Dear & Near Ones Remembered by Catholics on ‘All Souls Day’ at Bejai & Other Churches

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Dear & Near Ones Remembered by Catholics on ‘All Souls Day’ at Bejai St Francis Xavier Church & Other Churches – May Their Souls R.I.P!

  • Depart, O Christian Soul, out of this world; In the Name of God the Father Almighty who created you; In the Name of Jesus Christ who redeemed you; In the Name of the Holy Spirit who sanctified you. May your rest be in peace, and your dwelling place in the Paradise of God!

Mangaluru: Catholic families in Mangaluru parishes gathered at their respective Church cemeteries to pay tribute to loved ones who have died. Today, 2 November is “All Souls’ Day, when believers pray that souls in purgatory make it to heaven. Though its origins lie with the Catholic Church, other Christian denominations mark the holiday by reading the names of congregation members who have died over the past year. In the Mass that precedes the blessings, the pastoral staff will urge parishioners to pray not only for the good who have died but those who may not have lived a good life.

Death is such a difficult thing for us to deal with. It seems like it robs us of life. (The celebration) helps people who suffer from the grief of loss to be reminded that death is not the end. There is hope for us beyond the grave. The most distinctive feature of the “All Saints’ Day” Mass is the nature of the prayer. The prayers talk about through Christ we have victory over death and hope beyond the grave. Preceding ‘All Saints Day’ ( November 1), ‘All Souls Day’ observed on November 2 is a solemn feast in the Roman Catholic Church commemorating all of those who have died and now are in Purgatory, being cleansed of their venial sins and the temporal punishments for the mortal sins that they had confessed and atoning before entering fully into Heaven.

On All Souls Day, we not only remember the dead, but we apply our efforts, through prayer, almsgiving, and the Mass, to their release from Purgatory. There are two plenary indulgences attached to All Souls Day, one for visiting a church and another for visiting a cemetery. (The plenary indulgence for visiting a cemetery can also be obtained every day from November 1-8, and, as a partial indulgence, on any day of the year.) While the actions are performed by the living, the merits of the indulgences are applicable only to the souls in Purgatory. Praying for the dead is a Christian obligation. The Church devotes the month of November to prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and participation in the Mass of ‘All Souls Day’ is a good way to begin the month.

Family members and close friends visited the cemeteries this past week, some to clean the tombs in preparation for the celebrations. Tombs at the Catholic church cemeteries were adorned with new silk flowers/fresh flowers, bouquets and candles. This morning family members were seen cleaning the tombs in Bejai cemetery, after which they adorned it with flowers and candles. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Fr J B Saldanha, the Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier Church, Bejai in the City said, ” During the Commemoration of the faithful departed in Bejai, Special prayers were offered in all churches in memory of the departed souls. All souls’ Day in Catholic Church is a day of commemoration of all the faithful departed. All baptized whether they are in heaven or in a state of purification or living here on earth belong to one family of God. Keeping this in mind special prayers are offered to the departed souls”.

Former Union Minister George Fernandes, also a parishioner of Bejai Church, is buried in Bejai Cemetery.

Family members of Former Union minister Oscar Fernandes pray for His soul at the St Patrick’s Cemetery, Hosur Rd, Bengaluru

“People visit graves of their beloved ones to pray for them. They adorn the gravesite with flowers and candles. Special arrangements have been made in the Bejai parish cemetery and cemeteries in the city of Mangalore to celebrate the memory of the dead and to offer prayers for them. Bejai parish cemetery came into existence in 1869 on a piece of land obtained from the British government. Mr Joseph Lobo Prabhu was the principal founder of the cemetery chapel in Bejai. Those days it was served from Rosario cathedral and later on 23rd March 1912, Rev. Fr Sebastian Noronha SJ was appointed as resident chaplain of Bejai. The Bejai parish was however officially erected on 9th May 1929” added Fr Saldanha.

Fr Saldanha further said, “The graves of the pioneers and stalwarts who supported the cause of the erection of Bejai parish like Joseph Lobo Prabhu, Fr Joseph Peter Fernandes, Fr Antony A E Colaco, Sebastian Sequiera, John Peter Sequiera,Kistu Kamath, J J C Fernandes, George Peter Lobo, Santan Menezes, Camilo Patrao, Francis J M Pais, Simon Patrao, Clara Noronha and many others are interned in Bejai Church and Bejai Church cemetery. The cemetery is well maintained, looks neat and clean as the memory of the departed ancestors is recalled on this day 2nd November 2021. We pray “Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let your perpetual light shine on them and may the souls of the departed rest in peace. Amen”.

