Remembering My ‘Mamma’ on All Saints Day-1 Nov and All Souls Day-2 Nov

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Remembering My ‘Mamma’ on All Saints Day-1 Nov and All Souls Day-2 Nov

Panjim-Goa: Today, Sunday 1st November is the Feast of All Saints. On this day my mother Basilia Helen Carvalho (23.05.1930 – 01.11.2004) left this world for her eternal abode in 2004. We interred her body on All Souls’ Day on 02nd November at her native parish Trasi, Udupi District. My father was alive and healthy but suffering from acute dementia and didn’t know she had passed away. I have many interesting anecdotes related to my mother we called her mamma. But the following one was told to me by my father whom we called pappa.

We (Pappa, Mamma, myself four years old, and my sister two and half years) were living in a rented flat at Umarkhadi, Bombay (now Mumbai). Pappa was working for a British company. In 1954 the owners decided to close the company. They offered pappa a job in England. He gave this news to Mamma and told her to continue to live in Umarkhadi. She insisted on taking all of us with him to England. Pappa told her that it was not possible at the present moment. First he would go and study the situation there and then he would take us. Mamma was not ready for this.

Fr Pratap’s ‘Mamma’ holding his Sister and He standing next to her at his ‘Pappa’s’ Native Parish Premises-Kundapur

Pappa tried his best to convince her. She told him, “Without you, I can’t stay here in this city. Why did you marry me, to go to an unknown country very far? Either you take all of us with you now, or find a job here in Bombay.” Pappa’s love for mamma was beyond words. He decided not to go to England and found a job in Bombay with Dr Writers Chocolate company and later with F. D. Mehta and company. In 1955 mamma came down to her native place Trasi with my sister and myself for the delivery of my brother. In 1956 we settled at Gangolli and there two more siblings were born.

Pappa used to come down once in a year for 21 days only. One way travel for him from Bombay to Gangolli by train and then bus took 3 days in those days. We were brought up with mamma in the village only. She was a disciplined person. For her cleanliness and orderliness was next to godliness. Whatever good qualities I have now, most of them are inherited from her. May she continue to bless me, my siblings and everyone. Enjoy your stay in eternal home Mamma, till I hope to join you.

About All Saint’s Day?

All Saints’ Day is generally celebrated on 1st November as a commemoration day for all Christian saints. It may also be known as All Hallows’ Day, Solemnity of All Saints, Hallowmas, or Feast of Saints. The origin of All Saints’ Day may date back to a Greek Christian tradition from the 4th century, when a festival was held to honor saints and martyrs on the Sunday following Pentecost. The first recorded All Saints’ Day occurred on 13 May 609 CE when Pope Boniface IV accepted the Pantheon in Rome as a gift from the Emperor Phocas. The Pope dedicated the day as a holiday to honour the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs.

In 835 CE, during the reign of Pope Gregory III, the festival was moved to 1st November and was expanded to include the honouring of all saints. It is likely that 1st November was intentionally chosen to replace the pagan feast of the dead, Samhain. The night before Samhain was a time when evil spirits roamed the land looking for humans. To confuse the spirits, people would dress up as creatures. This tradition carried on after 1 November became a Christian festival, hence the name of Halloween – which is a shortened version of All Hallows’ Eve.

The day survived the Reformation, though the Protestants combined it with All Souls’ Day, which was on 2nd November. In Roman Catholicism, All Saints’ Day is a Holy Day of Obligation. This means Catholics must go to Mass on the date unless there is a good reason not to attend, such as illness. The holiday is typically observed with a reading of the Beatitudes, eight blessings given in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as recounted in the Gospel of Matthew. In recent years, it has become common in many churches to commemorate those who died during the year on the day itself. The tradition of placing candles on the graves the evening before All Saints’ Eve is becoming more common.

About All Souls’ Day?

