The Archdiocese of Birmingham - The Parish of the Immaculate Conception

Praying for the Faithful Departed

The custom of remembering the dead goes back to the early days of the Church. Tertullian writing in the third century spoke of an intermediate place of rest where that faithful waited until the final judgement. In the same century there seems to have been some idea of deceased Christians who need some form of purification before seeing God. From the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, the feast spread throughout Europe and was finally adopted in Rome. The feast involves several beliefs: that some Christians, while dying in peace with Christ, might still need some purification; that the prayers and good deeds of the living help those who have died; and that there is an intermediate place between heaven and hell. 
 
The choice of the 2nd of November as the Feast of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls) is thought to come from a decree of St. Odilo (c. 962 – 1048), the abbot of Cluny, where he instructed that it should be observed as a day of prayer throughout the Clunaic foundations. He chose the date precisely because it followed the Solemnity of All Saints, and his instructions were to pray for the souls of deceased monks. What he did was not entirely new as at the time of St. Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 636) the Monday after Pentecost was kept as a day of prayer for the dead. The custom of having three Masses on that day seems to have begun with the Spanish Dominicans in the fifteenth century, and, after papal approval in 1748 was extended to countries under Spanish or Portuguese influence. Its extension to the universal Church came about because of the First World War and the Apostolic Constitution granted by Pope Benedict XV (1914 – 1922) on the 10th of August 1915. One Mass is celebrated for a particular person or group, one for all the faithful departed and the third for the intentions of the Holy Father. The liturgy of the day is perhaps the best guide to the meaning of the feast: the readings point to Christ as the hope of the living and the dead and the liturgical prayers see new life in Christ as God’s promise that enables Christians to face death with faith and hope.
 
November traditionally is the month when Catholics remember the souls of the faithful departed in Purgatory through the celebration of additional Masses, announced on the Mass times page, and also through vespers of the dead and the blessing of graves in The Foynes Memorial Garden, Bicester Cemetery and at St. Mary's Church in Ambrosden.
 

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Your prayers are requested for all those whose anniversaries occur during the month of August

John Ansell, Kathleen Christina Aspell (2007), Simon de la Bedoyere (1994), Miles & Bryony Blackwell, Emmanuel James Brown (1995), Francesca Caporano, Mary Cassidy (2002), Alfred Ernest ‘Jim’ Charles (2005), Frederick Clayton, Jill Collyer (2000), John Condon, Charles Cowen (2010), Timothy Davis (2010), Kathleen DeVere (1989), Michelle Ebra, Nanette Everson (1992), Mary Christina Farrell (2002), Angus Forsyth (2011), Angus Forsyth (2001), Arthur William French (1980), Jadwiga From (2005), Anne Gaffney (1962), Catherine Gallagher (1972), Alice Gardner (1976), James Goggin (1972), Gienoweza Theresa Grabacz (2010), Charles William Gray (2015), Elizabeth Jane Hall, Michael Augustine Harte (2004), Kay Hawkins (2001), William T. Hewitt (1997), Mary Horgan, Kitty Hornby (2007), Thomas John Howley (2006), Thomas Young Hudson (2006), William Hudson (2006), Anthony John Hunt (2009), Stefan Jacek (2010), Andrew Jeanne (2008), Anne Jones, Helen Jones (1987), Charles Kelly, Francis Kent, Joan M. Kent (1997), Philip Knight-Archer (1995), Michael Lavery (2007), Desmond Charles Leadbeater (1971), Joseph Lenkalovich (1981), Peter Daniel Lower (1986), Patrick James Lunney (2015), Johanna Josephine Lynch (2002), John McCabe (2006), Willie McCluskey (2004), Maureen McDermott (2005), Anne Christina McDonnell (2006), Lena McDonnell, Thomas McFarlane (1998), Francis McGovern, Tina McKellar, Kathleen Mansfield (2000), Charles Maxwell (1978), Joseph Albert Mease (1944), Joyce Gertrude Meagher (2010), Jan Mielniczuk (2009), David William Joseph Mullhall (2009), Eileen Moss (2009), David William Joseph Mulhall (2009), David Michael Joseph Munro (2010), Maura Murtagh (1958), Ivy Gwendoline Murray (1990), Rose Nardi, Bill Nelmes, Alexander Nowicki, Douglas Daniel, Bernard Oak (2003), Mary O’Brien (2006), Henry Joseph ‘Paddy’  O’Neill (2002), John O’Neill, Annie Elizabeth O’Rourke (2004), Bernard O’Rourke (1974), John Finbar O’Sullivan (2014), Olive Parkinson, Agnes M. Philip (1997), Christopher David Read [Flynn] (2005), Agnes Redmond (1984), Frank Rice (2000), Teresa Rice, Susan Richardson (2005), William Smart, Patricia Smith (2014), Rev. Fr. Terence Smith (1990), Jon Styler (2007), Pasqualina Taylor (1998), Naomi Thompson, (1989), Margaret Langan Walsh (2006), Edward Walter Ward (2007), Carmella Webber (2005), Allan Michael Wells (2008), Joan Whitehouse, Mark Wiesselbaum (1990), Rosemary Wigley (2014), Francis Wiggins (2006), Edgar Ray Williams (1980), Paul Louis Wiser, Helen Young (1979), HRH Diana, Princess of Wales (1997), His Holiness Pope Paul VI (1978), Blessed John Henry Newman (1890)

O gentlest Heart of Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament, ever consumed with burning love for the poor captive souls in Purg

atory, have mercy on the souls of thy servants. Be not severe in Thy judgement, but let some drops of Thy Precious Blood fall upon our beloved departed, and do Thou, O merciful Saviour, send Thy angels to conduct the souls of Thy servants to a place of refresment and peace. Amen