All Souls’ Day is a time to gather and remember the souls of those who have gone before us, including the soul who has no one to pray for him or her, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz at a Mass observing the day.
“We pray they enjoy the blessings of heaven, but if for some reason there is a time of purification or purgatory, they depend on us for our prayers,” he said.
Several dozen people gathered under a large white tent in the priests’ section of Calvary Cemetery on a crisp Autumn morning Nov. 2 for the outdoor Mass.
Archbishop Kurtz, who completed treatment for cancer last month, celebrated the annual Mass.
He noted that today’s culture is one in which people have a distaste for considering those who have died, he said.
“There are fewer times when families want to have a Mass of Christian Burial. There are fewer times when people come to visit the gravesites of their loved ones,” he said.
It’s not so much that people do not believe, he said, it’s that they don’t want to have their lives disturbed.
“And yet, they miss out on what is at the very core of our life that is not only to die well but to believe in the power of Jesus Christ, that through his grace we will live forever,” he said.
When all is said and done, the archbishop said, “we want to live in a way that we will die well and that we will inherit the gift of eternal life that Jesus holds out for us.”
Archbishop Kurtz encouraged those who were gathered to visit the gravesites of loved ones and remember the gifts they shared.
“All of our loved ones deserve not to be forgotten. They all deserve to have our prayers and in a sense, they deserve to have us renew our life so that they will be proud of us as we live our lives with the important things of our life very central,” he said.
The archbishop also thanked those gathered for their continued prayers as he fights urothelial carcinoma of the bladder and prostate.
He returned home late last month from North Carolina where he has been receiving chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments since July. He will return to North Carolina for a scheduled surgery on Nov. 11 and said he hopes to be home full-time at the beginning of Advent.