of remembering. Today I am thinking of and praying for all those who are no longer with us, but have touched our lives and helped shape us to be the people we are today, which I believe is such a remarkable part of their legacies.