All Saints’ Souls’ Day for living and dead

Posted on November 1, 2012

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THE annual observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days serve to remind the living of the need to pray for their departed loved ones so they can enter heaven, the local clergy said yesterday.

“These two days were set by the Catholic Church to remember both the living and dead together,” said Fr. Glenn Therese Guanzon, chairman of the Cebu Archdiocese’s Commission on Worship.

The faithful in the Catholic Church belong to three groups – the Church Triumphant, Church Suffering and Church Militant. This unity is referred to when Catholics profess during the Apostles’ Creed: “(I believe in) the communion of saints.”

Souls who reach heaven belong to the “Church Triumphant.” These souls include those who were proclaimed by the Church as saints and those whose sins were completely washed away.

“All Saints’ Day is the feast of the Church triumphant especially the unknown saints not canonized on earth. We celebrate their triumph into heaven and ask their intercession to help us and the Church Suffering,” Guanzon said.

The “Church Suffering” is composed of souls in purgatory who are undergoing cleansing of their sins.

“All Souls Day (Nov. 2) is the day we especially remember the church suffering. We can help them with our prayers and sacrifices,” Guanzon said.

The third group or the “Church Militant” refers to all living human beings.

The living ask the intercession of saints, while the saints, together with the souls in purgatory, pray for the living.

The Church grants plenary indulgences or total absolution of sins to those who visit the cemeteries and pray for the dead on the first eight days of November.

To benefit from this one shoud be in a state of grace by going to confession, attending Mass, and praying the “Our Father,” one “Hail Mary,” and one “Glory Be” for the intention of the Church and the Pope.

Guanzon said the benefits of plenary indulgence are for the living and for souls in purgatory. Souls already in heaven and in hell, however, no longer receive this grace.

Msgr. Esteban Binghay, episcopal vicar of the archdiocese, said everyone is called to become saints. “It is possible if only we strive hard to become saints,” he said.

To become a saint, Binghay said one should either get martyred because of faith or exemplary exercise of the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

Binghay said the elevation to sainthood of Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod last Oct. 21 convey a message to everyone. ”We should stand firm in our faith even if we will be shakened. God is permanent while the world is changing,” he said.

Msgr. Arthur Navales, chairperson of the archdiocese’s Commission on Youth, said saints are not extraordinary creatures.

“To be a saint, you must be a real human being; a person who struggles; and someone who experienced fullness of life,” Navales said. He said each one should recognize the goodness within them.

“Each human being is created in the image and likeness of God. You should maximize whatever the Lord has given you,” Navales said. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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