The Commemoration of the 2nd of November as All Souls Day, did not arise suddenly. Since the 7th century, the Archbishop of Seville, Saint Isidoro (560-636) established that the Monday of Pentecost would be offered to Saint Sacrifice = Eucarist= Holy Mass for all the dead, as was customary in other countries, especially in the chapters and monasteries. St. Odilo (+ 1049), abbot of Cluny (France) was dedicated to this tradition and usually established it as a commemoration, as it is now; other traditions offer altars decorated in the style of life of the deceased, meals, flowers, candles, the traditional bread of the dead and people spend the night in cemeteries with their loved ones, for example the Night of the Dead (Mexico).
The monasteries dependent on Cluny Abbey, endorsed the Office for the Dead, then Rome gave it great importance, and officially established the Office of the Dead spread throughout the church, complete with the Liturgy of the Hours and enriched with lessons of Saint Peter and St. Augustine, with the privilege of three masses. Today religious congregations include the office of the canonical hours, prayers for the members and supporters who have gone to meet the Father and mention their names.
In each daily celebration and all the masses the moment for the Dead is presented, when it is said among other formulas: “Remember also, Lord, for our deceased brothers and N … N … who have gone before us with the sign of faith and who sleep the sleep of peace. To them and to all who rest in Christ, we pray, Lord, grant them the place of renewal, of Light and Peace.”
There are also offices of liturgies for the deceased lying in state, at the time of burial, for those who die at sea and a special liturgy for young children, who are those children who have not attained the use of reason; it is desirable to shroud them according to their age and to surround them with flowers to honor their spirituality, for this service white vestments are used, the offices for the dead are not celebrated, instead are celebrated masses of glory masses, masses of angels, to praise and bless God, the prayers and psalms in serving infants are of triumph and joy, even though the pain and sadness afflicts their relatives.
In the Commemoration of November 2nd as All Souls Day, the church is dressed in purple, a sign of humility and sorrow, encouraging us to retreat and meditate for our loved ones who have gone before us with the sign of death.
Sadly in Cuba we can see every day the loss of the tradition of visiting cemeteries, holding Masses, burning candles, laying flowers for our deceased relatives and friends; this humble servant thought to present my humble prayer to God for all those who in life I have loved well, my grandparents, my uncles, my teachers, friends, brothers in faith, fraternal, my spiritual directors and all who are entrusted with and have instructed my prayers.
Lord grant them eternal rest!
And may perpetual light shine within them!
Translated by: Norman Valenzuela and Carlos Maristany (first half of first paragraph only). Others: remainder.
November 5 2012