November is the month of All Souls. Halloween is October 31st, which is the Eve of All Hallows or All Saints Day Eve. On November 1st, we celebrate All Saints Day, a feast day of all the saints in the Church. Then on November 2nd, we celebrate All Souls Day and remember everyone who has ever died in all of humanity. We pray for their souls. We believe that if they are still in Purgatory, our prayers can relieve their suffering and even liberate them from Purgatory and send them to Heaven.
Us Catholics pray for the dead throughout the entire year and not only during the month of November. (Praying for the dead is in St. Paul’s Letter to Timothy and Maccabees, and that’s just off the top of my head.) It’s a good practice. We also believe that those dead we pray for will pray for us.
Everytime Sometimes when I pass a cemetery, I pray for the dead of that particular cemetery. So do my kids. They remind me. We offer the souls of the people in that cemetery a quick Eternal Rest or a Hail Mary or even both. For those of you that know the Pharisaical bo-bo Catholic that I am, you can imagine that these prayers aren’t always said with devotion or even at all and that I kind of take spells and do better at these prayers sometimes more than others.
Out here on the prairie, there are many country cemeteries. Sometimes they are family burial plots in unnamed cemeteries surrounded by pasture on land that hasn’t been that family’s homestead in 80 years. They don’t have signs. You can barely make out the headstones. I would venture to say that some might not even have headstones. We try to offer an Eternal Rest especially for these souls because I think it’s possible we may be the only ones still praying for them. There is one such cemetery only 2.5 miles from my house.
Genoa Colorado is hardly a mecca anymore. Still, there are times that I have to run to a certain business outside of Genoa or even pass through Genoa to go on the Interstate. When I am on my way to Genoa, I pass one such country cemetery.
One day when I was on my way back from Genoa, my husband happened to be with us and I remembered to pray.
“What are you doing?” he asked, as I belted out a mumbled Eternal Rest.
“I’m praying for the people in that cemetery we just passed.” I said with all Pharisaical Catholic pride.
He started laughing. “That’s not a cemetery,” he said.
“Yes it is. Don’t you see the gravestones? They’re all fenced off there.” Jesus really condemned those Pharisees. Several times.
“Those are not gravestones. When I was a kid, that was a blah-blah and So&So had his giant propane tanks propped up on those stones.”
Meanwhile I’ve been praying for the propane tank holders for years. I’m a Novus Ordo Jersey girl Catholic, trying to get this prairie-thing and this Trad-Catholic thing. I’m bound to have a few slip-ups. Now I’m sure in all the course of humanity, someone had to die or be buried there, right? May their soul rest in peace.
Posted in Culture Clashes of a Jersey Girl on the Colorado Prairie, Touring Eastern Colorado by Laura with 4 comments.