Tuesday, November 3, 2009

All Saints and All Souls

I really enjoy celebrating All Saints and All Souls days. We had a big chicken dinner on Sunday, the Feast of All Saints, and had fun looking through the Patron Saints book. We found out that there is a Saint for just about any occupation, ailment or condition. In our search for patron saints we came across St. George, St. Isadore the farmer, St. Anne, St. Hippolitus, St. Joseph, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Francis of Assisi and so many more. Do you have a skin rash or lost article? Then ask St. Anthony to intercede on your behalf. I wish I had more knowledge of the Saints and their virtues. I do try to read their stories, but the reading wish list is so long that I'm sure I'll never even make a dent. Emily and Nick are studying many of the Saints through their Reading Comprehension studies. They read silently and then narrate to me all they learned, in this way we are learning together and typically I have many questions for them and I think they like taking on the teacher role sometimes.

I think many people have a misconception as to how the Saints are "used" in the Catholic Faith. For one we do not pray to the Saints, but we ask for them to intercede on our behalf. They are obviously more holy and closer to God than I am and Catholics believe they have a special place in heaven and are a direct link between us and God. So if you have misplaced an item, it would be appropriate to ask St. Anthony to present a special prayer to God on your behalf that you might find that item. That is called an intercessory prayer. I love introducing our kids to this type of prayer because it gives them something tangible to hang onto. I believe it helps them feel related to God in a much closer way. All those who have died before us are also the saints in heaven and can be called on to intercede on our behalf.

All Souls Day is serious and fun all at the same time. It's a day to pray for the souls of all the departed that may be in purgatory that their soul might be cleansed so they have eternal life in heaven. We used this day to put into action the Corporal Work of Mercy - Bury the Dead. We headed out to the cemetery to clean up around a few family grave sites.

We also celebrated it with a little Latin American flair by making these very cool Day of the Dead skulls.