Megan Swaim encourages families to visit a cemetery during November, to pray for souls and remember the hope we have in Jesus.
Last week we celebrated All Souls Day by visiting a cemetery with some friends from our parish. We gathered, spoke the names of loved ones who had died, prayed a few simple prayers together, and then spent some time walking around, praying for the souls whose names were listed on the markers. It was simple and short, and yet so very profound.
The events of the year have given us many opportunities to talk with our kids about death, the sacredness and fragility of human life, and our responsibilities to others. But somehow, when we visited the cemetery, these truths became more real, more tangible, for all of us.
During the spring quarantine my grandmother died and we weren’t to travel home for her funeral and burial. And even though the cemetery we visited here in Kansas isn’t where her body is laid to rest, it was still deeply moving to pray for her in that spot. To remember the Hope we have in Jesus Christ, not just for those we love who have died, but for ourselves someday, too. The Hope of the Resurrection was renewed in us that day.
If you’ve not yet taken your family to visit a cemetery and pray for the dead, I encourage you to find some time yet this November and do that. The Holy Father has offered us a gift in extending the plenary indulgence for the dead for the whole month of November (it is usually just during the Octave of All Saints, November 1-8). And for anyone who must remain at home for health reasons and cannot visit a cemetery in person, they may still obtain a plenary indulgence for the poor souls in purgatory by praying for the dead or offering up their pain and suffering.
If you will be taking your family to visit a cemetery, here are some links with helpful prayers and information for making it a beautiful and holy experience for your family.
Copyright 2020 Megan Swaim
Image: Pixabay (2017)
About the Author
Megan Swaim is an Indiana girl on an east coast adventure. A former high school youth minister, she now gets to minister full-time to her three young daughters and her husband Josh. Megan spends her days homeschooling at the kitchen table, drinking iced coffee, and exploring coastal Virginia.