EDITORIAL| Preparing for All Souls Day

THIS weekend, the road leading to cemeteries will again experience bumper to bumper traffic as most people take the time to visit loved ones who have passed to the great beyond. For the younger set , this is the time to don scary costumes and adapt the western Halloween extravaganza.

But why do we really celebrate All Souls Day?

All Souls Day is a holy day set aside for honoring the dead. Although celebrated by the Catholic Church, it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and a few other denominations of Christianity

“According to Catholic belief, the soul of a person who dies can go to one of three places. The first is heaven, where a person who dies in a state of perfect grace and communion with God goes. The second is hell, where those who die in a state of mortal sin are naturally condemned by their choice. The intermediate option is purgatory, which is thought to be where most people, free of mortal sin, but still in a state of lesser (venial) sin, must go.

“Purgatory is necessary so that souls can be cleansed and perfected before they enter into heaven. There is scriptural basis for this belief. The primary reference is in 2 Maccabees, 12:26 and 12:32. “Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out… Thus made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin.”

“Additional references are found in Zechariah, Sirach, and the Gospel of Matthew. Jewish tradition also reinforces this belief as well as the tradition and teaching of the Church, which has been affirmed throughout history. Consistent with these teachings and traditions, Catholics believe that through the prayers of the faithful on Earth, the dead are cleansed of their sins so they may enter into heaven.”(http://www.catholic.org/saints/allsouls)

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