Dear friends in Christ
The autumn season is well and truly upon us and with the start of November this week we once again begin to reflect upon the eternal truths: death, judgement, heaven and hell. Tuesday is the Holy Day of All Saints and Wednesday the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed: the Holy Souls. As Catholics we keep these sacred days as the celebration of the life of the Blessed in Heaven and then the hope of the Souls in Purgatory - and our hope too - for life eternal. The whole point of religion is to get us to heaven, and attain this as soon as possible after our life on earth. The Church reminds us with urgency in November to pray earnestly for the Holy Souls. This we do by assisting at Mass (especially on 2nd) by praying for them, and by visiting their places of burial. One lovely custom for the month of November is the Blessing of Graves. This year we will revive this custom as a Deanery by making a joint-visit to Sutton Road Cemetery, Southend, on Sunday 13th November. At 3pm - the Hour of Mercy - we are invited to gather at the large Cross inside the Cemetery for some introductory prayers, Then with our priests we can process to the graves of our Departed family members and friends to bless them. We can also take lighted lamps, which will be lit from the Paschal Candle, and leave those on the graves as a sign of our faith and hope in the Resurrection. These wind-proof candles can be bought from the Repository at the back of church (three pounds each) and brought along to the Cemetery on the day. I hope many of you will be able to join us on Sunday week - even if you do not have family buried there - as we can together pray for their eternal repose and also in the hope that we all share of the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. God bless you!
Msgr Kevin Hale