This coming Sunday is the celebration of All Souls. Usually it’s a quiet weekday Mass, but
since this year it falls on a Sunday, it’s going to be rather special to have the entire community
gathered together and remembering their loved ones. This is a feast that will touch the lives of
every single person who is present. That’s rare for a Sunday.
As I mentioned in the October Cross Links, a major activity for me this past summer has been
working on our family tree. I’ve reached dead ends on all but Mom’s mother’s line which is
traced back only to the mid-1800’s. The rest of the family lines go back 13-15 generations.
Family Tree Maker tells me that I have 508 people recorded and verified, of which 101 are
Outside of the family I grew up with, I never knew these people, never knew they existed. As
the Vietnamese mystic Thich Nht Hnh writes: “If you look deeply into the palm of your hand,
you will see your parents and all your generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this
moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.” Now
I have many more family members to hold in prayer during November.
And it’s not just family members. I think of all those who have touched my life in one way or
another: teachers, pastors, members of Holy Cross, friends, neighbors, parishioners, etc. You and
I have been shaped in large or small ways by all these folks, and they too are deserving of our
remembrance. Even if their influence has been negative, they still deserve prayer, as well as our
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may they rest in peace. Amen.