November is the month dedicated to the Holy Souls. The Church has always prayed for the dead and we should also pray for those that have gone before us, especially our loved ones and the souls in Purgatory who are waiting to enter the fullness of God’s glory. Our prayers and sacrifices can help them to gain heaven faster, because all believers in Christ are part of His body and are joined in the Communion of Saints. During the month of November, the Church helps us focus on the “Communion of Saints” which includes:
- The Church Triumphant – those who have already reached heaven
- The Church Suffering – the faithful departed who are being cleansed of their sins in Purgatory
- The Church Militant – those of us still struggling here on earth
Halloween is the vigil of the Catholic holy days of All Saints’ Day on November 1 (which is a holy day of obligation) and All Souls’ Day on November 2 (did you know that it is a spiritual work of mercy to pray for the living and the dead?). These feasts are remembrances of our beloved dead—those who are among the saints in heaven and those who are awaiting admittance to paradise.
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated throughout Mexico on November 1 and 2 (which coincides with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day) and is a holiday for remembering and honoring those who have passed. People celebrate Dia de los Muertos to honor their deceased loved ones. It is a festive, joyous time of celebration. Some of the ways to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Mexico include setting up an altar to honor deceased loved ones which is then decorated with flowers, photos, candles, food and drinks, cleaning and decorating graves, telling stories about the deceased, and making and exchanging sugar skulls and other sweets.
So celebrate we will! We will decorate skull cookies…I found these awesome cookie kits at our local grocery store:
We will pray for our deceased family and friends and share stories of those close to us who have passed. I purchased two new books to share with the kids Day of the Dead by Tony Johnston and Day of the Dead Activity Book by Karl Jones. I found this beautiful All Saints’ Day coloring page at the Audrey Eclectic blog. I love the ‘Saint Themed Guessing Jars‘ over at Catholic Inspired…can’t wait to do this with the kids!
And there’s this great All Saints’ Day Scavenger Hunt over on the Better Than Eden blog that we may try to do.
My dad died of lung cancer on October 30, 2000 and was buried on All Souls’ Day 11/2/2000. I took comfort in knowing that because of this special day when all souls are remembered my dad was in good hands and had a lot of people praying for him! So, I will remember and pray for him and all the other loved ones I have lost during this time but I will also take time to remember and celebrate their life while they were here with me.