One of the ways we as Catholics remember our dead is to pray for them. The Bible offers several accounts of prayer for the dead, the earliest of which is seen in the Second Book of Maccabees. Other early evidence of the Christian practice of praying for the dead can be found in the Roman catacombs, where inscriptions include both prayers for the dead and requests for prayers. Early Church Fathers such as Tertullian and Augustine also witness to the tradition of praying for departed family and friends.
Prayers for the dead begin as soon as the person dies. Among its various rites, the Order of Christian Funerals includes “Prayers after Death” and “Gathering in the Presence of the Body.” Both of these rites are to bring comfort to the mourners at the time of death or shortly thereafter.
As the Order of Christian Funerals (OCF) states, “At the death of a Christian, whose life of faith was begun in the waters of baptism and strengthened at the Eucharistic table, the Church intercedes on behalf of the deceased because of its confident belief that death is not the end nor does it break the bonds forged in life” (4)
The funeral liturgy, especially the celebration of the Mass, is the primary way the community offers prayers for their dead: The OCF states, “At the funeral rites, especially at the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice, the Christian community affirms and expresses the union of the Church on earth with the Church in heaven in the one great communion of saints”(6).
After the funeral liturgy, the community continues to remember and pray for the dead at “Masses for the Dead,” on special anniversaries and occasions, on solemnities such as All Saints and All Souls’ Day, and during the Eucharistic Prayer.
We offer our prayers for the dead to commend them to God’s merciful love, to ease their transition from this life to the next, and to keep them close at heart. As the Order of Christian Funerals states,” Though separated from the Living, the dead are still at one with the community of believers on earth and benefit from their prayers and intercession” (6).
www.PastoralLiturgy*magazine,November/December2018, Kathy Kuczka
First Annual St. Valentine Christmas Holiday Walk
Saturday, December 15th
Dinner 4 pm—7 pm
The Holiday Walk Homes will be open at 5 pm until 8 pm
Come join us back at the gym for caroling, cookies and raffles
8 pm – 9:30 pm
Teens 13-17 – $10
Children 12 and under $5
Tickets may be purchased in the back of Church after all the Masses.