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Monday, November 3, 2014

Commemoration of the departed faithful: pray for those the world has forgotten

Vatican City, 2 November 2014 (VIS) – The Solemnity of All Saints and the commemoration of all the Faithful Departed, are “intimately linked to each other, just as joy and tears find a synthesis in Jesus Christ, Who is the foundation of our faith and our hope”, said Pope Francis to the faithful gathered to pray the Angelus in St. Peter's Square today.

On the one hand, in fact, the Church, a pilgrim in history, rejoices through the intercession of the saints and blessed who support her in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel; on the other, she, like Jesus, shares the tears of those who suffer the separation from loved ones, and like Him and through Him echoes thanks to the Father who has delivered us from the dominion of sin and death.

Today, when we remember our dear departed, many people visit the cemetery which, as its name itself implies, is a “place of rest”, where we await the final awakening. “Jesus himself revealed that the death of the body is like a sleep from which he awakens us”, explained the Holy Father. “With this faith we stop – also spiritually – at the graves of our loved ones. ... But today we are called to remember everyone, even those who no one remembers. We remember the victims of war and violence; the many 'little ones' of the world, oppressed by hunger and poverty. We remember the nameless who rest in common graves. We remember our brothers and sisters killed because they are Christians; and those who sacrificed their lives to serve others”.

“Church tradition has always urged prayer for the dead, in particular by offering the celebration of the Eucharist for them: it is the best spiritual help that we can give to their souls, particularly to the most abandoned ones. The foundation of prayers of remembrance is found in the communion of the Mystical Body. Remembering the dead, caring for their tombs and prayers of suffrage are testimony to confident hope, rooted in the certainty that death does not have the last word on human destiny, as humanity is destined for a life without end, that has its root and its fulfilment in God”, said Francis, who concluded the Angelus with a prayer for the departed by the Passionist Antonio Rungi:

“God of infinite mercy, we entrust to Your immense goodness all those who have left this world for eternity, where you await all humanity, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ Your Son, who died to save us from our sins. Look not Lord, at our poverty, misery and human weaknesses when we present ourselves before You to be judged in happiness or condemned. Gaze upon us with pity, born of Your tender heart and help us to walk the path of purification. May none of your children be lost to the eternal fires of hell, where repentance is no more. We entrust to You Lord, the souls of our beloved departed, of those who died without the comfort of the Sacraments or who did not have the opportunity to repent, not even at the end of their life. May no one fear the encounter with You at the end of their earthly pilgrimage, in the hope of being welcomed within the embrace of your infinite mercy. May sister death find us in prayerful vigilance, and full of all the good we have done during our existence, be it long or short. Lord, may nothing distance us from you on this earth, may everything and everyone support us in our ardent hope to serenely and eternally rest in You. Amen”.

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