COLUMBIA—A cold, clear autumn morning offered a solemn chance to honor the dead as Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated his annual All Souls’ Day Mass Nov. 2 at St. Patrick Cemetery in Columbia.
About 100 people attended, including students from St. Peter School and 15 students who made the two-hour trip from Bishop England High School in Charleston.
The youth choir from St. Peter Church offered sacred music, including a moving version of Pie Jesu from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Requiem.”
Bishop Guglielmone said All Souls’ Day is an important chance for Catholics to remember those who have died and think about how to prepare for their own deaths by living lives that conform to the Gospel.
“Jesus gives us all kinds of instructions and indications on how to live a good life, and he gives us the Holy Spirit,” he said.
“We’re here because we are trying to lead a life that will lead us to become saints,” the bishop continued. “If we weren’t faith-filled people, why would we come to something like this? Every single one of us has someone who has gone to the other side of life, who we hope and pray is living in the fullness of God’s grace.”
All Souls’ Day is a good time to pray for souls still in the process of reaching full union with God through purification in purgatory, but we should also pray for them and for friends and family all year long, he said.
“We also need each other’s affirmation, to pray for all those whose lives we touch and who have touched our lives,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “Through prayer, we will be one big community entering into the fullness of grace with God … hopefully, in the future there will be people to pray for us in the same way we gathered today to pray for those who have gone before us.”
Nora Womack, who attends St. Thomas More Church, said she attended the All Souls’ Mass with her sisters because her mother died in September and is buried at the cemetery.
She was touched that she and her siblings were asked to bring up the gifts during the offertory.
“I really felt like my mother was looking down on us while we brought the gifts, like she was giving us a sign that she was all right,” Womack said. “This was a special chance to honor her memory.”