November is considered the month of the Holy Souls. Following the Catholic teaching and practice that it is good to pray for the dead, allow me to make a few suggestions:
- Visit a cemetery and pray for a deceased loved one
- Have a Mass offered for a deceased loved one
- Take an occasion during the day to pray the prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory:
Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Halloween, sometimes with a rather disproportionate fascination with matters dark and even sinister seems to have gained tremendous interest in our society. Far gone seem to be the days to dress up like a saint (which I did in my Catholic elementary school days) to honor a holy, heroic person and his or her virtues. From a Christian perspective, it could still be a beautiful preparation for All Saints Day. But things have certainly changed over time.
Ghosts, witches, vampires, mummies and werewolves were scary enough when I was growing up. Then came figures on the order of Jason (from the Friday the 13th movies), Freddy Krueger or some other mass murderer. The theaters have seen their share of zombies, exorcisms, psychopaths and doom's day or end of the world movies to chill and/or terrorize. Memories of Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs) seem almost tame. A scary thought in more ways than one!
It is the subtle (and not so subtle) desensitization of our youth to the presence of violence, evil, and cruelty that continues to disturb me. We need to be extolling positive virtues, goodness and holiness to our young. Yet, too often our young are exposed to just the opposite. The media lets us know often enough how certain young minds are no longer innocent and pure but can become warped and capable of acts far beyond what was ever thought possible (take Columbine, or Sandy Hook for example).
I can’t begin to list all of the negative factors from gangsta rap, to violent video games, to graphic movies and pornography, to access to just about anything on the Internet and social media that bombards the young constantly. Put on top of that the lack of knowledge and practice of the Catholic (or any) Judeo-Christian faith, a declining moral code in society and the general absence of God and prayer in many peoples’ lives today. Makes for a type of perfect storm! And people wonder why we have problems?
Today's parents definitely have their work cut out for them. Parents are still the first teachers of their children in all things--especially faith. Those raising children today certainly have my prayers.
Fr. Ed Namiotka