Praying for the living and the dead is one of the Spiritual Acts of Mercy. November, cherished as the Month of the Souls, is a time when we remember all the deceased. We remember the saints, most of whom have no feast day or even a record of their names, on All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1st. On All Souls’ Day, Nov. 2nd, we pray for those who have entered a purification as they encounter God in eternity. Our prayer for them is one of the most hopeful acts we can perform as Catholics.
It is a proclamation that bonds of love and faith are stronger than death and they can never be broken. Our prayer for the dead is also our witness before God that these people belonged to Christ and that they lived in the hope of Heaven.
Many will remember going to the cemetery on All Souls’ Day to visit the graves of family members and friends, and maybe to stop at the graves of people who had no living relatives. We would pray for the repose of their souls. We would offer a prayer of thanksgiving to them, and for them, and maybe offer forgiveness (or ask for it) for past wrongs. We can still do this during a pandemic. No social distancing required from graves and you won’t need a mask!