Archdiocese of Chicago

Catholic Chicago Blog

Monday, November 02, 2009

We Remember… We Celebrate… We Believe…

By Deacon Glenn Tylutki

The above six words describe the who, the what, and the why of the Feast Days of November 1st - All Saints Day and November 2nd - All Souls Day. These two days combine in a most visible way faith and human reality – our past, our present and our future. Their individual threads of remembrance, celebration and belief weave together a fabric that entwines both our total humanness and our spiritual identity. We become “one”- a faith community we call Church. We enter into a relationship that is ever- present, ever-related, always together, never-ending. 

We are born sinners and live as such during our lives. Because of sin we undergo death. Only the corruptible human parts of us die. Through the waters of Baptism and the purification of purgatory we are carried to eternal life – heaven.

As a people of faith we celebrate and remember events and people through prayer. On All Saints Day we pray for all those who have attained the status of heaven – they are truly “all saints”.

On All Souls Day we pray for those who have died but have not yet reached the glory where God is - heaven.

Who are “those” for whom we pray ? They are people we have personally known and loved that we were privileged to call our mom, dad, husband, wife, children, grandmother, grandfather and friend. They are people whom we may have read about or have heard stories about. They, like us, always remain in and for one another.

A very visible example of this continuing “spiritual relationship” is celebrated in Mexico, and by Latin Americans living in the United States and Canada called The Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos) which takes place on All Souls Day. It focuses on the gathering of families and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died – even bringing food for the deceased to share. It is not a mournful remembrance, but takes on a lively celebration for the souls have not died but are alive awaiting reunion. It is our belief that as we remember them – so they remember us. It is best expressed in the words… “Death, oh death where is your sting?” We are never divided, separated, alone.

We read in Sacred Scripture, that for those who have died in Christ, life has changed but not ended. May you and I through our remembering, celebrating and believing one day be joined with all the saints in heaven. 

Please visit our website for specific cemetery locations.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009 3:19 PM

Hi Deacon Glenn! There are a few comments I'd like to make to you in the light of what you have written. First, it's so great that you're a deacon. There is so much work to be done by deacons in this Archdiocese. Good, solid deacons assisting our priests in administering the Sacraments and working with the lay faithful! The cycle of life and death is ever present, yet most of us middle-aged Catholics are afraid to make any type of pre-arrangements for a day that is most certain to arrive. I suppose there exists a certain type of misplaced superstitious attitude amongst many of us--that if we begin to make preparations for our end days---that we might somehow be jinxing ourselves or short-circuiting whatever time we have left here on earth... Planning for our death is a subject that makes most of us shudder, yet we celebrate a secular day (Halloween)parading scary skeletons and other such gory symbols about without nary a thought in the world! As a Catholic, I, too have been reluctant to make plans for my end days--but as I see more and more of my friends and loved ones taken from this world--it leaves much room for much pause and reflection. A wise, senior religious sister once told me. " I am going to live until I die." Therefore, may I live what days I have remaining to the fullest." Period. Sister also said that each of us is inscribed in God's book of life... as to when we are born and when we are to die. We mustn't be unduly agitated over this, but rather accept it as a mere fact of life. Some of us will meet a swift and untimely death, some will suffer from protracted illnesses, others will peacefully die in their sleep. It would sure behoove us to pray for the latter, and to pray to avoid the former, while the 2nd option affords the afflicted with time to make everything right with God and neighbor, something that is a sort of blessing in disguise..... We, as Catholics, with the help of good deacons, priests, religious and laity, ought to pay a bit more attention to planning for our finals days, both in the spiritual and corporal sense. Afterall, we can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying a home, going over all the plans and blueprints and spending thousands more decorating it... When comparing all this to the ultimate attainment or non-attainment of Heaven, all this pales in comparison....the material ceases to be important...making it right with God and neighbor takes the center stage.. as it should. You are so right Deacon Glenn, may we ask for intercession of those gone before us for the grace to persevere in our Catholic faith, not to be afraid to plan what we can plan, and leave the rest to the Lord. "Be not afraid, for I am with you always." God Bless your work Deacon Glenn and congrats on your 44 year marriage. That's tops in anyone's book!!!!!

Carol B.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 7:44 AM

"Those for whom we pray" also include those we do not know, but to whom we are joined in the Communion of Saints - those souls in Purgatory who need our prayers even though we do not know them.

Fred G.