On 2nd November the faithful all over the world celebrate the memory of the departed and pray for their souls. This is known as the commemoration of all the faithful departed or All Soul’s Day. In Christian tradition, All Souls’ Day was popularized by French monks who designated a specific day for remembering the dead already back in 998 AD. On this day requiem masses are held in the churches with special prayers and music. People visit the graves of their loved ones and decorate the tombs and graves with flowers and candles. The local Church in Mangaluru and Udupi solemnly celebrated all Soul’s Day today, 2nd November”.

In St Francis Xavier Church, Bejai the day was celebrated in a befitting manner. Large gathering of Catholic faithful was seen offering prayers in the Church and visiting the graveyard to pay respect to the ancestors and departed near and dear ones. Rev. Fr J. B. Saldanha, Parish Priest, Bejai offered the mass and Fr Robert D’Souza, and other clergies of the Church concelebrated and all of them offered special prayers in the cemetery, and after a short prayer went around the cemetery blessing the tombs with Holy Water.

Six identical family graves. Eight burials. Grandfather/grandmother & Father/mother together in two graves. Uncles and Aunts in four graves. The first burial of Grandfather on 8th July 1917 and last burial 6th Sept 2018 of Mother Lena Fernandes aged 92 years, of Ronald Fernandes, Bejai

“It is our family tradition to maintain the graves and regularly pray for their Souls, especially on All Souls Day. They are our role models and we sincerely believe that they are keeping a close watch over us and praying for us. My sister Patricia is here with me, along with my wife, Jacintha praying for our dear ones. My three brothers are out of town but they are present in Spirit. I loved my mother very much. I was her very favorite son, she always cared for me, loved me and gave me whatever I wanted. Losing her was the greatest tragedy in my life. My arms may not be able to reach her, but she is holding my heart. My mom was the most encouraging, inspiring, and positive person. Her words will live on in my heart. She lives on in my heart. I love her so much more than any limitations that our human vocabulary puts on emotions. I miss my Mom, I love her” said Ronald Fernandes emotionally of her mother Lena Fernandes, who passed away at the age of 92, on 6th September 2018.

Susan, who belongs to Bejai Parish cleans the graves of her family members once every two months. She says “We honour the saints that are in heaven. We remember the dead and we pray for them. We also need to keep the tombs of our beloved ones clean too. I feel sad when I see the dilapidated conditions of some of the tombs “. Susan said she remembers her sister every day, especially her “bubbly” personality. “Whenever you see her, she would laugh and always have something good to say. She wasn’t going to die, she was going to go on forever and ever,” Susan said.

Sonia Rodrigues (along with her cousin) paying respect to her beloved Dad, Late Fredrick Rodrigues

Sonia Rodrigues who had come to pay respect to her dad, Fredrick Rodrigues, died on 26-8-2018 said, ” When I close my eyes I see Him; When I open my eyes I miss Him. I keep myself busy with the things I do but every time I pause, I still think of my dad whom I miss a lot. Have you ever missed someone so much that even the thought of them made you burst into tears? I miss Him a lot, since two years after he left for heaven. A little too much, a little too often and a little more every day, my dear Dad”.

This morning, I paid respect to the tomb of my dad George D’souza (Born 18-6-1909, Died- 15-12-1992) and Mom-Magdalene D’Souza ( Born: 25-4-1918, Died: 1-7-1999), who both share the same tomb at Bejai Church. Since they both passed away while I was in the USA, I still feel sorry to say that due to my work schedule and short time leave provision, I was not able to attend their funeral. I know that they have forgiven me, and are looking at me from Heaven, showering their love and blessings on me. For their love, care and dedication towards me, I dedicate the following thought-provoking poem to my parents. I miss them very much. If I had a chance to relive my years with them again, I would have thought of their needs more and made time to visit them more often than I did –

“A day does not go by without thinking of you.
I think of the past and I feel happy and sad.
You both worked hard to take care of us.
My two brothers (Joe and Rudy) and I had fun growing up.

Before I knew it you were both very old.
I wished I had spent more time with you.
You gave all your time, love and care to us.
But I was too busy to even visit you two.

Now that both of you are dead and buried,
I visit your grave and think of the past.
What I would not give to see you again.
I wish I could go back to the past.

I would spend every day with you two.
I would give you my time and my care.
To make sure that you were happy and well.
Just like you did with my brothers and me”.

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1 Comment

  1. They all served Planet Earth, and Mother India with dedication and distinction. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let your perpetual light shine upon those gone ahead of us. Strength and courage to all their loved ones.

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