Thursday, October 20, 2011


Do you have your costume?

From the Deacon's Bench: The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, honors departed souls of loved ones who are welcomed back for a few intimate hours. At burial sites or intricately built altars, photos of loved ones are centered on skeleton figurines, bright decorations, candles, candy and other offerings such as the favorite foods of the departed. Pre-Columbian in origin, many of the themes and rituals now are mixtures of indigenous practices and Roman Catholicism.

The holiday is celebrated in Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil and parts of Ecuador.

When I visited Tblisi in the Republic of Georgia over the All Saints and All Soul's Holy Days about 12 years ago, I went with the pastor and parishioners of Saints Peter and Paul Church to the cemetery to pray the rosary. I was struck by the fact that the Russian and Georgian Orthodox had picnic tables by the graves and left food for the dead especially on these days. The Latin Rite Polish pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul did not care much for the Orthodox custom and criticized it to me. But I thought it was cool. So much for 1970's seminary education I guess.

This is how we celebrate the Day of the Dead in Macon, GA:


Anonymous said...

Glad you post this day.
INHO it should be a Holy Day of Obligation.


pinanv525 said...

Are we having Requiem Mass again this year...I hope?

Robert Kumpel said...

I enjoy the colorful folk art that goes with the Dia de los Muertos, but it has obviously gone in the wrong direction when those considering the souls of their loved ones turn an opportunity to help them into a party. The ugliest manifestation of this is the sacrilegious cult of Santa Muerte or "St. Death". All Souls Day used to be a Holy Day of Obligation and I pray it will become one again, because offering the Sacrifice of the Mass for the poor souls is the most efficacious thing a Catholic can do to help them. Sadly, Purgatory, a dogma of the Catholic faith, is treated like a superstitious belief in some places. We as Catholics can benefit by taking a fresh look at the teachings on Purgatory. A good place to start might be reading Gerard Van Den Aardweg's book Hungry Souls. Purgatory is no picnic.

Templar said...

Pin, yes we are, I asked Father last week after Mass and he confirmed we would be.

Frajm said...

Yes, we are having our annual Solemn High Sung Mass with deacon and subdeacon on All Soul's Day, Wednesday, November 2 at 7:00 PM with our choirs singing Faure's Requiem.

The 5:00 PM EF Low Mass on Tuesday, All Saints Day is also celebrated, so there will be three EF Masses that week as the following Sunday is the First Sunday of November and thus the 2:00 PM EF High Mass!