All Souls’ Day is a celebration to remember those who have died (in particular one’s relatives). It always falls on November 2 and is preceded by Halloween on October 31 and All Saints’ Day on November 1. Together these three days of remembrance of the dead form the triduum (a religious observance lasting three days) of Hallowtide or Allhallowtide. People traditionally visit the graves of deceased relatives during this time.

Known liturgically as the “Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed”, All Souls’ Day is often seen as a continuation and extension of the All Saints’ Day celebrations conducted the day before. While All Saints’ Day is dedicated to those who are in heaven, All Souls’ Day is a day of prayer for those who have died but have not yet reached heaven. The custom of placing lit candles on the graves of deceased relatives on All Saints’ Day often continues into All Souls’ Day.

About Author-Fr Pratap Naik SJ :

Fr. Pratap Naik, S.J., is a Jesuit priest based in Panjim-Goa. He is the director of the Thomas Stephens Konkkni Kendr (TSKK), a research institute working on issues related to the Konkani language, literature, culture and education. The institute is based in Alto Porvorim, on the outskirts of the state capital of Panaji, Goa. Fr Naik was one of the proponents for founding the TSKK. The proposal to do so was brought up before the provincial congregation (one of the official bodies of the Jesuits) in 1978.

TSKK is named after Thomas Stephens, the 16th century English Jesuit priest missionary who came to Goa in 1579 and lived in the region till his death. Stevens authored the Arte da lingoa Canarim, which was written in Portuguese, and was the first printed grammar of what is now called the Konkani language. In 1982 TSKK was registered as a society, and it commenced operation in January 1986 from its former premises at Loyola Hall in Miramar, Goa. Miramar itself is a centre for training young men wanting to become Jesuit priests.

The TSKK focuses on education and research of the Konkani language, literature and culture. Speaking about the professional activities of the TSKK, Pratap Naik has said, “We are not limiting ourselves only to Goa, but wherever Konkani is spoken. Shortly, we are going to study Siddi Konkani, spoken by a community of former slaves who were once located in Goa, and are now based in Yellapur in Konkani. For this we are collaborating with two Brazilian professors.”. Since 1986, Jesuit scholastics training to become priests were sent for a one-month training in Konkani. In 2003, a Konkani postgraduate diploma course was proposed. In 2006, Naik was involved in a campaign to get official recognition for the Roman script of Konkani, along with the Devanagari script, which is the sole officially recognized script for Konkani in Goa.

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  1. Dear Rev Fr.

    We all pray for the departed souls on All Souls Day. Is possible to turn it into a healing prayer and said every day ?
    I strongly believe so. First let me give the background.


    Do we suffer for the sins of our forefathers?

    I do believe so. Is God cruel to punish the descendants for sins of their forefathers? Certainly not.
    God’s will is that all should be saved. Therefore if the sins of forefathers are put on their descendants and if the descendants pray for the sins of the forefathers, then sins of the descendants as well the sins of their forefathers will be forgiven. This is in accordance with Lord’s Prayer.
    There are several bible verses which contradict Exodus 20:4-6 such as Deut 24:16,Ezekiel 18:19-20
    2 Kings 14:6 and Jer 31:36. It is my views that they are in fact a warning by Lord our God that that punishment meted out for sins of the forefathers can only be an act of God and not by any human beings under laws of Moses. The reason being only Lord our God can undo the punishment. It is often pointed out that in baptism we are freed from the original sin . I fully agree with that but Exodus 20:4-6 refers to only to the sins of our forefathers going back to 3 to 4 generations.
    In the New Testament, often John 9:3 is quoted to say that children do not suffer for the sins of their forefathers but my impressions is that Jesus was trying to say that not all sufferings can be attributed to the sins of fore fathers.
    According to my observation some negative traits in us do not go away no matter how much we pray unless we pray to be freed from the sins of our forefathers.

    I humbly suggest that Sr.Faustina’s healing prayer ie “Jesus forgive my sins, sins of my forefathers by Your blood shed on Calvary” followed by Divine Mercy Chaplet be said after Rosary on a daily basis. Further it will greatly help if it is said during
    The Holy Hour.

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