| The Feast of All Souls Memorial Mass
takes place at noon Wednesday, Nov. 2,
at St. Francis Xavier Church.
Each year on the Feast of All Souls Day, Nov. 2, the Saint Louis University community gathers in prayer at a Memorial Mass to remember loved ones who passed away during the last year.
This year's Memorial Mass will be celebrated at noon Wednesday, Nov. 2, at St. Francis Xavier College Church. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends are encouraged to attend.
Lisa Reiter, director of campus ministry, said the Mass not only honors the memory of those who have died but also encourages and supports those who feel the loss of a significant person in their lives.
"The liturgy provides an opportunity to focus on entrusting to God's eternal love those family members, friends, colleagues and acquaintances who have completed their earthly journey," Reiter said. "We also remember those who mourn the dead with the hope that the joined presence and prayers will be a source of consolation."
In addition, all are invited to submit the names of deceased loved ones to be intentionally prayed for at this Mass. Names can be submitted online here.
History of the Commemoration of All Souls:
The origins of All Souls date to 1048 when Abbot Saint Odilo of the monastery of Cluny declared this celebration to commemorate departed Christians. In the course of several hundred years the feast spread across Europe to England and finally in the fourteenth century Rome made it an official feast on Nov. 2.
"This millennium-old celebration is an expression of the Christian belief in the Communion of Saints, the mystical solidarity uniting all of the Body of Christ living on earth with those who have died and are now one with God. This web allows spiritual energy to flow between the living and the dead by way of prayer, various good works and especially Holy Communion, which unites the Head and all the Body of Christ." (Edward Hayes, The Old Hermit's Almanac, p. 312)
Various cultures have taken on this celebration and keep it with different observances. In many places, cemeteries are given special attention so that graves might be decorated with candles or flowers. In Latin America, this day is known as "Dia de los Muertos" or the "Day of the Dead" and is an occasion of great festivity. Bakeries sell sweets and cakes in the shapes of skulls, skeletons, and coffins. In Mediterranean cultures, children receive gifts of candy. It is also common to set up shrines to remember those who have died.
For us, it is a day to remember those close to us who have died, and we do so by praying this ancient prayer of the Church:
Eternal rest grant unto [Name] O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon him/her.
May [Name] rest in peace.
May her/his soul, and the souls
Of all the faithful departed,
Through the mercy of God,
Rest in peace. Amen.