“All Souls Day” Sermon

One CandleWe pray for them as though their destiny can be changed. We talk about them as the “poor souls in purgatory” when purgatory is the gateway to heaven. (They ain’t “poor,” by any means folks.) Years ago, on this day in grade school we could say an “Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be” inside the church. We then needed to leave the church, and a soul would ascend to Heaven. We could repeat this as often as our little feet or minds could endure this repetitious ritual. It sounds silly today, but back then, it was pretty important work. (Taking the place of God’s judgment is a big job; too bad we feel the urge to take His place!)

Those examples are silly, but their meaning is significant. We kept a connection, in a spiritual way, with those who have died. Those we’ve known or loved and those unknown but still remembered. A connection. Yesterday it was saintly people, and today it’s the regular fare of folks. My personal remembrances today are with the regular fare. We could cynically call them “steerage,” like those traveling in the lower bowels of a ship.

But yesterday and today, I guess it’s more than a connection, it’s a fusing between the living and the deceased. There is a oneness that is heightened these two days. We remember the dead daily during the Mass but especially between the seasons of fall and winter; with a diminishing sun and a rising moon.

A funeral theme that I love to use is the old song, “The Song Has Ended But The Melody Lingers On.” That’s “All Soul’s Day.” A special life has stopped living, but the memories continue to live and breathe within our living lives.

“All Souls Day” can be like Halloween’s “Trick or Treat.” The trick is to embrace and recall someone’s life as best we can each day. The treat is in the remembering – even bad memories may teach us living folks a lesson about someone’s mistakes or misadventures. The good memories are the easiest to keep a hold of.

This holy day is dedicated to those who have gone before us but continue to be a part, even a small part, of our lives. We pray for them, but we don’t need to pray for them. Instead, we should request that they pray for us. Through their prayers with our days ahead, can those days be fruitful, rewarding, satisfying and enlightening for ourselves and for those whose lives we touch?

That’s the union between the living and dead. Their journey of life is complete while ours continues.

Eternal rest be unto them, Oh, Lord. May the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, “requiescat in pace,” rest in peace.


Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available on Amazon.com
“Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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2 Responses to “All Souls Day” Sermon

  1. David Gawlik says:

    Caritas Communications 1025 West Glen Oaks Lane, Suite 106 Mequon, WI 53092 414.531.0503 dgawlik70@gmail.com


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandra Swietlik says:

    Thank you

    Sent from my U.S. Cellular® Smartphone


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